Do you need email marketing and newsletters as an artist?
I have ignored this concept for years, like, I’m an illustrator, not a big company, and I hate those ads that regularly spam my inbox. But: emailing is a super powerful tool to develop your creative business and sell your artwork to fans who are dying to see your news!

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Why use email marketing ?

Let’s start by defining the benefits and purposes of email marketing from an overall business perspective, and then we’ll elaborate more specifically for artists with concrete examples.

So, how does email marketing usually work?

  1. Typically, email marketing starts with a form on the business website, where you enter your name and email
  2. You’ll receive regular emails with offers, promotions, tips, etc.
  3. Or you’ve made a purchase in a shop – and poof, every few days you get a promotional email.

We’ve all received these kinds of messages, we hate them, we don’t even bother to open them anymore – and I think that’s what puts many people off from starting their own. Newsletters feel intrusive, spammy, like forced sales, and you don’t want to be like that. But surprise – good newsletters are so much more than that!

In fact, think of your newsletter as a regular appointment with your biggest fans, to amaze, amuse, inspire, even educate them, as we’ll see right after.

With emailing, there are four goals:

  1. To keep a safe way to contact your followers, no matter what happens
  2. To have more visibility than on social media
  3. To stay in people’s minds with a friendly and more intimate relationship
  4. To promote your offers and artwork

And you might be asking yourself, why bother with a mailing list, if you already have plenty of social media to manage?

It’s simple, you don’t own any social platform. If one network disappears, so do all your fans and content. Maybe you remember the Facebook/Instagram outage a few months ago, where no one could access it anymore for a while? How much time and effort did you put into developing your account, and what would you have done had these sites not reopened? How many of your subscribers would have tried to Google you in the hope of finding your website? How many of your followers actually remember your name?

With email marketing, your subscribers belong to you. Here are the benefits:

  • Subscribers explicitly agree to receive your emails, you can export them to Excel, you can contact them any time: it’s your list that you will keep forever, unless they unsubscribe or you delete your account
  • Even if you have fewer followers than on social media, email subscribers are more receptive to your work, are already fans, who really like your work, and who are excited to see more of it
  • Subscribers who know, like and trust you because you regularly pamper them with your private newsletter, will be more receptive to buying your illustrated products or ordering illustration commissions at some point
  • They will also see every single news you put out, because unlike Instagram with its algorithm where only a fraction of your audience sees your posts – here, the emails land in the inboxes of absolutely all your followers. 

Content, newsletter ideas & examples

People need a good reason to give you their precious email address.
Why do they give it to you in the first place?

  1. They already know and trust you, they love your work and want to know about everything you do.
  2. They don’t know you well yet, but they exchange their email for benefits: artist tips, inspiration, exclusive content, promotional offers, etc. And most people fall under this category.

So, what content to offer, and how often? Emailing can be quite simple – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, BUT with content relevant to your audience. For you as an artist, ideas for newsletters could be:

  • illustration or manga previews
  • colouring pages
  • shop codes
  • discounts or early bird places for commissions
  • artist tips, sharing experiences, useful resources, etc.

you can download a list with lots of newsletter ideas specially designed for illustrators, mangaka and other creatives, and choose the topics according to your artwork to get started easily, by subscribing to my Artist Library, and as you can see, yes, I’m encouraging you to join my mailing list right now 😉

Why does it work? In my audience, I have the aspiring artists who want to grow, and they come mainly from my YouTube channel. To entice them to join my mailing list, I offer downloads that go along with my videos and allow you to go one step further, as well as unlocking private access to my resource library where you gain access to all previous and future downloads to develop your passion.

People sign up primarily because they see value and benefit for THEM.

I also have my audience who likes my work and is interested in new projects, products, et cetera. So, I send out a newsletter every first and fifteenth of the month, with tips for artists and the new resources of the month, but also with my new products, convention dates, promotions. There is always free value, but also my paid offers that allow me to make a living as a freelance illustrator.

To give you other examples, there is my friend Aemarielle. She motivates people to join her mailing list by offering a beautiful fantasy colouring book, and then maintains her relationships with a newsletter kinda like a personal diary, where she openly shares her experiences and advice, the results of her first convention, the importance of taking time to recharge your batteries to be more creative, always in a kind and inspiring manner.

Elodie Illustrations is a master in the art of newsletters that you always look forward to. Her website is well supplied with various freebies motivating people to give their address: a guide to art pricing on the home page, cheat sheets with her blog posts, or simply a form to be notified when her new collection arrives. Then, her newsletters are subdivided into several parts, usually an overview of her current projects, new products in the shop, her weekly vlog, an answer to a subscriber’s question about how to be an illustrator or creative advice in general.

afterword

So, I hope these examples give you a good idea on how to make your newsletter work. I was really the first one to say for years that newsletters were useless for artists and mangaka, and now I’ll honestly tell you that between social media and emailing, I’ll always, always take the latter, because it’s much more intimate, you know people take the time to read, they are really interested, and it’s so much more rewarding.

The setup is also very easy. I recommend Mailerlite, which is free up to a thousand subscribers, easy to learn, and allows you to create nice layouts, schedule your news in advance, and even create a classy and professional form even if you don’t have a website. I tested Mailchimp which is also free before, but it seemed less intuitive and more difficult to set up.

Now – enjoy the workbooks and good luck with your own newsletters!

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