What Is Email Marketing for Artists?
Email marketing for artists is a valuable tool for artists seeking to sell their art and build a thriving art business. It is the high-powered digital equivalent of direct mail sent through the post office. Marketers use it to deepen relationships with potential buyers and to promote and sell them products and services.
Email marketing for artists is the most effective tool to connect with patrons, buyers, and fans and keep them interested in your artwork.
— Barney Davey
Because email marketing performs so well, it is a broadly used tool in a digital marketer's toolbox. It works with and improves social media, video, influencer and content marketing, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising to drive awareness, desire, and sales.
A Table of Contents is at the bottom of this guide.
For artists who want to sell art online, an email marketing system is a critical component. It helps them make sales through their ecommerce-enabled websites and boost traffic at shows, openings, and other events.
It is helpful to define marketing to understand better what email marketing for artists is. The following excerpt is from the Ultimate Guide to Art Marketing.
At its basic level, marketing, including art marketing, is a systematized process of creating awareness and interest for a company, product, or service that leads to a desire to engage buyers to own its goods, use its services, or all above. Businesses use marketing to communicate their offerings, promote their brands, identify new prospects, and strengthen bonds with their target audience and existing customers.
Why Do Artists Need to Use Email Marketing?
Email marketing is an invaluable tool for artists to connect with their followers, engage with their clients, and promote and sell their art. With an email list, you can send personalized emails to your subscribers about upcoming events, new artworks, and special offers. It's also a great way to give your art a platform and build a community of people interested in what you do. E
mail marketing allows you to keep in touch with your past clients, remind potential customers of their interest, and reach out to new ones. It's a great way to connect with your audience and keep them engaged. Plus, it's much more cost-effective than other forms of advertising. All in all, email marketing can be the perfect tool for artists looking to attract and engage new clients, build relationships, and sell their art.
Three Advantages Prove Why Email Marketing Is the Best Tool for Artists:
Fine art sales rarely are spontaneous, and it's common sense that you can't build a profitable art business on random sales. Generating predictable sales outcomes requires a system of finding and engaging potential buyers into long-term relationships that lead to sales.
Unquestionably, people buy the artist as much as the art. This fact is even true when they consider purchasing original art. The relationships and connections you make help to set you up for sales and success. When buyers know you or know of you, they are more likely to want to own your art.
An art marketing email list is hand's down the best and sometimes the only tool for the job. Email communication is the glue to your connections. Make contacts; in the best ways you can, then stay in touch digitally through email until your sales opportunity strikes.
Your email list is your most valuable marketing tool. A lot of studies prove its value over all other digital and offline marketing initiatives. Given its importance, it's comforting to know an artist's email list is their property, and no one can take it from them. A responsive, engaged email list is a prime marketing asset when appraising a business's worth. Your email subscriber list has real value.
Selling art on Instagram or other social media is an excellent art marketing method. The only problem is that artists are users and not owners and must comply with a platform's rules. Even worse, account bans happen unexpectedly. For reasons impossible to understand with no recourse, bans occur daily. With email marketing, you don't need permission from a third party to send what you want, when you want, and as often as you wish. Your email list is an asset for you to use as you wish.
Describe the Best Practices for Artists with Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great tool that artists can use to build and engage with their fanbase. To get the most out of it, there are a few best practices you should follow. First, create an email list of followers who have opted-in to receive updates from you. Make sure to follow best practices when collecting emails and be transparent with users about how their information will be used. Next, come up with a content strategy that includes which emails you'll send out and how frequently.
You should also think about how to segment your list so that you can create personalized emails and tailor content to different audiences. Additionally, ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly since many people will be reading them on their phones. Finally, use analytics to track your open and click-through rates and adjust your strategy accordingly. Following these tips will help you create an effective email marketing plan and increase engagement with your audience.
Art Careers and Art Sales Take Time
With email marketing, artists have the time and ability to nurture personalized, long-term relationships with their subscribers. It overlays, connects with, and powers up the marketing juice from all other marketing tools and strategies.
As an adequate means of creating meaningful buyer-seller relationships, only in-person communication is better. And it is often time-consuming, inconvenient, or impossible. Email marketing generates leads, promotes brand awareness, strengthens client relationships. It keeps you in touch with consumers until they are ready to buy.
How Email Marketing Overcomes Obstacles to Selling Expensive Original Art
- Approval. Marriages and partners have unspoken rules on spending limits. Decisions often include design decisions that require approval from all parties. Most original fine art is in this category. Email communication builds awareness and trust, creates desire, and reduces reluctance.
