by Carolyn Edlund
Art marketing is challenging and time-consuming. Here’s how an old standby can be one of your secret weapons.
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I recently ran an Email Marketing Mastermind group and worked with about a dozen artists on email campaign strategies. During one of our Mastermind sessions, I asked how many people had realized a sale after sending out an email. Almost everyone raised their hands. And although that casual survey was anecdotal, I think it makes an essential point about email marketing. Engaging with your audience gets response, which often translates into sales.
The internet is swarming with messaging and advertising. Much of it is intrusive, pulling us in all directions or even numbing us to all of the distraction. It can be quite challenging to break through all that noise and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Many creative entrepreneurs are concerned. How can they attract a sufficient audience to earn a living from making sales of their work? Frenetic tweeting, boosting posts, designing Instagram stories and pinning images can sometimes feel like it’s all going into a black hole. You might have experienced this kind of frustration.
Then, consider your email list. These are people who have voluntarily agreed to hear from you because they have an interest in what you do. They have essentially said “Yes, tell me more” and shared their contact information with you. Many of them may already be your customers. If you haven’t given this warm list of prospects enough love lately, think again.
Sales is in large part a process of developing relationships. Attracting new people is always a good thing, but what about those fans who already enjoy what you do? Getting in touch via email is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with them. Statistically, existing clients and warm prospects are far more likely to buy than cold prospects. When you forego the chance to reach out to them, you are leaving money on the table.
Regular email contact reinforces your brand. It reminds people who you are, what inspires you, and how wonderful your work is. It gives you the chance to present a fresh collection of work or share exciting news. And it’s the perfect vehicle to unfold your story over time and cement the essential emotional connection that captivates loyal fans and collectors.
Art marketing consists of activities that work together and complement each other. Your website presents your portfolio. Your art blog updates current events and shares the news. Getting press expands your reach and increases your credibility. Social media amplifies your message and pulls visitors to view your art, shop at your store, or respond to an invitation. Email marketing reinforces all of these.
When used effectively, any or all of these methods can catch attention, send people to your website and get eyes on your art. As you gather the email addresses of those site visitors, you build a list of interested prospects that can be contacted over the long term. Then, create campaigns that bring those people back around time after time to get to know you better. And as my Mastermind group experienced, you may well make art sales from that effort.
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