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email marketing for digital artists
David Campbell

Email Marketing for Digital Artists: The Complete Guide

Selling art is as much a labor of love as creating it. It’s one thing to make original art that people want to buy and another to get them to spend money on it. You need a different set of skills that many artists don’t have.

Fortunately, the shift from creating to selling art isn’t complicated, time-consuming, or expensive with the appropriate digital marketing channels. Business marketers have been using email to market products for many years, with impressive results. You can do this, too.

This guide to email marketing for digital artists will discuss why you should use email to promote your work. It will also show you how to build an effective email list. You will also learn which type of emails to send to generate awareness and engagement. Finally, you’ll learn tips for making your art email campaigns successful.

Let’s get to it!

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the promotion and selling of products or services via email. It is a powerful tool for creating brand awareness and building customer relationships.

In a digital world dominated by social media and instant communication, email remains one of the highest digital platforms for digital marketing. The return on investment (ROI) of email marketing is 36:1. That means for every dollar you spend, you can expect $36, making email a critical component of every marketing strategy.

To learn how to sell digital art and make the most of email marketing for selling your art, you need the right tools.

Email marketing software automates the emailing process, saving you time and effort. You can create different email templates, segment email lists, schedule campaigns, and more.

Anyway, all these tools are cost-effective and offer free or low-cost plans. So, they’re accessible to digital artists with different budgets.

Importance of Email Marketing for Digital Artists

Besides an impressive ROI and an automated process, there are three key benefits of email marketing for digital artists. These are:

  • Relationship Management: Art pieces are a luxury for many people. So, while your work may be appealing, it is rare that it will lead to an immediate sale. Consequently, you must cultivate continued interest weeks and months after the initial contact. Email marketing allows you to nurture engaging relationships that turn leads into customers.
  • Ownership: Many galleries don’t share client information with artists to comply with data privacy laws and protect their profit margins. As a result, artists can’t build relationships with qualified buyers. With an email marketing strategy, you have ownership of your email list.
  • Control: Many digital artists showcase their work on social media. However, these platforms are effectively ‘borrowed’ space, which means you must comply with the terms of service. Your accounts are subject to bans. With algorithms that favor paid ads, your followers don’t always see your content on their social feeds. Email marketing gives you better control of when and how subscribers receive marketing messages.

The bottom line is: email marketing allows artists to communicate directly with customers without depending on third parties.

How to Build a Strong Email List as An Artist

Successful email marketing for digital artists starts with high-quality email lists. You have to be strategic when targeting your audience. A healthy email list consists of active and engaged subscribers. Collecting inactive email addresses will only lead to wasted email marketing efforts. That’s why you should also verify email addresses every step of the way. This can help ensure your emails reach your intended recipients.

That said, here are three ways to build a strong subscriber list.

Offer an Incentive to Join – people are more likely to share their email addresses when you give them something free in exchange. Take your lead from e-commerce stores that entice shoppers by offering discounts. If you’re showing at a fair or gallery, you could give away postcard prints of your work. The key is to offer appropriate incentives.

Incentive to sign up on email list


Digital artist Android Jones, for instance, offers visitors 10% off the first purchase when they sign up for the Android newsletter. The pop-up details what information people will receive by signing up, namely updates on events, new products, and image releases.

If you’re using Payhip to sell your digital art, you can easily set any one of your digital art products to $0 where your website visitors can download your digital art for free in exchange for signing themselves to your email list.

Gather Email Addresses at Events and Online – collecting emails at exhibitions is a great way to build a list of interested buyers. Have a sign-up sheet at your booth or table, and offer a valuable incentive. You can also direct social media followers to your website or marketing landing page to sign up for exclusive art content or offers.

Laura Rubin


Laura Rubin, for instance, uses the link in bio on Instagram to channel followers to her website.

Regularly Engage with Your Email Subscribers – The frequency of your email marketing message plays a vital role in keeping your mailing list engaged and active. Too many or few emails, and you risk losing subscribers. Whether you choose weekly, monthly, or quarterly intervals, you should consistently engage your contacts. For instance, scheduling newsletters for the last Thursday of the month at 10 am.

As you build your email marketing lists, go for quality over quantity. It is better to have 100 responsive subscribers than a bloated list of inactive emails. Moreover, email marketing service providers base their pricing on volume, so you want to pay for subscribers most likely to convert.


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4 Types of Art Email Newsletters to Send to Your Subscribers

After collecting qualified contacts, it’s time to create email content that’s as unique and appealing as your art. If you have too much on your plate, you can use an AI content generator such as AskWriter or ChatGPT to help you craft your email copy.

As you write your marketing emails, remember that the goal isn’t the quick sell but to build long-lasting relationships. It is your chance to develop deeper connections with potential customers and turn them into loyal customers.

Here are four types of email you can send subscribers to keep them interested and engaged:

1. Welcome Email

It is paramount to set the right tone at the beginning of any relationship. The welcome email lays the foundation for what prospective customers can expect from your email communications. Email statistics show that 74% of subscribers expect welcome messages and engage 33% more with brands that send a welcome email. Therefore, they are a vital part of the customer onboarding process.