- Immediacy. Consumers can know an artist and admire her work. But they don't collect art and have no immediate need to add new art. Email engages, educates, and encourages favorable reactions from contacts.
- Positioning. Long buying cycles challenge staying relevant and occupying the top position in a prospect's mind for (your favorite descriptive phrase.) Success requires artists to find, connect, and engage with likely buyers for extended periods. Email marketing's nurturing capabilities make it the best tool to help artists maintain a top position in the minds of their prospects.
There Are Only Two Ways to Sell Art
- Either you market or sell to buyers directly
- Find third-party distributors, such as galleries, publishers, and licensors, who will do the marketing and sales of your art for you
Artists can do both, and many do. Both methods require investment in time, money, and learning. It's as much personal preference as anything when deciding what to use. When working with distributors, you give up all three advantages of 1) Relationship; 2) Ownership, and 3) Control.
Working with third-party distributors is just as difficult as selling directly and not as profitable. Galleries, publishers, dealers, and licensors are third-party distributors. They take your time, command your inventory, often pay late, need tending, and are demanding. That's giving up a lot to avoid selling your art yourself with email marketing that artists can do well.
Email Marketing Is Your Most Affordable and Efficient Tool
Email marketing for artists provides an easy way to communicate directly with your prospects, partners, fans, and collectors. Successful email marketing for artists is multi-faceted. Using email list management services requires growing your list of contact email addresses is critical to your art business and ongoing sales success.
The Ideal Art Sales Scenario for Artists
Ideally, artists sell most of their work directly to buyers on their email list. Direct sales would be the principal source of their income. Use distributors as secondary revenue sources. That method gives artists the most significant margins and control over their careers. Using third parties for extra income is better than depending on them for your primary revenue source.
Ultimately, artists must choose what works for them. Despite the ideal scenario, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to email marketing for artists. Choose wisely and know you can always modify your marketing to meet current needs.
The Different Approaches to Email Marketing
It's not debatable. Artists who want to sell their work need to use email. But how they use it varies, and it is up to them. Some will only collect email addresses and send a monthly newsletter. Others will use marketing automation to identify, tag, and segment subscribers to send them personalized messages.
The latter method will get better results, but it takes more time and effort. I suggest for artists with tiny lists to concentrate on building their list first. There is time to add marketing automation later. I suggest you start with an Email Marketing Service (EMS) that includes automation workflows. That way, artists can begin tagging their subscribers now. Later on, they will use tags to segment their lists for autoresponder email sequences.
What Every Artist Needs to Capitalize on Email Marketing
You must know how to get the most out of your opportunities. To make email marketing an efficient profit center for your business, you need:
- A reliable email marketing service (EMS), preferably with marketing automation built-in
- An understanding of what's known in marketing jargon as the customer journey
- A method of acquiring subscribers who qualify as potential buyers
- The ability to segment your subscribers
- A content marketing plan to deliver appropriate messages
- The desire and commitment to stick with your plans
Email Marketing Technology
The email software tech that powers email marketing is all SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). That means it's in the cloud, and you rent access to it. The EMS platforms I recommend include marketing automation. Eventually, if not at once, you will want to customize and personalize your marketing messages.
Using tags in your marketing automation allows you to identify whether your subscriber is a buyer or a prospect. Tags can point out interest in a piece of art or a genre. You can tag and sort on almost anything. Marketing automation software runs on "If This Then That" logic. For example, if this subscriber is a customer, put them in that email sequence for buyers.
What Is the Best Email Marketing Platform for Artists?
A growing number of companies offer paid and free email management services (EMS) that artists can use. They offer email newsletter templates, marketing automation, and email list management services. To learn about all of them, use Google searches to develop a personalized list. Four EMS for artists companies gets a mention in this post.
Use your network and due diligence to make your decision. Just know that switching vendors is no problem. Switching gets more complicated when concurrent marketing automations are operational. Some EMSs offer concierge services to move your account to them.
I recommend Moosend and Mailerlite for artists without a list or a small list because they include marketing automation in the free version of their software. I have accounts with both services, and my preference is Moosend because of its simplicity, training, support, and ability to tag subscribers. Moosend is a recent acquisition by Sitecore, a company with complementary services and deep pockets. I suspect it might be a breakout deal with user advantages, but only time will tell.
