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Newsletters...Trust Me, You Can Do This

by Marsha Robinett on 3/19/2010 3:09:16 PM

This post is by guest author, Marsha Robinett. This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.



What is it that keeps you from sending that newsletter?
  Is it a time factor? I certainly would never presume to tell you how to manage your time, but I will say this...your newsletter is one of your most important marketing tools. I would encourage you to make time.  One time saver would be to use a template.  If you don't have one, you can save your first newsletter and use that as a template or 'pattern' for your next newsletter. 

Perhaps you feel you can't write or don't know what to write about?  This isn't an English assignment...think of it as a letter to a friend. Your first newsletter will be the hardest. After that, each one will become easier and quicker.

First of all, lets get past the issue of not knowing what to write about.  You need a simple shift in mindset.  You need to understand - you are an authority on what you do.  You are an expert in your niche. 

Write about what you know. Tell them why you paint, what inspires you.  Write about the process, some of your subscribers will be other artists wanting to learn from you.  If you were recently in a show and won an award, tell them and perhaps include a picture.  Got an upcoming show...let them know.

You could include additional smaller photos of your work...a new painting or one from long ago. Do you have something you've been working on for awhile...tell them, entice them a little.  Give your subscribers an opportunity to purchase a piece at a special price.

Keep in mind you don't always have to talk about yourself or link to your own website.  Mention a great blog post you read recently and provide the link, or how about introducing them to another artist you admire? Lastly, invite them to forward your newsletter to a friend.

Now that we have that cleared up, lets talk about getting started.  First of all, include a "Grabber" photo of one of your pieces at the top of the page.  Now, tell them about it and leave a link back to your website so they can purchase.

This will get their attention and use up at least a third of that empty page :)  See your newsletter's already well on it's way!

Now for the "I can't write issue". Gone is the era of the traditional long-format email newsletter. This type of newsletter is out; short, resourceful, and to the point is in. Your subscribers will appreciate getting a quick update on your career, a few tips if they are artists, and perhaps a special offer just for them.

Consider yourself and the type of newsletter you enjoy receiving and how you read it...or don't. Short is good, in fact, short is better.  People are busy today and tend to go through their email in a hurry. 

If you can talk you can write...it's just that simple.  There is no need to anguish for hours over creating some perfectly formatted written piece to send out to your subscribers.  Remember, we're going to keep it short and concise...writing about what you do...with an occasional surprise just to keep them on their toes.

Learn to write in 'speak'...simply defined (write as if you were talking to them).  That takes all the formality out of the composition...what you say will instantly have a more friendly ring to it.  Your reader will feel more connected with you and what you have to say.  What you are writing becomes an intimate conversation.

Still lacking in confidence?...remember this. Your subscribers signed up for your newsletter because they want to know more about you, your art, and your thoughts. They have given you their vote of confidence and are waiting to hear from you.  So...what's stopping you?



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Backstory: About Clint. Email EditorTwitter. Republish. ]


Related Posts:

The Advantages to E-Newsletters

Are You Talking To Me?

Let Your Fans In


Topics: art marketing | artist website tips 

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 130 Comments

kohlene hendrickson
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Marsha,

Exactly what I needed to hear. You nailed it well when you said that people inscribe to your newsletter because they want to hear about you...then when I read that its the most powerful marketing tool, I instantly thought of all of the newsletters I get and I do read them!
I am finally convinced. Thank you.

Martha Faires
via fineartviews.com
Thanks, Marsha, for pricking my marketing conscience.

Reading your post reminded me of the composition class I taught last week. I was trying to illustrate the importance of parallelism and repetition as tools for organizing thought. What came to my mind were some of the same principles that I use to teach art---the value of unity and variety in a good composition.

I drew a rectangle full of random squiggles, no repetition of anything and asked how they liked it. “No way! Confusing!” Then I drew a rectangle full of straight vertical lines. “Boring.” Next I drew a rectangle filled with a variety of lines and shapes, but with repeating connecting forms. “That”™s better.” They could follow the visual and apply it to words.

Well-written paragraphs are little compositions of unity and variety of thought. If we think like an artist, we can think like a writer. We will just have to practice the pen as we practice the brush.

Charlotte Herczfeld
via fineartviews.com
Marsha, thank you, good article, as usual.

Anyone scared of writing a newsletter because they feel they're not good enough writers, well, think how you'd feel if English isn't your language, but a lot of your subscribers can only be reached in English. That's my reality, so your newsletters will be wonders of perfection compared to what I write!

Now, if I only could get more than half of the subscribers to even open the newsletter... not even talking about reading it! Funny thing is that only one percent has unsubbed. This was my fourth, I think.


Joanne Bernardini
via fineartviews.com
Newsletters can spread your message in a fun way. Adding a light or comedic side personalizes the newsletter and makes it feel less intimidating. Plus people are more likely to look forward to its arrival if it's not cut and dry.
Joanne Bernardini

Nancy Riedell
via fineartviews.com
The newsletter really works! It is easy to use. I especially like to see who opened it and who "unsubscribed" (so far, 2). But more importantly, I sold a piece within one week of sending out my first newsletter. Thanks for making it so easy to use!

Gina Buzby
via fineartviews.com
Another great article with specific suggestions. It will be printed and filed with my top fine art business articles. Thank you!

