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Your email list is an important way to stay in touch with customers, even if they’ve never bought from you before. Growing an email list can be hard, though, especially as an artist! You may feel like you don’t have anything valuable to offer your email subscribers, but trust me – you do! There are a number of ways that email marketing can help you grow your art business, too.

How to grow a successful email list as an artist

Why you need an email list as an artist

First things first: you need a way to pre-qualify customers so you know what they want AND so you know they’re interested in what you offer. Without this, it’s hard to know where someone is in terms of being ready to buy from you. Pre-qualifying your customers means that you gauge their interest level and if you have multiple product lines or price points, hopefully get an idea of which product line or price point they’re most interested in, too.

An email list also gives you a way to send important information to your customers and to stay front-of-mind. If they’re getting ready to invest in a unique piece of art but don’t remember that you exist, the chance of them buying from you instead of another artist is much lower, right? That means that a large part of your email marketing strategy is just to make sure people who like your art style remember that you exist, even if they aren’t ready to buy right now. That way, when they are ready to buy, they’re that much more likely to come to you first!

You can also make the process of buying fine art less intimidating for your customers through your email list opt-in offer. A lot of people think fine art is for rich people and collectors. They feel like they wouldn’t even know where to start… so they don’t. If you want to expand your customer base, you can use your emails to help break down the barriers for these folks. Show them how easy it can be to work with you and how it can impact their lives! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Email Opt-in Idea #1: A Coupon or Discount

The most straightforward option is the one practically every e-commerce shop offers: a coupon or discount emailed to you after you sign up. This proves the subscriber’s interest in your products, but it also may mean fewer opt-ins. If someone isn’t ready to buy right this second, they may not subscribe because they don’t want to waste a coupon that they could use later.

The problem is, if they don’t opt-in now, they’re likely to forget about you. One way you could get around this is to offer email subscribers an ongoing percentage off or a one-time use coupon (with no expiration) that’s good for their first purchase from you. (Just make sure your sales system can create this type of coupon!) You could include that coupon code at the bottom of every email update that you send so no one has to go search for it when they’re ready to buy, too.

Email Opt-in Idea #2: A Downloadable Freebie

You’ve probably seen these all over the place: you provide your first name and email address and get a cheat sheet/checklist/resource guide/whatever PDF or other digital file emailed to you. This may not be the first thing you think of as an artist, but it can be a great option! This downloadable freebie could be a home decor checklist, a guide to buying your first piece of art, or even a monthly desktop wallpaper/printable piece of artwork.

All of these examples provide you with a pre-qualified customer. You’re breaking down their barriers to purchasing through the checklist and guide while the monthly artwork shows that they’re interested in your art style specifically. Get creative and solve problems and obstacles that your customers may be facing when it comes to being ready to buy your artwork. Don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple downloadable freebies at once, too! Just place them in different areas of your website and marketing materials so you can gather separate results.

Email Opt-in Idea #3: An Interactive Quiz

This one’s my favorite email opt-in! With a quiz, you can help customers learn more about themselves in relation to [your] art in a way that makes them feel ‘qualified’ to buy fine art. One way you could do this is to help your customers determine their art or home decor style. The results of the quiz could tell them their style and where they can find art that fits their style AND budget. (People with a TJ Maxx budget probably aren’t going to be buying from you anyways, after all!)

Maybe you have an art series that you’ve created prints for, too. You could create a quiz that would help someone determine which piece from the series matches their personality and home decor style – then offer them a 10% discount on that print! Win-win for both you and your customer.

By offering a quiz, you’re able to eliminate the people who won’t buy from you and hone in on the folks who would be your perfect customers. If you want to play around with quizzes, I recommend checking out Interact, the online quiz platform that I use for The CE L.A.B. You can create a free account to create your quizzes and get to know the platform and then when you’re ready to start collecting email addresses, that’s when you would sign up for a paid account. If you want help creating your first quiz, check out my quiz tutorial HERE or get in touch – we offer done-with-you and done-for-you quiz services at The CE L.A.B. I’d love to see your quiz when you’re finished, too; we love sharing CE L.A.B. member resources with the rest of the world!


What your email list opt-in needs to do for you as an artist

All right, so you now have three email opt-in ideas to get you started. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning your email list opt-in, though. It needs to do at least one of the following:

  • Help your customer see your art in their home
  • Encourage them to buy, even a small intro piece
  • Break down barriers holding them back from buying fine art
  • Determine if they are actually your ideal customer

There are a number of other things your email list opt-in can do, but these are some of the most important.

So how do you figure out how to accomplish this? Start by asking other people what holds them back from buying fine art and then solve that problem with your opt-in. We’ve already covered some of those problems and solutions in the email list opt-in ideas, so if you feel stuck, hop back up there and check them out.


Whatever opt-in your choose, you can always follow up with a one-time discount or an additional freebie to help prep them even more to buy. Remember your goals for your opt-in freebie and that you don’t have to be limited to a single email list opt-in – you could use all three of the examples and more! Just get creative and make sure you’re solving a problem for your customers. Good luck!


Leave a comment with your thoughts on email lists for artists! Here are some ideas:

  • Which email opt-in idea are you going to try first?

  • What problem can you solve for your customers through your email opt-in?

  • What was your biggest takeaway from this article?

How to Grow A Successful Email List as an Artist
The Creative Entrepreneurs L.A.B.