Are you following these email marketing best practices? Email marketing expert, Kate Barrett shares her best advice in this guest blog post. This article is courtesy of Kate Barrett, www.shinealightmedia.com
The prospect of getting started with email marketing can be daunting – new terminology to learn, systems, strategies…phew! But building your database and using email marketing to communicate with your customers and build a relationship, is key to success and a great way to turn people who like your art into art collectors.
If you’re just starting selling your art or considering using email marketing to increase your art sales, how do you get started? How do you build a list of engaged, interested prospects and what on earth do you send them when you get them onto your list?!
Start with out with these top 7 tips and get yourself off to a flying start.
1. Building your list is vital.
Without a list, you have no way to directly and quickly contact art lovers with information specific to them. Building a list should always be at the forefront of your mind, with your sign up form placed in as many places as possible, from your website to social media channels and even at your next art fair.
2. Give people a reason to subscribe to your list.
You know how fantastic your art is, but most people are only just finding you online for the first time and taking a leap of faith by registering to receive your emails. An email address is a valuable commodity and should be treated as such. Think about what you can offer in return for the users email address that would be valuable to art collectors and encourage the registration. This could be anything from a free download that gives framing tips, to a discount off their first purchase.
3. Plan your campaigns and get ahead of the game
Having run email campaigns for companies large and small over the years, I know what its like to keep up with the demand of creating new content and getting your emails sent. Especially as art entrepreneurs, when you’re wearing all hats and completing all the tasks in your business, you may be wondering how you will have time to add regular emails into your strategy?!
That’s where firm planning comes into place. Set down what types of email you want to send and when you want to send them and stick to it. When planning your campaigns, in order to ensure your messages are cohesive and interesting, you can also go one step further and plan out the main topics, call to action and content outline of what you want to say in each message in advance. In this way, when you come to write each email (such as your monthly newsletter) you will already know exactly what you want to say and save yourself, stress, worry and time by simply following your plans.
4. Make your call to action clear and accessible
It is really important to make your call to action really clear and precise – be specific to drive subscribers to exactly what you want them to do (don’t be vague by using terms like ‘Learn More’). You should also ensure you include your call to action at least 2/3 times throughout your email to give subscribers maximum chance to complete your desired action.
5. Design your emails with image suppression in mind.
The majority of email platforms (such as Yahoo!, Gmail and Hotmail (Outlook)) will automatically disable images from showing in your emails until the recipient explicitly chooses to turn them on. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your main message and call to action are not hidden in your images and available in your copy so that even without turning images on, the subscriber can clearly, easily and quickly gain the value from your message and complete your call to action immediately. This is so hard for artist, but you can redirect them to a blog post or your listing on the website. Just make sure that the copy is there.
6. Give the audience what they want and optimize your creatives for engagement
Unless you ask your audience what they would like to hear about from you, how do you know your communications will be hitting the mark? I highly recommend sending out a survey to your list to find out more about them. This information can be used to inform the campaigns you send as well as the content to put in them, allowing you to gain the most engagement from your campaigns by providing relevance and value to your subscribers. Don’t forget, you want to provide a balance of value added messages vs. sales based messages.
7. Not a natural writer? Don’t worry!
Just because you’re not a natural writer doesn’t mean you can’t write a great email! Remember, the best emails contain short sentences/paragraphs, bullet points and aren’t too long! Your email should be a window to more information, a tease if you like! If you follow the tip above, you should also be able to generate lots of ideas to base your content around; which is half the battle I find!
Also, don’t forget that there is a wealth of information out there created by other people! Have you ever thought about including a round up of the best content from around the web that would help or inspire your subscribers? Just because you didn’t write it doesn’t mean you can’t use and reference it; in fact most writers would love you to feature their blog posts/information and gain them a little extra publicity so it’s win win! (Always make sure you accurately reference your sources and link to the posts)
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Kate Barrett is the founder of Shine a Light Media and The Email Marketing Academy, providing email marketing consultancy and training. With over 10 years’ experience working directly on client email marketing programs for organisations including Nissan, Adidas and Asda, Kate has a proven track record – increasing results from opens and clicks to sales. Speaking, blogging, research and being a member of the DMA Email Council mean that Kate is always up to date with the latest email marketing news to feed her passion for the industry.