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Marsha, This is a great post; I congratulate you on sharing this information. Thank you!
Peace,
Helen Horn Musser

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Thanks so much for reminding everyone of the importance of the newsletter! I do use a template for a quick professional layout, and post several pictures in the newsletter. I have done and continue to do many of the things you have suggested! Recently, as a featured artist at a co-op gallery, I sold a couple of nice paintings to 2 friends who receive my newsletters. One area I have neglected is to encourage people to forward my newsletter to people who they feel might be interested. I have been sending one out every 2 months but it is loaded with brief news, events, shows and newly acquired work that I have purchased at the co-op gallery. I am considering sending them out more now that I have the hang of it better. I think the template makes the newsletter better than just a typed page with a picture or two!

Angela Baumgartner
via fineartviews.com
Marsha,

I really enjoyed your article. As a published writer, I agree with- write like you are speaking to a friend. As a relatively new artist- I love to hear what inspires other artists and even more so, about their technique in layman terms.

There is a new online magazine I write for that fashions itself after the NY Post- because of the friendly, personal and short articles. Recently I read a book on how to write funny. It said a lot of times people start cutting out things to sound like what they perceive a writer 'should' sound like and lose their own personal voice. Like you said, sound like yourself! That's the voice that sets them apart, the one that attracts people to them in the first place.

If anyone find they tend to do that, they might start talking into a microphone at their computer just like they are talking to a friend- or actually talk to a friend while they are recording and then type that up. Then others can benefit from their inspiration , resources or love of art (whatever they were sharing) in a way that comes alive with personal appeal.

Another way to establish yourself in your field- teach a class. If it's free and open to the public, so much the better. Then it's not self-serving and you learn about the process as you go along. I'm going to elaborate on this in two free classes I'm teaching at my public library- one for artists preparing for the market and the other for writers entering the market. I'm doing a trade with a videographer (for anniversary portraits) and then offer the classes and written material with resources and links online as e-books.

Glad to have read your article, and thankful for the chance to comment. Already met one really nice artist across the country from following a comment online. Thank you.


Karen Winters
via fineartviews.com
For me, this is a case of the shoemaker's children running unshod. I've been a writer all of my professional life, much longer than an artist. But when I am in painting mode, I don't think about the written word. This is a good reminder to keep my journal at the ready to write down notes of things to include in my newsletter.

Barbara Gerard-Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
I love sending my newsletters,and my subscribers love getting them. I try to get them involved, by asking them a question, like "what do you think?" or in someway letting become a part of the process. I usually get flooded with their responses. I try to send newsletters out about twice a month, depending on how much work I get done.

Carol McIntyre
via fineartviews.com
Monthly newsletters, even the old fashioned kind we sent out via USPS years ago, have been a part of my art marketing for several years. When I started out, I found it helpful to read and critique other newsletters, even non-art related.

I would suggest that you sign up for a couple artist's e-newsletters to glean ideas. You are welcome to sign up for mine at http:/paintingharmony.com and your feedback is always welcomed.

Marian Fortunati
via fineartviews.com
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON!!

Thanks for your always "spot on" thoughts, Marsha!

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Excellent article. I have begun using newsletters and it is amazing how much it accelerates your sales. Thanks for all the great ideas.

Diane Tasselmyer
via fineartviews.com
Marsha, I am getting on the newsletter bandwagon, but how often is it good to send?



Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
My marketing tip is to create a buzz about your work in almost anyway you have time to do.

Cooper
via fineartviews.com
Hi Marsha,
Thanks for another great article. I have a question to follow that with. Does anyone else have trouble with their newsletter being filtered (ie. sent to the spam folder) and how do we get around that? I send through my FASO website. I sent one about three weeks ago--my husband is on my mailing list so he can get a copy at the office, but their system filtered it out. I had a whopping 2/3 of my delivered newsletters go unopened. Assuming everyone has signed up because they want it, then why are so many unopened? Advice? Thanks.
Later, Cooper

myrle howell
via fineartviews.com
I agree with your comments on newsletters, but
one of the major problems is obtaining enough
e-mail addresses. What is the best way to get
enough addresses to make this a viable approach?

mhartist@hotmail.com

Marsha Robinett
via fineartviews.com
Wow!! Again, I'm so glad what I wrote had meaning to everyone. As I said, I believe many of you feel you either cant write or don't have anything to say. My goal was to stimulate your thought process and encourage you to give Newsletters a try.

The point I wanted to make is if you can talk you can write and if you're alive and moving...you have something to write about.

Several of you mentioned a template for your newsletter...if you are a FASO Artist, let us know and we can add a newsletter template to your control panel.

Those of you who are printing these articles for your files...what an honor.
-----------------------

Charlotte H,
You mentioned the desire for more 'opens' - just so you know, the opens are difficult to calculate because depending on how the recipient has their newsletter program set up...opens may not be counted. I depend more on how many 'unsubscribe'. I figure if they haven't unsubscribed they must be happy to receive my newsletter.

Joanne B,
I totally agree, keeping your newsletter light and informative is a good standard to strive for.

Karen W,
I totally understand it when you say when you are in the painting mode...writing goes by the way side. I struggle with this balance on a regular basis. I started a small notebook (as you suggested) for ideas...it does help.

Barbara G,
Absolutely, questions..whether on your blog or in your newsletter are always a good thing.

Carol M,
Great idea..signing up for the newsletters of other artists. Seeing what others are doing in your field is like having a private mentor. I have learned much from other artists.

Diane,
You ask how often you should send your newsletter? I send mine once a month. When I was showing at art fairs during the summer months I occasionally sent an extra issue. (esp. if I won an award!!) You need to do what is comfortable for you. There are no hard fast rules for this.

