012: How to create an email newsletter for your art business
Being an artist is a whole different ball game than ‘normal’ businesses that want to sell. So, you remember the episode where we talked about “What Makes Art Sell”? Well, the short answer is making your art and YOU relatable. This is a relatively easy thing to do when you are in person, BUT when you aren’t in person, that’s when we need newsletters.
So, if you are wanting to sell artwork, you need to have a newsletter or some form of email communications with your patrons. Newsletters are a way for you to tell stories and give your fans an exclusive window into your creative life - after all, “inquiring minds want to know.”
In the next several episodes/articles we are going to cover:
- What is an email newsletter, why you need it
- 4 Use Cases for Your email newsletter
- 10 Steps to Creating an Art Business Newsletter
- 10 Popular topics for artists to cover in their newsletters
Are you ready?! Let’s do this!! You can read this or watch/listen to the video above.
What is an email newsletter?
I don’t know if you guys ever did this or had an Aunt growing up who did this, but remember when you’d get a “letter” - yep snail-mail letter that talked all about what their family did for the year. It was their annual Christmas Family Newsletter. Well, that’s kind of what we are talking about except, more frequent and people actually agreed to get this newsletter from you.
An email newsletter is an email sent on a regular basis through your email marketing software to your subscribers and customers. You may use it to share stories, updates, links to new content, and announcements.
You can create an email newsletter that’s free or paid. A paid email newsletter is best for those who consider the newsletter itself their main digital product like art courses, art business resources, etc. A free email newsletter is best for those using it as a way to connect with followers, build loyalty and sell more products.
To send newsletters you’ll need an email newsletter provider.
Who are some email newsletter providers?
The reason you need to have an email newsletter provider is the solve the problem of remaining compliant with digital communications.
Email compliance is nothing to be trifled with. Many email platforms are designed to keep you compliant. But it’s wise to be informed, so you don’t accidentally overstep. Already there are strict guidelines that protect consumers from SPAM and the misuse of their personal information. More regulations are likely on the horizon.
To ensure your newsletter is delivered (and avoid fines and prosecution), you must follow these rules. Here are the most important email regulations, with links to learn more about them:
- GDPR – EU https://gdpr.eu/data-privacy/
- CCPA – California https://oag.ca.gov/privacy/ccpa
- CAN-SPAM act – USA https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business
- CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) – UK https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/internet/anti.htm
- Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2003 – UK https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/electronic-mail-marketing/
Again, email service providers work to remain compliant with these laws so that you can create content. Do your research on your provider and if you have questions about compliance contact the email service provider.
The most popular email newsletters providers include:
- ConvertKit (affiliate link)
- Constant Contact
BUT there are a lot of players in this market, so instead of listing them all, I’m going to have you check out this article from Email Tool Tester - FABULOUS ARTICLE!!
From all of the different email providers, I have had experiences with Mailchimp and ConvertKit. I moved from Mailchimp to ConvertKit in 2018 because ConvertKit provided me with a visual representation of the email workflows (hello, I’m an artist - I like the visual…, anyway), it also had a free option for up to 1000 subscribers! (what’s a workflow? An email workflow is a sequence by which emails are sent based on customer behaviors/tags).
Once you have an email provider, let’s talk about content!
Why your email newsletter should be a priority?
Your newsletter is a key piece of your overall marketing strategy. Based on a study by OptinMonster, 61 percent of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands through email.
This gets a well duh! For us artists, our customers and we want visuals, and who doesn't hate the telemarketing calls!
Emails are something we can read in our leisure!
Content Marketing Institute published a great graphic that shows their findings Content Marketing Institute confirms that newsletters are one of the highest performing type of content for business to consumer organizations.
Their research shows that newsletters are the number one channel for both securing and nurturing leads. And for converting leads, making newsletters as effective as in-person events.
That’s pretty awesome!
AND It may seem like a lot of work to get a newsletter going. But the value to your art business and your subscribers is worth the effort.
Start small. Keep it simple. Decide what’s realistic for you, and what you can maintain consistently. Then build from there.
4 use cases for your email newsletter
While there’s no rule against mixing up the format of your newsletter, most newsletters are designed for a specific purpose. They fall into one of four use cases that have been proven to drive engagement and sales:
- Customer news - showcase clients
- Content curation - showcase what you find valuable
- Blog/Media - showcase writing about topics/art pieces etc.
- E-commerce - showcase upcoming sales/new artwork/shows/classes etc.
Let's break these down.
Email newsletter use case #1: Customer news
To keep customers engaged, you need to keep them updated on your works, including updates on what you are working on, considering and future plans. This type of newsletter lets your subscribers feel like they’re part of the inner circle. It also reminds them to click through and check out your artwork. Here you can:
- Share tips on how to use or display your artwork.
- Tell them about special design considerations you’ve made for the piece, or techniques used and why.
- Share images of how clients are displaying your artwork in their homes or as gifts
Email newsletter use case #2: Content curation
Content curation can be a good strategy if you don’t consider yourself a writer. You can share links to the content you’re reading about for other artwork or products you are trying in your artwork to achieve certain effects. With this strategy, you’re the expert, telling your subscribers what they need to pay attention to not only in your work but sharing how others are valuing it and using the strategy. Here you can:
- Find content your audience wants (or needs) to know.
- Organize it.
- Add your own comments, if you wish.
Email newsletter use case #3: Blog/Media
Most businesses create an email newsletter with this use case in mind, and this is one of my go-to uses. It’s a strategic way to add value while driving traffic to your website AND delivering valuable information.
And it’s easy to build.
After publishing a blog post, podcast, or video, send your subscribers an email to let them know about your latest blog post that features an art piece, art course, art show, etc.
Note: Your newsletter can link to just one piece of content or several. Some artists send just one email each week that lists all the content published that week. If you have email segments, you may create a new art email to your patrons, if you teach, you may create a new course/demo email to your learners, and so on.
Use Case #4: E-commerce
This typically goes hand-in-hand with the blog use case. An e-commerce newsletter lets subscribers know about new artwork, courses, seasonal promotions, and sales.
I get one of these from Blick Art Materials at least 1x a day.
This is when an email marketing content calendar is super handy - it reminds you to plan for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc….
Conclusion for today and your homework
- Hold off on picking an email service provider until you read/listen to the next article: 10 Steps to Create An Email Newsletter for Your Art Business
- Register to attend the Email Marketing Lunch and Learn scheduled for 5/13/2021. If you are reading this after 5/13/2021, the replay is available to Members of the Online Artist Community, you can join today and gain access to this and so much more.
- Community Members, you can go to the Art Business Resources of your Library and download the Email Marketing Planning Template in the form that you prefer.
Next week we are going to cover 10 Steps to Create an Email Newsletter for Your Art Business.
So here is a shout-out: subscribe to my newsletter, conveniently located in the show notes and in the bottom of this blog post, follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my Youtube, and until next time, stay safe, happy and healthy and happy creating!
More great info about email marketing
Check out this other article about "Easy Email Marketing for Artists" which includes 20 Email Marketing Ideas for Artists.