4 Reasons Every Artist Needs an Email List (newsletter)

If you’ve been in the vicinity of creative business for any amount of time at least 47 people have mentioned that you really need an email list (or a newsletter, different word for the same thing).

You know you should have one. I know you should have one. But who has time to add another thing to their already daunting creative business task list, right?

I’m going to be honest with you: you should make time for building your email list.

As of this writing, my email list is 1/7th the size of my Instagram following and if I was forced to choose between my email list and my Instagram, I’d pick my email list. It’s just more powerful. It’s a stronger, more engaged community. It’s people who have given me permission to drop into their sacred space (their inbox) once a week to share my thoughts on making art and building a creative business. That’s something special.

So here’s my two cents on why you really need an email list right now:

It’s not rented land.

Building your entire creative business on rented land (websites and apps that aren’t yours) is a risky plan.

What happens when Instagram changes the algorithm again and your engagement drastically drops? What if Instagram was the only way you were sharing news about your art print or your new children’s book or the new membership group you’re hosting?

From Instagram and Pinterest to Google, every site uses algorithms now to determine the “best” content to display for each user.

Relying entirely on any site that isn’t yours to market your creative business means that you’ve constantly at risk of losing what you’ve built.

Your email list changes that.

There’s no algorithm in email (although there’s always a tiny chance of landing in a spam folder). Folks sign up for your list, thus inviting you into their inbox on a regular basis. And email open rates are great compared to social media.

If you’ve got 1000 followers on Instagram and only 10% of them see your posts, that means only 100 folks are seeing your stuff. But if you’ve got 1000 email list subscribers and the average email open rate is 22% (mine is 55%), that means 200 folks are going to read your email.

And that leads me to my next point…

Social media is less stressful when it’s not the only way your market your art.

You can let go of worrying about your Instagram engagement when you have a solid email list. And by solid, I mean, a list that you send emails to a regular basis. An email list isn’t doing you any good if you’re not using it, friend.

Instagram algorithm changes? No big deal because you can email your list about your art print shop update.

Social media account gets hacked? That still sucks but now you’ve got an email list so you can let them know what’s happened and notify them when you set up a new account.

Feel like scrapping your social media accounts and building them up from scratch? Cool. Go for it! Email your list and let them know where else they can find you now. Get a jumpstart on building your new social media following.

In my case, I think that feeling less stressed about Instagram has helped me show up more confidently as myself. I’m not worried about my Instagram engagement numbers anymore, I’m just showing up to talk about what I love about making art and running a creative business. And because I’m showing up for what I love instead of trying to guess what’s going to get the most engagement, my Instagram following continues to grow.

Email is just better than social media when it comes to selling something or sending traffic to your site.

Remember that first of all, a higher percentage of folks are going to see your emails over your social media posts. Not only that, but email is more personalized. You get to greet your subscribers by name and you’ve got plenty of space to share stories about your art and to build connections with your audience.

Your email list is a specific group of folks who are so into what you’re making that you’ve agreed to get emails from you on a regular basis. Your social media accounts are less specific, so you’re sharing with a broader audience who may not be that connected with what you’re making.

I’m not saying you should ditch social media altogether because it can still play a role in your creative business marketing. But I am saying that eventually email will do a lot of that marketing work for you, if you give it a chance.

There’s a deeper connection.

Because your email subscribers are really into what you’re making, so into it that they’ve shared their email address with you, you’re able to forge deeper connections with them. Every time you send an email, it’s a chance to learn something new about your subscribers.

You can learn by seeing what they click on in your emails and you can use that to understand what they might want from you in the future. You can ask questions of your email subscribers to really understand what they are looking for. Those things are so powerful.

I would have never dreamed up the idea for the Jumpstart course if I hadn’t noticed that my subscribers were at a loss when it came to the business side of being an illustrator.

Building that deeper connection with your community is so inspiring!

Are you convinced now? Ready to head out and start building your email list? Do me (and yourself) a favor and add it to your task list now. Put a deadline on it. You won’t be sorry, I promise!

Want to learn more about building an email list and growing a sustainable art business?


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