how to write an effective email

The Anatomy of an Effective Artist Romance Email

The successful art seller doesn’t just send emails to their audience with continual discount offers. Instead, they romance them in between offers. Learn how to build a list, what to send them, and a full breakdown of an effective “Romance Email”.

Is the phrase “Romantic Art Seller” new to you?

If it is, or you need a refresher on the critical importance of being a “Romantic Art Seller”, go read our post, “Caveman or Romantic: What Kind of Are Seller are You?”. You’ll have a much better foundation of understanding in place to then read and implement the advice we are about to provide.

“Romantic Art Seller” and “Artist Romance Emails” are not phrases or concepts you will find in a dictionary or anywhere else. Out of sheer necessity, we coined these phrases and began using them over here at Art Storefronts while directly coaching our customers.

Email marketing for artists

We needed a better way to explain how artists and photographers needed to approach the marketing of their art.

Here’s a typical exchange we were having on a regular basis:


Art Storefronts Expert: So when you do fairs and shows, you collect email addresses of your customers right?

Artist: I tried that once or twice, but I never got around to sending any emails, or the email I sent didn’t work…so I just sort of stopped. So I guess the answer is no.

ASF Expert: So what happens when someone visits your booth and seems to really like your work, but leaves without purchasing?

Artist: I thank them for visiting.

ASF Expert: The vast majority of the time, do you ever see or hear from these people again?

Artist: No.

ASF Expert: Ok, well that’s a solvable problem. We’ll get into that later. But first, let’s talk about those who do buy.

The thing we know about these customers – based on the fact that they actually purchased – is that most of these people are ideal members of your long term audience. Are you collecting their email addresses so that you can stay in touch, sell them more at a later date, and leverage the relationship to find others who share the same emotional connection with your subject matter?

Artist: Uh…I could be doing a better job at it.

ASF Expert: Okay. So we’ve established that real, bonafide audience members are buying from you, but because you aren’t collecting their email addresses, you aren’t building a long term audience. Safe to say?

Artist: Unfortunately yes.

how to write artist newsletter

ASF Expert: And how long have you been doing this?

Artist: More years than I would like to admit.

ASF Expert: What impact do you think this has had on your ability to get consistent sales?

Artist: Probably a lot. I always feel like I’m never getting ahead, and that things never get that much easier. I’m always depending on my next show to get more income.

ASF Expert: That’s okay, this is all easily fixable. But for now, let’s transition to your website. Are you collecting contacts on your site?

Artist: When people buy from me, I get their contact information which includes their email address.

ASF Expert: Okay good. Let’s talk about those who don’t buy, which will be 97%+ of your visitors.

These are visitors who may have found your site via SEO, or stumbled across your Facebook page. Our data shows that 15-20% of these visitors who do not buy will give you their email address (opting in for future updates) if you allow them to. What percentage of these people are you capturing into your audience?

Artist: Um…zero.

ASF Expert: That’s okay. This is fixable too. But throughout this discussion, you have at least been collecting some email addresses. You mentioned you occasionally did this with buyers at fairs and shows. You also do this when someone buys from you on your website. While it could be dramatically bigger at this point, you at least have a small email list to work from, correct?

Artist: Yes.

ASF Expert: So how often do you email them?

Artist: Very rarely.

ASF Expert: Like, how rarely?

Artist: Well, I usually send a 20% off email during the Holidays. And maybe one on Valentine’s Day. But I also can’t say I have done this consistently over the years.

selling art with email

ASF Expert: Okay, so you send a couple of emails a year. And the focus of these emails is always an aggressive promotional offer, always asking for the sale?

Artist: Well, yes.

ASF Expert: In between the times that you ask for the sale, do you make any effort to “give back” to your audience members?

Artist: What do you mean by that?

ASF Expert: Well, we as art consumers are generally in awe of artists. We love seeing your images. They brighten our day. We especially love to learn the story behind the art, because this is what we emotionally connect with (whether this is conscious or not).

Therefore, whether you knew it or not, you are a potential shining light in our lives. You are a storyteller. So when I ask if you ever make an “effort to give back” to your audience members, I am asking if there is any outgoing effort on your part – not to get a sale, but to brighten the day of your audience members.

Artist: Unfortunately I can’t say there is. Everything I do pretty much revolves around asking for the sale.

ASF Expert: Then it’s safe to say you’re a Caveman Art Seller right now, and that’s okay. You’re not alone – this is how most artists have operated for thousands of years.

The problem is that when you approach your business like a Caveman, you sort of become a Caveman yourself. Broke. Starving. Struggling. Always depending on your next hunt. Nothing to fall back on. We have discovered that this is the crux of the “starving artist” problem.

But here’s the bright side. Because you have always operated as a caveman, you have never even come close to reaching your full potential. You have left untold opportunity on the table. In other words, the amount of sales you are earning right now is probably the lowest it can possibly be. All of your opportunity is ahead of you, not behind you. And it’s likely right around the corner. The sooner you start operating more as a Romantic Art Seller, the sooner it will pay off. So let’s start talking about what you need to do.