Perhaps someone else will have a comment on this issue.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
I too, have encountered the problem of some of my newsletters getting filtered as spam. My subscriber opening rate is around 50 percent. I think people just don't open them on a daily basis.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
I agree about buzzing your artwork to anyone. I tell and/or show anyone that will listen. Some of my best customers are people you would least suspect! Many times my co-workers are some of my greatest clients.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Exactly Spencer, I retired in May from teaching art/drama for 34 years. So many teachers were my best customers. I use to take artwork to school to show in which I planned to enter in competition to get their critique. I would even have a one day show of new works for my students and the teachers/administration to peruse. You sound like me by telling or showing anyone that will listen. Don't be bashful!!

Bryan Mark Taylor
via fineartviews.com
I sent out my first newsletter and got a good response. You comments will help me improve the next one.

Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
Thanks for a great post. I need to start a newsletter and this gives me a direction to work toward.

Debra Russell
via fineartviews.com
Thanks for setting up my template for me Marsha. I just finished writing my first newsletter just as you posted this! I will send it out the first of next week after I add 2 pages of new emails I collected at our last gallery stroll. I plan on having copies of my newletter at our next stroll in May and a sign up sheet next to it.
I really like your idea of asking the recipient to forward it to a friend.
Does anyone have a good idea for some kind of giveaway, drawing, incentive....that they have used successfully?

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Hi Tuva,
I'm fast learning to boldly promote my work. I think it is key that you believe in your own work.

It's good to know I'm not the only artist who has to subsidize is art with a paying job. LOL

Marsha Robinett
via fineartviews.com
I thought I would elaborate a bid more in depth about the illusive OPEN portion of your stats. First to explain this a bit..."Opened" means someone actually opened the email rather than reading it in the "preview pane." So tracking "open" rates is not a perfect science.

Not all opens are able to be tracked for a lot of reasons including image blockers, and preview panes. Also, text versions of the newsletter can't have a tracker embedded so if the client prefers plain text we can't track open rates.

Although I'm aware of this..I too look at those OPENED stats and wish for a higher number:) I think it's kind of human nature we feel if it is not opened then they didn't read it and that simply is not necessarily so.
---------------------

Myrle H,
There are several ways to acquire email addresses. The first being a subscribe link on your navigation bar. You could entice with a gift offer somewhere on your main page,(I did this at one time). If you show your art have a 'guest' book that includes a place for email address. When you make a sale or even just answer questions...ask if they would like to be on your mailing list.

Perhaps others have some ideas for you as well.

Cooper and Spencer,
The SPAM question is asked often. The fact is this...Some email providers have a filter setting that junks email with images - this would include your newsletter as it is HTML (which it must be in order to include formatting and images)

Cooper, in regard to the one you send your husband at work..most work places block photos which automatically sends the email to spam. I had to send my brothers to his home because his work place 'locks' the spam folder.

In either case, there aren't any changes you can make on your end to prevent your newsletter being classified as spam for certain subscribers.

I know this isn't the perfect answer but the fact is...email is just not as dependable as we all would like to believe. Many times 'if' and 'how' it is received depends on variables we the sender cannot control.

Sharon Weaver
via fineartviews.com
Whenever I send out my newsletter I get an instant spike in my stats so I know that it is getting people to come to my website and I guess I am lucky because most of my emails show that they are opened.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Debra, I posted on FB to my friends if they subscribed to my TUVART newsletter they could possibly win a set of note cards of my new work. That helped to kick off my website. I am thinking of doing that again but give away a small matted watercolor painting.

Casey Craig
via fineartviews.com
I try to send out newsletters about every 3 months. Lately, I've been doing demos for my galleries and for that I send a separate e-invite, so I end up sending out something about every other month. Since my career has been more active, I may go to a monthly soon.

If you aren't in galleries or winning awards. Promote where you are hanging, even if it is at your local coffee shop. Include a photo of what is hanging and have it link back to your website. Even if you are in a co-op gallery let people know that when you brought in new work.

Post new work and include some insight into what inspired you. Just these 2 things can fill up a first newsletter.

Always ask permission from your friends before you put them on your email list. Neighbors, hairstylists, dog trainers, accountants, financial planners and of course your collectors.

Debra Russell
via fineartviews.com
Wonderful idea Tuva !!! I will try it this month and let you know if it worked for me!

Cooper
via fineartviews.com
Hi Marsha,
Thanks for your reply. One more question please? I think maybe I set myself up. My recent newsletter was an "audio" version, with images and text pages in sync to music. (I put the link on my website menu as well) Yeah, if I do say so myself, it was pretty dang cool :) But all this was published via youtube, which means I used my FASO newsletter template just to announce the newsletter had been published and gave them the youtube link. If people saw that in the preview pane, can I assume that most people would go right to the link rather than open? I guess I don't understand yet how much is available for viewing in a preview pane. Ha! This must be the downside of a FASO website---it makes it so easy for us computer illiterates to do things way beyond our understanding! But it's cool and fun so we do :) Thanks for the help Marsha.
Cooper

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Tuva,
Great idea, the small giveaway. It doesn't cost me as the artist very much and can reap great rewards. I am at the end of a painting a day project that has been very successful. One of my clients works at the local college and asked politely if I'd donate a very, very small piece of work as a door prize for a senior citizen program. She didn't want to impose. I told her to pick one of any of the unsold painting a day pieces. She did and has since put it in fliers, running ads on the radio and put it on the college website. What she is doing is worth far more as advertising than the $50 I would have gotten for it through a sale.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Cooper is right. FASO has done all the work for us artists, which frees us up to create. I had a question I've yet to pose to the FASO team. Perhaps someone can help. I was wondering if I can create multiple subscriber lists? I'm wanting to do some series paintings, pocket knives, old cars, marbles, etc. I'd like to be able to target people I know are interested in pocket knives without bugging the people that I know aren't interested in that subject. Any thoughts? Anyone?