I also like Convertkit because it caters to and promotes creators. The downside is it does not include marketing automation in its free account. Finally, Active Campaign has deep penetration in the internet marketing community. It arguably is the most powerful of the four mentioned, but it lacks the free versions of the other services on this list. And most artists will not use much of Active Campaign's advanced features. Some of the links are affiliate links that offer the same benefits and prices as without them.
Moosend includes marketing automation is free for accounts with up to 1,000 subscribers. After that, its pricing is lower than most competitors. Artists use Moosend to create and personalize campaigns, send email sequences using marketing automation, manage and segment subscriber lists, generate product recommendations, build custom landing pages and custom subscription forms.
Using analytics and click tracks, email opens, social shares, and unsubscribes, artists can use the drag-and-drop builder and customizable templates to control marketing functions with filters, events, and actions that trigger specific autoresponder email sequences inside automated workflows. Learn more about Moosend here.
As with Moosend, Mailerlite offers the first 1,000 subscribers free for life. That feature is compelling for many. The editor is easy to use. It comes with a host of content blocks that make it a snap to insert columns, image carousels, surveys, and other interactive elements. Mailerlite track changes so you can undo steps easily. A desirable feature allows you to add Facebook and Twitter posts into your email directly.
Mailerlite provides an excellent selection of attractive and customizable templates. A drawback is templates are not part of the free plan. But artists do have a wide array of content blocks to drag and drop onto their templates. Learn more about Mailerlite here.
There is much to like about Convertkit. It is easy to use, offers terrific customer support, caters to creators, and has a vast library of tutorials. It does provide a free version for accounts with up to 1,000 subscribers. But, unlike Moosend and Mailerlite, it omits the marketing automation feature from its free version. It is also more expensive once a user reaches the 1,000 plus threshold that requires moving to a paid account. Since many artists will never need a list of more than 1,000, the lack of marketing automation is a drawback. Learn more about Convertkit here.
Active Campaign is a more robust service than the abovementioned. As a result, it is more complicated to use. Users choose from two levels of service. The higher-priced option provides a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), which allows you to keep notes and thorough contact information on customers and prospects. The latter is excellent but probably overkill for artists beginning to use email marketing. I include it here because it might be right for some more advanced artists in tech and marketing. Look it over, and then you decide. Learn more about Active Campaign here.
MailChimp and All the Rest
I've had a MailChimp account for many years. Because it did not start with marketing automation, it continues to add on new features to make it more usable for today's sophisticated marketers. I find it the hardest to use for many reasons. Its tutorials require opening multiple tabs to learn how to do things, which gets confusing fast.
MailChimp also double-counts subscribers when you have them in separate lists, which means your cost of using can rise fast once you exceed its free 1,000 subscriber minimum. If you are already on it, I can see why you would stick with it. If your list is small, or you are just starting, I advise against using it as there are better free alternatives as mentioned above.
All the rest are either too simple, too complicated, or too expensive. There may be other suitable email marketing platforms with marketing automation. Things change fast in internet marketing. As such, this list with my recommendations may miss some other options. These recommendations are solid and likely is more than you will ever need. Feel free to shop, but I would not waste too much time on it.
How to Build an Email List for Artists
Who Should Be on Your Email Marketing List?
Your list should include:
- Clients and potential clients.
- Family, friends, and fans.
- Art professionals, including gallery owners, art consultants, art dealers, and designers.
- Business and professional contacts.
- Centers of influence – mavens and connectors as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his bestseller The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
To make email marketing work, you need a reliable method of steadily gaining subscribers who qualify as potential buyers. Since no one on earth needs more email, you must offer a potential subscriber a reason to join your list. A lead magnet is an excellent choice to start. Essentially, it's an ethical bribe where you trade something of value for the right to send email to someone. There is a complete section on lead magnets below. You'll find it chock full of valuable insights and information on how to grow your email list using a lead magnet, aka ethical bribe.
You Need Permission
Unlike postal mail, you cannot send mass email without the recipient's permission. It is illegal per the 2003 Can-Spam Act. Plus, everyone hates spam. So just do not do it. Unless you have a trusted personal relationship with someone, do not add names their name to your list, no matter how promising and tempting it might be. Make sure all your emails include an easy-to-use opt-out link. As a courtesy and legal requirement, email marketing services automatically include opt-out links in the email they send on your behalf.
