5 Cures for the Email Blahs

Email has become indispensable for marketing, but sometimes we can’t see what’s right under our noses.

If you are in an email funk and not seeing results from what you’re sending, consider these five remedies.

1. Understand the difference between newsletters and solo emails.

A newsletter is usually a regular update (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) that has consistent features. They are terrific for keeping your name in front of people, but they are not always good for inspiring action.

Jill Rosoff watercolor flowers

Jill Rosoff does a good job sending solo emails for events such as this watercolor workshop

A solo email is an announcement sent when you want recipients to take a single action such as attending an event, checking out a sale, or signing up for a class.

Sending a separate email on these occasions will get you better results than relying on people to remember the information from the newsletter that might have been sent two weeks prior.

2. Use a good subject line.

What does “good” mean? I don’t have to tell you because you can look in your inbox right now and see what subject lines appeal to you. What would you open?

I’ll also share that these are among my least favorite subject lines from artists and are almost always quickly deleted from my inbox:

  • Sally Rodgers’ Fall Newsletter
  • October News from the Studio
  • Exciting news!

The issue I have with these is that they look like so many other subject lines and don’t pique my interest – and exclamation point never makes it more exciting to me. If you send out a regular newsletter, change the subject line each month so it looks fresh.

3. Emphasize images.

Repeat after me: My art is the focus of all my marketing. My art is the focus of all my marketing. My art is the focus of all my marketing.

Aida Garrity - a member of my Gold Mastermind - shows off her images and, as a result, sold two paintings from this last newsletter.

Aida Garrity – a member of my Gold Mastermind – shows off her images and, as a result, sold two paintings from this last newsletter.

The reason you send business email is to remind people about your art, so don’t hide it and don’t put it in competition with the rest of the design. (See #5)

Make your images as big as they can be within the confines of your email layout.

4. Embrace space.

Don’t be afraid of white space and larger font sizes.

Think of your email as you would think about your art in a gallery. If you want people to look at your work and read your words, you have to give them room to do so.

5. Rein in the color.

I know you love color. We all love color.

But you should also respect color – especially the color within your art.

If you use bright colors in your backgrounds and text, you are setting up a competition between your images and everything else around them.

Respect the color in your work and understand how it interacts with other colors.

Do you have any tips that might help other artists cure the email blahs? Please leave them in a comment.

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19 comments to 5 Cures for the Email Blahs

  • I used to send out a monthly newsletter. At first I got a lot of response. Over time I got less and less response. I then started sending out an email every time I completed a painting (or had other news) about 3 times a month. At first I got lots or response. Over time I got less and less response.
    I’m now thinking about going back to the monthly newsletter. I’ll bet I get lots of response at first!

    Oh, and I get a newsletter from an artist and it’s got a generic title like “Art in Acrylic”. NO WHERE in the newsletter does it tell me who the artist is!!!! And I can never remember. IF I have the time I click on the link to the blog and have that “Oh, yeah, that Joe Smith’s work” moment. Maybe that’s his point: to get you to go to his blog. But mostly I just think “How stupid is this?”

  • Great reminder, Alyson. Thanks for the great consistent content you provide!

  • I always type the subject line in all caps which I believe helps it get noticed from all the others in the in box.

  • I find my most popular email newsletters are ones where I write a short story, or write about some topic of interest and ask my readers how they feel about it. When I have something in my newsletter that isn’t just about me, me, me and my art, I get a lot of responses. Yes, my art remains the focus, but I try to give something to my readers. Something to laugh about, think about, or talk about. That’s been working pretty well for me. I got this idea from you Alyson. Thanks for that, and for all of your great advice.

  • I used to use snail mail but it got really expensive for the ROI so I started a newsletter and used the money I saved on postage and printing to offer a prize for a monthly contest. I have noticed that the click rate and participation has gone through the ceiling and it has become an anticipated email for my clients instead of another piece of junk mail. It only costs me the price of a single piece (about $40-$60). Good idea or bad? What do you think?
    Sean
    Thanks for this newsletter Alyson!

    • It depends on what your goal is. Most people will sign up for something free and it will build your email list. But will those people become collectors? Probably not.

    • It should be mentioned that Sean makes jewelry, which is different from your detailed paintings.

      Sean, here’s a big question: Is it FUN for you? Are you seeing any ROI after the giveaways?

  • Great post, Alyson.

    You mention the value of “white space” which was our mantra when I worked in a graphic design company. That’s one of the main reasons I read your posts! So many that I get are so full of tight text that I glance at them and say to myself, “I just don’t have time to read all of this!” Even if the subject is of interest to me.

    Sometimes I’ll save the email to read later, but if 24 hours has gone by and I haven’t read it, many more NEW emails will have come in and the saved one gets pushed to the bottom and ultimately deleted.

    One of the things I’ve learned from your posts is not to let things get in the way of my work, so I have to be on constant guard to stay on task.

  • Thanks so much for the wonderful advice, Alyson!

    I hope you don’t mind me asking you and your subscribers a question: I am just starting out my fine art business, Art At Dawn. I have a weekly blog and Facebook page but no website..yet. (I’m currently taking an e-course to remedy that!) Do I need to hold off on creating a newsletter until after I get the website up and running or is this something I can start now? And if so- how can I gather emails w/o a website? Thank YOU!

  • Louise Hall

    Hi Alison, I like and read your newsletter, I always learn something from it. I do not like to have to click on something to read the rest of the newsletter. It takes time and I don’t like it.

    thanks,

    regards, Louise

  • Oh ……. I sent out my monthly news last night with the same ‘ol same ‘ol same ‘ol subject line! Bummer! I get the point and thank you for this newsletter, Alyson! I also was remiss in my image credits, by not stating the size and medium–who can tell if they are tiny or huge? Always triple-check and be perky when you write these fun things!