5 Tips to Increase Readership for Artists Email Newsletters

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  2. January 25, 2011 2:53 pm

By M Theresa Brown

In our recent Seminar for marketing artists, I touched on the topic of creating interesting newsletters.

Now why would an artist need to send out a newsletter?

Isn’t seeing the art enough? I’m not sure just when the fantasy of “paint it, and they will come” first gathered steam, but the savvy art marketer today knows that in order to build and keep a relationship with their audience/prospects, they need to stay in touch!

So, with that in mind, there are many programs available which make it easy, affordable and convenient to send out email newsletters, in quantity, and without it being labeled by the Internet as spam.

I use Streamsend to send out over 1200 email newsletter for my Art Clients each month. It helps to research the newsletters that you receive and like, or do an online search, and you’ll see the names of other applications such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, aWeber, etc. See which ones fit within the parameters of what you are or would be doing. In the past, artists spent hundreds and thousands of dollars annually on just postage for newsletter distribution. In comparison, the cost of monthly newsletter programs, taken in context, is nominal. In other words, the $20.00 a month it now costs me to send out 1200 monthly email newsletters would be…oh, around $500.00 or up a month in postage! All the programs available are less than $49.00 a month.

The other, HUGE advantage is that through these programs you can see the results! Not only can you can see who opened your newsletter, but which areas were viewed most often, which links were most popular and all offer easy opt in or out subscriptions for readers. Faulty and duplicate email addresses are weeded out automatically and that is a valuable tool!

But after the first newsletter goes out, how do you keep the reader’s interest month after month?

Here are 5 things that you can do to capture and maintain the interest of your audience.

#1 Make your newsletter helpful and worthwhile.

Nothing says BORING like a newsletter that is all about you! A common mistake is to think your newsletter is all about promotion. Nothing screams SALES like a “ME, ME,and all about ME” newsletter. If that is what you’re doing, then you might as well just be sending out advertising because that’s how your newsletter readers are taking it. The biggest thing you can do to get more people reading your email newsletter is to make it helpful and worth their time. Content has to be useful to your readers.

The point of an email newsletter is NOT to use the whole format to promote your art. Just as the concept behind Social Networking sites is to promote a relationship, your email newsletter is also about forming those relationships with your prospects. The idea is to have interesting tips and topics that create a bond or a following of your art and your journey. Think of it as sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. WHat would you talk about or share?

There is nothing wrong with letting your readers know that you have a new workshop coming up or a Gallery opening or an open house at your studio but add a little something extra such as a mini-art lesson or a captivating story about your walk in the woods that inspired your latest painting.

Make the content of your newsletter something helpful they can use and they’ll open it every time. Need ideas? Take any or all of these ideas and tie it in with your artist’s life:

  • funny video
  • crossword puzzle
  • word game
  • charity/rescue/donation of the month/quarter, etc.
  • garden/wildlife/pet tips
  • interesting facts you didn’t know
  • jokes
  • add another voice speaking-your dog, your paintbrush, your sculpture
  • how to video of you creating something each newsletter
  • recipes
  • now you think of something!

#2 Share your artist’s life in your newsletter.

The artists who are selling their art successfully are doing so because they have mastered the art of sharing a little of the “artist mystique” with their collectors. Writers learn early in their careers that “Words tell, stories sell.” Artists are no different.

People view your art or buy it because both the image and the story behind the image spoke to them. That’s you! A newsletter is no different than a blog in that respect. People will open it and read it because they find it entertaining, educational, or useful. To make it more entertaining, use your artist’s voice. Be you. Be natural. Give the reader a tidbit of the life they envision an artist lives. In your art newsletter keep the tone light and warm and fuzzy. Stay away from serious and introspectively depressing news and thoughts! There’s enough of that in the news!

Remember, there are millions of images of art on the Internet. What can YOU do to take the static image of your artwork and turn it into an interesting event? Which brings us to number 3!

#3 Use Photos and images in your newsletter

There is simply no way an artist can send out any newsletter without images! Include your art, you at work, an image of something that inspired you. Only use the very best images of your work. Everyone knows the journey from studio to Internet diminishes the WOW factor from your original art but do what you can to compensate for that!

So, add videos, photos of work in progress, photos of an inspiring trip… add visuals!

#4 You need to have a call to action.

The interesting thing about readers of all ages is that you discover shortly that you have to tell them what to do! Seriously. Make it easy and convenient to do so. Asking your readers to do something is a “Call to Action.” A call to action can achieve results that a sales letter never would simply because by the time you ask for a call to action, your readers know MORE about who you are through your ongoing chatty and friendly style and newsletters:-)

A Call to Action can be as simple as asking the reader to go to a link. Do not assume because it is in convenient blue, that they will click on it! Tell them what and why they should click on that link and what they will find that will benefit them.

Do you want a poll of recent art work from your readers? Then ask them, “write back to me and tell me what you liked or did not like about my sculpture/river/glass, etc., series of art.” People love to give their opinions! Let them know that you value their opinions and find them truly helpful:-).

Do you want them to buy your art? Then tell them! “Click here to purchase my art.” Sure, occasional strangers might do it, but the readers who have been following your newsletters, feel by now that they know you and are far more willing to buy your art directly from the Internet.

You might also want to alter those PayPal buttons to say something like “Collect my Art!” or “Add this to my art Collection” or some chatty sentence that is YOU.

#5 Be consistent!

If you are putting your newsletter out here and there, or when you remember, you’re losing readers. And you’re not alone. Most newsletters are not consistent in their release schedule. Get a schedule. It can be once a quarter, on the first or fifteenth of the month, or every Wednesday. Just pick something and be consistent with it and you’ll improve your readership response.

Use the same heading each time so that readers know it’s from you!

Summary-Bringing it all together

It takes perseverance and dedication to write your newsletters. So make each one count by maximizing your response rate. Most of all-stick with it! Follow these five tips, and not only will you start getting more responses to your newsletters, a format/template to follow to make it easier each time, but an increase in online sales!

by M Theresa Brown

Artist Entrepreneur and art career expert, M Theresa Brown has been one of a very small minority of artists successfully selling her visual art as her livelihood for 20 years as http://www.mtheresabrown.com. Although she is now married to an artist, she supported herself and her four children as a single mom artist for years!

For the past 10 years she has worked with, helped and advised artists on every aspect of taking control of their artist career through utilizing her methods of marketing, promoting and selling their creative art. Want to know more? Join her marketing forum and enjoy the articles, blogs and newsletters on her artist marketing website, http://www.ArtCareerExperts.com.

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