7 Common Mistakes Artists Make When Creating E-Newsletters

Have I mentioned recently just how important I think e-newsletters are? They’re such a great way to share your marketing message! Unlike social media messages that some of your followers may never see, your subscribers can’t miss a single e-newsletter. Even if they don’t open and read it, just seeing it in the inbox is a great reminder that you’re out there. And that’s what you’re fighting for—to remain “top of mind” so that your followers think of you whenever they think of art.

Of course, there are right ways and wrong ways to create an e-newsletter. So here are seven common pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid:

1. Writing boring subject lines. Every time we receive an e-newsletter, we all ask the same question: What’s in it for me? Or, how will I benefit from reading this? Your subject lines should attempt to answer that question. Of course, that may not always be possible, so at the very least, try to be creative, indulge in a little clever word play, or ask a question that may pique the receiver’s interest. (Click here for more tips.) Whatever you do, avoid something dull like “Jane Artist’s Monthly Newsletter.”

2. Rambling on with no clear point. Have you ever tried to listen to someone talking who is jumping around from topic to topic and doesn’t seem like he or she really has anything to say? You lost interest quickly, didn’t you? Don’t be that guy (or girl) when writing your e-newsletter. Although some issues of your e-newsletter may contain a mix of info, such as news and announcements, it’s best to organize the content into distinct sections. And if you really want to look like a pro, develop some kind of theme to tie together all of the content within your e-newsletter. Ideas might include the season, an upcoming holiday, or something more personal. 

3. Forgetting the 80-20 Rule. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for those of you who haven’t heard this one, a really useful guideline to follow on all kinds of marketing messages is the 80-20 Rule. According to this concept, 80% of your marketing messages should be friendly, conversational sharing of fun facts about you and your work, while only 20% should be obvious promotional or sales-related messages. To maintain that balance, some of your e-newsletters will not contain any overtly promotional stuff at all. So, for example, you could create an e-newsletter that shows off three new works, tells all about them, explains what inspired them, and so on, without ever saying “hey, by the way, these are for sale.” People will still get the message, but your approach will seem softer and less pushy.

4. Being too impersonal. Okay, so this one’s not really a “mistake” but rather a matter of personal preference. Some artists like to be all business in their e-newsletters, but here’s why I’m in favor of being more personal and expressing more of your brand (personality, characteristics, values, etc.): Your subscribers have signed up for your e-newsletter because they like you, because they want to know more about you. They are looking for places where they can make a personal connection with you. The more often you can tell a little story, share some interesting background or ideas related to your art, or express some emotion in the content of your e-newsletter, the more you’re giving them what they want, which will keep them coming back for more. (P.S. This kind of content also makes it easier to write an exciting subject line because you actually can give them a good reason to open the newsletter!)

5. Omitting a call to action. Every time you send out a marketing message of any kind, including an e-newsletter, you always want to end with a call to action—something you’re asking the reader to do. Quite often, your call to action will relate to the theme of the e-newsletter, as in you invite them to attend the exhibit you’ve just announced or you urge them to book a slot in the workshop you’re promoting. But even if you don’t have something specific like that, you can always ask the reader to visit your website or forward your e-newsletter on to a friend who loves art.

6. Failing to proofread. Sorry to say this, but poor spelling, bad grammar, and other mistakes, such as broken links to websites, can be damaging to the image you’re trying to create. If you struggle with these things, ask a family member or friend for help. Or use an online tool like to clean up your text before embedding it in your e-newsletter.

7. Sending at the wrong times. For best results—meaning getting the most people to open and read your e-newsletter—experts recommend sending out e-newsletters relatively early in the morning on Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Wednesdays.

What’s your take on e-newsletters? Let’s connect!

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