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The Biggest Mistake

by Clint Watson on 9/21/2017 9:28:44 AM

This post is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here or sign up for his newsletter here.


The biggest mistake I see on most artist websites is not providing a way for the visitor to sign up for a newsletter.

When artists cancel their FASO account, I send each artist a personal email asking for the address of their new web site.  You see, I collect art and I want to be able to keep up with many of these artists.

Many of the artists who respond tell me that they love FASO and don't have a new website.  The ones who respond this way are usually simply focusing on other areas of life and have decided to forego an art website for the time being. It humbles me that they take the time to assure me that, when they put their art back online, that they'll return to FASO.

Others, who are still actively showing art online, but have decided that FASO is not for them, often do respond with a URL to their new website address.  And when I visit those sites, the first thing I look for is a way to subscribe to a newsletter.  After all, I'm not going to sit at my computer and browse hundreds of art sites a day.  I want the artist to let me know when they have new artwork for me to view.

And here's the shocking part: almost none of these sites have any way to sign up for a newsletter.


Maybe a newsletter seems too daunting to set up. [1]

Maybe the new website hosting company doesn't make it simple enough. [2]

Maybe they just haven't gotten around to it yet. [3]

Whatever the reason, it's a big mistake.  There are people like me who want to follow you, and if you don't give us a simple action to take on your website.....we'll leave.  

I often give it one last ditch try:  Since unlike other collectors visiting these artists' sites, I do have their direct email address, I reply to the artists whose works I particularly enjoy and ask them if they have an email newsletter and let them know that I'd like to be on it.  And even when I go to the trouble to beg these artists to add me to a newsletter list...they don't.  I have yet to receive even one newsletter from any artist in this group. [4]

Multiply that mistake dozens of times over and you're costing yourself, over your career's lifetime, thousands of dollars in sales
 (if not more).  Make this mistake enough times and perhaps it will even cost you having an art career at all.

Please, please remember that Sharing Art Enriches Life... and one of the simplest ways to do that is with an email newsletter.


Clint Watson

BoldBrush Founder, Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

PS - You can sign up for my email newsletter here. :-)



[1] It's not difficult to set up an email newsletter.  Sign up for MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Campaign Monitor (or our  ArtfulMail - what we use to manage this newsletter, available for FASO customers)

[2] FASO sites all include an email newsletter sign-up enabled by default.

[3] Seriously, don't wait to setup your email newsletter when setting up a new website.  You can add a sign-up form in minutes.  You can always figure out what to write about later.  (Hint - if you don't have anything to write about - at least send alerts when you have new art on the site - that's mostly what we want to see anyway).

[4] I have yet to receive even one that I've ASKED for.  It's still spam to send a newsletter to someone who did not request it, so please don't add me to your newsletter list based on this article.  I'll sign up for the ones that I want....if you'll give me a way.




Editor's note:  

Today's post is an updated version from a few years ago, but we're republishing it again today because it's still a timely and very relevant message.  Enjoy.  


FASO: The Leading Provider of Professional Artist Websites.
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Related Posts:

Why I Don't like Email Newsletter Signup Pop Ups

Do the Opposite with Your Blog and Newsletter

Why Artists Need an Artist Website

The Needs of the Few Outweigh the Needs of the Many

The Personal, Timely, Relevant Marketing Framework

Topics: advice for artists | Art Business | art collectors | art marketing | art websites | Clint Watson | email newsletters | FineArtViews | sell art | selling art online | selling fine art online | websites for artists 

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Luann Udell
Great advice, Clint, on so many levels.

Digital marketing is more important than ever. With the internet has come increased connectivity. Our customers assume we can be found easily, and followed easily.

Expecting our potential customers to keep us on their radar is stretching it. When I find someone whose work or words I love, I sign up for their newsletters. I've never regretted it. If I were left to my own devices, I would totally space it.

Instead, from time to time, I get words of wisdom or news of events delivered right to my (e)mailbox.

