Eureka! The Purpose Of Your Newsletter

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about why artists should publish newsletters. I’m delighted that people read it and remembered its basic premise: that artist newsletters aren’t for making sales.

However, I’m troubled that some of that article has been misunderstood, or perhaps I left too much room for misinterpretation.

It’s time to set the record straight on artist newsletters.

Purpose of an Artist Newsletter | Art Biz Coach

First, a definition. A newsletter is an email sent on a regular schedule, which probably has regular features. Mine has a personal note at the top, a client testimonial, a featured article, and a featured product.

Every time I sit down to write my newsletter, I know that I have to fill in these areas before it can be sent.

My newsletter is sent weekly. You don’t have to do this. Monthly might work better for you.

But a newsletter has a regular schedule. It’s reliable. It's a promise you make to yourself and your art. It’s also a promise you made to people when you asked them to sign up for your list.  [Tweet this.]

When you ask people to sign up for your newsletter, they know they’re going to get it when you promise it.

By the way, it’s much easier to get people to sign up for something when they know exactly when and what they’re going to receive. You need to consistently commit to delivering a newsletter – not just when you feel like it.

Purpose of a Newsletter

I stand by the original tenet behind that article from two years ago: A newsletter isn’t for making sales. It might (and should) lead to sales, but that’s not its immediate or sole purpose.

The primary purpose of your newsletter is to keep your list warm by putting your name and art in front of people – consistently.

Newsletters help you nurture relationships with the people who have asked to hear from you, but they don’t do much good if you write them only when you feel like it or only when you want something from your list (e.g. a sale, attendance at an opening, registration for your classes).

You might share stories, your latest pieces, and/or work in progress. The point is that you share consistently, and that each newsletter isn’t focused solely on making sales.

This effort earns you the right to ask for something in return from time to time.

Tell People Your Art Is For Sale

I said each newsletter isn’t focused solely on making sales. Can you make sales through a newsletter? Absolutely! But, again, the purpose of the newsletter is to keep your name in front of people.

Still, you want people to know that your work is for sale. The best way to do this is to post prices of your art in your newsletter.

Posting prices isn’t crass or hard-selling. It’s quite passive. Posting prices provides a service to people. It gives them information that they might need to make a decision.

If you don’t sell your art from your studio … if the work is available for sale through a gallery or other venue … tell people exactly how to purchase it.

I believe that sales (mostly) happen as a result of personal contact – not in an email blast sent to hundreds of people. But you still need the latter. You need to keep your name and art in front of people.

You want to be the artist most on their mind when they go to buy art. Your newsletter can do this for you.

Did you just say, Eureka! ??

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16 thoughts on “Eureka! The Purpose Of Your Newsletter”

  1. I started sending newsletter a couple years ago. First, very few and now a newsletter each month. I always talk about what I do in my studio, at my boutique, and something from the archive of my blog. People like them very much. In those times where people have so much to see, I discover that the newsletter is a reminder that you exist and are still there.
    you can see the last one here .

    1. Thank you for the example. I can only read what little french I remember from high school, but the layout is gorgeous, it’s not super long, and each one has links to follow.

      I am about to start a newsletter, so practical examples are really helpful. I hope other people post theirs here as well. Can I sign up for your newsletter?

  2. Victoria Pendragon

    I send a quarterly newsletter, right around the times of the solstices and equinoxes. Because I am not solely an artist but a writer of books designed to help people be the best people they can be, a lot of my work centers on inherent patterns in nature and the body so these ‘big’ seasonal turning points seem like appropriate markers. I get a lot of response back, so I feel as if I am doing well.
    I wanted to thank you for the ‘posting prices’ piece of your newsletter; it literally never occurred to me. Such a simple thing, but wow.

  3. I have made several attempts at a newsletter, but this year I have been committed to sending it out once a month on the fourth thursday of every month. Alyson’s advice got me going in the right direction with respect to the process of scheduling and structure. I truly believe her Creative Content Camp is helping me improve my content and turn my newsletter into something people look forward to reading.

    This will have the consequence of finally gaining the consistancy Alyson advises. I just need to remember to post prices.

  4. This article is incredibly helpful. I’m never sure how much to put in a newsletter, and feel funny promoting myself. Your formula for a client testimonial, a featured article, and a featured product is great. And it helps to know that sharing stories, works in progress, latest pieces is better than asking for a direct sale – very helpful article.

    Thanks Alyson!


  5. I struggle big time about what to talk about. I had used work-in-progress, new series, moving news, exhibitions but having enough interesting, informative or educational content is hard to create. One question, is it ok to use pictures found on the Internet to give a reference or a how-to explanation, of course giving reference of the source?

    1. Sikiu: I sure wish you could have joined us for Creative Content Camp. It would have helped with what to say.

      Re pictures: It depends. I wouldn’t ever use anything that looks copyrighted or copyrightable. If it says “share” it should be okay.

      What I’ve learned: My own images are the best – they differentiate me and are safe to use.

    2. Hi Alyson,
      Hope you are well!
      Do you recommend using watermarked photos of your art in your newsletter or use them as is (assuming I am using the testimonial, featured article, featured product format). Thank you! You are making this sound easily do-able!

    3. Suzanne: This is an interesting question that has never come up before.

      It depends on the watermark. If it’s on the bottom, as I recommend, it’s fine to use them in your newsletter. It seems like it would be easier to use the watermarked version if you’re using it everywhere else online.

  6. Eureka is right, Allyson! I really appreciate you sharing the formula – always a personal note, always a featured article, etc.. After reading this post I immediately set to work recreating my newsletter template with topic headers that I now realize I should include each time, along with a couple of opional topics. I’ve always felt the newsletter idea was overwhelming, now they almost write themselves!
    Thank you!

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