Charlotte Herczfeld
via fineartviews.com
Marsha, thanks for the replies on 'Open', makes sense, and I send the text version too. So, it is smart to ask people for their *home* email, and not their job one!

I'm with Spencer, I'd *love* to be able to sort the list and send to selected people only. Like my last one (fourth newsletter, not very experienced yet), it was all about my show in my country, so I wrote in my language, but it went to all my English speaking subscribers too, so I wrote a short note in English, promising both languages in the next newsletter.

Seriously, these 100 paintings in 100 days things are very popular (or 30 in 30), but maybe not all on the list want to get a daily update. Can't ask them to unsub, as it will take much more effort for them to re-sub, and we all know it is harder to regain a subscriber than to keep them.

Ah, the wish-list can become very long... :-) So I'll stop here.


Carol McIntyre
via fineartviews.com
There are a few more of us that would like that feature, so please ask them.

Thanks!

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Carol,
I have submitted a question to FASO about how to create multiple, focused subscriber listings. Hopefully, they will come back with a solution. I told them it would be best to respond in Clint's daily newsletter.

Marsha Robinett
via fineartviews.com
OK guys..those of you asking about sending your newsletter to multiple lists. I know this has been requested by others in the past and our programmers are aware of this need. Some of the things we look at as being easy, apparently from a 'developmemt' point are a bit more involved than one would think.

The option to send to a select group is expected in the future, as the new version of the newsletter is in beta phase, and thus still being developed.' However, I have no promise of a time frame.

The office is closed for the weekend but I will inquire the first of the week and let you know what I find out.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,
I like what you did with donating the work and some great advertising took place without you doing anything! Wow, that was great! I may have to try the small paintings deal. I recently did sale a couple of abstract cropped/great composition pieces at a reception at a co-op gallery. One of my friends loved her "piece of artwork". I just may have to offer a deal on my website! Thanks!


Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
I enjoyed reading this article and all the comments, artists are so creative beyond the art, we are creative writers too.
I have an idea that might keep our newsletters out of the spam folders. Put links only to our images in our newsletter so they go to the website and see our paintings plus the description and price. Maybe even have a PayPal button to buy it now on the description page.

I was at a meeting the other day for a volunteer position and the president of the organization said that one woman would place large images in the newsletter and it took forever to download them into their email browser.
If there is not any images, just links to them, they will not go to the spam folders maybe. My email service keeps all my newsletters and just offers an option to click and download the images.
I hate writing newsletters, but I consider it a necessary marketing act. I see half are opened and I do get some pleasurable responses sometimes. It makes it worth it.
I like the idea of Tuva`s to ask for subscribers and offer a free set of art cards. Great ideas here, it keeps me reading these FASO articles. The one about a guestbook is very advantageous, I am out painting a lot and can pull out my sketchbook for passerbys to sign if they stay and chat awhile. I did have one man offer his email address and sold him a small piece right after. It connectivity working it`s web like a spider, a nice, friendly spider.

Monte Wilson
via fineartviews.com
Marsha: Wonderful article and spot on. Enjoyed reading it.

Cooper
via fineartviews.com
Esther, You are probably right about the "no images, only links" in the newsletter. My concern with that would be, people sign up for my newsletter because of what I create visually---I've won no literary awards :) There are some of us who only check out the library books with great pictures in them! So if it's a trade-off between getting an appealing newsletter out to some of the people or a boring newletter to most of the people, I guess I'll opt for the first. Who said technology was quick and easy, anyway?!
Later, Cooper

Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Excellent advise! This one's a keeper and I'll store this article to keep on to and refer to when I'm ready to begin my newsletter. I'm waiting until such a time when I have a little more news to offer, perhaps a couple of weeks before my first solo show which begins in June. It would be a great ice breaker for the newsletter and part of my advertisement. Thanks Marsha!

Clint Watson
via fineartviews.com
@cooper - a couple of things - a couple of weeks ago our email delivery partner had an issue with another customer who engaged in some spamming activity and there were deliverablility problems for a couple of days (the offender was not a faso customer, has been banned from the system, and all IP addresses are cleared by all ISPs again), that might be why your husband's system filtered your letter. Regarding open rates - an open rate of 1/3 is pretty darn good. Open rates are not exact because a lot of people view message in plain text and the system can't track those opens. Also, a lot of email systems block the downloading of images and since open rates are usually tracked with invisible images, that can make the open rate look lower than it really is. In the end, I tend to track sales more than rates like that anyway.

Teddy Jackson
via fineartviews.com
Marsha and Clint:
Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful resources provided to us through FASO.
Marsha, this is another great article - concise and to the point.
If a visitor signs up for the newsletter is there a way for them to view the earlier newsletters?
I will be requesting the FASO template for my next newsletter.
Thanks,
Teddy

Marsha Robinett
via fineartviews.com
Teddy,
It's good to know you found this article easy to understand and useful. The importance of sending newsletters is huge and I know not everyone is comfortable with writing. I wanted those people to know they could accomplish this.

You ask about a Template for your next newsletter. We would be most happy to add that to your control panel for you.

As for a way your viewers can read your past newsletters...This is in the works for later this year I believe.

Until then, there are a couple of different ways for you as a FASO artist to display your most recent news letters on your website. If you would like to do this now...let us know and we would be happy to send you some instructions or help you with the set up.

