Email marketing for visual artists is the best tool for artists to communicate with their buyers and sell art online.— Barney Davey
Email Marketing Is the Best Tool for Visual Artists.
Email marketing is the most efficient and profitable way to market your art online. Mastering email marketing is a lifetime improvement skill that gets better. Today we are taking a closer look at email marketing sequences for artists.
Sequences are at the heart of your business. They attract attention, tell stories, and ask for orders, referrals, and reviews or testimonials. Automation runs autoresponder series to your clients and prospects based on tags you give them. The series uses personalization to communicate with your readers based on their tags. Customer, prospect, and vendor are basic tags. You go from there to gather even more valuable data.
A benefit for Art Marketing Toolkit Project members is asking art business questions in the Facebook group. The answers from me and our other members provide tons of practical advice and useful suggestions. Everything is saved for review anytime.
About Email Marketing Sequences for Artists
Recently, a member asked about email sequences, which I’ll get to shortly. For clarity, here is a brief explanation of email sequences for artists. Several terms for email marketing sequences essentially mean the same thing. They include drip campaign marketing, autoresponders, email marketing sequences, and other variations.
Email marketing sequences are an integral part of an overall marketing campaign that will include traditional and digital marketing plans working off traffic promotions.
Trigger-based Email Marketing Sequences
Most drip campaigns, aka email marketing sequences for artists, begin when a prospect triggers the process by taking a specific targeted action or interacting with content.
Examples of Trigger-Based Actions in Email Marketing:
- A collector requests information about specific artworks.
- Opt-in to receive a lead magnet or a free download.
- Submit a request to join an email list, e.g., newsletter, waiting list, a reminder for sale, or event.
- Abandons a shopping cart.
- Joins a list.
- Clicks a link in an email, a form, or a website.
- Bought an artwork.
- Reached a milestone.
Time-based Email Marketing Sequences
Some email marketing sequences for artists are time-based emails. They are sent in a series determined by pre-set dates and times. Holiday and studio show promotions don’t require a trigger to start a sequence. Instead, the full effects happen as artists evolve their email marketing and combine trigger and time-based sequences.
Types of Email Marketing Sequences for Artists
According to this Active Campaign blog post, Email Sequence: What It Is And 5 Sequence Ideas to Help You Boost Your Revenue, the five most essential types of email sequences are:
- Welcome email sequence.
- Onboarding email sequence.
- Abandon cart email sequence.
- Repeat customer email sequence.
- Re-engagement email sequence.
How to Market Art Automatically Using an Autoresponder Sequence
I have an extensive blog on how to market art using an autoresponder sequence. It is a worthy read and an excellent companion piece to this post. This post focuses on the question of creating email marketing sequences for artists.
The Art Marketing Toolkit Member Question about Email Marketing Sequences for Artists
Here is the question in the Art Marketing Toolkit Project group:
Does anyone else write draft emails on Mailchimp (or whatever you use instead?) Then, decide you need to have a complete strategy and a monthly/quarterly plan using a set of email series sending people to a page on your website that’s…wait for it…NOT YET PERFECT FOR HOW YOU WANT TO SELL YOUR ART. So, you give up and do nothing. Barney, do you have any pdfs that talk about artist email campaigns to sell art and not angst over them so much to cause paralysis by analysis?
Art Marketing Toolkit member question
Replying to the Question
First, I applaud you for asking about automated email marketing sequences for artists. Second, I think you can simplify your process. An email sequence works best if tied to a specific goal and triggered by some relevant action. Start with easy sequences like a three-part welcome series. Build on that experience.
Mailchimp is getting better. But it will never work as well as Convertkit or Moosend, which are both free for the first 1,000 subscribers. Moosend includes marketing automation on the free platform. Convertkit requires a payment plan to get it.
To create a 3-part welcome email sequence, Google “email welcome series examples” to find ideas. You’re highest open rates are with new subscribers. Use those first emails to introduce them into your world while their interest is high.
Let them know they receive a series of x emails before they revert to your regular schedule. It is a little kindness and gesture from you. Now your readers know what to expect and will welcome your messages.
The Complete Guide to Email Drip Campaigns
Among the many reasons that I recommend Convertkit is its intense focus on creators. They are carving toward ownership of that segment how Apple went all-in after graphic designers and digital artists. The Convertkit blog has an excellent resource that goes deep enough to inform you about drip campaigns to help you make wise decisions about your email sequence setup. I recommend its complete guide to email drip campaigns as a “must-reading.”
Convertkit also produced free training on 5 types of email sequences for your email marketing funnel. The five types of email sequences include:
Welcome Email Sequence.
Since 74.4% of email subscribers expect a welcome email, it’s important that you take the time to introduce who you are, what you do, and how it is relevant to your target audience.
Onboarding email sequence
Once someone makes a purchase from you or becomes a client, you will want to send them an onboarding email sequence. This can be much easier than manually sending the same emails to your clients or customers each time someone buys something from you.
Abandon Cart Email Sequence.
This email sequence can be beneficial for digital and physical product creators who want to re-engage potential buyers who left items in their shopping cart. Since 75.5% of shopping carts are abandoned, it’s no surprise that many marketers turn to email marketing to increase their conversions.
Event email sequence.
Are you hosting an in-person event, like a conference or a live workshop? If so, you’ll want to create two separate event email sequences to prepare for the big event.
Cold subscriber re-engagement email sequence
What are cold subscribers, and why should you care about them?
We define cold email subscribers as anyone who hasn’t opened or clicked an email in the last 90 days and has been on your email list for at least 30 days.
You don’t want to have an email list full of cold subscribers who never engage with your email. Not only are you paying for email subscribers who aren’t going to take action, but you are also hurting your open and click rates since it is reflecting a skewed percentage.
