The internet has changed the way we humans gather, give and receive all sorts of information. Our computers have become valuable business and educational tools, and the internet has forever changed the way we interact with one another on a personal and professional level. Nowadays having an online portfolio or website isn’t enough to stand out of the crowd or get ahead in the business world. The dominant right-side of your brain might need to join forces with the left.
Wait, come back! Don’t let the thought of business or left-brain frighten you away. It is time, my artistically artful artist friend, you embrace the thought of being a business-savvy artist. You have a great body of work in your portfolio worthy of the most prestigious galleries, and your artist statement is momentously perfect and complete – but none of that matters if nobody knows or cares they exist. Self-promotion and marketing is crucial to have a successful and lucrative career in art, and a newsletter is a fantastic and easy way to make any outreach to your fans personal and impressive. As Cory Huff, The Abundant Artist, explains on his site for artists:
“A newsletter can be your secret weapon for creating long-term residual sales and building a fan base around your work that sells your art for you.”
A newsletter is an informative publication issued periodically to its subscribers, and its context caters to their specific interests. In this case, the subscribers are your fans and their specific interest is, obviously, your art. And wouldn’t you know it, newsletters can be sent via email!
Reasons to have a newsletter:
- Credibility - You’ve established yourself as a solid artist, and people appreciate your work, but unless they become familiar and trusting in your nature they probably won’t become long-term fans. A newsletter shows your commitment and passion for art and allows people to fully engage themselves with you and your work.
- Personableness - An artist statement to a portfolio is like a professional cover-letter to a resume – rigid, meticulous and an incomplete illustration of your artistically carefree and multi-faceted personality. With each newsletter you send, subscribers learn more about the colorful person behind the artwork.
- Announcements - Keep your readers on their toes by announcing new projects, events and works, both upcoming and current.
- New Prospects - With a click of a button, each subscriber has the choice to forward your newsletter to their friends and family. This leads to, well, more leads and potential art fans. You never know if something will strike a reader and they get the unrelenting urge to share your artwork with everybody they know in their extended family. It could happen!
- Feedback - If you enable/allow feedback, you build intimate relationships with your fans and gain better understanding to the strengths and weaknesses of your newsletter.
- Analytics – You can view and analyze all statistics related to your newsletter performance, just like you would with Google Analytics. Don’t get intimidated by the all numbers and Analytic terminology like “Bounce Rate,” “Page Views,” and “Average Time on Site” You will become an Analytics pro in no time, and those facts & figures will become your marketing BFF.
- Traffic Growth - The more interest and buzz you generate with your email-based newsletters, the more traffic will be redirected back to your website. If you haven’t gotten the hint yet, all these reasons if executed with conviction lead to one thing – more revenue for you.
To keep things economical, implement an email-based newsletter like MailChimp, Mad Mimi, or Constant Contact. They offer mail/campaign management, customizable templates, social network integration, A/B split testing, archives, merge tag’ing, and many more useful features. Most sites are free of charge, but there are always upgrade packages to consider purchasing, should you become more serious in the future.
Be sure to:
- Collect full names and contact information (email address and home address, for potential shipping purposes), at in-person events and on your website.
- Determine frequency of which you send your newsletter. It can be weekly, bi-monthly or monthly, but don’t go any longer than that.
- Develop lead magnets, or things you give away to people that sign up to your mailing list, as suggested by The Abundant Artist, who also says:
“Musicians can offer a free mp3. Painters can offer a free postcard, or high quality screensaver or desktop wallpaper. Artists could offer a clip of voice-over work you’ve done. The ideas are endless. Give them something they’ll really like, and you’ll get people signing up for your list.”
- Put thought and time into your newsletter, or you could lose subscribers. Put effort into creating engaging content. Take care crafting your newsletter, because if not, they’ll pick up on your carelessness. You’re an artist and, by default, you are already pretty interesting, so give them a window into your world. Share a story of inspiration, a funny anecdote or explain the creative process behind your most popular piece. The topics are endless and the directions you could take are infinite.
Good luck and happy newsletter’ing, friends!