Well-crafted and personalized welcome emails catch potential customers’ attention and help move leads through the sales funnel. They allow you to showcase brand values and share relevant information, such as social media channels or how to commission a piece of art.

You should also explain what kind of information they will receive. Check out this example:

You can’t go wrong by fashioning your welcome email after this one from the Museum of Modern Art. It explains how often subscribers will receive newsletters. There are links to buy tickets, the online store, and the membership sign-up page.

2. Behind-the-Scenes Email

In an increasingly digital world, people are looking for authentic human connections. Sharing behind-the-scenes content allows you to build your brand as a digital artist, connect with your target audience, and cultivate fan loyalty.

Video is one of the best mediums for behind-the-scenes content, reaching 92% of online audiences. You can showcase your personality or brand identity, give subscribers a peek into your artistic process, and give progress updates on current projects.

Want content ideas for behind-the-scenes content? Try making a ‘draw with me’ video like the one below.

behind the scene digital artist


In this video, the artist walks followers through their coloring process, sharing tips to achieve particular looks. This video is approximately 22 minutes long, so you can make this content as long or short as you want.

Another behind-the-scenes idea is a ‘then vs. now’ concept, where you compare your earlier and latest artwork so that followers can see the difference.

Embedding the video directly in the email isn’t advisable, though. Many email providers don’t support embedded videos, so they end up flagging emails containing these as spam. It’s best to just create a thumbnail that links to your video on your site.

3. Exhibition Announcements Email

What is even better than behind-the-scenes content? Meeting the artist. Even if your fans can’t afford your work, they can support you in other ways.

Emails announcing exhibitions and collaborations are routine in art marketing. They are a cost-effective way of leveraging email lists to drive event awareness and attendance.

In addition to exhibition dates, times, and venue, be sure to add information on special events like opening reception or meet and greet.


This exhibition invitation highlights the artist’s artwork in the announcement. At a glance, readers get information on the time, date, location, and the event’s purpose.

4. Sales & Promotions Email

Once you have built rapport with your email subscribers and nurtured the relationship with educational or entertaining content, you can sell digital art successfully. Knowing customers’ preferences or what drives their buying habits allows you to write promotional emails that lead to conversions.

Your sales and promotion campaigns should be appealing with eye-catching images. Every email should have a clear call to action to drive sales.


This promotional email highlights three different offers based on the purchase price. The more customers spend, the bigger the discount. The discount code sits above the CTA button, so people don’t have to look everywhere for it. The sale deadline is in large, bold print, leveraging an effective tactic called FOMO (fear of missing out).

You can opt for a less direct approach to selling, too. For instance, you can offer online courses in your email. In the process, you promote yourself as an artist.

Best Email Marketing Practices for Artists

Getting subscribers to sign up for email updates is half the battle. You must ensure they stay engaged and don’t hit the unsubscribe button. There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution.

However, there are a few best practices digital artists should follow to achieve email marketing success. Failure to follow them could lead to disengaged audiences. You can hire project manager freelancers that will ensure you’re following all these and meeting deadlines at the same time.

Personalize Your Emails

Personalization makes your fans feel valued, which increases customer loyalty and generates 40% faster revenue growth. Email personalization starts with subject lines. Out of the many emails customers receive daily, the ones that catch their attention have their names in the subject line. But it goes beyond that.

Email content must be relevant to the customer’s buying journey. Repeat customers shouldn’t receive the same marketing messages as people who haven’t made purchases. Be sure to incorporate your brand voice as well.

Segment Your Audience

Segmentation facilitates personalization efforts. It divides mailing lists based on specific criteria, so customers receive different emails depending on your digital marketing strategy. There are many ways to segment email lists: by sales funnel stages, geography, engagement level, and content interest. Most email marketing platforms have segmentation features.

Make Emails Visually Appealing

Personalized and catchy subject lines only get users to open emails. It is the content that keeps them engaged. Images are a great way to make your emails visually appealing. They grab readers’ attention and act as visual cues.

However, too many visual elements increase email loading times. You risk subscribers closing emails without reading them. A simple, mobile-friendly format is the way to go. Use one or two images to center the email copy.

Test, Analyze, and Optimize

It can be challenging to know if your email marketing campaigns are successful if you don’t use analytics. How else will you know which art content your audience likes or how to optimize future campaigns?

A/B or split testing allows you to find subject lines, imagery, or CTA buttons to drive conversions.

There are no magic formulas for marketing success. But by following these practices outlined above, you will increase open rates because your subscribers will be happy to hear from you.

In Closing

Turning your passion into a business isn’t complicated with email marketing. It is a powerful tool that allows artists to engage their prospective customers and followers and turn them from viewers to loyal customers. Email marketing gives you complete control of relationship management and content distribution that galleries and social media platforms don’t.

This blog post showed you the importance of email marketing in selling art. You learned how to build an email list, the four types of email that help build lasting customer relationships, and shared best practices to increase the success of your art email campaigns.

So, whether you’re creating awareness or boosting traffic to your website and art shows, leverage email marketing to reap the best results.


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