Drawing a blank on what you should talk about in your emails? Learn the newsletter for creatives formula so you'll easily know what to talk about, connect like a real person with your ideal art buyer, and gently guide them by the hand to what you want them to do next.
In this epic article:
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*This post may contain an affiliate link, which means I will either make a small amount of money or receive free services if you decide to purchase my recommendation. I only recommend products or services that, at other times, I spread the word about whole-heartedly without compensation.
This weekend my daughter and I played in the mud. I got out a wide and deep plastic feed bowl, filled it with potting soil and let her get it wet with our OXO watering can until it was a sloppy mess. She spread mud all over her face and flung her dirty hands around until it was all over me and the patio.
Not only was it fun, but she helped me make 120 cubes of dirt, called seed blocks. We drop seeds right into the blocks where they germinate indoors and get a head start on our short gardening season. This time we started sunflower, green bean, pumpkin, melon, and squash seeds.
Why am I talking to you about my garden fetish when you just want to know how to write an email to your list?
Because you're a captive audience and no one else will listen to me ramble on about seeds. Bwahahaha...
Just kidding. I want to illustrate how to insert "you" into your marketing. Maybe you care about plants, and maybe you don't, but now you know something personal about me in addition to this nifty little lesson I'm about to share with you.
Most people get tripped up when they hear they need to be relatable and talk about their interests in their marketing. They mistakenly decide they need to write a whole email about arranging bouquets, confusing their list who thought they signed up for art updates.
I like to get around that little problem by giving out "twofers," or two for ones. It's an early 20th-century term that used to refer to getting two cigars for one-quarter of a cent. When I say it, I mean "share something about you and find a way to relate it to whatever you were originally writing about." Roll it all together like a spring roll. You can also do it with social media posts!
If you understand your Ideal Art Buyer, this is a beautiful way to grab their attention with interests or values you share and endear yourself to them.
Have you ever been subscribed to a list where the emails you receive are all facts and business updates? These can often be flat and boring. Show them you are a three-dimensional person they can relate to. Let them know you're a whole person with thoughts, beliefs, stories, and interests.
STEP 1: Turn yourself into a real person with an intro story.
Here are a few prompts to get the ideas rolling for you:
Tips to make it great
Create and favorite a document in Google Docs (or Evernote or Asana) where you can keep a running list of story ideas as they pop in your head. Copy and paste in the story prompts above.
There you have it! Part one of my email writing formula. I'll be back with part two - tying the story to the "meat" of your email - next week. Talk to you Tuesday! 😉
It was my mother's 60th birthday this week, so I wanted to get her something special. A gift that would remind her that I love her... in her language. She loves the spaces around her to be pristine and contain beautiful things.
My first thought was art, obviously, but I've given her so much her walls are full. My grandmother has been adding flowers to the hillside outside their window, so I decided to contribute a feminine looking rose bush with double purple/pink blooms to their view. They'll come back every year and remind her I care about her.
I looked for a personal connection (her love language is beauty) and added my own message to it (remember I love you). The perfect gift formula, in my opinion!
That's also why I love to create emails the way I do - there's a personal connection included with my message. It's not all about my agenda. It's about growing a relationship with you.
That being said, the message is just as important as the connection.
What was the message of your last email? Was it, "hey... it's time for me to send my monthly newsletter again so here's some random stuff I wrote"?
I want to challenge you to think a little more strategically. Decide on your email's purpose BEFORE you write it. For your sake and your reader's. Don't clutter their inbox with some useless crap just because it's time to send another email.
Give your newsletter a will to live! Let it feel like it has a life purpose!
Do you want to:
PRO TIP: Notice some of these things are for your benefit, and some are for theirs.
This is a business, so you've got to learn to ask for what you need. But... a good business is a two-way street. With a relationship-based art company, you serve them, and they serve you.
STEP 2: Tie your story to the email's purpose.
Once you know the point of your email, you need to tie it to the intro. Practice telling the intro story in different ways until one of those versions leads into the message of your email.
For example, I might want to talk about how I've started waking up at 5am to get things done because my four year old daughter isn't in daycare two days a week anymore. If the point of my email is to ask for a follow, I might talk about how dedication to showing up is one of the significant milestones to becoming a professional artist. And, by the way, if you're serious about becoming a professional artist, you might want to follow me on Pinterest because I share dozens of articles a week that can help you.
Or, perhaps I want to talk about how I'm the luckiest girl alive because I moved onto a property with an orchard. If the point of my email is to inspire your day, I might talk about how it was overgrown and not very productive, but with lots of love, mulching, pruning and several years of work, now I have amazing fruit that I can just walk out my door and grab when I feed my chickens. Which would lead to... If you consistently practice marketing, you'll start to learn what your business needs to thrive. Practice those things regularly to increase your success exponentially.
Is this starting to make sense? If not, comment below and let me know.