Be Aware and Comply with Privacy Laws
Privacy laws that govern commercial communication regulations require compliance. Your EMS has some of the requirements built-in, such as enforcing an unsubscribe link in all your messages. You need to know about Can-Spam, CASL, and GDPR. I recommend this guide to you, Your Go-To Guide to CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR. You'll find it has excellent explanations and resources.
Growing Your Email Marketing List
Capturing email addresses requires your ongoing attention. If you work to make it an ingrained daily habit, your list will grow fast. There are many opportunities for you to collect email addresses.
Your website, blog, newsletter, email signature, and social media are among the most useful. You can include an enticing web form or link to make it easy to join your list with them. All email marketing service providers offer web forms to enable quick, painless sign-ups to your list.
Just remember to ask for permission to add when exchanging information during in-person encounters. A good practice is to follow up at once to thank the person. Remind them their name is now on your list. Auto-responders are great for this purpose. We will cover them in another post.
Digital Email Marketing List Building Tips:
- Add a form or link on each page of your Web site and posts on your blog.
- In your regular emails, add a link in your signature line to invite recipients to join your email marketing list.
- When you send to your list, include both a "forward me" and a "sign up" feature in your e-newsletters, announcements, and other messages.
- Place your sign-up form on your Facebook Page, or use a prominent link to a hosted web form. Do the same with a link in your Twitter profile.
- If you participate in other social media, such as Pinterest or LinkedIn, do some Google searches to explore how to leverage your presence to build your email list.
Offline Email Marketing List Building Suggestions
High visibility opportunities for growing email marketing lists for artists are gallery shows, art shows, and tradeshows. Presentations and public speaking give you an easy way to collect email addresses. Take the time to tell attendees what they will receive for subscribing to know what to expect from your messages. Place a mailing list sign-up sheet at your art fair or festival booth on one of your tables. Use bright signage to attract attention. Include a link to your email marketing list form on your business cards, brochures, flyers, and postcards.
If you are a frequent exhibitor at shows, consider getting a cheap tablet to let your visitors enter their information into a form on the tablet themselves. Consider buying an Anti-Theft Universal Tablet Floor Stand Kiosk. In the Covid-19 era, offering hand sanitizer is a good suggestion and will help get more use from the tablet. When you can, provide a short explanation to promote the value of joining your list. If you have a lead magnet or other additional benefits, make sure the people who might join your list know about the goodies that come with it for them.
Make Email List Building a Top Priority
Building, maintaining, and using your list needs to be a high-priority activity. As you build your email marketing list, your contacts will grow, as will your ability to influence them. Do not overlook the tremendous opportunities for developing your successful art career by routinely using capable email marketing techniques.
One of the best ways is to do guest-post blogging. Guest blogs entail either writing the content yourself or hiring someone to help you write an article to go on a proposed blog that receives a lot of traffic related to your business. Your content has to be worthy and unique, and the sites you choose to submit to must be appropriate for your art and audience, so research your options thoroughly.
Quality Beats Quantity
Your mailing list does not have to be huge to be serviceable. It is more important to have a responsive list that helps you develop deeper relationships with your subscribers. Your email marketing list is robust. A list with a few hundred names can help you pack a gallery with your best prospects at your openings. You can use your email list to drive traffic to your website or to some event or show where you will exhibit your art.
Make Email List Building a Top Priority
Building, maintaining, and using your list needs to be a high-priority activity. As you build your email marketing list, your contacts will grow, as will your ability to influence them. Do not overlook the tremendous opportunities for improving your art career by routinely using efficient techniques in your email marketing for artists efforts.
How do small, emerging artists get noticed?
As a small or emerging artist, getting noticed in today's crowded art market can be a challenge. But with the right strategies, you can increase your visibility and get your work seen. One of the most effective ways to get your art out there is email marketing. It's an inexpensive and easy way to reach a large audience and spread awareness of your work. You can create campaigns to target new artists, reach out to galleries, or even just promote a new piece of art.
Social media is also a great tool for connecting with other creatives and building a following. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter are great for showcasing your work and engaging with potential customers. Don't be afraid to reach out to other artists, galleries, and magazines to collaborate and share your work. With a bit of effort and creativity, your art can reach a much wider audience and get the recognition it deserves.
In Email Marketing for Artists, Content Is King
Email marketing for artists is a must for any comprehensive strategy designed to develop a successful art career.
Valuable email marketing newsletters and messages need new, compelling, and relevant content. As with all successful endeavors, planning and focus are keys to success.
