It’s probably already been drilled into your head at some point that building an email list for your creative business is extremely important. What some creatives forget that it’s even more important to nurture that list by sending emails and building engagement with the people on your list. You don’t want your subscribers to simply glance at your email in their inbox and toss it in the trash. You also want them to take some kind of action when they see your message. In order to accomplish that, it’s key to have content in your emails that pique the interest of your subscribers.
But what kind of content? Sending an email is usually one of the first things that crosses your mind when you want to announce your latest sale or offer a discount or promote new items on your Etsy store. And that’s fine in limited doses. If that’s all you’re sending out, it gets old rather quickly. You only have to open your own email inbox to see how tiresome constant sales messages disguised as email can get.
So what, then, will pique the interest of your subscribers? If you’re stumped for interesting, non-sales email content or you just want to mix things up from your usual offerings, here are a few ideas:
1. Your latest blog post– Do you blog? Then you have ready access to content to that your subscribers would most likely be interested in. There’s no guarantee that your subscribers keep up with your blog, and in some cases they may not even know you have one. So basing some emails around your blog content can be a good way to send more traffic to your blog and it can make for an great email.
Go through your most recent or your most popular posts to see which ones would make good candidates for your email. You can either send excerpts to individual blogs or you can create a list of posts based around a common theme. Or you can use an existing blog post as a springboard into a related article exclusively for your email subscribers.
2. Works in progress– People join your list because they’re interested in what you do. Think about sending an email with photos and a brief story about what you’re working on right now. You’re not necessarily trying to sell your work in this type of email. Rather you’re inviting them into your studio and giving them a peek at what may be coming before the rest of the public gets to see it.
3. A useful link, article, video, podcast, or other resource you’ve found– Sharing content from other sources, like that interesting podcast you just listened to, an entertaining article you just read, or a link to a useful resource can help make your emails a source that your subscribers want to open and read. Artist and author Austin Kleon does a great job of this.
4. A recent success– Have you just won an award? Were you just featured in a magazine or invited to speak at an event? Or teach a course? Share these events with your subscribers. Tell the story of how this particular piece of good fortune came to you and how they can share it with you.
5. A recent failure– Setbacks and failures are part of what makes you a real person to your subscribers. You don’t have to share financial setbacks or issues of a sensitive nature. But relaying some stories of creative difficulties or problem solving can help you pull back the curtain on the realities of being an artist, which is something that many people find fascinating.
6. About an upcoming show or event– Sending an announcement about upcoming events like open studios, exhibitions, or an art fair you’re participating in is a great way to keep your subscribers in the loop and to keep your work in their minds. Incidentally, you can also include news about other related art events of interest your community as well. Not all announcements have to be related directly to something to your participating in.
7. A survey– Take the opportunity to learn more about your subscribers by sending a short survey. You can use the answers to help you create a detailed profile of your subscribers. The Creative Business Toolbox has a video on how to create a customer profile and a handy worksheet of questions to include on your survey.
8. A fun quiz– Quizzes and polls can be a fun way to engage your subscribers and perhaps learn a bit more about them as well. If you’ve never created a quiz before, here are some tips to help you get started.
9. An invitation to follow you on social media– Send an email to invite your subscribers to follow you on social media. List the channels you’re currently active on, tell your subscribers what kind of content you share on those channels and ask them to follow you. It’s also useful to link following you to some kind of incentive. For example, you can also ask them to share which channels they’re on so you can follow them back in return. Marmalead is using their photo contest as a way to encourage social media follows. Their email announcement clearly highlights all of their social media outlets to make it easy for subscribers to take action.
10. An answer to a frequently asked question– Is there a question (or questions) about your work that seems to be a frequent topic of interest among your customers? An email, or a series of emails addressing the most frequently asked questions about your work is excellent content for both new subscribers and the subscribers that’s been with you for a while. You can also invite your subscribers to submit questions for future emails.
Hopefully these ideas will help you kick start some more creative emails. Your email subscribers will appreciate it, plus it’s a lot more fun to send useful content instead of constant sales messages.