Teddy Jackson
via fineartviews.com
Marsha:
Thanks for your prompt response. I would like the instructions for displaying the newsletter on my website. Do I need to request that through the support function? I hope to have my latest newsletter ready in the next few days.
I just requested the format.
All this TLC is just terrific.
Thanks again,
Teddy

Marsha Robinett
via fineartviews.com
Teddy,
I will add this latest request to the support ticket you just sent in. The will include some ideas and instructions for you.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
hi Teddy and Marsha, I wwas not aware there is an extra page to post a newsletter on my website. Would also, like to hear more about that.
Helen

Marsha Robinett
via fineartviews.com
Helen,
There isn't an actual page for displaying your newsletter on your website available at this time. The ability to view past issues is expected in the future.

For now...you can create a page to display your last couple of issues for your viewers to read. It can be done in a couple of different ways. One is by using one of the free form pages, the other requires a little custom work.

If you are interested in doing this let tech support know and they will let you know your options and send you some instructions.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
That would be terrific! Thank you, Marsha

Teddy Jackson
via fineartviews.com
Thanks again, Marsha. I am anxious to try out the format as my newsletter is almost ready to go.
Teddy

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Hello Marsha, I would like both the newsletter template and the instructions to add a page to see archived newsletters. I think if people have a chance to read former newsletters, they might want to sign up to see future ones. That`s if I put a link to sign up on the same page.
I was painting yesterday in a wilderness park and a lady who was a member of the wilderness organization stopped by to say hello. I asked if she wanted to be on my email list rather precariously only to see she was extremely delighted to be asked so she could keep up with my events and art. So, it doesn't hurt to ask they say.

myrle howell
via fineartviews.com
So far everything I have read has not revealed
how to obtain e-mail addresses so that you can have a sufficient number to make a newsletter worthwhile. Where's the answer to this question. I wrote this as a question in my first response to you. Until I can hear a valid answer to it I will just consider your initial posting as a type of spam, or someother type of annoyance.

Clint Watson
via fineartviews.com
Myrle - you can't just "obtain" email addresses. You have to provide an ongoing campaign of interesting information that "entices" people VOLUNTARILY to join your list. If you just obtain email addresses and send newsletter - *that's* spam. The place to start is by inviting everyone your personally know to be on your newsletter list.

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Clint, while you are chiming in, can you tell me if it is better to have just a link to images in the newsletter or is that not a good idea? I was thinking of that so the newsletter doesn`t get placed into the spam folder. But maybe it`s the senders email that get's it tossed there anyway. So, is it best to have small or medium size images in the newsletter to show latest works to avoid long download time? I think the artist can benefit by showing what`s straight from the easel to the subscribers.


Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Myrle,
I just sent out a newsletter to 50 people. These are all people who are interested in learning news about what is going on in my art world. Competitions, awards, receptions, new works, works that have sold, new art acquired, gallery information,etc. I asked people on facebook and in person to subscribe from FASO website if they were interested in knowing more about my work. I do not just copy and paste my personal email list. I do ask at the end of the newsletter to forward to anyone that they might be interested in my newsletter. I hope you find this helpful.


Karen Winters
via fineartviews.com
I find that the shows that I do are also great places to collect addresses for email newsletters.

Debra Russell
via fineartviews.com
I think I mentioned a few days ago I put a list out at my shows. I've found people don't automatically sign up for it, I have to enter into a conversation with them and ask them to join my email list. I also promise them it will not be more than once a month and if they don't want to receive future issues they can always unsubscribe.
I've found that most people that are interested enough to be at an art show are delighted to get new images every month.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Clint,
If 1/3 open rate is good, then I'm thrilled with mine. I'm averaging about 50 percent rate of opening. Not always the same subscribers, but a variety. Clint thanks for working so hard on behalf of artists.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Marsha, can you include me in the list of individuals wanting to know how to allow our subscribers to view past newsletters? Thanks

Poppy Balser
via fineartviews.com
As always this has been very informative. I have just begun a newsletter in 2010 and am aiming for every 2 weeks. I found both the article helpful and also helpful to hear other artist's experiences with their newsletter.

Myrle, you have not defined how many people you consider to be enough for it to be worthwhile. I had to start somewhere, so I published my first newlsetter with 12 subscribers. I have worked to grow it from there by contacting friends and aquantainces who are interested in art. As time allows I shall spread out my circle of invitiations to others whom I know. And I end every newsletter with an invitation for the reader to circulate it to their friends, complete with a link to make subscription easy.

Hope this helps.
Poppy

Debra Russell
via fineartviews.com
Marsha...maybe you'd better do a post on it...I need to know, also!


Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Fellow FASO posters, I do not know if Myrle is a real person. I clicked on their link and got a window that asked if I had permission to open a @hotmail link. I do not open unknown links for fear of contracting a virus into my computer. Beware unless you are familiar with this person posting. They might have been a spammer or hacker. I could be wrong but they haven`t come back and posted.


myrle howell
via fineartviews.com
Still haven't heard anyone tell me how they obtain the necessary e-mail addresses to make a newsletter viable.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Hey Myrle,
I think the simplest way and the legitimate way is to ask people. Friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers. As long as you have their permission you should be on solid ground. What I've discovered is that no one should be excluded from asking. The most unsuspecting people often turn out to be my best customers. I just went through a fifty day painting a day project and the bulk of my purchasing subscribers were people I work with in my day job as well as neighbors and friends. As these people were pleased with their purchases they spread the word and others signed up. I've gotg pictures that I shipped to Ohio, Hawaii, even Texas. If I was at a show I would ask people if they would like to be on my subscriber list. I hope this helps answer your question. Thanks

Marsha Robinett
via fineartviews.com
Debra, both you and Spencer requested instructions for displaying you newsletters on your site.