Once you have subscribers, your job evolves. You must engage them with content that keeps them opening your emails. For artists, this is critical because art is non-essential, and the gaps in time between when prospects are open to buying are lengthy. It's not uncommon for galleries to make their first sales six, nine, twelve months, or longer after their initial encounter with a potential buyer.
Good content is how you keep your opportunities to sell to your list at a high rate. As an aside, the timeframe for open-to-buy periods speaks to the value of continually growing your list. This 25 Clever Content Marketing Examples with Amazing Results, a post from OptinMonster, is an excellent place to learn about content marketing and planning.
Organization & Planning = More Success & Less Stress.
Email marketing for artists is the same as for any other business. When the deadline to start writing comes, having your content ready is how to avoid stress and reduce how long it takes to compose your article. Rushing to find last-minute news and ideas for your content creates anxiety and wastes time and money.
Create an Email Marketing for Artists Content Keeping Systems.
Evernote is the best way to clip online content. It helps you quickly and easily capture and organize anything you find online. Microsoft One Note also is a convenient info organization tool. You can print any document from your computer to it, and you can copy and paste information from the internet into it. It is old school, but keeping a physical folder with ideas for content is better than nothing if it works for you.
The goal of your email marketing for artists strategy is simple. Engage your subscribers with content that keeps them involved and excited. You want subscribers to expect to receive your email newsletters and to enjoy your content.
It's About You, Just Not All About You.
Use a mix of information about you and your art, including noteworthy news, personal or professional. Write about your current projects, events, sales, and promotions, along with other enticing tidbits of valuable, entertaining items of interest. Of course, your email marketing for artists content needs to about you. Nevertheless, the more you incorporate content not specific to you that both interests and intrigues your subscribers, the more your readers will be eager to receive and read your messages.
Here are ten suggestions for producing innovative and relevant content:
- Video content is powerful. If you already create short videos to help stand out with your audience, embed them in your newsletter. A great way is to insert a tightly cropped screenshot image from the video. Then link the image to the streaming service, such as YouTube, where it is uploaded. Doing this avoids the problem of subscribers' email programs filtering embedded videos.
- Special Deals. Provide exclusive invitations or offers only available to newsletter subscribers. Make it pay for them.
- Ongoing Useful Content. Add a regular "Tips for Art Collectors" as a fun, continuous component of your newsletter. A few suggestions are how to hang art, care for art, place art, frame or re-frame art, storage, shipping, consignment, and use the secondary art market.
- Guest posters. They will add a different perspective or expertise to keep your art marketing content stimulating. These guests could include other artists, a picture framer, a museum curator, another art collector, or the organizer of the show where you exhibit.
- Relevant news rules. Use news about you, your local art community, or the whole art community to involve your readers. Ask for feedback. Set up alerts on Google Alerts for topics you believe would attract your readers. Including one for your name and business name, if different, helps you learn what others are saying about you.
- Resources for ideas are abundant. Keep up with news, trends, events, and opinions. The New York Times Art & Design and Huff Post Arts & Culture pages are ample resources for your email marketing story ideas.
- Keep up with your competition. When it comes to email marketing for artists, it is necessary to know what other artists are doing. If you find something valuable, you can link to it or write your art marketing content to add your opinion and perspective. If its content is essential to you, for instance, funding arts in education, your new post citing the original post will extend the messages and keep the drumbeat going. Notify the original author to let them know you linked to their copy; it might lead to a prized link back your content.
- Hang out in the same online spots as your buyers. Use these sources for research first and communication second. Follow your buyers to find the groups and communities where they hang out. See what topics are trending within those groups. Maybe there is a charity or activity you were not aware of that is relevant to them. Never be a phony. But, if you agree, feature their interests in your art-marketing newsletter or contribute to their bring about and recommend it in your newsletter.
- Get personal. For some of us, it is easy to share stories from our own lives. Do not despair if that is not you. Draw parallels from third-party examples. It could be anything that inspires you. Suppose you are into the classics where you learned a lesson, maybe something that deeply moved you from seeing or reading Les Miserables or Anna Karenina. Relate changes to your life, art, or business from experience. Talk about how it informed or inspired your newest works. Sharing at this level is compelling, especially when including your art and creative process.