Artist: Let’s do it!!!


If any of this exchange resonated with you, keep reading. Trust us, it will be worth it. Particularly when the biggest art selling time of the year is right around the corner.

A Focus on Audience Building

artist newsletter

You must always remember that the path to creating consistent, monthly sales from your art is one of Romance.

All of our evidence points towards this. In a detailed post, we already outlined how Audience Building is the single most important strategy that Art Storefronts customers are using to create consistent, monthly sales.

Audience building is what Romantic Art Sellers do.

So let’s get into how to do that.

First, we will go through all of the details of how to craft a properly designed Artist Romance Email. Next, we will provide you with a downloadable MailChimp template that we designed according to best practices, and that you can immediately use, for free (whether you are an Art Storefronts customer or not).

The Anatomy of an Artist Romance Email

artist email marketing

→ FREEBIE: Want this Romance Email template for use in your own MailChimp account? Click here to download it.
  1. Professional Logo – As discussed in How to Build a Trustworthy Art Store, a professional logo is key. When you can get a legit logo on Fiverr.com for as low as $5, there is simply no excuse for not having one anymore.
  2. Slogan contains name of the piece prominently. It also contains the name of the category or series this image is a part of. The importance of including the name of the category cannot be understated. This indirectly communicates that there are other images to see within this category.
  3. The image is the main image and only image (critical). – This must immediately follow the logo bar, so that it remains “above the fold” and is the first thing people see when they open the email on their phones or computers. It should link directly to the buying page for this image.
  4. Title of the Art Piece – self explanatory.
  5. Romantic Description (critical) – this should not be the entire description, but a fantastic tease. It should provide enough information to warm the reader’s heart, but at the same time, if they are really “bought in”, it should encourage them to click on the “Continue Reading” link which serves the ultimate goal of getting them back to your website on the buying page of this image. If you are using the Art Storefronts software, your visitor should be led to the main buying page of this image, where they can not only see a large version of the image, but they are immediately presented with all the buying options. This is purposefully designed. They didn’t have to click anywhere to find these options, they didn’t have to seek it out.
  6. Link to “Continue Reading >” – Here, we provide another incentive that will get more readers to continue back to your website. This link is what we call a “soft nudge”, and it addresses a different psychology than the “Start Shopping” call-to-action button which we will discuss later. Some people are not ready to start shopping, but they are ready to continue reading. So let’s encourage them to do that.
  7. Remind the Buyer of Affordable Purchasing Options – Here, we highlight a few of the popular media types and/or product options. We ALWAYS provide a pricing indication by showing a teaser price. A teaser price is the lowest possible price that the item can be purchased. You want your reader to think “Hey, I can actually afford that” which will dramatically increase the number of people who take action. For those who don’t take action (the vast majority), we are continuing to reinforce the types of products we offer as well as the affordable prices.
  8. Provide a 3-Day Expiration to Buy this specific Image (Optional) – this is part of the benefit of being on your email list. As you release new images, you’ll give those who subscribe an early chance to get a deal. It will make your subscribers feel special, and its a further incentive to stay subscribed. Because these emails have a high probability of being forwarded on to others (particularly if you did a good job at brightening their day), the incentive encourages people to forward it on faster. It also encourages new recipients (who are potential new audience members) to potentially take action. All of this will put you in the best position to capture new audience members (if you are using the Lead Capture tool) and new sales. Notice however, that this section does not have prominent placement on the email. If someone doesn’t scroll below the main image as well as the descriptive text, they will never see it. This is because the main purpose of the email is to romance, with a secondary (optional) purpose of providing a special “member” discount to those folks who are subscribed to your list.
  9. Primary “call to action” button to Start Shopping – You always need a primary call to action whenever sending an email, and this is it.
  10. Secondary “call to action” button to Browse All Images – Who knows, the customer might not care for this specific image, but they may want to see your other images in this series. This button satisfies that psychology, making it easy for those in this mindset to go where they want to go.
  11. Trust Signal – You always need to keep reinforcing that you are a trustworthy art seller. You never know who this email will be forwarded to. And when that new person opens the email, you want that first impression to be outstanding. NOTE: THIS TRUST BADGE IS COPYRIGHTED, AND CAN ONLY BE USED BY ART STOREFRONTS CUSTOMERS ONLY.

The Results

Here’s what professional photographer Dan Greenberg had to say after implementing the above advice:

“What I have seen after sending the first 6 emails has been surprising. I have had 4 or 5 people write me back telling me how much they enjoy the stories and the images. I’ve seen my traffic creep up a bit and made a sale last week! It’s quite gratifying to sell something without even asking!”

The path to consistent art sales should now be clear.

artist email template

Click here to download this sample template

Step One: Begin building an audience by capturing leads on your site and at any in-person events such as fairs and shows.

Step Two: Shed the ways of the Caveman and embrace the Romantic approach. Download this sample template, customize it for your brand, and send your audience regular emails that tell the stories of your unique work, perspective, and process.

Step Three: Direct your audience to your website – a website with the 20 Must Have Features to Sell Art Online.


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