Why Artists Publish A Newsletter

Let’s talk about anything you want. You start.
I want to talk about my newsletter.
I hate receiving other people's newsletters when they’re mostly “buy stuff from me,” so I'm looking for other options to make my newsletter valuable to recipients. Ultimately, the purpose of my newsletter is to create sales.
Whoa. I was with you until that last sentence. Your artist newsletter isn’t for making sales.

Liz Kalloch Designs newsletter
The imaginary conversation in this article was inspired by a question in Art Biz Bootcamp from Liz Kalloch.

Huh? Did you really just say that my newsletter is not for making sales?
Absolutely! It might lead to sales, but an email newsletter that has several articles, images, and calls to action is not a good mechanism, by itself, for generating sales.
So why in the world would I take the time to write a newsletter if it’s not for generating sales?
You take the time to publish a newsletter because you care about people who are interested in your art. I think you probably know this, or you wouldn’t have asked your original question.
If you didn’t care about people who like your work, you would send the “buy stuff from me” newsletters like those you don’t enjoy seeing in your inbox.
Your newsletter is for keeping your list warm.
What do you mean by “warm”?
By “warm,” I simply mean that you stay in touch.
Last week I wrote about the importance of recency, frequency, and attentiveness in your marketing. People are likely to feel indifferent toward you if they don’t hear from you regularly, and if you don’t show you care about them.
Once you get straight that your newsletter is for building stronger relationships with the people on your list, you will be free to approach it with more creativity.
Okay, I get that. But then how do I make sales?
Sales are best generated by personal contact, not as a result of broadcasting to hundreds of people. This means you should be exhibiting frequently and networking often.
It also means that you follow up individually with people you meet and personalize your correspondence to them.
The best sales, in my experience, require you to be genuinely interested in each person (as an individual) on your list.
The newsletter is for keeping your list warm so that people will remember you when your paths cross, be it on purpose or by accident.
But don’t  you advertise things for sale in  your newsletter?
You’re right. I do advertise things for sale in my newsletter, but I rarely sell them as a result of the newsletter.
I use the newsletter ads to plant the seed that these helpful resources are available. More than 60% of my sales come as a result of a separate email with a single, focused call to action.
I think I get it. That takes some of the pressure off and helps me to understand why I wasn't selling from the newsletter.


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18 thoughts on “Why Artists Publish A Newsletter”

  1. It’s going to be a challenge to get out of thinking that a newsletter is for sales…but it now makes sense why I rarely have sales FROM my newsletter. However what on earth am I going to talk about? And should a newsletter still be sent out every 2 weeks? more often? less often? Thanks for much for you guidance!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Trish: Do the recap and keep your art in front of people. One of my clients just sends an email with her art in it. She includes prices, but it’s mostly about sharing her new work.
      If you have sales-y emails, you can do a monthly email newsletter and the sales emails in between. Otherwise, you might want to try every 2 weeks.

  2. Okay, I need help on this one. When it comes time to send my newsletter (OMG, a month has gone by and I haven’t sent anything!) I know which classes workshop I want to plug. But I haven’t a clue about ‘what to say.’ On my blog, I write (a little) and show lots of inspiration, not heavy selling at all. But with my newsletter, I’m kinda in a rut of marketing only. (I tend to think that the people who read my newsletter, also ready my blog, but I bet that’s completely wrong.) I need some help with newsletter topics.. thanks Alyson!!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Jane: Can you recap some blog highlights in the newsletter?
      Or, instead of calling it a newsletter, should it be changed to more of a sales letter?

  3. Hi, I am not much into social networking, I don’t tweet, blog or am on facebook. The one thing I do is to publish a newsletter every quarter. I am not very computer-savvy but people tell me that it looks professional. I try not to “sell”, preach or lecture but just simply speak from my heart, offer some tidbits that have been of interest to me and consequently may be of interest to others. It makes me feel connected without being constantly in people’s faces and it works. People say they like it and feel inspired.I certainly don’t do it with sales in mind. I just keep in touch as Alyson says. The rest follows organically. My newsletter is on my website at http://www.karinrichter.com.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Karin: Sounds like you enjoy it, too.
      I would encourage you to add your sign-up form on your Newsletters page.
      I might also encourage you to reconsider the PDF format since it has to be opened up.

  4. Sandra Cherry Jones

    I appreciate the points that you made. I personally would not want to receive emails that were just about buy,buy,buy. So I try to have information that I am interested in and I hope that my readers will find a common interest in also.

  5. Pingback: Why Artists Publish a Newsletter, by Alyson Stanfield | Berwyn Makers

  6. As a working artist I have trouble finding time to attend to my jobs. By jobs I mean newsletter, blog, and updating events on my website: micheleleavitt.com.
    So I truly need a blog, newsletter, and presence on Facebook – which I find easiest to keep up?
    thanks ,

  7. As a working artist I have trouble finding time to attend to my jobs. By jobs I mean newsletter, blog, and updating events on my website: micheleleavitt.com.
    Do I truly need a blog, a newsletter, and a presence on twitter or Facebook – which I find easiest to use – in addition to my web site?
    thanks ,

  8. I tried Facebook both artist and personal page and didn’t feel it worked for me, though I did see artists with hundreds of followers. Last year, I set up a blog (in addition to my site) on WordPress and I send a post once a month. Posts are an image and info on a show, sometimes the inspiration for the image. Posts are not wordy nor do they push sales, though I did make a sale one month. People I know have signed up, I continue to expand that list, and others I don’t know find my blog also. The benefits to me are discipline and contact because once a month I review my work and share even when I don’t feel inspired. And I like making contact with others, especially friends, who often comment.
    I invite you to follow: http://virginiagiordanoart.wordpress.com/
    My site is: http://virginiagiordano.com/Virginia_Giordano/home.html

  9. Pingback: All Things Metal Clay » Blog Archive » Artists Who Are Great at Blogging Their Artistic Process (and how you can be too)

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