Email marketing can be a game-changer for artists looking to grow their business and connect with collectors. With the right strategy, email allows artists to build meaningful relationships, drive sales, and take their art career to the next level.
In this article, we provide 13 powerful tips to help artists 5x their business through smarter email marketing.
Whether you’re just getting started or looking to improve existing efforts, these tips will help you boost open rates, increase engagement, and turn subscribers into buyers.
Benefits of Email Marketing for Artists
Email marketing comes with many concrete benefits that make it a no-brainer for artists looking to grow their businesses.
For starters, email has the highest return on investment of any marketing channel – for every $1 spent, the average $42 return. Beyond sheer revenue growth, email enables more repeat sales, allows you to segment contacts for more personalization, and lets you automate campaigns to save time.
With email, artists can drive traffic to their site, promote new works, engage collectors with behind-the-scenes content, offer exclusive deals, and build excitement around upcoming shows or releases. The direct line of communication also fosters meaningful relationships and loyalty.
In short, taking the time to optimize email marketing provides an unrivaled opportunity to expand your collector base and earnings. The engagement and revenue gains make email a top priority for any artist’s marketing strategy.
1. Build a Quality Email List
The foundation of impactful email marketing is a targeted, engaged email list. The strategy for building a quality list starts with offering compelling opt-in incentives.
For example, you could offer a free art print or an exclusive art business tips PDF. Having these types of opt-ins encourages more signups from your website, social media channels, and any real-world events or exhibits you participate in.
Once you have opt-in offers available and visible across channels, make sure signup forms and subscription links are prominently displayed on your website and social media bios. This makes it frictionless for interested contacts to subscribe and receive your emails.
Additionally, work on importing existing contacts who’ve purchased your art or previously subscribed. They already love your work – bringing them into your new marketing system reactivates engagement.
Consider offering exclusive art, deals, and discounts only to members of your email list too. This gives even more incentive to stay subscribed.
While it does take continual effort to build a targeted list based on relevant contacts and past buyers, the benefits are well worth it. Segmenting by buyer personas, art preferences, and purchase history allows you to deliver highly personalized content and promotions based on each subscriber’s relationship with you and your art.
2. Utilize Segmentation
Get more targeted and boost engagement by leveraging segmentation within your subscriber list. Start by sorting contacts into separate groups based on characteristics like past purchase types, artistic medium preferences, and engagement levels.
Once you have segments carved out, customize the focus, featured art, promotions, and calls-to-action for emails targeted to each group. For example, only send drawings and painting collectors notices of new portrait or landscape releases since that is what they have responded to before. Mixed media fans could get highlighted deals on modern photography pieces instead.
You can also segment out your most highly engaged subscribers who open and click on most emails. Provide them exclusive early access to new works or special discounts for their loyalty.
Continuously compare open and click rates between groups to determine if your segmentation strategy is effective or needs refinement. If a segment dramatically over-performs, further split it for greater personalization. If it lags, tweak your approach to better align with their needs.
Fine-tuned segmentation ensures your messages consistently resonate better across subscriber groups. It shows followers you understand their unique preferences, leading them to eagerly await communications tailored just for them.
3. Create an Email Welcome Series
Make newcomers feel special and get them engaged quickly with a warm email welcome series. This is a set of 3-5 automatic emails sent over a week or two after a contact signs up.
The initial welcome email is crucial for setting the right tone. Thank subscribers for joining and sharing more about you and your artistic vision to continue the connection that led them to opt in originally. Give a preview of exciting upcoming art shows or new works you’ll release soon specifically for your valued subscribers. This whets their appetite for more exclusive updates down the road.
In your second email, motivate purchases by offering an exclusive subscriber-only discount on a popular print or line of products. Sweetening the deal early on incentivizes subscribers to buy while feeling special as a member of your inner circle.
Follow up your discount by providing free value – share art business tips and tricks you’ve learned or give a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at your artistic process. This showcases your expertise while satisfying subscriber curiosity.
Finally, interact directly by asking subscribers for feedback, suggestions on their favorite art themes, or any questions they may have. This fosters two-way engagement that subscribers crave from artists they feel invested in.
Hubspot is a great platform that offers pre-designed topic workflows like the one in the example below:
Well-executed welcome emails make newcomers feel acknowledged and give them clear value right off the bat. Done right, these early emails encourage faster engagement and future purchases from new subscribers.
4. Craft Compelling Subject Lines
Catch the eye but also the imagination with remarkably creative email subject lines. These short, compelling headers entice subscribers to open and immerse themselves in your email.
For example, try an emotive headline like “Enter a dreamland of art” rather than a dry descriptor of the content. This immediately sets an intriguing, imagination-sparking tone.
