This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $38,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed "art fanatic", Clint delights that BoldBrush's San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office. You can connect with Clint on Twitter, Facebook or his personal blog at clintavo.com
All newsletter signup forms are not created equal. In this post, we'll cover what you, as an artist, should do on your signup forms to give you the best chance of having qualified prospects sign up for your newsletter.
1. Include a newsletter signup form on every page of your website
Here's an example from Dan Gerhartz' website:
Since we recommend against using a pop up form, having a signup form on every page is a great alternative to make signing up easy. Actually, it's better than a popup because a pop up is gone, never to appear again once someone dismisses it.
2. Tell your prospects what they’re going to receive and how often
People will be reluctant to provide an email address without some idea of how often you plan to send a newsletter. If they think it's going to be monthly and you send daily, then they may very well report you as a spammer. Be up front. If you plan to send daily, then tell people up front. (See our FineArtViews signup below for an example of what we say.) If you aren't sure how often you're going to send, then say that on your signup form.
3. Use interesting and enticing calls to action
"Sign up for my newsletter" = bad and boring.
"Be the first to see new art" = good and enticing. (Remember to write your copy while considering what's in it for the subscriber).
4. Use social proof
If your list is large or you have a large readership, consider using the size as social proof. Another option is to add a couple of testimonials from real subscribers to your signup page.
Here's how John P. Weiss tastefully handles providing social proof on his signup page:
5. Give visitors a way to read past issues
A lot of people who consider joining your email list will appreciate the option to see examples of what you are going to send. John P. Weiss' signup page, shown above, does a great job of giving people this option without being too obtrusive.
6. Reassure prospects you will keep their email address private
Nobody wants their email address to be sold, shared or given to anyone without their permission. Make sure you make your policy crystal clear about this item. And just so I'm crystal clear: your policy must be that you never share email addresses. period. Use wording similar to the following:
"I will never sell or share your email address with anyone else. Period."
7. Reassure prospects that you make it easy to unsubscribe
Say things like, "I respect your control of your inbox. All unsubscribes are processed immediately."
(If you use FASO's ArtfulMail, unsubscribe links are automatically added to your newsletters and all unsubscribes are processed immediately).
8. Ask for Email Address Only
Artists often ask us to add additional input boxes to the signup form. They want to know people's name, their collecting habits, where they live, etc. I understand wanting to know that information. However, it's a bad idea. It's too much to ask for upon signup. You can get this information later, once the person "knows" you and trusts you.
At sign up, just as for the email address, period.
Every additional field you require reduces your conversion rate. In plain terms that means that every field you require on your email signup form will mean fewer people sign up for your newsletter.
Here's an example of sticking to just one field. This is our FineArtViews signup form:
9. NO POP UPS!
Enough said. But if you want to know why we say this, learn why we recommend that you stop the pop.
Have I forgotten anything? What elements have you found need to be on your newsletter signup forms? Hit reply and let me know so I can add the idea to this article, or, if reading this on our blog, please leave a comment.
Until next time, please remember that Fortune Favors the Bold Brush.
BoldBrush/FASO Founder & Art Fanatic
PS - To start your own email marketing program, if you're a FASO customer, we recommend you use the built-in ArtfulMail program. If you're not a FASO customer (or need more advanced features), we recommend ConvertKit. Help us keep bringing you great content by signing up for Convertkit with our affiliate link here.
PPS - If you want to hear my latest thoughts on marketing and selling art, or you have comments or questions about this article (or others), I'm very active on Twitter, Please follow me at the link below and send your questions or comments to @clintavo
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