Updated: Mar 13
If you've been around me for all of five minutes, then you'll know that I swear by my email list. It's the number one way that I build relationship with my art collectors, serve them, inform them and turn them into loyal repeat clients. Email marketing is not just for giant corporations. Email marketing is absolutely for artists. In fact, if I could choose just one tool to help me build a thriving art business, my email list would be number one!
You likely already know that having an email list as an artist is hugely beneficial. If you're not quite there yet, check out this previous post that goes into more detail about why email marketing for artists is so essential to grow and market an art business.
If you're still reading this you're probably wondering, but how the heck do I get anyone on my list?!! And that's the perfect question to be asking! Keep reading friend!
No I don't want your newsletter:
I'm sorry to say it, but your newsletter is most likely not going to be enough to get people to hand over their very precious email address. Even if you're newsletter is hella amazing, your audience aren't going to know that before signing up! Your awesome newsletter is a great way to keep people in your list, but don't rely on it as a strategy to get people onto your list. You need t give your people something of value in exchange for their email address. That's where the lead magnet comes in.
Freebie, lead magnet, give away, whatever!
It goes by many names, but the only thing that matters is that it brings value to your audience. When they see your offer to sign up to receive your freebie your want them to say " Um, yes please!" So what should your lead magnet be?
They key is to find the intersections between your own unique gifts and what your audience might find helpful.
Are you a bit of an illustrator? Give away a beautifully illustrated monthly calendar. Does your art lend itself to design? You can turn your art into phone or computer wallpapers and give those away for free. Do you have a knack for interior design? Offer a guide for styling a well curated entrance way. There are so many different options. Get creative and try a few. Remember to go for that intersection between your unique gifts and passions and what your audience would love.
Click here if you want to check out one of my lead magnets as an example (and snag yourself some super cute phone wallpapers).
So how do I collect email addresses and send out the freebie?
Once you've created your lead magnet you need to let people know about it! Firstly you need a way to collect your audience's email addresses and to send them their freebie. To do this you need email email service provider. ESP for short. (Don't worry it took me an alarming amount of time to work out what ESP meant when I first began! You will be fine!)
My go-to ESP (look at you go- you already know what means now!) is Flodesk. They have stunning, easy to use :
Sign up pages to collect email addresses
Beautiful templates to write to your new subscribers and deliver their freebie
And (major bonus) you can add your freebie right into the email as a link or a document download.
I'm telling ya, this email list thing is easier than you think. If you'd like to give it a go you can start your free trail (no credit card needed) and save yourself 50% off your first year (although the free version is more than enough to get you well and truely on your way to being an email marketing art expert).
Getting people to sign up for your lead magnet/freebie and channeling your inner child.
Now that you've got it all set up, it's time to let people know about the goods! There are lots of different strategies for this, but they thing here is that you can't just ask once! I want you to channel your inner child who really wanted a Furbie for Christmas. (anyone?) You didn't just casually mention it once. You wanted that the a done deal so you constantly talked about it, asked for it, drew it , sang about it and just to be extra save put it on the Santa list right?! Well, you need to be that level enthusiastic about your freebie. Here are just a few ways to get you started:
- Go live on socials talking about it
- Create a reel chatting about the features of your freebie.
- Create multiple posts and stories about the problem your lead magnet solves
- Team up with friends and ask them to promote it on their socials (give them the link to your sign up page so people can sign up straight away)
- Add it on your paperwork like postcards or business cards in the form of a QR code
- Add it on your website
- Include it in your link in your instagram bio
These are a few totally free ways to spread the word and start growing your artist email list. If you want to get more fancy-pants you can promote a post or invest in some advertising, but I would start with the free ideas first.
What do I do with all these people on my list?!!!
The strength of your relationship with your collectors will determine the success of your art sales. Once someone is on your email list you need to make them feel welcome. Think hearing the hum of the kettle, and the sound of the biscuit tin opening kinda vibes. Email is an amazing way to build strong connections with your audience, stay front of mind and keep them informed.
Spend some time setting up a plan for nurturing your new subscribers. Here's my suggestion for an email sequence:
The initial email delivering your freebie and a very quick, simple welcome.
An email or two welcoming them to your list and telling them about yourself and your work in more detail. (Do not try to sell them anything! You are putting the kettle on and opening the biscuit tin remember)
A series of emails sent over a number of week or months serving them. Think back to the intersection between your gifts and what they would find helpful. These could be emails about styling, how to hang work, choosing the right painting, how to style a gallery wall et... You are building the know like and trust factor here.
An email with a sales offer. This could be about a collection launching soon, commission spots opening or artwork available for purchase. Your audience is a couple biscuits deep and are swirling round their last mouth full of tea. They know you, they're more connected and are in a much better position to take action and buy your work!
It can seem like a decent amount of work, but by nurturing these relationships you are developing long standing, deep connections with art collectors who will become repeat clients. Believe it or not, your best customers will be repeat customers! They already have a strong connection and are most likely to purchase your next collection and say yes to commission spots opening. It takes 3 times more work to acquire a new customer than to nurture an existing customer. Email marketing is the perfect way to successfully nurture repeat collectors. I always did a little happy dance when someone new bought one of my pieces because I knew that through the nurturing of my email list coupled with my social media they would buy from me between 1-5 more times over the next few years. I’m not kidding!
Create a lead magnet/ freebie to get people on your email list.
Use Flodesk to set up your sign up form and deliver email
Share this lead magnet repetitively. You can’t just ask once!
Start sending your list emails to build the know, like and trust factor. You can start with once a month or every few months. Just start! You won't regret it.