I wish I could include them here, but if any of our FASO artists are interested in these instructions they need to be requested through tech support.

All your websites are different. This will insure the assistance you receive is genuinely tailored for you, your needs, and your website setup.


Debra Russell
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Marsha. I'll contact them for help. They are also quick to respond and extremely helpful.

Clint Watson
via fineartviews.com
Debra, Spencer - we are making some big announcements soon (FASO). I don't want to give too much away here - but let me just say this - part of the announcements is going to be a new feature that displays an archive of past newsletters on your FASO website.

Clint Watson
via fineartviews.com
Follow up - Debra, Spencer - these are features that are finished and are in testing, so by soon, I mean probably before the end of March.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Clint,
You are just making your customers love "our" website more and more with the much anticipated announcement about archiving our newsletters plus more I am sure. Thanks!!!!!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Myrle,
Spencer is right about asking people if they would like to subscribe. I give out business cards and ask them to check out my website and subscribe to my newsletter if they like. My first sales came from close friends that made their decision to purchase my work after seeing my work on the website. When you create that buzz, the subscribers can even making you create a better newsletter. I sent out my newsletter yesterday to almost 60 instead of 50 people. The number increased by 10 while I was working on the letter. In the newsletter I encouraged everyone to forward the newsletter to those that might be interested. One lady I know that has a lot of art connections has a long list of people in which she announces art happenings. This should boost more interest. It is exciting to see the list grow!!!!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Oh Esther,
I think you are right about Myrle...

Debra Russell
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Clint. I'll look forward to that.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
I looked up Myrle Howell - there is a real artist by that name.

What I do appreciate here is that so many of you shared info about how you get names for your email list, and we can all benefit from this info.


Barbara Gerard-Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, How exciting for you to see your list growing. I too am at over 50 subscribers and getting ready to shoot off another newsletter this week. I had planned on asking my subscribers to forward to friends who are interested. Also having a museum show in Montana this spring and hope to collect many more. My subscribers love getting the newsletter, as I add a little story to the painting. Anyway, I can hear your enthusiasm at gaining ten more. That's a huge leap! Congrads!

Barbara Gerard-Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Im working on an idea...I'd like to make a small amount of post cards with an image of one of my paintings on it. I will then go through my address book of people who have purchased my art, so I can update them and thank them again. I can then encourage them to check out my website,,etc. etc. These are hand written (the old way) addresses of which I have no idea what their emails would be. Good idea???? Or a waste of time and effort? I guess you never know till you try. Has anyone out there done this?

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Great idea! I sent out note cards with images of my art work on them in December thanking everyone formally for buying my work that. They were handwritten and heartfelt words. I even sent one special information owned the pair of mules in a painting that was purchased. Recently at a reception the couple said they attached the information to the back of the painting in an envelope including personal correspondence I received from the original owner of the pair of mules. A commission is in the works from the same people. Anytime you can reach out to your "peeps", it is an excellent idea. It makes you feel good also.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Barbara, just take every opportunity to obtain info from interested people in receiving your newsletter. I am thinking about "whipping out" a small note pad and "saying feel free to sign-up for my newsletter" when talking to someone. Oh, I just remembered I have several business cards from the last show that several people gave me to be put them on the list!!!! I must add them!!!!

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Great news about the new FASO! Thanks Clint

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, did you mean real live mules? You received two as a gift? I love it!

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, scratch that, I reread it very slowly. My eyes are flitting across every other word this morning! But I think getting two mules still is a kick if it happened!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I would not know what to do with a pair of real mules, Esther!! I did hate to see that "painting" of the mules sell however...(sigh)!

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, I know what you mean about hating to see a painting go. I was experiencing those feelings yesterday, I get so attached to some of my paintings. My husband has his favorite ones also, he instructed me never to sell.
Hey, I went to a Mule Days weekend in Bishop, CA several times and they are so cute, you just want to trailer some up and bring them home to the metropolitan area. Trouble! I have a favorite picture of two mules sticking their heads out a stall, I have wanted to paint it one day. If I can find it I will email you a pic of it.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
The title of my March newsletter is ART BRINGS JOY. I have a couple of stories about 2 paintings that I sold on the same day at our co-op gallery that is bringing so much joy to people that purchased them. It is very rewarding to have that feeling of making others happy because of your artwork.

I am beginning to receive responses to my newsletter I sent yesterday. I really like the comments, suggestions, and questions. It is like a little network going on!

If you can find the pic of the mules that would be great. People love mules especially in Tennessee!



Tonya
via fineartviews.com
Thank you for that much need kick in the pants!LOL

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Can't wait Clint. FASO is the most awesome art website I've ever seen. Honestly, I can't adequately express to you how much your web hosting service and your advice has rocketed my art career forward.

I just yesterday finished up a fifty day painting a day project. I sold 36 of the 50 paintings for $50 each. That was the best time I've ever had painting. Your article on Brian Kliewer gave me the idea and all the writing about newsletters I've applied and it WORKS! Anybody that is reading this, read it again....NEWSLETTERS WORK! In a huge way.

Teddy Jackson
via fineartviews.com
Clint:
Thanks so much for continuing to improve to wonderful features of FASO. I am always proud to tell people about FASO and encourage them to give it a try. I feel so fortunate to have been referred by one of my painting buddies almost two years ago.
We appreciate you,
Teddy

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,
Please tell us more about 50 paintings project!