You can also introduce mystery and intrigue in subject lines with intriguing questions like “Who completed this unfinished Picasso?” This draws readers in by leveraging the innate human curiosity to know more.
Another tactic is to add urgency by teasing an expiring discount or a fast-approaching art show deadline. This compels timely action while readers still have your message fresh in their minds.
Or leverage insider status by referencing a famous featured artist a subscriber loves or tying back to a past purchase of theirs. The familiarity and exclusivity are an instant hook.
Creative subject lines are also a chance to demonstrate your artistic flair through visual storytelling. Embrace emojis and eye-catching yet readable formatting to make your emails truly stand out among the clutter.
With personalized, emotion-provoking subject lines infused with intrigue, exclusivity, and urgency, your emails will engage subscribers and inspire them to immerse themselves in the artful stories you have to tell.
5. Personalize Email Content
Make every subscriber feel special by personalizing email content based on their unique interests and purchases. The first step is segmenting your list so you know each contact’s artistic preferences and what pieces they’ve bought from you before.
Use this subscriber data to tailor the focus of your emails.
- Recommend new releases from your portfolio you think they’ll love based on artists or themes they’ve responded to previously.
- Showcase up-and-coming contemporary artists aligned with their aesthetics.
- Gently remind contacts to complete an abandoned print order or item still sitting in their shopping cart.
Work finished pieces featuring their favorite color scheme or favorite animal into the email copy and imagery. Pull their first name into the greeting for an extra dash of familiarity. Offer them an exclusive subscriber-only discount customized with their name built right in.
These personalized details make each subscriber feel truly seen and valued, rather than just another nameless follower. It strengthens the bond you have with supporters of your artistic vision. When they feel a personal connection, it nudges higher engagement and conversion rates from your emails.
With each send, integrate custom touches based on subscriber preferences, behavior, and name. This demonstrates their importance to you, and your artistic brand, and enables you to recommend new art you know they’ll appreciate.
6. Design Visually Appealing Emails
Your emails are mini art galleries – take advantage of them by artfully designing each one. Spotlight eye-catching images of your newest paintings or works in progress using high-resolution photos, clean frames, and ample negative space around your art.
Intersperse text sections with other visual elements like your logo, artistic dividers, and color blocks keeping with your broader brand style. This adds visual interest while allowing the art to stand out. Use clear, readable fonts and plenty of white space so that text and images pop rather than blend.
Link call-to-action buttons that stand out with contrasting colors or animated hovers. Strategically guide the reader’s gaze through visual hierarchy, logical layout flow, and strategic use of contrasting artistic elements.
Just as in your physical galleries, curate visual email layouts that enthrall yet focus viewers on your remarkable works within moments. Let your artistic talents shine through visually striking designs.
With emails as captivating as your art, subscribers will eagerly anticipate your next mini gallery landing in their inbox showcasing new additions to your body of work.
7. Implement a Consistent Schedule
Condition your subscribers to watch for and engage with your emails by sticking to a consistent schedule. Start by establishing a fixed day of the week and time range to send your regular broadcast emails. Mondays at 9 am or Fridays at noon are popular options.
Prepare subscribers for what’s coming by giving them a short reminder via social media or text 2-3 days before your normal email day. For example, build excitement by teasing a new artwork launching soon exclusively for subscribers.
Developing these consistent touchpoints trains subscribers to carve out time to immerse themselves in your latest dispatch the moment it hits their inbox. Open and response rates are highest within the first few hours of sending, so you want recipients ready and waiting to take advantage of that peak engagement window.
Compliment scheduled broadcasts focusing on new releases, special deals, and upcoming event invites with intermittent promotional emails. These can be launched spontaneously in response to subscriber behaviors – such as following up with those who recently abandoned a cart or haven’t been active lately to re-engage them.
The reliability of your main email cadence combined with the pleasant surprise of spontaneous bonus updates keeps subscribers actively attentive, eager to see what’s next from an artist they feel so connected to.
8. Provide Value Through Content
Build trust and affinity through valuable content that enriches subscribers’ artistic knowledge and appreciation. For example, share insider art business tips for establishing pricing models, securing corporate commissions, professionally photographing work, or leveraging social media.
- Give a behind-the-scenes peek at your creative process from the initial sketch to the final oil painting to complete a landscape.
- Define unfamiliar terms related to your medium or highlight your greatest artistic influences through a mini art history lesson.
- Interview up-and-coming local artists for recommendations on galleries with approachable representation.
- Feature quotes from area gallerists on what differentiates amateur from professional work and how to prepare for representation.
This value-driven content establishes your expertise while satisfying subscriber curiosity about the art world. It strengthens relationships on an intellectual level by demonstrating your commitment to artistic education and passion.
