The Warrior Artist Podcast 9 – Marketing for artists, why email works

Marketing is about communicating, sharing who you are, what your work is about. It’s about finding an audience.

Why email marketing?

Email is a means of connecting with people.

Email marketing has been around for a while. It’s not going anywhere soon. it’s effective, it works. There’s a reason why all big companies, people want your emails and they want to communicate with you by email.

There is a big world out there. Not everybody is in Ireland. Not everybody can get to see your work in person, in an exhibition.

Email is another means of communication. It’s about connecting with people who have given you their email address, who are interested in your art . You can tell them about your paintings, your process, your studio, exhibitions you’re in etc. Hopefully, when they are in a position to buy a piece of work, they might think of you.

Email is very effective. Email reaches people who aren’t on Instagram. Even if you are on social media, not everyone sees your posts.

Instagram can come and go. It’s a free service, you don’t pay for it. It could disappear in the morning along with all your followers.

If you can encourage people from Instagram to your mailing list, that’s something you can control. You can decide when to send out an email about a new body of work or when you’re in an exhibition.

Action 1: Have somewhere on your website where people can join your mailing list

Email reaches people who have opted to join your mailing list. Subscribing to an email list means ‘yes, I want to hear about you’.

Subscribing is a powerful tool. Somebody has given you permission and said, yes, you can contact me

Action 2: if someone has given you permission to contact them by email, it’s important to keep in touch, to write them an email every so often.

If you don’t send an occasional email, people may forget they joined and may not remember who you are.

You don’t need to write a long newsletter. Short emails are very effective.

Action 3: Repurpose an Instagram post into a short email (e.g. an image of our work, your studio, your work in progress, what’s inspiring you and write a little blurb). Email can be as simple as that.

Email is powerful because it’s easy for someone interested to click and find more information. If you send an image with an email, you can add a clickable link that that goes directly to your website.

Action 4: create a link in an image in your email to a painting on your website.

When I started off selling emails, I didn’t have any mechanism for taking a sale. I didn’t have an e-commerce website. I had a very basic website. I used to just say, please reply if you want to purchase. Then I would work out how to take payment (e.g. bank transfer, Revolut, PayPal).

Don’t let the fact that you don’t have an e-commerce website stop you from collecting emails and communicating with people.

What are ‘lead magnets’?

Lead magnets is a marketing term. It means that you give someone a reason or an incentive why they should give you their valuable email address.  Some examples for artists:

  • to hear about your new work
  • early access to new work
  • a list of your favourite materials
  • a screensaver
  • a small discount towards their first purchase

How often should you send emails?

There are no rules with email marketing. I go through phases of trying to email once a week or sometimes it might be a few months, but generally at least once a month, I will write to the people who have given me their emails.


Every time I send an email, people unsubscribe.  It’s a bit like when people unfollow on Instagram. Don’t take it personally. Those people are not interested in your work. Forget about them.

Email providers

I use mailchimp. It’s not necessarily the best. There are many other providers out there. I’d recommend researching options if you are starting out. If I was starting now I would probably use another provider.

Tip for speedy emails:

I just copy the last one I sent. I hit duplicate and I change the subject line and then I’ll change the content.

Content ideas

Don’t only communicate when you’re trying to sell something. Nobody likes that. Share what you’re doing, share the process, share all those interesting stories you share on Instagram. Communicate the story behind your work.

Subject line

When you’re sending an email, spend a little bit of time thinking about the subject line. It’s important because if you have a short, appealing subject line, more people will open the email.

I hope that’s been helpful and I hope that encourages you to start collecting emails and to communicate with your email audience every so often. It can be short, doesn’t have to be perfect. Who has time for perfect? I don’t! Just start communicating and slowly you’re building that conversation.  Let me know what you found useful! 

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