Event Email Sequence.
Are you hosting an in-person event, like a studio show or a live workshop? If so, you’ll want to create separate event email sequences to prepare for each event.
Convertkit’s training provides helpful examples with lots of useful details and suggestions. You can easily use it to build highly effective email marketing sequences for your art business. And while you will want to update them occasionally, it’s mostly once and done for these sequences.
Building & Segmenting Your List with Pop-ups.
You may have negative associations with pop-ups, which is understandable. When misused, they are annoying. But when employed with care, they are highly effective in helping you grow your list and segment subscribers on it.
With a pop-up program like Convertbox, which I use and recommend, you can control who sees your pop-ups and what triggers them. You can use exit intent, scroll depth, time on page, or some combination. In addition, you can exclude subscribers with tags indicating current subscribers or include them for special subscriber offers.
Here is an example. A site visitor is on your “Sunset Series” page. You can set up a Convertbox pop-up to only show to subscribers who are not buyers of any Sunset Series images.
Your pop-up can ask them to click on a button to show they prefer originals, prints, or both. The button can redirect them to a page with originals, prints, or one with combination offers. For example, a Convertbox pop-up can show them a video on the form, ask for their email and contact info, or click buttons that redirect and add tags that show their preference for your work.
This is one example of the unlimited types of use you can get from Convertbox, which is still open for a one-time price, lifetime deal.
On the left, you see styles of pop-ups. On the right is a center modal example. Use it to make an offer, like see the video or receive a PDF download. You can ask questions; as you can see, I made three options:
- I LIKE ORIGINAL ART
- I LIKE FINE ART PRINTS
- I’M INTERESTED IN BOTH
When you use the answers to personalize your messages, it improves your client relationships and boosts sales.
I’ve used it for years and am very happy with how it works. And for how the developers keep improving the product. The customer service is as good as you will find on the internet for any product. So if you buy it from my affiliate link, I will be happy to help you set it up.
The Value of Email List Segmentation
Segmenting your list allows you to talk to subscribers based on their known interests. Tags with sculpture interest will get a different message in their email than someone who is a portrait commission prospect. Convertkit has published the essential guide to email segmentation.
Free 6-part Email Welcome Series from Active Campaign
Active Campaign is another recommended email service provider. Primarily due to its applications for marketing automation and email sequences. Its Welcome Email Series: A 6-Email Welcome Sequence You Can Steal post offers a free download. You can get its example welcome series.
The subject line is the most crucial part. That’s because it’s a wasted effort if subscribers don’t open your email. Most email programs provide open rates and averages. If your open rates are below expectation, tweak and test to get improvements. If you are starting and don’t have an extensive list, tweaking is not helpful. You need 100 results to get useful results.
Click Link Trigger Example
A link in an email can trigger another sequence. “Click to learn secrets from my “Sunset Series.” Tempt readers with your tips on finding the perfect place to view sunsets. I’m making that up, but you get the drift—plant intrigue and curiosity. Then follow up with info about the series.
Email Marketing Sequences for Artists Timing
I like to suggest using a Fibonacci sequence as a sending schedule. Use the sequence of 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34 as interval day. The numbers are the first in the Fibonacci sequence. The sequence uses the sum of the two previous numbers to create the next number to the right.
Fibonacci is the equation part of the Golden Rectangle formula found in art and nature. If there is no sale by the 34th interval, I suggest a re-engagement series.
You can wait a week and then send an offer to re-engage. Suggestions are a freebie or special invite relating to the “Sunset Series.” Or the next in the line, such as the “Sunset Series Point Reyes.” If they continue to open your email, keep sending it to them. But, of course, you never know where the tipping point is. That moment when a prospect turns into a buyer. So, please keep them in the loop since your only cost is content and maintenance.
Link clicks are the usual method of kicking off an engagement sequence. Use engagement sequences to promote a product or service. For example, an opt-in to a list or a link click triggers most engagement sequences. They can go on indefinitely for subscribers who open the email. The only stop trigger is a subscriber purchases art related to the sequence.
Start with an onboarding sequence to welcome and indoctrinate them when they buy. You plan to can move new subscribers to re-engagement sequences to find additional interests. Unfortunately, not all your buyers know everything about your artistic offerings until you tell them.
Your emails do not need to be copywriting masterpieces. Instead, you can modify examples from free swipe files available by web searching. Or you can hire a copywriter to craft a series for you. Your emails do not need to be lengthy. Keep them interesting and concise. Add in storytelling elements and personal insights to keep your audience’s interest.
The Money Is in the Long Haul
Selling art is a long game because even qualified buyers only buy infrequently.
Think about our version of my imaginary “Sunset Series.” You change minds and build desire that speeds up buying decisions with it. Then imagine you have three or four successful series. Marketing funnels that you have honed and polished over time. They are pulling in sales predictably. Besides adding to the series, your other job is to build your list. Keep finding ways to intrigue your targeted audience’s interest in a series. And refine your marketing as you go along.
Abandon Cart Series
I also recommend Moosend as an email marketing service. You’ll find this post on its blog; The Best Abandoned Cart Email Examples To Use Right Now + 5 Winning Practices. You work hard and invest your marketing dollars to get a prospect into your shopping cart. And sometimes they leave without purchasing.
An abandoned cart series can save some of those sales. Things happen. A distraction happens before they can finish the purchase. For example, they might be on a small device or an unsecured wi-fi network and want to wait for a future time to complete the transaction. Or they might need a little encouragement and reminder to complete the transaction. Your abandoned cart series will go to work to help you recover lost sales.
Email Marketing Tips for Artists
Here is a freewheeling broadcast with my friend, Jason Horejs, with our best tips and techniques on email marketing for artists.