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Hi Tuva,
I joined FASO toward the end of January. Read everything I could. On February 1st I started Project 50. I don't claim any level of originality for the idea. I read Clint's article "I'm Not Surprised Your Art Isn't Selling . . .". Within that article I read another article about Brian Kliewer's 100 paintings for 100 days for $100. I realize the idea didn't originate with Brian. From what I understand the Painting A Day concept goes back to 2004 to Duane Keiser. Now, having given credit where credit is due I'll answer your question (or tell you more about Project 50)http://spencermeagherfineart.com/collections/25538.

1. I analyzed my personal situation and modified these two guys ideas to fit my own situation.

2. I studied who would most likely be on my subscriber list.

3. What size watercolor I felt I could complete on a daily basis.

4. I gave careful consideration to how much I could charge and have a high level of sales without shorting myself for my time.

5. I gave myself two weeks lead time to line up reference material to paint so I wouldn't get in a bind each day trying to come up with something interesting.

6. I tried to make sure I had a LARGE variety of subject matter.

My focus was to produce high quality art that would maintain subscriber interest. In the end, which was March 22, 2010 I sold 36 of the fifty paintings for $50 each. I charged $10 shipping. For local sales that didn't require shipping I would frame them up for the same $10. Clients loved that.

I donated one to the local college for a senior citizen event door prize. In return I got fliers/radio/website advertising.

February 1st my subscriber list was 67 people. When Project 50 ended I think I had 129 good subscribers. Not a bad increase.

Something I have learned is that the project generated a lot of momentum that I can't afford to let slip. I have to come up with something new and innovative to hold the old subscribers attention and generate new interest.

Well, that's my story. It was a great success. Made me a good chunk of change and gained me a bunch of followers.

I'll say it again NEWSLETTERS WORK!


Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Spencer, those mini watercolors are awesome! You did well! Congrats!

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Esther! That's very kind of you. I did notice my work improving and changing over the course of the project. It taught me a lot of discipline.

Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Spencer, those are pretty amazing results! Congratulations on your project having gone so well. You certainly put a lot of though into it and were well organized to take on the challenge.

Diane Tasselmyer
via fineartviews.com
Marsha, I definately think that after one creates a few newsletters it becomes easier and easier.

And "speak of the devil" it is time for me to do another one.

Thank you for your article.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,
You have so inspired me with your detail explanation about the 50 paintings project! I went to your website and quickly looked at all of them. I am going back later to read the story about each. I am thinking about doing a 30 day project! I think I will only mat/double mat but not frame mine. I am going to start gathering some references/subjects. I was really impressed!
This was not only a way for 36 people to own one of your pieces of artwork but I am sure it made you grow as an artist! It was a win-win situation not to mention the extra money!

Thanks for sharing!



Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Esther for the nice compliment. I really enjoyed painting the project 50 watercolors.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Tuva,
Thank you for the great compliment. To think my efforts inspire anyone makes me want to work harder.

I did notice a big difference in the quality of my work. It also forced me to paint and be done with it. Not dilly dally around and hang on to a work for days, weeks or months. It had to go and had to be the best I could deliver.

Do the thirty days and you won't regret it.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Carol,
I am very pleased with the results. The results were as good as I could hope for. Now the challenge is to come up with something new and interesting. I'm open to any and all ideas.

Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
I'm sure you'll come up with something great. You've got some beautiful paintings on there, so no wonder you did so well!

Poppy Balser
via fineartviews.com
Barbara,

I do not think that your time would be wasted reaching out to the people who have bought your art in the past. They are after all, your ideal target as they already have proven that they value your work. I am working on sending out cards to people who have bought my art at one of our local "paint the town" auction-fundraiser events. I thank them for their purchase and offer a sucscription to my newsletter. As I have just started, I cannot tell you the response rate.

Poppy

Poppy Balser
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,

Your little watercolours are lovely. I found a similar result as I was working on a series of small (5 x 7") watercolours to experiment with on ebay. I could see the improvement looking back over the paintings I had done. I was focusing mostly on sailboats as they were a popular subject and found that the focus allowed me to improve quickly. I have been toying with the idea of doing a run of painting a day paintings for my local audience who are often asking about smaller pieces. It is good to hear that your experiment was so successful. Also helpful to hear that I would have to have a followup plan to come after it.

Poppy

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Hey Poppy,
Thanks for the encouragement. I too, noticed an improvement in my work. I think it is the old adage "practice, practice, practice".

Barbara Gerard-Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Poppy, I'm working on that as we speak. I just got a pile of addresses here, and first thing tomorrow, I will sort through them. I'm ordering a small batch of cards with my artwork on front and send them out. I'm hoping to get some kind of response from this.

Charlotte Herczfeld
via fineartviews.com
Spencer, for a new idea, I've heard of peope (sorry, no link, can't remember names either) who let the followers suggest what to paint. Engaged the followers a lot, and many bought *their* suggestion. Cranks the challenge up a gear, but also the activity and interest.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Charlotte, You've got the goods; great idea!

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Charlotte, inviting suggestions was one of the things I did in my newsletter to draw interest from the subscribers. One of the most unique suggestions was to paint Sock Monkey's. As I shared that idea with other subscribers I had no less than four people tell me they wanted the first sock monkey painting. In the end I painted two and sold both within one hour and the first went within five minutes of being posted on the website. Moral of the story? Listen to your subscribers and involve them.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,I loved the sock monkey paintings! I really like the idea of people making suggestions for the painting projects. I thought about painting several ahead of time because things come up where I may not be able to paint every day.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
You know, Tuva. Painting A Day purists my balk at that idea, but I think the goal is to provide "A" painting a day for your subscribers, not necessarily require that the artist paint a new painting everyday. For example, my mother-in-law has been hospitalized for the last two and a half weeks. Much of that time is in a hospital 75 miles away. Though I did manage to get one out everyday, there were many nights that I didn't start painting until 8:30 or 9 at night and the newsletter one night went out at 11:56.