- Use keyword and trend tools. They help you get the thoughts of your best customers and prospects. Use the Google Adwords Keywords and the Wordtracker Free Keyword tools to build a list of how your customers search to find art and artists. Layer your research using the Google Trends tool. The point is when you know what your collectors and prospects are looking and searching for, you can build your content around their interests. That is much more efficient than guessing or publishing around your interests; hopefully, you will find much common ground to work. And as with many points listed here, using keyword and trend tool research could be the subject of a lengthy post on its own. Recently, I used Google Trends to help show a recent blog post. You can read it here: Canvas Prints versus Art Prints | What Terms Are You Using?
How can an artist build up their email list?
Now is the best time for artists to get serious about growing their email lists. A powerful way to promote your art, gain followers and get more clients is through growing an email list. With the correct techniques, and steady follow through you can build a list of subscribers who are interested in your latest art pieces or projects and want to hear about them.
The first step is to make an opt-in form that people can fill out to give their email addresses. You can add this to your website, blog, social media profiles, and even the end of your emails. Make sure you give people a reason to join, like a free download, aka lead magnet, or a special offer they can't get anywhere else.
You can also get people to sign up for your list by writing guest posts or working with other websites. Lastly, don't forget to reach out to the people who already like you. Ask them to sign up for your list so they can find out about your new work. With these tips in mind, you'll be on your way to building an email list of interested people who will help you promote your art and reach new people.
How to Use Lead Magnets & Sales Funnels for Artists to Get More Buyers
Using powerful lead magnets is how to get more high-quality subscribers
Who doesn't wish they didn't have work to find qualified prospects and convert them into customers? You can mess up your chances for success if you let such wishful and dangerous thinking keep you from doing essential tasks. Always remember,
Hope is neither a plan nor a strategy.
To enjoy the career you want, you must develop practical plans that include these crucial aspects to your business:
- Goods and services buyers want
- Efficient marketing to drive sales
- Viable support to maintain customers and build a reputation
Art and Services
Before you can think about marketing, you must have a product (fine art, fine art prints, crafts, etc.) or service others want. You need demand for your offerings. Don't complicate your thinking. It doesn't matter if you have competition or have something unique and new. What matters is if enough people buy to meet your goals. Only research and experience will tell.
Marketing and Sales
Once you have goods and services, you must develop a market for them. Marketing determines your ideal buyers and creates demand for your offerings among them. It propels prospects along the customer journey, starting with gaining their attention. That leads to growing interest, which, when deepened, intensifies a desire to make purchases and, for some, to become best-case brand ambassadors.
All goods and services require support. It's how you onboard new customers, and maintain existing customer needs and strengthen relationships. Support is critical to your brand reputation.
In a nutshell, you need the aspects above to run a profitable, sustainable business.
Sales Funnels and the Customer Journey
Modern business jargon uses "sales funnel" and "customer journey" phrases to describe how businesses attract potential buyers and move them from product unawareness to becoming buyers and even evangelists. With good reason, it's popular to equate developing relationships with customers to the stages of intimacy in the dating and looking for life partners stages of life. There are apparent similarities.
In every case, it's all about KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. You grow from first awareness, eye contact, an introduction, or noticing a social media post or ad to form an impression. Steps then evolve to making contact and getting to know and understand one another. If things go well, the connection progresses. In business, your goal is to make sales, create happy customers and encourage evangelists. The enthusiasm for Apple products epitomizes the full spectrum of the customer journey process.
Getting Leads Is Easy | Follow Up Makes or Breaks You
Want more leads? You can find hundreds of creative ideas and practical techniques by searching for "how to get leads" in your favorite browser. You will find the ideas, advice, and suggestions represent an overwhelming embarrassment of riches. That's because nearly everything works. You only need to test and then settle on what approach works best and matches your needs. Social media, organic search results (SEO), cold emailing, cold calling, networking, advertising, direct mail, referrals, reviews, and directory listings are among the most widespread methods today.
A great place to start is social media. It is affordable, fast, and relatively easy to use. You can hire professionals or study how to use Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to gain awareness for your business. The process in nearly every case involves finding a way to get your potential customers on your email list. Email marketing remains the most important and valuable way to manage leads that convert to buyers.
Trust Your Instincts and Support Them with Research
Begin with your instincts and feel for your market. Do your research to back up your ideas—test to refine the process. Improve by learning how others with similar businesses get people into their funnels. It's an easy-to-follow and transparent means. Join a mailing list of your top competitors and marketers whose work and products you admire and use. You will experience firsthand the exact steps, strategies and, tactics they use in their version of the customer journey.
