May 26, 2017

The Art of Email Marketing

In this day and age, it's hard to find someone who doesn't have an email address or even a couple (I have at least 3). We use them for work and our personal lives to get messages from colleagues, clients, friends and family as well as news and commercial outlets. When we choose to sign up for email newsletters, it's usually to stay connected and informed without having to seek out the information. The updates just come to us. As an artist with shows, sales and other news, wouldn't you want to keep in touch with your supporters, fans and potential buyers? Email is ideally suited for relationship building and providing value, two core concepts in growing your customer base, no matter what industry you're in. Here's what you need to know to get started with your own email newsletter.

Source: PC Magazine - The Best Email Marketing Software of 2017

Step 1 - CONTENT: Consider the type of updates you'd like to get out to your supporters based on what they're interested in. What makes sense for the art you create? What information will help them feel connected and stir up interest in buying or showing your pieces? How can you provide value?

  • Project Spotlights, Usually New Work
  • Works in Progress & Details About Making
  • Upcoming Events, Shows or Sales
  • Exclusive Offers to Reward Loyalty
  • Business Updates to Inform

Step 2 - CADENCE: Decide on the best timing for your blasts. Keep in mind your current workload and the amount of updates you're likely to have so you aren't aiming for something unrealistic. Monthly is a good happy medium in most cases unless you have more consistent activity. In terms of the best day and time to send out, many studies have reported that people are more likely to open emails sent early in the week and early in the day, but keep in mind your audience.

Step 3 - PLATFORM: Choose a tool to manage your subscribers, email campaigns and reporting. While you can send out email "blasts" from your inbox, this is not ideal, especially as your list grows. You are better off with a system that supports professional looking templates and helps you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. Pricing will depend on the features and size of your list. Check out this side by side comparison to pick the one that's right for you. For those of you who like to go more in depth on pro's & con's, I recommend reading through this ranking of the Best Email Marketing Services by WebsiteSetup.

Step 4 - TEMPLATE: Create a branded framework for a professional look and consistent format. This will make your life so much easier because you'll know exactly what to include in each blast. For example - Upcoming Shows, Latest Work, a Special Offer and an Inspiration Quote. While you can have one-off campaigns, your regular newsletter should have a basic framework.

Step 5 - SUBSCRIBERS: Collect email addresses at events, through sales, contests, etc. Make it easy for people to opt in. If you are providing value and not spamming these supporters, they will stay connected. Remember, you should never add emails to your list without the owner's permission, and be sure to make it just as easy to unsubscribe. Collecting emails will be an ongoing process, so don't be discouraged if it’s a slow build.

Step 6 - SUBJECT LINE: Make sure you are engaging your audience and enticing them to open your newsletters. As our inboxes get more and more full, we have to prioritize. The emails with the most interesting or relevant subject lines will catch our attention first. Simplicity is key with details about what's inside so people know why they should continue to read. Be careful about anything overall spammy or gimmicky. Here are some great tips to get you started.

Step 7SEND: Start sending out regular blasts. With the template you devised, you can quickly populate the sections with updates and photos to share with subscribers. I recommend collecting content and planning at least a few blasts out to streamline where possible so you aren't scrambling the day of. If you've decided on a specific cadence and framework, this will help you plan.

Step 8 - OPTIMIZE: Review your stats and make adjustments. Over time you will likely see trends with what type of content people are responding to best and where you may want to make cuts. It's fine to adjust the template as you see people's activity and as you get a better feel for what content you have to share. Keep an eye on open rates to tell if your subject lines are catchy, and click rates will tell you if people are interested in learning more about your updates.

If you'd like to see examples of how we approach email marketing and other tips, please feel free to join our email list. I'd love to stay in touch!