How to Become a Professional Artist: Building Your Artist Mailing List

By Milan Art Institute on October 22, 2020
How to Become a Professional Artist: Building Your Artist Mailing List

Photo caption: A solid marketing plan for artists should include email marketing. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

Becoming a professional artist means more than just creating art for your online art portfolio. When you design an art marketing plan, you are creating a systematic art marketing strategy that allows you to create buzz about your artwork. 

Unfortunately, many artists feel like they need to be extra creative when they're coming up with their art marketing strategies. While creativity never hurts, there are some old standbys that work very well, too. 

We're talking, of course, about email marketing for fine artists.

Email marketing is one of the most important marketing tools creative professionals have at their disposal. 

This blog post offers you some tips for developing an email list of art collectors so that your dreams of becoming a professional artist can become a reality.. 

Art Marketing Strategies: A Few Facts About Email Marketing

As you develop your art marketing plan, don’t overlook email marketing. When done correctly, email marketing provides exceptional results. Few art marketing strategies have the return-on-investment that email marketing for artists does.

Here’s a quick look at some important stats.

  • For every $1 you spend on email marketing, it’s estimated that you’ll get a $42 return-on-investment. 
  • Email marketing is more effective than social media marketing for driving sales: 60% of customers admit to buying something as a result of email marketing.
  • And 61% of customers say they like receiving promotional emails, while 38% admit they’d like emails to come more frequently. 
  • As many as 73% of millennials like businesses to communicate to them via email
  • A majority of business professionals customer retention to email marketing.

Clearly, if you’re interested in becoming a professional artist, it’s difficult to overlook what a catalyst email marketing for artists can be. 

Marketing Tips for Artists: Collect Names at Events

Photo caption: Art galleries aren’t the only place to sell your art. Art shows, email list and social media also offer you places to sell your art.Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Many an artist marketing plan includes art-marketing events, like fine arts fairs or ComicCon, to sell their art. If your art marketing plan includes selling your art at live events, use this opportunity to collect names for your mailing list.

One easy way to do this is to do a giveaway of some sort. For example, if you specialize in portraits, offer up a free portrait as a giveaway prize. It doesn’t have to be a large piece: Maybe you’ll just create an 8 X 10 portrait of the winner. 

To get people’s names, have a container ready to collect people’s names. Ask the people who visit your booth to drop their business card into the container or better yet, create branded entry forms as a part of your art marketing business plan. 

Blog Regularly About Yourself and Your Life as an Artist

Your blog counts as one of the most important artist marketing tools that your art business has. 

Becoming a professional artist is really a process in a way. While you may sell your work to your friends on Facebook or Instagram - and we recommend that you do - you must also always be looking for ways to introduce your art to people beyond your circle. Your blog offers you a way to do that.

Marketing art through blog posts makes a lot of sense if you think about it from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint. People who find your blog via a Google search are looking for what you sell. For example, say you specialize in subtractive painting or mixed media collage. 

Therefore, a person doing a Google search for "mixed media collage" or "subtractive painting" would be a potential match for the content on your website. More specifically, their search terms indicate that they’re potentially part of your target audience. 

Through some well-written blog posts (as well as a gallery of photos of your art and your artist statement) you've made your online presence known to people who may want to start collecting the type of art you create. If you attract enough of these people to your site, your becoming a professional artist really is only a matter of time.

To take advantage of the traffic you get from the web, add an opt-in form onto your website. Make sure you place it where people can see it. 

For instance, put the email opt-in box just off to the side of your blog. Or if you want to take it a step further, consider adding a pop-up opt-in form. 

People who have fallen in love with your art will enjoy hearing about your new works-in-progress, gallery openings and other news related to your art. Being on your mailing list ensures they don’t miss events you’ll be at or new works of art you create.

If you’re a well-known artist, you may not have to do much convincing to get people to add their names to your email list. 

However, if you’re still an up-and-coming artist, you may want to offer an incentive in exchange for their names. Wallpapers for a computer desktop that feature a piece of your art is a good option.

Use Social Media Marketing to Your Advantage

If you have a good following on social media, then use it to your advantage. Ask people to subscribe to your list to get a free piece of digital art or a made-for-your-list inspirational ebook. 

It’s also helpful to hold contests from time to time and only open them to subscribers. People who want to win what you’re offering can only be considered for the prize if they’re part of your tribe so to speak.

Do a Piggyback Marketing Campaign 

People who work in complementary businesses often tap into the email lists of other businesses. Doing so expands the reach of both. For example, an artist who makes portraits in oil, could partner with someone like an artist who creates portraits exclusively in pencil.

Here’s how it might work. Let’s say that both artists offer classes. First, the artist who works in oils would create a special offer - perhaps 10% off of the tuition price. This deal is created specifically for the mailing list of the pencil portrait artist. 

The pencil portrait artist would write up a sales email about the oil painter’s offer and send it out to his/ her list (the pencil artist’s list). The pencil artist’s email would include a link to a landing page on the oil painter’s website. 

The people on the pencil artist’s list could opt-in to the oil painter’s deal. Doing so would put them in the class at the special price AND land them on the oil painter’s mailing list.

The process could be repeated in the reverse, meaning that the oil painter could promote a class that the pencil artist was holding. The whole process would be the same, except that the roles would be reversed. 

Piggyback marketing can be an easy way to boost your art career and your mailing list, as well as create some key partnerships in the art world.

Video caption: What is Piggyback Marketing?

Final Thoughts on Art Marketing and Email Lists

Not all art marketing takes place in an art gallery. These days, being a professional artist means that you’re willing to champion your own work and to do your own promotion in order to achieve your art goals.

Many savvy artists have developed a new fan base by taking their art online. For them, selling art may mean writing a social media post about art. However, it can also mean trying to collect the email address of a potential collector at an art show where they have a booth or by writing a powerful blog about art. 

At the end of the day, artist websites play a significant role in many artists' art marketing plans. If you don't already market your art to a subscriber list, think about making a new art marketing plan that includes provisions for email marketing. 

Learn More About How to Become a Professional Artist

5 Proven Time Management Principles to Help You Build Your Art Career

Becoming a Professional Artist: 10+ Marketing Tools You Must Have

8 Practical Tips on How to Sell Your Art


Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

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