Getting an Opt-In Is the Critical First Step
Have you heard the term lead magnet? It's digital marketing jargon to define your giveaway. That is what you use to encourage joining your email list. You cannot expect results from an offer to join your email list only to get more emails. It would be best if you gave something to encourage action. Some equate lead magnets to using an ethical bribe trading valuable content for contact information.
A lead magnet should appeal to your prospects' interests and relate your art. There are some things to consider. It must have value and be easy to use. Digital products work best. You can find marketers offering a free paperback book with paid shipping. It's a technique in decline. Digital copies of paperbacks are ineffective because they are not easy to use. No one reads full-length books in PDF format. It's too much.
You may wonder, "What is a lead magnet?"
I promise to tell you in just a minute.
A lead magnet is crucial for artists to grow their businesses. That's because an active email list is essential to a thriving art career. Now is the time for artists to take control of their careers, making email list building a vital task. The more you sell to your list, the less reliant you are on galleries and publishers, etc.
Find Buyers and Sell Your Artwork to Them
For years, I have championed today's artists' idea to find ways to cultivate relationships to sell to buyers directly through marketing—and friendships, and other mutually helpful connections.
Marketing for Connections
Learning how to use email marketing to make those connections is at the core of the Art Marketing Toolkit Project. It's the most affordable and best offer ever, focusing on fitting art marketing into the artist's life you want to lead.
The option of building a base and selling directly to buyers was not possible for artists in previous generations. It was career suicide to buck the gallery, dealer, and publisher model. Plus, it was awkward and expensive to go it alone.
No third-party distributor would work with an artist who sold to buyers on their own back in the day. Now the internet, social media, and email marketing make it possible for artists to sell art online. Also, consumers have changed their buying habits. Their first choice often is to buy from the product creator. Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other sites that focus on selling work by indie artists helped shift consumer buying habits.
Power Up Your Email Opt-in Forms
Now, you can sign up with an email service provider and create opt-in web forms that make it easy for potential subscribers to join your list. Consumers are harder to motivate now. Just asking for an opt-in is not enough. Your prospect needs to know what's in it for them.
A good lead magnet solves the "what's in it for me" problem. And, that's just the start. The right one will do much more. You're a small businessperson, so you should jump on it anytime you can get extra mileage out of anything you are doing.
Here's a description of a lead magnet from DigitalMarketer.com:
The Lead Magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a particular chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information – usually an email address.
What Makes for an Irresistible Bribe from an Artist?
The best thing you can do to make a great lead magnet is to use your existing content. You have a website, a blog; you may have published articles or written evocative emails. Anything that is already in the can makes for valuable lead magnet content.
The best lead magnets are easy to use and access. That's what makes ebooks and portfolios such a valuable tool because they are relatively cheap and fast to create. You can deliver them via a download link in a thank you email to your subscribers.
There's Good News about Lead Magnets
Creating sales starts with building relationships with targeted prospects. To start, they don't know you from Adam. Buyers follow an unspoken process. They instinctively seek to Know, Like, and Trust the source before they buy. They don't deviate from the process.
Lead magnets in the form of ebooks check all the boxes:
- It is desirable to own
- Easy to use
- Quick and convenient to deliver
- Affordable to create
- Provides helpful, informative, educational value to the subscriber
- It kicks off the Know, Like, and Trust continuum with the least amount of effort for all involved
Here are examples of lead magnets:
- Special report or a guide
- Audio recording
- Cheat sheets
Examples of art-specific lead magnets:
- Small brochures or portfolios
- Exclusive subscriber discounts
- Join your fan/collectors
- Invitations to private-showing parties (online and offline)
- Free shipping on the first order
- Free hanging/installation for local collectors
How Marketing Automation Gets the Job Done
Your Follow Up Sets the Stage and Seals the Deal
To come this far and not have systems in place to follow up with your prospects is a severe money-losing shame. Sadly, it happens all the time. Mostly, I believe it occurs because there is little training on what to do next. Everyone tells you to build a list, and the advice stops there.
A list without follow-up is useless. - Barney Davey
Your follow-up must be attentive and purposeful. Make it as professional as the lead magnet you used to get someone in your sales funnels. Digital marketing jargon revolves around these acronyms: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU. They represent the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel.
