This article is written by Ruth Soller, a successful painter from Colorado, who explains how to create an artist newsletter that gets real results.
Art marketing experts including Carolyn Edlund, Alyson Stanfield, Jason Horejs and Barney Davey agree that an artist newsletter is a powerful and important tool. But how do you find the time and skills you need to effectively begin?
I began publishing a monthly artist newsletter in 2007 and have experienced a long learning curve. If the task seems overwhelming, I suggest that you start a file of topics you could share. Begin very simply with one painting in each issue and a few sentences about the painting. Add links to your website, blog, and social media. I work two or three months ahead to make sure that I am not struggling for content at the last minute. I copy my current newsletter and make changes for the new month.
Layout and visual appearance
In January 2013 I began using FineArtStudioOnline.com newsletter function which is part of my FASO website. During the year I am learning and refining my layout. In the past I had my Calendar section at the top, followed by an article or story with my art as illustrations. Now, I put a large image of a painting at the top of the letter above the fold and follow with my story which relates to the images. Next, I list my Calendar of shows and events and add standard blurbs and links which seldom change at the bottom.
Use of images
After participating in Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Makeover in October, I made a few tweaks to my newsletter. I decided to showcase larger images of my paintings which are the whole purpose of my news. Now a large image is visible above the fold when the letter is opened; and I moved my headshot to the bottom of the letter. I plan to vary my use of images as they relate to the focus of each letter.
Your subject line must spark interest in your reader in order for them to take time to open and read your news. I often use titles of shows or events in which my art is featured. Think about one specific collector or friend and imagine what they would like to know. I used the line “You Asked and I Listened” to announce my new shop on FineArtAmerica.com. Another subject was “Plein Air Painting with Your Dog?” which contained a story about my experience.
Rich content may be created when a high profile person praises your work. Ask them if you may use a quote as a testimonial; then use the quote in your marketing efforts. I did this when I received an Award of Excellence from Manhattan Art International in their Celebrate the Healing Power of Art competition. Again, I used testimonials when Exempla Good Samaritan Comprehensive Cancer Center acquired my Cache de Poudre artworks.
Calls to action
Each individual mailing needs to have a single and clearly stated call to action. When you have several actions you want to include, you need to prioritize and schedule these out to future newsletters. Your readers will respond more when you vary calls to action; and make sure that you are not asking them to buy something every time. Ask them for a response to a question related to the content in your letter. Try to engage them in conversation by asking them to comment.
Emotional connection with your audience
Lately I am working on writing as if I am speaking to one special person and am excited to share with them. I’m trying to think from the reader’s perspective and to use “You” statements and questions which focus on my reader. My efforts to share from within my heart and spirit seem to emotionally touch my audience. It is important to express gratitude and appreciation for collectors and supporters of your career.
Combine with other marketing efforts
My newsletter ties in with my other marketing efforts. Press releases may be used as newsletter content with a little editing. Blog entries may be the same or similar to newsletter articles. Usually the same person doesn’t see both publications; and even if they do, repetition helps keep your name in front of clients or prospects. My social media sites also relate consistent content in varying presentations. My brand is recognizable across all of my marketing channels.
Begin applying these concepts today and you will be on your way to a winning artist newsletter!