How to Create Emails that Sell Art (without Being Pushy!)

By Jessica Craddock

Mar 20
how to write an email asking people to buy your art

People decide to buy art through their emotional connection to a piece, but then justify that decision using logic.

Using that tasty tidbit, we will tell a personal story to give the reader's imagination a bit of your inner workings and help them connect with your art. Next, we will justify their desire to buy using a fact sheet that clears up all their questions and then tell them all the best reasons they should choose to support you and your art. 

I've left some room for the imagination since every scenario can't be covered, but I included a range of examples to fire up those awesome ideas.

​Decide What You Are Selling

Are you trying to sell a certain original? Are you creating a run of prints​? Are you advertising a site-wide sale? Are you selling a type of commission package you've put together?

Don't try to ask people to just "buy your art". That isn't specific enough. Have an end goal in mind. ​(The exception here is a site-wide sale, but those should be more rare.)

​Start Writing the Email

Line 1: Start with a Story

Without stating that you are selling a piece, start telling a story about how the art came to be, what motivated you, or something that happened to you while creating. Draw in the reader so they become curious where this story is headed.

Bonus points if you tell how you overcame a struggle - small or large.

If you are coming up blank, talk about and link to a video or article that shows how you feel about the topic of the art. ​Pay attention to your desired audience so you will know what might speak to them.

Transition Statement + a Little Urgency

Transition from your story to what you are offering. How does it all tie together?

When you are adding "a little urgency", we aren't trying to be spammy. Just give them a reason why they might want to buy now instead of later. (If they wait till later, they probably won't buy.)

  • Why am I telling you this? Because my latest piece is now available only to my email subscribers for the next 48 hours before I post it on my website - because I love you guys the mostest.
  • Now that you know why childhood hunger touches my heart so much, I'd love to show you the print this story has inspired. I'll be donating $10 to XYZ for each print sold by Friday!
  • If you've been with me a few years now, you know... November is when I announce my one and only blanket sale!

Make a list of reasons why you think this art is special or unique. Why should they buy it from you and not something similar from someone else?​ Benefits that speak to emotions are the most effective, like the examples below:

  • Targeting an eco-loving audience: Each piece is cut from the wood of already-dead pine trees. We strongly believe in reuse, reduce, recycle!
  • Create excitement and curiosity: This print comes signed and numbered (only 10 available). Each has a surprise 1x1" original doodle on the back!
  • Alleviate worries: My commission process keeps involved in the process from day 1 so you end up with a piece you adore. 
Include 1-3 image​s

You shouldn't show every image on your email, but include your best 1-3. If you have a shot that shows a piece at home on a wall and how it really makes that room pop, pick this one every time! If they want to see the image up close, they can click through to your site. This type of image helps your reader visualize how your piece could make them feel if it were in their home. 

Include a FAQ sheet

You don't want to jumble up your email with all the specs. That's a quick way to lose the reader's interest before you ask them to buy!

However, it is a great idea to give them all the information they need so you don't spend the rest of the day fielding emails.

Include an attached PDF or a link to a website page. 

Make sure to show enough images so they know exactly what they are buying (front, back, sides, close ups, etc.). It is a good idea to have an image of your art next to a object that shows its size. Many people aren't good at approximating measurements in their head. 

Brainstorm questions your customer might come up with and answer them: How much does it cost? How large is it? What is your return policy? How can they reach you if it shows up damaged? 

Call to Action​

This is your one and only sales pitch throughout the entire email. The rest was just stories and information. Now, you have to ask them to buy. It may seem like you were already doing that, but it must be explicit. Don't get too anxious about this - it's just one little line! If you aren't quite ready to ask them to buy, ask them to express interest another way.

  • If this piece speaks to you, reply SOLD and I'll send the first responder an invoice. ​
  • Fill out the form on my contact page to reserve the next commission spot. There are three more available this year!
  • I'll be sending this image to the printer soon, so reply with your vote of which of these three sizes you would like. The size with the most votes will be printed! 
P.S. Area

This is optional, but can be a great place to show what else you are up to and make the email feel more personal. You can tell another story about what you are up to this week, show off another article you are mentioned in or tell them what song you are listening to over and over right now. 

How often to Sell Art

You don't want to make every email about making a sale. But you are also a new member in the world of "I need to make sales to do this full time." 

How often you want to sell art is also related to how many emails you are sending. Every second or third email is probably a good ratio. However, if you are only sending one email per month, you might start running low on grocery funds pretty quickly. Now is a great time to think about staying in touch with your audience on a more regular basis so you can send more "ask" emails without being annoying.

Related: What the Heck Should I Write Emails About?!​

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About the Author

I'm a consultant for artist entrepreneurs who have started building their following online but haven’t figured who would buy their art. My unique approach enables artists to create a signature brand around their art and work smarter so they can sell more & spend their days creating beautiful things. My clients have doubled their social media following, raised their prices, and sold 3x more art within a matter of months.