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The Power of Email Marketing for Artists

You're an artist trying to sell your work. You show your work in exhibitions, post on social media, and maybe have your own website. However, you want to do more marketing to bump up your sales. Wondering how? Two words: email marketing.

Email marketing is a direct marketing tool that uses email to promote products and services. It helps create loyalty to a brand, can be a softer form of selling, and allows for direct connection with clients. For an artist in particular, email marketing can forge a connection with an audience and boost sales.

Email marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all boring few paragraphs sent once every six months. It’s a thought-out personalized plan catered towards people who may be interested in buying your art. However, creating an email marketing plan doesn’t have to be daunting, and there are tons of resources online to teach you the nuts and bolts of it when you’re ready to jump in.

The Benefits of Using Email Marketing

Why is it such a valuable tool? Because it gives you actionable insights and trackable results to benefit from. Let's dissect these benefits so you get a clear picture of the power of email marketing for artists.

You Can Collect Potential Clients' Names, Emails, and Addresses

To make an email list, you need to grow a list of interested people. This will be an ongoing process, and there are many different ways to do it. Start with friends and family to grow and expand it from there. Even though it takes some work, you will be owning the address list (in contrast to Instagram, for example, where you could lose hundreds of names instantly if something happened to your account).

You need to have many easily-accessible opportunities for people to sign up on your list. On any platform you're on—your website, Instagram, Facebook, email signature, blog, or something else—you can make a form or a link to a form in which people can enter their email and agree to receive communication. A popular method of getting email addresses online is making a “lead magnet” such as a free Ebook, brochure, tip sheet, or something else; this gives the person a reason to give their email at no cost to you. Additionally, you can have a mailing list sign-up sheet clearly posted if you have an in-person exhibition or event. There are tons of opportunities to grow your mailing list, and it's just a matter of keeping on top of it.

Having a list of names will give you insight into who is interested in your work. Additionally, it will help you create personalized content (you can even segment your list if some content will be particularly relevant to people in a certain city, for example) to get more clicks.

Having ownership of your contact list is extremely helpful as an artist—this is a fantastic benefit of email marketing.

Cultivate Long-Term Business Relationships and Residual Sales

As an artist, you don’t want to rely on random sales; this is not a sustainable business plan. Instead, you want a robust way to continuously track and generate sales, which email marketing can give you.

Through email, you can develop long-term relationships with clients. Take advantage of this method of communication to express who you are as an artist and reveal the person behind the work. You can share your story, process, and more so that your clients can become invested in you.

Email marketing can also keep you in people's minds throughout the year, as opposed to for a few minutes when they go to an exhibition. Maybe buying artwork isn't in their budget this month, but it might be next month. Cater to that by directly speaking to them regularly via email.

Lead People to Your Website and Social Media

Email marketing can funnel people to and from social media and your website. Are you interested in driving people over to YouTube, where you’ve started releasing awesome content? Are you trying to get more Instagram followers, or get people to browse your new collection on your website? Email marketing can help with all of that!

On the flip side, it's a great way to reach people who aren't active on social media and just rely on their email for news.

Keep People Up-to-Date on Your Practice

Do you have a new show coming up? Are you releasing a new collection soon? Are you exploring new ideas in your work? Are you going to an exciting residency? Are you giving an artist talk at a local venue? These are all things you can mention in an email newsletter to keep them in the loop and generate excitement for your upcoming events.

It's a Cost-Effective Marketing Avenue

Lastly, email marketing is cost-effective. According to Constant Contact, email marketing has a return on investment of $36 for every $1 spent. In addition to being affordable, it is also a very quick form of communication. The same Constant Contact article states that 21% of emails are opened within the first hour.

Additionally, there are tons of different options at various price points online, so every artist can find an email marketing program that works for them.

Keep Your Content Fresh and Exciting

You need to engage with your audience in a way that keeps them wanting to hear from you. Think of how you treat emails in your inbox—what turns you away? What irritates you? Which emails do you always open and why?

Keep in mind that art is a non-essential item for most people. Someone might not buy from you right away, but they might in the future. Oftentimes, in the art world, a gallery might have to cater to a buyer for several months before they make a purchase.

Brainstorm ways to keep your content fresh and personalized so you keep people reading. Again, a boring newsletter sent every so often probably won’t do much—but an authentic and varied email marketing strategy absolutely can.

Briefly, here are some ideas to explore in terms of content:

● Provide special deals and other incentives only available to newsletter subscribers. Email marketing is valuable to you as the artist, but it needs to be valuable to the audience, too!

● Consider having guest posters like other artists, an art collector, or a local business owner included in your newsletter content.

● Ask for feedback. What are your readers' favorite works of yours? What did they think of your latest show? What would they like to see more of? You can glean useful insight while also making your audience feel included.

● Consider getting personal—find a balance between authentic and professional. People might love a raw look into your practice. For example, what if you included a random doodle that ended up inspiring one of your works?

● Avoid language that might get your email sent to the spam box. Make sure everything is grammatically correct and there aren't too-good-to-be-true subject texts.

● Incorporate video content (for example, if you post process videos on YouTube, you can embed them in an email).

What Email Marketing Software Should You Use?

So, you want to implement email marketing and have some awesome ideas in mind. How do you translate these ideas into a cohesive plan? First, you'll need email marketing software.

There are several different options. You might be wondering: can't I do it myself using my email? Technically you can, but you will probably encounter problems as these accounts are designed for personal use. On the other hand, using an EMP (email marketing provider) will allow you more bandwidth, and design options, and decrease the likelihood of your email being sent to spam. Other features that EMPs offer include sending an email to someone if they abandon their cart while purchasing something from your website and other useful automation


Here are some of the most popular EMPs:


● Constant Contact

● Sendinblue

● Drip

● MailerLite

● Moosend

This is just a short list; there are many more, and most of these services offer different packages depending on your business needs.

The Power of Email Marketing

Email isn't going anywhere, and as an artist, it can do wonders for you. Even with the rise of social media, email remains a tried-and-true form of marketing. With so many different software and strategies available, every artist can form an email marketing plan that reflects their practice authentically while also boosting sales and revenue.

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