A mailing list is one of those things that is often overlooked by many artists. Many may feel they are too complicated to setup and maintain - or they do not have time to pursue a list. The truth is, though it may take a bit of effort to build, the mailing list, if used right, can be the best thing an artist ever did for their art career.
There are services available online for email management such as Aweber, but the one we will be talking about is free: Mail Chimp. This site is a great way to learn how to create an email list without any risk.
MailChimp has a limit of 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails per month for free users!
Just think about it. Many of the people who are regular visitors of an art site are probably people who know or follow the artist. But others may randomly venture onto the website, and have a genuine interest in the artwork, but may leave forgetting to bookmark the page. With millions of artists on the internet, they may never find the site again. This is why I have stressed the importance of social networking and having links to a Facebook page, Twitter, and Google+ profile on a portfolio website. The visitor can follow an artist from whatever place they are familiar with.
Having a form to capture names and email addresses will give the artist much more control. If an exhibition is coming up, an artist will not have to wait and hope for visitors to return to their art website to learn about it. Just send out an email to the mailing list.
Once you use a mailing list for awhile you will be hooked and wish you did this long ago. Why? Because you will be marketing your art to a targeted group of art buyers and contacts. These are the people who follow and buy from you. If done right, this is where most of your art sales will come from.
Please review the previous post in this series before moving on:
Why Artists Should Create a Newsletter
Signing up with MailChimp.com
- Go on over to MailChimp.com
- Hit the big Signup Free button.
- Enter an email, username, and password, then click Get Started.
- Go to the email you entered and you should receive an activation email. If you cannot see it, check your spam folder. Click the activate your account button in the email.
- A page opens up. Enter the captcha message here, and click confirm signup.
- Next, login to your new MailChimp account using the username and password created. Check the remember me box, unless on a public computer. Also, it may be a good idea to bookmark that signin page.
- On the next page , enter a security question to help protect your MailChimp account. Fill in optional details, such as your name, address , and website. This will be included in all email footers you send out to your list. Set your time zone and check the box to subscribe to MailChimp bootcamp to receive a series of instructional emails on learning how it all works. Click the Save and Get Started button, then hit the Lets Go button on the next page.
Making an Email List
An email list is needed to collected the email addresses and names of people who signup for your newsletter.
- Click the Create a List button on the left. Enter all the information to setup your new list.
- Set Up Your New List
Enter a name for your list, default from name, default reply to email, subject, and fill in the section to Remind people how they got on your list. If unsure of what to put in here, you can always come back and update it later.
- Optionally check the boxes below if you want to be notified when someone subscribes or unsubscribes.
- Check the box to allow users to choose an email format, either plain text, HTML, or mobile.
- Click Save at the bottom.
- Now your list is ready, but if you already have a group of people who have opted into your list, enter them here under Import and Add People. Add people allows you to add individuals who have signed up at art fairs and exhibitions. Make sure you make it clear to them on the signup list that they will be added to an email list so that there will be no problems later.
The Website Signup Form
Mailchimp.com allows the creation of a signup form that can be directly embedded in a website or blog. This will help to gather the names and emails of your website visitors, so you can keep them up to date with your artwork, and entice them to keep returning to your website.
- Click Design Signup Forms at the left to begin creating an embeddable signup form.
- Click Auto-Design at the top to let Mailchimp check your website for images and colors, so that the form will match. If you don’t like the result, change it on the Design It tab.
- A simple form is much more effective for obtaining signups, so just keep it at the minimal, name and email address.
- Click the Share It tab to be taken to a page with various options to share your MailChimp form. The subscribe form url is a direct signup link you may share anywhere. The HTML for this link is in the center. This form can also be shared at Twitter and Facebook.
- At the right is a button to create html to embed the form in a website or blog. Click this to be taken to the page to create the form code. Either create a super slim form, classic form, or naked form. Adjust the options near the one you choose depending on the result you want for your website. When satisfied with your form, click the Create Form Code button and transfer it to your website.
- Signup for your newsletter yourself to test your form, and to make sure everything looks fine.
Now that your email list form is completed, what about the actual newsletter? We will give you tips on that in a future article. Please subscribe to receive this post directly to your inbox!