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The Artful Newsletter — Top 5 Newsletter Tips for Artists

The BoldBrush Show: Episode #55

Show Notes:

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In this episode, we compiled the top 5 tips on newsletters for artists from past episodes. Newsletters are the unsung heroes of an artist's sales strategy. They offer a direct channel to connect with your audience, share your latest creations, and promote your work. By nurturing a dedicated subscriber base, you can boost sales, gain repeat customers, and create a loyal fan community. It's not just about selling; it's about building meaningful relationships that sustain your artistic journey. So, let's explore how newsletters can be your ticket to artistic success!

Jeanne Rosier Smith:
episode 13 -

Kathleen Dunphy:
episode 15 -

Patricia Watwood:
episode 18 -

Olya Babich Konnell - Daily Art Marketing Hacks
episode 31 -

Catherine Bobkoski
episode 37 -


Jeanne Rosier Smith: 0:00

I don't think I would be have the success that I have now, without my newsletter, no question. It's kind of my core group. Fortune favors

Kathleen Dunphy: 0:07

the prepared. And you have to have good photographs of your work. You have to have your work out there for people to see it. You have to be ready to jump when an opportunity comes along.

Patricia Watwood: 0:18

You have to communicate about what you're doing. And you have to communicate more than you think. You should and more than maybe you want to

Laura Arango Baier: 0:27

welcome to the BoldBrush show, where we believe that fortune favors the bold touch. My name is Arango, Baier and I'm your host, for those of you who are new to the podcast we are are a podcast that covers art marketing techniques, and all sorts of business tips specifically to help artists learn to better sell their work. We interview artists at all stages of their careers as well as others who are in careers tied to the art world in order to hear their advice and insight. For today's episode, we compiled the top five tips on newsletters for artists from past episodes. Newsletters are the unsung heroes of an artist sales strategy. They offer a direct channel to connect with your audience, share your latest creations and promote your work. By nurturing a dedicated subscriber base, you can boost sales, gain, repeat customers and create a loyal fan community. It's not just about selling. It's about building meaningful connections and relationships that sustain your artistic journey. So let's explore how newsletters can be your ticket to artistic success. We're starting off with Jeanne Roger Smith telling us that newsletters are truly the key to sales, you would probably say that newsletters are one of the keys

Jeanne Rosier Smith: 1:33

to Yes, absolutely key I wouldn't I don't think I would be have the success that I have now. Without my newsletter. No question. It's kind of my core group. Definitely.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:43

Yeah. And if I ask how often you send out a newsletter, I would

Jeanne Rosier Smith: 1:47

say on average, I probably send out every over the course of a year I send out about 30. Newsletters don't between 25 and 30. So it's about every two weeks, sometimes I'll go three weeks, I really get nervous. If I if I wait more than three weeks. It's usually between one and a half and three weeks that I send it out, I'd say yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 2:10

Wow. Yeah, that's what I would have thought because I've always wondered like, How often should I send that out? And then I also, I think a lot of people would worry like, Am I annoying? The people on my newsletter? Yeah,

Jeanne Rosier Smith: 2:19

no, I see, I and I used to think I used to feel that way. But I'm just really careful about the content that I put in, I really try to be I only put in thoughtful things. I keep them short. I keep them brief, I don't put in fluff. I try not to be too chatty. It's there. Mostly, I really try to believe and keep in mind, people are only subscribing if they want to hear from me. And I try to be kind of a positive thing in people's inbox that they want to say, Oh, this is something I want to read. This is a good distraction from all the stuff I don't want to see in my inbox. So I try to have something to say it's not just me, me, me, it's all about me. It's here's something you might want to know about. I will share something thoughtful that might brighten up their day. So I try to actually have some interesting contents in there. I'll share a show I'm working on but then I'll, I'll try to share something a little bit personal but has a little bit more thought to it. And I've I've heard a lot of people say I kind of really nice note from someone the other day that said that your newsletters have lifted me through the pandemic have really kept me going. Because there was always something that lifted my spirits that brightened the world for me when things were really dark. And that made me just feel like okay, I am not bothering people. This is a good thing.

Laura Arango Baier: 3:45

Oh my gosh, that's so great.

Jeanne Rosier Smith: 3:47

Yeah, so I try to keep it. It's not. I mean, it's not pollyannish. I'm not saying like really falsely positive things. I just try to keep things thoughtful.

Laura Arango Baier: 3:58

Here's what Kathleen Dunphy thinks about newsletters and how they are the absolute best way to connect with your true fans.

