Did you know that your email list is one of the most important marketing tools for your art business? In this blog post we’ll go through why you need an email list, and how to look after your email subscribers.
It’s easy to think that you can run a business by selling art on Instagram, where you might have lots of followers, or by listing your work on third party sites such as Etsy. The problem with that is you don’t own those platforms.
With social media, your account can get hacked. This happens all too often unfortunately. I’ve had friends of mine with tens of thousands of followers who’ve had their account hacked, and that was their only way of reaching customers. Effectively, when that happened, they had to start their entire business from scratch again, which is really heartbreaking because they put their heart and soul into this. Building a following on social media takes a lot of work.
Another point about social media is that it doesn’t show your content to your entire list of followers. The algorithm generally shows it to a small section of your followers and if it’s well received, it will show it to a few more. For example, if you have 1000 followers, when you post something or make an offer it won’t reach all 1000 of those people. It will only reach 20, or maybe 50 and the platform will test how those people react to it. If it’s a good reaction, they’ll show it to more. If it wasn’t so great, then the rest of your following don’t even get to see what you’ve offered or created.
With third party sites, such as Etsy or Amazon, we don’t get to keep the customer data and we can’t build relationships with that customer. It’s almost like we’re renting space from them. These are also very crowded marketplaces, where it can be hard to get your content seen.
With your email list, you own the asset. Nobody can close you down, nobody can change the algorithm. When your email goes out to your list, your content gets to reach all of them. Your email list is one of only two really valuable assets you have as an artist. The second one is your website. If you have those two things – a great converting website which is really well designed and clear and easy to use, and you have an email list that you use and contact your subscribers at regular intervals, then you have a business and you are in complete control of that business. You’re not at other people’s mercy.
Whilst emailing your content to your list means that all your subscribers will see it, it doesn’t mean that everyone on your list will open your emails. We can do various things to increase open rates, like having really engaging, catchy headlines.
But at least we’re not at the mercy of a third person or platform.
Another reason why you need an email list is that customers don’t buy from us the first time – this happens very rarely and it depends on price point. It used to be the case that you needed to be in front of those customers at last 5 to 7 times before they even think about buying from you. There’s a lot of data and research that says, with the marketplace being so crowded these days, they now have to see you between 10 and 20 times! If somebody lands on your Instagram, or let’s say they come across you on Etsy, and you don’t have a way of contacting them and re engaging with them, then you’ve lost them. You’re relying on that one occasion for them to make a decision, trust you, know you, feel confident with you and buy. It’s just very, very unlikely that’s going to happen.
Email lists are absolutely vital to your business as an artist. You can remarket to people that have shown an interest in you, and you can get in front of them several times so that they feel comfortable buying from you.
So when you have an email list, and you bring a customer onto your email list, then you can contact them every week, every couple of weeks, every month – whatever time schedule works for you. You can let them know about new collections, what you’re working on, and you can really build that trust and help them feel comfortable buying from you.
You get to choose with your email list what you promote, and when you promote it.
Once you get people onto your email list, treat them really well, because they have effectively said, I have trusted you enough to hand over my email details. Treat them as VIPs. Give them early access to something, or exclusive access. Give them little special bonuses or surprise gifts or just extra value in general, so that there’s a really good reason for them to be on your mailing list, and they feel special for being there.
So how do I actually build an email list? This blog post explains some easy ways you can build an email list.
If you want to really know in more detail what kind of things you need to be successful as an artist and what the key ingredients are (including about building your email list), then head over to my free masterclass to help you create a sustainable art business in 4 easy steps. You can also follow me on Instagram for more tips and advice on creating the art business of your dreams.