The other day, I was looking at the website of an artist I greatly admire. His work is amazing, and his new website looks great. I decided I wanted to get on his mailing list so I could keep up on his progress. So, I started to look for a way to subscribe.
I scrolled down his home page… more lovely images… announcements… events… get to the bottom of the page and… nothing. No way to subscribe.
So then I scroll back up to the navigation menu. Nothing about subscribers… but hey, here’s a Contact link… I click… and again… nothing…
Keep scrolling… ah, there it is! Finally! A way to subscribe!
Oh, dear. This fantastic artist has a serious problem.
Friends, probably the most valuable asset you have in marketing your art is your mailing list. In my opinion, nothing is more important than capturing the email addresses of your fans. Pretty much all your marketing efforts are designed to achieve one goal: to attract people to your website. So, when you finally succeed in getting them there, why would you let them leave without inviting them to keep in touch? That’s nuts! No, instead, you should make it as easy and obvious as possible for your new fans to subscribe.
Now, lots of artists I know—including this artist I’m talking about—are using templatized website designs that don’t actively promote the ability to subscribe. That’s why I’m a big believer in adding a pop-up window to collect e-mail addresses of the people who visit your artist portfolio website. Mailchimp, Privy, and other online services allow you to overlay your website with a pop-up window that makes subscribing super easy.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You hate pop-up windows! Well, I hate them, too, when they’re the first thing that appears when I land on a website. That’s why I still recommend using a pop-up window service. It gives you a high level of control over your pop-up’s functionality. Here are several suggestions for setting up a pop-up that works for you, not against you:
- Set it to appear 30 to 60 seconds after a person lands on your site. This gives them a chance to look around first. If they’re interested in your work, they will stay awhile. And because they like what they see, they’ll be more inclined to subscribe when your pop-up window finally does appear.
- Or set it to appear when they’re about to leave. Believe it or not, technology is available that senses when a person is about to exit your site, and you can set the pop-up window to appear just as the person is about to leave.
- Allow them to opt out... or back in. Make sure your pop-up window allows the person to easily opt out with an X or a “no, thanks” button. Even better, provide some way for the person to retrieve the pop-up window. It’s possible that he or she simply needed a little more time to decide to subscribe, and you want to make it easy to opt back in.
My Privy pop-up opens after 30 seconds, and can be easily closed…
… but the blue corner tab encourages people to re-open the window if they change their mind.
- Include a friendly message in your window. Another great thing about pop-up windows is that you can extend an inviting message explaining why you want to keep in touch. Personalize it, and let it be yet another expression of your brand.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Marketing and selling your artwork relies on you nurturing relationships with fans of your art, especially through email marketing, and it all begins with collecting those super-valuable email addresses. So, before you reject the idea of a pop-up window, ask yourself why you find them so annoying. If you can identify what that is, chances are good that you can design a window that isn’t offensive and still allows you to build your e-mail address list.
What are your thoughts on pop-ups? Let’s connect!