Kathleen Dunphy: 4:03

Fortune favors the prepared and you have to have good photographs of your work. You have to have your work out there for people to see it. You have to be ready to jump when an opportunity comes along. And you have to be the one who's more prepared than the next guy who's got great work but can't get his stuff together. And you can and that's just that's the dogfight we're all in. You know, I mean, that's how it goes. So I've and I'm saying this not because I'm talking to you but fatto has been incredible for me because it's a website that right this very second, I could get on there and change everything if I wanted to. And I'm not a computer person. I hate the computer and I don't know anything about it. But it's it's simple enough that I can do that. And the email newsletter has just been a huge thing for me. That's been the way that I connect directly to people who have taken the time to say yes, I like your work here. Send me something And, and that way, I don't feel like I'm pestering somebody who's not interested. They've already by default by signing up, told me they're interested. So if I send them something, I feel like you asked for it. Your it is, you know. And I think those, I think keeping in touch with email newsletters is really important and making sure that your website is up to date with prices on it, because there's nothing more frustrating than liking a painting and not knowing how much it costs and having to play this silly game of, Oh, will you tell me? Or do I have to ask or, you know, I just ran into that this morning, I saw a painting I really liked. And I went to the artists website, they didn't have prices, I went to their gallery, their gallery didn't have prices, I'm like done, I'll find another one I like I it's not worth it's not worth the phone call. Because I don't also want to get the answer that it's, you know, $43,000 and I can't afford it, you know, I don't want to take them down that road, and then have to worry that the gallery is going to keep contacting me afterwards. So I think it's really important to have your prices on your website have things up to date, and to stay in touch with your your interested collectors as much as possible.

Laura Arango Baier: 6:01

100% Yes, you're, I think the 1,000th person I've heard newsletters are it's,

Kathleen Dunphy: 6:10

yeah, it's really true, you know, and it, it gets kind of weird, because you, I'm not the kind of person who, you know, a cold call would kill me, you know, I just can't do that kind of thing. And when I send out a newsletter, I'm always thinking cash, I hope I have, I hope what I'm putting in here has value. I mean, meaning it has value to the person who reads it, who's never going to buy anything, that they still go, oh, wow, it's a newsletter from Kathleen, let's see what she has to say. And they get something out of that, regardless of whether they ever buy anything from me. So I try really hard to you know, show them a picture of where I've been painting or talk about some of the process or maybe link to a blog post that I've done or something of value so that it's not just the 57th email you've gotten today from somebody trying to sell something, you know, I mean, to me the great thing and art, as I said, with relations with with other artists, but I also love the relationship with collectors. I mean it to me, it's it's just fascinating to talk to people, why did you like my work? You know, what did you see here, to share that or to share the excitement, you know, when somebody really loves a painting, you can go oh, my gosh, let me tell you all about where I stood when I painted that. And, you know, so windy that day, and the birds flew by and whatever, and they get all excited about it. And it becomes this, this really great relationships. So that relationship with collectors is really important. And I value that and I never want to abuse that by just firing off 100 email newsletters that say today's special painting that you can spend money on, you know,

Laura Arango Baier: 7:37

yeah, so to make it more about what you love, rather than here by this. Yeah.

Kathleen Dunphy: 7:44

We're like, you know, think about like you're sending it to a friend, you know, and if you were gonna send your friend an email, you're not going to say, hey, buy this, you're gonna say, Hey, can you believe how exciting it was outside yesterday? Or did you see that sunset last night? Or, you know, have you ever seen a whole raft of pelicans fly by when you're at the beach? Well, I did the other day. And this is when I painted, you know, something, you have to it's the golden rule, right? Do unto others I hate getting these emails from from things that are just, you know, I can't tell you how many I just instantly unsubscribe from because I just I can't stand to get these bombardments all the time. But when it's something where I feel like there's some kind of value to it, I'll keep that business or that person in mind when I need to buy something later on, it might not be right away, it might be five years down the road, I've had people buy something 15 years down the road, who finally have the money or got the bonus or got the retirement or the wall space. And now they finally buy something, and I'm willing to wait that long. And I'm willing to keep giving them stuff that they want. And stuff that they find a value until then

Laura Arango Baier: 8:48

Patricia, what would reminds us that when it comes to newsletters being present, and consistent, and repetitive is important.