I'm surprised at the number of folks who consider themselves serious artists who don't have a website (even if it's just a homepage, with a small selection of work and contact information) or even much of an internet presence at all. They are invisible. These folks, most of all, need to reach out to potential clients.

And it costs nothing. Or pennies. When I started a snail mail list for my events, postcard postage was in the 20's. Now it's close to half a dollar. My East Coast mail list was over 1,500. Plus the cost of printing postcards, entering addresses, and printing out labels. Then there was the standard 10 percent of "return to sender" notices for updating my list. The time, the expense....You do the math. :^D

I still use postcards, but I don't mail them anymore. FASO's email newsletter feature lets me create an email "postcard" so easily, and I can pack more information in there, too.

In this digital age, it can feel overwhelming to stay on top of EVERYTHING we need to do to make ourselves and our work visible. If that's the case, pick a few manageable strategies and stick with them.

Thanks Clint, AGAIN, for sage advice!

I may never be more than an amateur/technophobic painter. I am not on Facebook (YET) and I have a tiny list of newsletter subscribers. But my subscribers are the people who truly "like" my work and frequently tell me how much they appreciate reading about each painting.

Though my representation by galleries has shrunk this year, all my sales so far have been from subscribers, and all within two hours of my posting a new work! I do not expect this to happen on a regular basis, but it seems it IS the best way to reach those who really admire your work.

I will get braver (technologically speaking) as I become a better painter... at least that is one of my goals. But I feel I have my priorities straight and recent sales seem to back that up.

Thanks for all you do, always.

Liz Phillips

I'm relatively new to online sales, and expect to get my 1st newsletter out shortly. I've also recently started a blog. What's the best use of the newsletter? I've thought of it as a once-every-month-or-2 post to talk about what's happening - new developments in my work, upcoming shows, successes, etc. Should I use it a couple of times a week to post each new painting? Once every couple of weeks to show new work?

I know I hate a clogged inbox and am pretty quick to unsubscribe to something. Don't want to do this to my followers! What do you and others find most successful?

Amen! I couldn't imagine not having my email list. Without it, readers wouldn't know when I post new blog articles and artwork. Hoping people will just look up and/or return to your website is wishful thinking. An email newsletter keeps them connected to you and your art! Great reminder, Clint!

David McKay
Clint, I would love to have you on my newsletter list???

Walter Paul Bebirian
so far - I like the:

Get New Art Alerts

button - but do you think Clint - that this might be a little too difficult to see all the way down at the bottom of the page?

sandra duran wilson
This is the best thing about FASO. I have been sending a monthly newsletter for over a decade. I used to do outdoor art shows and would collect a lot of emails. A couple of years ago I stopped doing the shows and went with more gallery representation. The site I used to use didn't even have a newsletter option. I used a separate server. About the same time I switched over to FASO and I now get 1 to 4 new sign-ups a week! Thanks Clint for making it so easy.

Maureen Jistel
Clint, I did take your earlier post to heart and made a newsletter but it never appeared. I have myself as a recipient as well so I can be sure to see what they might look like.

I'll try again soon. Maureen

Julia Watson
Clint - you can always sign up for my newsletter. Right there on my FASO site, there's a Newsletter tab - go ahead and click on it!
But seriously, let me say I love the way your FASO Help team makes it easy to set up and modify anything on my site.
Julia Watson

Bartlett Harley
I'm a little resistant to this. I put a lot of effort keeping my website up to date. I post images on Facebook and Instagram. I put a lot of effort into my art business. In other words, I'm painting, I'm delivering work, picking up work. I'm designing, I'm selling, I'm invoicing and so on. To be honest, following me on Facebook is probably as good as it's going to get. I'm not in the business of writing about my art, I'm in the business of creating the art. So, for now, you want to see my work? Check out my website and or friend me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. That's it for now.

Luann Udell
Maureen Jistel, the FASO team is available to help you sort out your email newsletter issues. That's another reason I LOVE FASO websites, the tech team is really good!


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