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What Most Artists Get Wrong About Email
Perhaps the world isn’t rushing to email like they do TikTok. Still, as platforms continue to twist the screws on their algorithms to benefit those that spend money and only make the type of content the algorithm favors, email has become a safe harbor for anyone trying to promote their business in an organic way to an engaged audience.
I’ve seen more artists doubling down on their newsletters lately, but many are getting it wrong for two main reasons.
They publish inconsistently.
They only talk about themselves.
Let’s be clear that consistent posting doesn’t necessarily mean frequent posting. Sending an email once a week, every other week, or the first Sunday are all consistent timelines. However, sending once a week during November to capitalize on Black Friday and then disappearing after December is inconsistent.
Sending emails only when the whim hits you because you believe people want to know exactly what you’re thinking on whatever particular day you decide to grace them with a monologue is inconsistent.
I also believe it’s self-centered behavior, which is often why people don’t open your emails, unsubscribe, or send your message to the nether regions of their SPAM folder.
You can be so consistent with your message that people can set their watch by whenever they receive your emails, but if you spend the entire message talking about what you’re doing and what you’re selling, you run the same risks of losing attention from your subscribers.
I get it; you’ve just created a fantastic new series of work that you believe the world will love and want to share with them. But isn’t that the whole point of marketing in the first place?
Yes, it’s totally ok to share your new art and product offerings with your subscribers, that’s one of the reasons they joined your list in the first place, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you share.
NOTE: I’m using the words art and artist here, but this also includes any creative individuals who make things and want to sell those things to others. Designers, illustrators, photographers, and makers of any sort, this is for you too.
Now comes the part that most non-writers dread: they have to come up with something interesting to share that isn’t all about them.
I know it’s scary trying to come up with ideas of things to write, but there’s a universal truth that I have experienced myself when it comes to sharing in written form.
The more you do it, the easier it gets.
But who would I be if I didn’t give you a jump start on some ideas on sharing with your people in a way that provides value and endears people to all you do and make?
Here’s a list of topic ideas to get you started, and within many of these, you can expand and adapt in multiple ways. The more you write, the more new ideas will come to you.
20 kick-ass ideas for your art newsletter
Behind-the-scenes content: Provide insights into your creative process, studio setup, or inspirations.
Hot Tips: Share special tools, techniques, or tutorials only available to newsletter subscribers.
Works in progress: Give readers a sneak peek of upcoming projects or artworks you're currently working on, and maybe talk about the struggles and triumphs with the process.
Artist interviews or features: Highlight other artists you admire or collaborate with, fostering a sense of community. Don’t overcomplicate this one, it could be your best friend who is also an artist, or it could be simply sharing someone you appreciate, and you don’t even have to talk to them because you’re scared of people.
Curate art-related resources: Share interesting articles, books, podcasts, or exhibitions that others might find inspiring.
Show Prep: If you’re attending art fairs or other events, discuss what you’re doing to make the show successful or what shows you pick and why.
Share art-related events: Maybe you’re not in a show, but you have friends participating and want to share with others. Or maybe a friend is hosting an art training online or in person, and you want to help promote them.
Invite collaborations: Express your openness to collaborations with other artists, designers, or creative professionals.
NOTE: Collaborations are one of the best ways to help grow both parties’ audiences (if anyone wants to collaborate with The Hungry Artist, give me a shout).
Give personal updates: Share anecdotes or experiences that offer insights into your journey as an artist.
Discuss artistic influences: Talk about artists, art movements, or cultural phenomena that have influenced your work.
Recommendations: Art supplies, tools, or materials you find helpful, high-quality, or help you be more productive. Maybe you’ve seen a good movie or read a book readers may appreciate (Bonus: Amazon affiliate links all day!)
Become the art critic: Who says Jerry Saltz gets to have all the fun? Offer insights and reviews of exhibitions or art shows you've recently attended.
Go deep into the work: Could you share the concepts, themes, or messages you explore in your art? Readers eat that stuff up.
Celebrate milestones: Share your artistic achievements, such as reaching a certain number of followers or completing a significant project. Give blessings and call out individuals who have significantly impacted you.
Call out your collectors: Have some people that consistently buy from you? Make them feel seen by sharing them (with permission) with your readers.
Support a cause: Highlight a charitable organization or cause that aligns with your values and encourage subscribers to get involved.
Art appreciation tips: Share insights on how to appreciate and interpret art, helping readers develop a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the art they encounter.
Creative exercises: Provide creative prompts, challenges, or exercises that inspire readers to explore their artistic talents and develop their skills.
Participate in challenges: Pick a month, any month, and I’m sure some art challenge is happening. Take the challenge, encourage your readers to do the same, and document the process.
Art marketing strategies: Offer practical advice on marketing art, including social media tips, online platforms, or plan for approaching galleries and potential buyers.
Share your art: If you’ve done your job to foster a dedicated readership, it’s perfectly ok to tell them you have new work for sale. You could even do it as a small part of any message you send out, kinda like this:
In the Shop
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