Patricia Watwood: 8:55

So you have to be patient, and it takes time. So I've been working on my own, you know, as a professional artist, I've been doing it for 20 years, I've had a website for almost that, you know, so you have to have a website, you want to be you have to communicate about what you're doing. And you have to communicate more than you think you should and more than maybe you want to you have to tell people and then you have to repeat it and then just tell them again. And that doesn't come naturally. I think for a lot of artists who are more introverted and it's much easier to talk about somebody else's work and to talk about your own work. So over time, I've just gotten better through frankly practice and just will at being trying to communicate well and often about my work, whether it's and I do have a email listserv, so that's part of my website and you go to my website, sign up for my email list, and I do rely on social media. like Instagram, definitely Facebook. But all of those, you know, you're not in control of your own business there because it's controlled by the algorithm. Since I do figurative work, I've had my pages shut down, I have my facebook page shut down like the week of a big solo show, because I do figurative work. And the algorithm can't tell the difference between a photo of a naked person and a painting. And it happens all the time. And a lot of figurative artists really struggle with that. So it's even more important to be in control of your own communications and business separate from that. So that's not, you're not the only thing you're relying on. So I send out emails using an email listserv. I also tried to, especially when I have a show coming up, I tried to communicate directly with my collectors, or even like send them a hand like a postcard with a small note. So I'm not going to do that to 1000s of people. But honestly, the people who are collectors, it's not that not for me, it's not 1000s. It's like, you know, it's dozens and so over, try to stay in good communication with the people who, who support you who follow you. They like to hear from you. And so that's always been part of my strategy of me helping you know, making sure people know about my shows or follow me,

Laura Arango Baier: 11:24

only a Babbage Connell tells us to always remind people to subscribe to your newsletter. And she shares some useful statistics about artists newsletters that will motivate you to write more,

Olya Babich Konell: 11:34

there really is no secret, the secret is consistency, and small efforts, consistency and small efforts. And sometimes we spend too much time figuring out what to do. And we waste instead of just doing the thing that's going to help us right there being on a schedule being on a pattern. That's the secret. And, and not. And you know, I've I've worked on putting these things together for myself before. So this is where, you know, we took kind of like my format, I pulled these formats from, you know, my inspiration was other businesses, what do some of the best businesses in marketing do? And so anyway, it's, but the information is unique to artists. And like a really good example is we have one thing on there where we remind artists on a certain day every week to go in. And if anybody has followed you recently, like on your social media platforms, any of them, send them a DM, like, Hey, thank you so much for your support. I have put, you know, welcome to my page, I would like to invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, and give them the link because this is the best opportunity to do that. And like that wasn't, you know, it's not something we always think about. And we get so busy, we forget that that little prompt that reminder, spend 10 minutes today doing that, bam, you can already grow your newsletter, because even if out of the 10 messages that you've send five of them sign up. There you go, you got five new subscribers, stuff like that.

Laura Arango Baier: 13:05

Yeah, although, to be honest, I tried that. I was terrified,

Olya Babich Konell: 13:09

isn't it? But it is it is. And that brings up a whole nother thing. Wouldn't you agree as artists, we, me personally, talking to people, and I like to, I like to say it and like make the first move in that business relationship. Because cold calling sounds really weird. But essentially, that's what it is talking to people, whether it be picking up the phone and calling like your local, you know, business that you want to that you want to somehow bring your art into or something else, or reaching out to person talking to a stranger. Like those are such scary, awkward things. And, and yeah, and the one thing I will say is, again, the secret isn't so secret, it's just consistency. And just if you only have the energy to do it, sending the message to three people that one day, just do it, just copy paste it and do it. Yeah, it gets easier.

Laura Arango Baier: 14:06

Thankfully, someone did reply to my message. And they were very, very kind and I'm so happy to you know, follow you on this journey. And they were very nice. didn't sign up for my newsletter, to be honest. So I only like messaged three people just like you said, yeah, so I was terrified. I'm like, Oh my God, but wouldn't they feel like bothered?

Olya Babich Konell: 14:27

No. I have that actually a fun statistic to share with our listeners. And this to me will mean I was so excited when I read this. So in 20 This is from 2022 statistics because I pulled us at the end of the year when we win and I don't remember the source at the moment, but you can look this up yourself so they pulled numbers of the top. The best performing newsletters and things of the industry. So artist, art being newsletters or messaging, you know, so artists messages, whatever artists have to say, but specifically in newsletters have this second highest open rate second to government emails. So I mean, people open those out of necessity, they open hours out of desire. So what does that tell you? It tells you, your audience, people that follow you, they actually want to hear from you. And it's not going to be a bother. It's just the numbers right there tell you people want to hear from you. And I've experienced that too. Anytime I get anything in my inbox that's are themed. I mean, yes, I'm an artist, and I get excited about it. Even the advertisements, I opened them if they're from like, my favorite art company. But yeah, people want to hear from you. And you know, they want to, they're fascinated by what is mundane to you, is interesting to them.