Subscribers gain a more well-rounded perspective on what goes into creating fine art atop the sheer visual appreciation for your aesthetic. This primes them to continue supporting and collecting your current and future works.
9. Use Compelling Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Strategically place calls-to-action (CTAs) within emails to provide clear direction and drive conversions. Insert clickable buttons after introducing a new product, highlighting a deal, or building value through an article.
Use action-oriented language like “Shop the collection,” “Reserve your tickets” or “Download the eBook.” Restrict webinars, events, and exclusive offers with visible scarcity – “Only 5 spots left!” – to incentivize timely action.
To maximize visual impact, use high-contrast CTA buttons that stand out with bold colors paired with plenty of white space around them. Make sure they lead to simple, focused landing pages furthering the offer rather than overwhelming product pages.
Place primary CTAs “above the fold” so they catch the eye instantly without needing to scroll. Accompany with supportive secondary CTAs like “Learn more” sprinkled further down nurturing continued interest.
Compelling CTAs allow interested subscribers to seamlessly convert on whatever next step you want to guide them towards, from purchases to registrations to appointments.
10. Leverage Automation
Leverage email automation to save time while nurturing leads and customers with timely, personalized messages. Set up a welcome series so new subscribers immediately receive a pre-written sequence over days or weeks introducing you.
Trigger cart abandonment emails to subscribers who left items sitting in their online cart unsold. Automate post-purchase thank yous and request product reviews.
Build segmented flows targeting groups by characteristics and behaviors to deploy the right message at the strategic moment. For example, automatically email art print buyers when similar new works are released. Or re-engage cold leads who haven’t opened in 6+ months with an exclusive offer.
Let automation handle repetitive promotional and lifecycle emails through pre-scheduled sending. This leaves you time for more strategic broadcasting and relationship-building through unique, personality-filled messages directly from you. The blend of automation and personal outreach develops meaningful connections with subscribers.
11. Monitor and Analyze Performance
Consistently monitor and analyze email performance to continually optimize your approach. Review open, click-through, and conversion rates for each send. Compare the engagement on different email types and segments to ID what content and offers resonate best with subscribers.
Pull list metrics like growth trends, unsubscribes, and bouncing invalid addresses to spot issues eroding deliverability. Dive into subscriber engagement metrics to find highly engaged fans to cultivate and inactive contacts to reactivate.
Set up real-time email alerts for surges in clicks, orders, and negative feedback to capitalize on or mitigate issues right away.
Compare to industry benchmarks, such as the average email open rates shown in the example below:
Frequently optimizing your creative, messaging, timing, and segmentation based on data-driven insights ensures future emails continually become more compelling, relevant, and effective at driving sales.
12. Foster Ongoing Subscriber Engagement
Foster an ongoing two-way dialogue through emails subscribers love opening. Poll subscribers asking about their favorite art styles, emerging artists worth watching, and themes they want to see more of in your new works.
- Feature subscriber fan art submissions and offer shoutouts of great works.
- Ask for article or podcast recommendations to showcase common interests beyond art.
- Send personalized thank-you notes when contacts make a purchase, attend an opening, or share your page.
- Reply to every comment received even if just liking it to demonstrate you listen.
Integrating this type of consistent interaction beyond art promotion cultivates affinity and a supportive community loyal to you as an artist. Subscribers become emotionally invested fans eager to collect new releases rather than one-time buyers because you acknowledge them as individuals.
13. Stay Compliant with Regulations
As important as compelling creative and segmentation is prioritizing legal compliance and deliverability in your emails.
Prominently display subscription management links so contacts can easily unsubscribe or change preferences. Always include your up-to-date physical mailing address. Utilize confirmed opt-in signups to build your list.
Carefully comply with anti-spam laws for obtaining consent, content labeling, and list sourcing. Conduct thorough list hygiene by continually scrubbing bounced and inactive emails while allowing unsubscribes. Stay under recommended daily send limits for your IP reputation.
Follow best practice design guidelines like responsive templates, fast loading times, and clear branding. Continually optimize for ever-changing inbox environments.
Though not the most glamorous facet, building email compliance into your standard operating procedures ensures your artfully crafted messages reliably reach subscribers without legal penalties or blocklisting jeopardizing your artist-fan connections.
Email marketing is a vital channel for artists to personalize outreach, nurture collectors, promote new works, and propel sales. By focusing on list building, captivating creativity, and automation while maintaining compliance, artists can develop meaningful relationships with fans that translate to gallery and online sales.
Following these email best practices sets up artists for success by keeping supporters engaged as they grow their art business to new heights. With dedicated effort, consistency, and a passion for connecting with art lovers, the opportunities are endless.