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 downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office which he shares with his two feline assistants Kiara and Lilly. You can connect with Clint on Twitter, Facebook or his personal blog at clintavo.com.
“Your biggest risk with collectors is not that they’ll stop liking your work, it’s that they will stop thinking about you.” – Jason Horejs, Xanadu Gallery.
Art bloggers often advise artists on the “right” frequency for sending an email newsletter. This advice generally warns artists not to send too many emails, you don’t want to “overwhelm” your subscribers, after all. That’s good advice.
Here’s the rub, though: the recommended frequency is all over the map. I’ve read recommendations ranging from once a month, to once a week, to no more than 2 times a week. Where are people getting these numbers? They seem to be based mostly on gut feelings and personal preferences. If there was any data cited, I certainly missed it. So, let’s be a bit more strategic than that.
In our BoldBrush Art Marketing Playbook, we generally recommend once a month. However, I want to be clear about this: we consider that to be the lower bound.
In other words, never send your newsletter less frequently than once a month. You can send it more frequently if you wish, and, indeed, your results will be accelerated if you send more frequently.
We settled on once a month in our playbook not because we’re afraid of overwhelming your subscribers, but because we didn’t want to overwhelm you, the artist.
If you’re overwhelmed with our recommendations, then you may not do anything. And sending once a month is infinitely better than not sending at all.
Once a month is a good middle ground that doesn’t overwhelm you with marketing work, and is often enough to keep you in front of your subscribers on a regular basis. It’s often enough to prevent your fans from reaching the point that they “stop thinking about you” as Jason Horejs warns in the opening quote.
Plus, at least once a month is critical to keep your list from going cold. If you let your list go cold you will have to work doubly hard to get your marketing back on track.
One a month is a good starting point. But, in reality, you can send a newsletter as often as you like – as long as you don’t have more than 2-4 people unsubscribe for every 1,000 emails you send.
If you lose more than 2-4 people out of every 1,000 emails, then you’re either sending too often, or you’ve strayed too far off topic (such as discussing politics in a newsletter where people were expecting art). I covered this in more depth in the article about handling your unsubscribers.
What I’m recommending is this: for every 1,000 emails you send, you pick a number you can accept to lose – it can be as low as 2 or as high as 4 – but it can’t be zero (zero is unrealistic once your list grows past a certain size).
Incidentally, FineArtViews shoots for an unsubscribe rate of less than .2%, or less than 2 out of 1,000 (our current unsubscribe rate is .04% (4 out of 10,000)).
So, what’s the perfect sending frequency to ensure that you don’t lose more than .2%?
My answer is as often as possible. That’s why we send FineArtViews daily.
Send as often as you have information to share, just make sure it’s personal, timely and relevant. If your unsubscribe rate is too high, dial back the frequency a bit until it’s “just right”
In fact, you can and should set up-front expectations for your subscribers by telling them what to expect on your newsletter signup page.
Sending your newsletter as often as every day is fine as long as the person knows what they are signing up for.
Weekly is a good frequency for most artists who want to move onto the “fast track” with their email marketing. And, for most artists, I think sending your newsletter weekly hits the sweet spot.
While you’re deciding whether you should send more often or less often let me share with you what a few other newsletters do:
FineArtViews sends Daily.
Facebook sends upon every update.
Brian Kliewer’s successful “100 paintings in 100 days” that we’ve cited in the past sent daily.
Daily Paint Works sends daily.
Robert Genn of the Painter’s Keys (before he passed) sent twice-weekly.
David Cheifetz’s successful newsletter was sent weekly.
If you want a rule of thumb. I would say no less frequent than monthly with once a week being preferable. More than once a week is probably too much unless you are a gifted writer with the time and the drive to provide that much interesting content and your subscribers know you will send that often.
Until next time, please remember that Fortune Favors the Bold Brush.
BoldBrush/FASO Founder & Art Fanatic
PS – How often do you send your newsletter? What have your results been? Please let us know in the comments or by hitting reply if you’re receiving this article by email.
PPS – If you have questions or would like a reply from me, I generally limit my online discussion time to Twitter. Follow me on Twitter and ask questions there if you’d like to be sure I see your question. Here’s the link: https://twitter.com/clintavo