As a visual artist, your email list may be the single most powerful marketing tool at your disposal. It’s always free to use, it goes directly to potential buyers, and best of all, every subscriber joined your list because they already WANT to hear from you—you literally can’t mess it up!
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Well. . . actually, you can.
A great philosopher once said that “with great power comes great responsibility.” And yes, I realize that’s a Spider-Man quote, but I think it still applies. :) Because whether you send your art newsletter to 10, 100, or 1000+ subscribers, please realize you DO have a lot of power.
What do I mean? Well, before hitting “send” on your next eNewsletter, I’d suggest asking yourself each question on the checklist below. Not only will you avoid sending out an email full of mistakes (which you can’t ever take back) but you just might figure out a way to make your art newsletter a true force for good in the art world.
1. Does this email clearly benefit my subscribers?
There’s nothing worse than opening up an email—no matter who it’s from—and feeling like the only reason you received it is because the sender wants you to do something for them. (Side note: I always get this feeling when someone signs me up for a list without asking me, too.)
Emails are a two-way street, so think about the people receiving yours. What would make THEIR day?
Maybe you can offer a flash art-sale, just for people on your list. Perhaps open up and tell a bit of your backstory, or show them a behind-the-scenes look at what inspired you recently. Or, offer to answer as many questions about your art in a 24-hour period as they can come up with.
Maybe you can do something completely unrelated to your art occasionally, like including funny joke, a link to a great article, a free giveaway you came across, or something else that you just know they’d like. The important thing is to put your subscribers first. Don’t make your email only about how they can help you.
2. Do I have a chance to help a fellow artist, too?
In the same vein, think about other artists who you can feature or link to. Pick artists you know personally, if possible, or ones you respect who you think your subscribers would like. (And always ask the artist beforehand if you’re going to be sending images of their work.)
Even if it’s just one sentence and a link in your newsletter, this can mean the world to artists who—like you—are working hard to promote their artwork. Why not help out?
3. Did I include images of my artwork?
Perhaps this is a little obvious, but most of the time it’s a good idea to include images of your artwork. Specifically, your BEST artwork. And, while you might really want to show all the beautiful little details in your latest pieces, consider resizing the images so that they’re small enough to load quickly.
After all, if your subscribers like what they see, they’ll still click through to see the larger image anyway!
4. Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes?
Misspelled words and poor grammar make everything seem a little less professional. It’s unfortunate in a way, because an artist’s ability to spell really doesn’t have anything to do with their ability to create amazing art.
Still. . . if it looks unprofessional, you want to avoid it. So it never hurts to have someone spell-check your newsletter before it goes out.
5. Do my links go to the right places?
It’s ALWAYS a good idea to include links (that’s what brings your subscribers back to your website, blog, facebook page, etc) but make sure to double-check each link before you hit “send.”
Once your email is on its way, you can’t pull it back to change a link—I’ve done this several times in the EE newsletter myself, and trust me, it’s embarrassing. :) It’s much better to just find those broken links before sending the email!
6. Is there at least one clear “call to action”?
When you’re telling people about a new work of art for sale, or a free giveaway, or anything else, be very clear about what they need to do to get involved.
Usually this means creating a specific link, or even a button, using straightforward language. “Click here to sign up” is a good example of a call to action. Don’t leave anything to doubt about HOW your subscribers can act upon your message.
And, if you think your readers might miss a link at the top of your email, it never hurts to include a second call to action at the bottom, too.
7. Are there social sharing links in this email?
People love to share, and having your newsletter shared among your subscribers’ friends can only bring you more fans and followers, so why not make it easy for them to do that?
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. . . wherever your subscribers hang out online, make sure those social networks are in your emails. MailChimp (one of the email services I like, and here’s why) makes it very easy to include social sharing icons. Many others do also.
8. Have I previewed it? And sent a test email?
Before hitting “send,” use every opportunity to preview your email. MailChimp has several options to do this, including one that shows how your email will appear on smartphone screens. If everything looks good, send a test email to yourself.
Open your email, see how it looks, and check all the links again. . . am I saying this too much? :) Double and triple check everything. Then and only then, press “send.”
Look, when it comes to email, you only get a few chances to make a good impression. I know this firsthand; I’ve sent out the EmptyEasel eNewsletter (to 12000+ artists now) for almost a decade. More recently we’ve teamed up with artists from EE and Foliotwist to launch a grass-roots art discovery service called Artwork Reveal.
In both cases, I can almost feel that “spam” button lurking just out of sight. With MailChimp I can even see stats for how many subscribers cancelled, or marked the Artwork Reveal emails as spam. (Ouch. Not very many so far, thankfully.)
But I think it’s a good thing, because it’s way too easy to be a part of the problem: to send emails without thinking about it; to think only of what benefits ME. That doesn’t help your subscribers, and long-term, it’s not going to pay off for you, either.
So join me—make a committment to sending better newsletters. Use the checklist above. Think about each email you send. . . and check it for those darn broken links more times than seems necessary. :)