There was two night I remember, when I couldn't sleep well, I got up at 2:30 in the morning and painted til 4.

I think it's OK to paint a few ahead. Just don't squash the spirit of the project. Remember, it does you as the artist as much good as it does your subscribers.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Spencer, I love your dedication; you will be a master soon, if not already.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Helen,
Ever since I was a kid the only thing I really wanted was to succeed with my art. Unfortunately, I have lacked discipline, and other things, such as raising a family, have gotten in the way.

I'm at a stage of my life where I am ready to commit to my art. Full speed ahead.

As I've said before, FASO was the best thing to happen to my art. The writers and editors have given me instruction, motivation and the ideas to move forward. I just have to keep working at it.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,
I agree also that FASO has been a wonderful experience. I have decided I might try to work on my newsletter as I think of things to add to it instead of trying to create all an once. I have already created a special edition to announce my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Project but I won't send it out until late April.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Working on it as you think of stuff to add is good. With the painting a day thing I sent mine out everyday. Be aware, if you send out daily you might go over your alotted monthly amount of newsletters. I just hit 3000 for march. I had to pay a small fee to send out todays newsletter.

Tell me more about your 30 day project. Size? Price? etc.

Debra Russell
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Spencer and Tuva for your input on "painting a day" projects. I've been thinking of doing something similar after reading about Brian Kliewer's project on FASO. This helps me narrow down what I really want to accomplish with this adventure! One of the long time art festivals I have shown at just got canceled this year and many of my yearly sales came from the clients that visited me there evey year. I'm adapting this project to that list of people to still keep me on their minds in June. Hopefully I will come out with a few more emails from them passing the newletter on to their friends. I may send out a preliminary postcard in May...asking those clients I don't have emails for to go online and sign up.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Debra and Tuva,
I've begun the next step in generating interest in my art. Not sure what to expect.

I've placed the first unsold Project 50 watercolor on Ebay. Started it at $1.00 just to make it interesting. That was yesterday. today it has 8 bids and is at $26.00. I put it on for five days. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemanditem=260576013301andssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:US:1123 is the link for it on Ebay.

I put it on for five days. We'll see what develops. I've got a total of twelve that I'll put on there.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Spencer, This sounds exciting, please, keep us all informed the results.
Helen

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Helen, Will do. I'm pleased with the interest so far, but expect the excitement to begin in the last few hours like most auctions. Hope I'm not disappointed.

monte wilson
via fineartviews.com
Nice website Spencer...beautiful paintings! Which one did you put on ebay. Followed the link but it gave me an error message...

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Monte,

Arch Rock, Mackinac Island, Michigan. I visited there last summer. So much stuff to paint there. I've probably painted 8 or 10 from that trip.

monte wilson
via fineartviews.com
Spencer: My favorite is The Colors of Freedom. Beautiful!

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
I like that one too, I donated that to the local college as a door prize for a senior citizen event. The college chose that one because they felt the patriotic theme would speak to the seniors.

Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
Spencer, I couldn't find your painting on Ebay by the link, either. What is the name of your painting? Love your work.

Poppy Balser
via fineartviews.com
Spencer, I would be interested too in seeing your painting.

I have been experimenting with ebay, too. It seems to me that you are doing really well with this auction. Especially as in my research of sales on ebay I found that the majority of art listed there does not sell at all. 8 bids in the early days of an auction is great! Here's hoping you see a lot of bidding in the last few hours too!

I have been following advice given by Graeme Smith of www.myartcareer.com. Some of you may have read his articles in International Artist. He offers a variety of packages through his site, one of which being a module on ebay sales. I have found it to be quite a useful module, it saved me a lot of time in figuring out how the site worked.

Poppy

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Hi Judy,
I think because of the length, it may not cut and paste correctly. I'll try again. The name of the painting is Arch Rock, Mackinac Island, MI.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemanditem=260576013301andssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:US:1123

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Poppy,
Thanks for the information on Ebay. I'm new to it, kind of feeling my way through the dark. I'll keep you guys updated how it goes. I'll be adding another painting in a day or two. here is the link to Arch Rock, Mackinac Island, MI.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemanditem=260576013301andssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:US:1123

Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
Thanks, Spencer. I just went to see it. Arch Rock is beautiful! Good luck on your sales.

Poppy Balser
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,

I found your painting on ebay, even thought the link did not work. Thanks for giving the title, that helped me find it. Lovely painting, btw. When you copy the link to share with us, are you by any chance signed in to your ebay account? To provide a link for general use, sign out from ebay, search your item, bring it up and then copy the address in your browser bar and share that with others. There may be an easier way to do it but this works for me (I am technologically challenged, thank goodness for the people at FASO!)

Hope this helps!

Poppy

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Poppy,
You may be right. I hadn't thought about being logged in to Ebay. I'll watch that with the next one and see if thats the problem.

83 visits so far. I'm thinking that's pretty good. I'm kind of figuring this out as it unfolds. Hoping the bidding gets fired up soon.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
I'm sure it will get going soon; your work is very good

Yvonne Ham
via faso.com
Wonderful article Marsha! I gleaned all the comments and cut and pasted them in a document titled Newsletter Pointers! There is such a long discussion going. Maybe FASCO might consider a forum for artists to brainstorm ideas. I would love to have all this on a forum. Definitely going to request a newsletter template as this is what has held me back.

Carrie Turner
via faso.com
Yvonne,

FASO does have a forum.

http://faso.com/forum

You can discuss ideas, ask questions, make suggestions to improve FASO...however it works best for you.










 

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