At Katapult we do email marketing for a number of our artist clients. If you want to do your own email marketing, here are a couple of tips to get started.
Figure out the right frequency and topic
You want to make sure you don’t bombard your mailing list every week. Once a month is great, and if you feel that your audience (which probably consists of collectors, galleries, other artists and personal contacts) does not want to to hear from you that often, just send it out every two months or even every quarter. I would not do it less often than that as your email campaigns won’t be as effective. On the topics: you could send out a mailer when you have a new exhibition (inviting your subscribers to come to the preview) or when you have created new works. If you have more going on, you could consider sending out a monthly newsletter with all the new developments that occurred last month.
Clean your mailing lists
We use mailchimp.com for our email marketing but you can also use constantcontact.com or madmimi.com, there are a number of companies that provide an email marketing service. Mailchimp has a rating system based on a combination of how often your subscribers open your newsletters, click on your links and how recently they have been added to your mailing list. Every 3-6 months or so, clean your email lists (i.e. remove the one and two star members of your mailing list). This way, your opening rate will go up exponentially and you’ll reduce the risk of spam complaints. It benefits you to be exact with your mailing lists because Mailchimp charges you based on the number of subscribers you have (it is free up to 2,000 subscribers).
Determine the right tone of voice
Some artists prefer that their newsletter comes from them personally and others prefer that they are sent out by their studio. This is really a personal choice and it also depends on the make-up of your mailing list. If your list contains close friends and colleagues than they will probably like to hear from you but if the list is a bit more generic it may look better to have the email come from your studio. This way you will seem like a larger operation. As so often there is no right or wrong here but whatever tone you set in your email marketing, make it consistent with your social media posts (i.e. does it look like you have someone posting on your behalf, writing about you in the third person, or are the posts written as if they were coming from you).