Map out the purpose (or message) of your next 12 newsletters. It doesn't need to be complicated — you can steal the "email life purposes" from above and double up your favorites, mix and match them, or create your own. This will give you a good starting point for your next 3 months to 1 year of newsletters (depending on how often you send them out).
I have eleven calendars on my phone to keep my life sorted. It sounds a bit like insanity, right? Who does that?
Instead of pairing down, which isn’t really doable at the moment, I added yet another. But this one is different. It is a calendar of reminders of what I need to bring more of into my life. Every hour on the hour it reminds to be thankful or grounded, mindful or peaceful… whatever I think I will need that day.
6AM… DING! “Have gratitude today.”
7AM… DING! “Have gratitude today.”
and so on throughout my day.
You see, even if I tell myself that morning that I want to be more thankful, unless I remind myself to DO IT, it will probably not happen.
The alerts are my own personal calls to action, delivered hourly.
Calls to action in your emails are the same way. People know you want them to buy your art, or share your email, or like your Instagram page… but unless you remind them to DO IT, they probably won’t.
STEP 3: Tell them what you want them to do next. What action should your newsletter spark?
If your purpose is to:
I mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating. Some of your newsletters’ calls to action need to be self-serving to be in business. These CTAs might sound like: buy my art, follow me, or share me. If you’re afraid of asking for what you need, you MUST find a way to get over that. Talk yourself into doing it. Just once. Then once more. Remind yourself WHY you are doing it in the first place.
On the flip side, if the only CTAs you ever use are self-serving, people will eventually get tired of hearing from you. Like any good relationship, your business relationships should be give and take. If all you do is take, the energy between you will start to be very weighted to one side. Don’t forget to give back! If they know that you care about them, they’ll be more willing to give you their trust.
Now you know what you want them to do. But how do you tell your readers what to do in the most effective way possible? No problemo! Just follow this formula.
Your call to action formula:
- 1What you want them to do
- 2Exactly how to do it
- 3A benefit they’ll receive by doing it or why you are asking them to do it.
PRO TIP: Don’t use phrases like “click here to read my blog” as your call to action.
No one actually cares about your blog or mine… they care about what they will get out of reading it.
Example #1: Click the link below to see more pictures of the garden that inspired this painting. You might want to use this color combo in your spring planters!
Example #2: If this newsletter gave you an idea of your next step, please forward it to three friends who are feeling a little lost right now. My dearest wish is to help others become clear on their life path using my art, and you can help me!
Example #3: If you think you might want to commission a drawing of your family just like this one someday, click here to read more about my process and how affordable it can be. Don’t wait until “someday” or “later” to create a family heirloom you can place above your fireplace now.
PRO TIP: Use specific details about your Ideal Art Buyer in your calls to action so they know you’re talking to them, like the examples above.
Write your newsletter's CTA using the formula above this week and measure how many more clicks you get compared to your last few newsletters. If you haven't started an email list yet, use this CTA formula in your social media instead.
My dad drove to my house this morning with the back of his vehicle full of disposables that were taking up space at his home. The trash truck was scheduled to show up any minute.
"Want any of this?" he asked.
While I am working very hard on owning less, I also hate to see good stuff go to waste. I took two large dog beds for my sweet fur babies.
Hey... waste not, want not... right?
Now I can get rid of the ridiculous comforter they sleep on in my entryway. Woot, woot!
I have a feeling you’re not a waster either. Do you do your best to recycle? Do you try to eat your leftovers? Did you repaint that frame that didn’t match your latest masterpiece?
Then why, oh why are you wasting valuable space in your newsletter?
At the very bottom of your email, below your signature, you’re missing out on some primo real estate!
Some people don’t even read their emails. They just scroll to the bottom to see what the point of it is. If you don’t have anything here, you’re missing out.
I recommend including two more things in your newsletter:
- 1An ad for your business
- 2A 2-3 sentence reminder of who you are for the people who signed up for your list, don’t remember you, and are about to hit “unsubscribe.”
Newsletter for creatives wrap up # 1: An ad for your art business
The ad could be anything. It could reiterate your email or be its own announcement. Here are a few ideas:
If your ad mirrors your earlier call to action, start it off with a headline like “too busy to read this email?” then summarize what you said earlier. Include a duplicate call to action link where you want your reader to go.
You can also have an ad that’s complementary to your call to action. For example, you could sell your series in your CTA and a single painting from that series in the ad (or vice versa).
Newsletter for creatives wrap-up #2: A short reminder of who you are
Include 2-3 sentences reminding your subscriber who you are and what you do... otherwise known as your elevator speech! If you need help with what to say in your elevator speech, sign up for four free marketing 101 lessons here or see mine below for inspiration (although mine is a bit different because I'm solving a problem, and you're selling beauty).
You may also want to include a photo of yourself to make you feel more like a real person, rather than some anonymous masked artist hiding behind a computer monitor.
That’s it! You have my entire newsletter for creatives and artists formula!
Write your next newsletter using this framework and forward it to me so I can see what you came up with!
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Do the work & create your luck,