Stop! Don't Send Your Email Message Before Reading This

Before sending your promotional email message, stop.
Review this list.
✓ Write a subject line that is more interesting than “Art Update.”
✓ Use a salutation. Type out “Dear xxx” or just “XXX – “. Your email is distinguished from spam when you address people by their names.
Make it personal. Don't start your emails with a plea or request. Tell me why I should stick around and listen to your plea or request. Give me a reason to care.

Having said that . . .

✓ Get to the point. Don't waste the recipient's time.
✓ Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and lots and lots of spacing to ensure that your important points stand out. Your email should be scannable, just like this post.
See how much space I’ve added to this post to keep your attention? You can apply this rule to your blog posts, too.

I shouldn't have to say this, but apparently I do.

✓ Even if you are sending an attachment that has your announcement in it (such as a scan of an invitation), you must include text in the body of the email. The text encourages people to open the attachment.
✓ Identify your city or town. This check mark was inspired by a message in my inbox just last night. The announcement was for an exhibit. The two cross streets were listed for the venue, but no city. And it wasn't my hometown.
Don't make your recipients do extra work or guess.
✓ Sign your name! Your full name. Especially if there's any chance that the recipient won't be able to place you.
What did I forget?

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14 thoughts on “Stop! Don't Send Your Email Message Before Reading This”

  1. Perfect timing Alyson. I’m getting ready to send out a newsletter and will definitely take a moment to make certain I’ve covered all the bases.
    I received an email invitation just yesterday with an attachment that was so large I had to scan back and forth several times to figure out what it was. It would have been so much more effective if I could have just read the info without all the fiddling around.

    1. Sue: Do a search for “artist newsletter” on this blog. I’ve written a lot and have a list of topics on the subject in my book.

    1. Good point, Tracy. We started doing tests with the Art Marketing Action newsletter before we send them. I still don’t catch everything, but now it’s 100% my fault if it doesn’t work.

  2. I would add along with sign your name, include your full contact info…website, phone, address, gallery links, social media outlets, etc. Take advantage of these opportunities to give this information to your recipient.
    Also, Tracy makes an excellent point, not just to test links, but to see how your text or images break on the page, etc.
    Thanks Alyson!

    1. Casey: Yes, this would make a perfect email. But I still can’t believe how many people don’t even sign their names. It’s fairly rude.

  3. Kate Klingensmith

    Whenever I email anyone art business related, I always include my city, state and phone number. You never know if they’ll want to contact you by phone. A little off subject, but I always give my phone number when I leave a voicemail or phone message. I used to have a lot of clients who would not leave me a phone number when they left a message. It was time consuming and aggravating to have to look it up. While I couldn’t because they were clients in a state agency, it was tempting to not return the call because of the hassle.
    Yes, testing links, attachments, etc is a great idea. I always want to make sure that what I’m trying to send is actually getting sent.

    1. Kate: That’s a best practice, as well. Not only might they want to contact you, but sometimes email gets bounced back and can’t get through. There needs to be a backup.
      Also, people have a higher level of trust if there’s a phone number.

  4. thanks for the reminders, this is the sort of blog we all need!
    putting the name in ‘dear xxx’ means putting them all in individually doesn’t it, or is there another way of doing it?

  5. Pingback: How to Compel People to Click Through from Your Email to Your Website — Art Biz Blog

  6. Pingback: Your Email List vs. Your Contact List « Art Biz Blog

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