Those entering the wide end at the top (TOFU) of the funnel have shown some interest in your lead magnet. But they have no interest—yet—in spending money with you. At the top, you want to accommodate everyone. As prospects show interest, they move to the middle (MOFU) of the funnel. It is here through segmentation and nurturing; you build trust, authority, and desire for your art. A customer at the bottom (BOFU) part of the funnel is ready to buy. They might have questions, items in the cart, or by completing a sales transaction. Your interactions with them at this stage are crucial.
Segmentation and Personalization Improve Results
You don't treat repeat customers in your studio the same a brand-new visitors. Your conversation is different for each situation, and marketing automation lets you send personalized messages. Your campaigns will contain if/then logic-driven email sequences. Each will respond to where a buyer is in the funnel.
In some cases, you may treat customers who show interest in specific types of art. For example, a sculpture buyer has different interests than a prospect for a painting. You may have print and original buyers. Those are among innumerable ways tags can identify customers and send them email sequences to match their interests.
For example, the system applies a tag for each purchase. Tags can trigger an action to add or remove a contact from a sales sequence. The same or other tags can then move buyers to a thank you series. Use timers to send existing buyers engagement sequences to rekindle new selling opportunities.
Lead Magnet Sales Funnel
Lead Magnet Sales Funnel Example
Indoctrination – used to inform and educate prospects new to you. Your open rates are the best in the relationship's first stage. Help those new to your business understand who you are and what you do. Show them helpful content and a bio on you.
Onboarding – Once a prospect makes a purchase, you remove the prospect tag and apply a customer tag. You add a second new customer tag for new customers. That tag triggers a series of onboarding emails. You can use it to provide helpful hanging or display information. You can show them how to care for their new art. Use onboarding to send Certificates of Authenticity and documents relating to the work.
You might introduce your staff and extra services like hanging, framing, color coordination, etc. Include your hours of operation. Give a schedule of events and invitations to special showings. Primarily, make your new customers feel welcome and appreciated. Nurturing your new customers is essential.
Engagement – you have someone who has requested your lead magnet. Now is the time to engage readers with a mix of education, demonstration, information, and entertainment. Your sequence of emails helps gives insights and piques their interest in art. It progresses them to MOFU and includes Calls to Action (CTAs.) These actions encourage buyers to move to BOFU. As with all customers, you must nurture your leads.
R & R (Referrals & Reviews) – set this campaign to run every three or six months. It will help you get referrals or 5-star product reviews if they are appropriate to your business. It's an easy way to generate additional business and get feedback from existing customers.
Win Back – set to run every 90 – 120 days, your Win Back campaign seeks to reignite interest from previous customers who have not shown recent interest.
Abandon Cart – sometimes buyers get cold feet. They face distractions or have credit card problems. They act on impulse and need a nudge to complete the cart transaction. Start with no discount. Instead, offer to help complete the sale. Then move to discounts or bonuses to non-responders to your first offer. You can make more sales by addressing abandoned cart opportunities.
Segmentation – if your product mix is dissimilar, your customers don't share the same interest in everything you make. Segmentation campaigns help send the information most relevant to their known interests.
get the appropriate interest tags on your subscribers—that way, you are How to Start with Email Marketing Sequences for Artists
The heading above is the title of an Art Marketing News blog post that is excellent reading for artists who want to learn how to use email sequences. Here is an excerpt from the post, which you can read on this link:
Sequences are at the heart of your business. They attract attention, tell stories, ask for orders, referrals, and reviews or testimonials. Automation runs autoresponder series to your clients and prospects based on tags. The sequences include personalization that communicates with readers based on tags. Customer, prospect, and vendor are basic tags. You build on them from there for deeper integration.
The Customer Journey
No buyer follows the exact steps from awareness to interest, desire, and purchase. Use the similarities to identify stages. In simplicity, they break into before, during, and after the transaction stages. It's your job to determine the steps and match your messages to them.
Email marketing with automation allows you to do this automatically. This article from Beacon, Creating Content for Each Milestone in Your Customer's Journey, is recommended reading. You should see a popup for this free download 10 Questions to Ask When Setting up Your Customer's Journey.
You are the boss. You make the choices and live with the consequences. The artists who have the best careers take control of their distribution. You can't rely on galleries or social media. They are great while they work. But you are never in decision loops that affect your business. Use them to supplement your sales while you build your email list.
Email marketing is the hub for all marketing. Isn't it time to order your priorities and start working to make email marketing the essential tool in your marketing arsenal? If you want more help like this, join a community of like-minded artists, and become an Art Marketing Toolkit Project member. It comes with all the information you need to start improving your marketing and living your best life as an artist.
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