Laura Arango Baier: 16:05

Finally, Katherine Buck kowski assures us that the people who care most about your work need to hear from you and feel connected to you, and your work. And the best way is with your newsletter. This has been on my

Catherine Bobkoski: 16:15

mind a lot lately. I think back in September of last year, I had maybe almost 10,000 followers on Instagram. And now I have I think, I haven't really checked today. But I think as of today, I have somewhere around 55,000. And which I think in my mind, I thought when I got to a certain number of followers, life will be completely different. I'll be set. You're laughing. It took me a while to connect the dots on that. But that's not how it worked. Which probably your audience is already so knowledgeable about this already. They're probably thinking like, da. But it was not obvious to me that social media is like an aspect of marketing. It's maybe a heart or a first step. But it's not the whole thing. And the thing really, that I've been realizing lately, especially is that Instagram doesn't care if Katherine Bub kowski grows and has a successful business. They care about Instagram growing, successful, and actually helping me out might be counterproductive to that goal, right. So the thing I've been realizing is that, and I think what people want to is an actual human connection, like actual interaction conversation, a personal connection, that is not what you get from watching a 22nd reel on Instagram, although I will continue to make 22nd reels, and I'm very grateful for all the people that enjoy them. Thank you. But But there's more. There's more than just that. And, I mean, so I think, you know, take that opportunity, whatever opportunity you have to make that connection on Instagram, and get those folks that really love you off of the platform. Get them to subscribe to your newsletter, let them know about your classes and workshops. Let them know about who you are as a as a person. I mean, I listen, I I respond to every comment that I get on any of my posts. Wow. And if someone leaves me a nice and especially nice comment, I will thank them individually. And if someone leaves me a comment asking something about painting technique, or asking something about, or even just saying something about art in general, like I will answer their question, I will engage in that conversation. Always because to me, that's like the whole point of this thing. It's social media. It's not just there for you to like, collect compliments, and likes and followers and stuff like, this is great. No, we're supposed to make some kind of a social connection with people. And I would advise anybody out there who's trying to like figure out how to use social media for their marketing or for their business. Like try to make it personal. And if someone leaves you a nice comment, or if you notice that you know someone has astrology, maybe someone who's not in your circle of people that you're already familiar with, or someone who's maybe an artist that you like, or maybe a account that's bigger than yours or whatever, like send them a message. DM them and say thank you so much. Oh my gosh, I love your work. Wow. People are asking you questions because they want to know about you or about your work like engaged in that. Check your message requests, quite frankly, so many things get just kind of lost in the shuffle. Oh, I'm speaking more truth I see. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 20:13

I mean, I think there's a fine line though sometimes it is. Like, especially in the requests, there'll be a lot of scammers and also a lot of for sure. Creepy people.

Catherine Bobkoski: 20:25

If someone's just DMing, you, hey, you can probably delete that. Yeah, probably you can. But I, I, I know that people notice when I respond to their questions about painting, right? Or when people say something like, I learned so much, watching this little video. Thank you. I am going to pounce on that comment. To say thank you so much. And that that made my day because it did. And maybe even pin that comment, like people notice when you do that kind of thing. So if you're, you know, if you are on Instagram and on social media and just feeling like it's not working for you, I mean, one you do have to I think find a way to connect with your audience just with the content that you're putting out, like, what do they want to see what's going to be interesting to people and figure out, figure that out first, but then after that, don't just leave it there, like actually engage with that audience and show a little bit of your personality who you are as a person, something that they can't get from just watching a quick little reel or scrolling through a carousel of posts so that they feel like you as a person are interested. And that's going to make them interested that's going to help them to click that little link tree thing or hit that subscribe button.

Laura Arango Baier: 21:49

We heard BoldBrush want to give a huge thank you to all of our fantastic guests for the wonderful advice that they have shared with us. We hope you have enjoyed this episode. And if you did, it would help us a lot if you could leave us a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And also remember to follow our Instagram at BoldBrush and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have begun posting the video episodes of the podcast. If you want to see the video episodes before everyone else and also get the best marketing advice out there. Simply go to BoldBrush That's BOLDB ru SH And of course you can find all of the links in the show notes

The BoldBrush Show. Interviews with today's finest artists and creatives. Watch here or listen on all major podcast services.