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Top Tips for Email Marketing in the Arts industry

Written by Marliese Andexer 29 / 09 / 2012

We have asked our friends at Lucidica to look at the Top Tips and pitfalls when it comes to Email Marketing for the Arts industry. Here the results …

Tip 1 – Engage

You have to listen to what your patrons want and respond, don’t just ‘start writing’ and hope your write the right stuff.

Both GetResponse and MailChimp show that engagement in email marketing from Arts customers is higher than average and in fact click through rate (the % number of people who click on articles in newsletters) is the highest amongst any industry.

The majority of arts industries have some kind of ‘visual product’ – make these count. Don’t overwhelm the reader, carefully plan where you’re going to place your images/photos to focus attention and draw the reader into the email.

Once you have their attention then hit them quickly with what you’re offering and spark the interest.

Next draw them into the piece of news with a succinct abstract of the main article.

Finally ensure that you track the ‘action’ by having the offer, news, information on your website so they have to click on a link to get the full details.

Tip 2 – It’s not just about you

Think what other digest news you can give away that your patrons would like. There is nothing wrong with promoting additional news and events from other arts organisations.

If you’re providing value there is an increased chance the reader will keep reading. If the ‘hottest’ thing in London is at another gallery then talk about it and use it as a hook for your readers.

Tip 3 – Push your way up the news wave

Trawl the ‘professional press’ sites for news that may turn ‘mainstream’. If you can publish a news article that then appears in the weekend edition of papers you can increase engagement and credibility of your emails.

Naturally you’ll be reading industry news – when something sparks your interest make a note of it, if you can re-write it with your own ‘spin’ even better!

Tip 4 – Try different times of day

The emails you’re sending should entertain people, they should encourage people to visit you in their free time and want to come to your website.

A good assumption would be to send the emails on a Friday afternoon, people will be winding down for the weekend, they may not have made plans and your communication could encourage them to visit.

This is an assumption though, and while assumptions are a good place to start they are just the start.

The web is a very odd place, your patrons and potential-patrons will be diverse and so the only way you can determine the best time of day to send your email will be to try and track. Different times of the day and different days of the week will have an effect on your click through rate.

Tip 5 – Have targets and track

9% click through rate is the minimum you should be aiming for. If you’re not getting this, either your list of subscribers isn’t very good, or your content isn’t very good.

Once you have composed your email and sent it, then your real work begins by digesting the results. See what people click on and think why, see what people don’t click on and think why.

Always remember though the reality of what is going on is often far more complicated than you’ll first think. For example a story that doesn’t get anyone clicking on it may fall down in one of the four areas

  • Attention; it may just be overwhelmed by the rest of your article or visually unappealing
  • Interest; people spend longer reading an email but you still need to grab people quickly and inspire interest
  • Desire; Your article has to have content that people actually want
  • Action; Your article has to have an action ‘a click’. If you give people too much no one will click through and while they may have loved your article it will look like they don’t simply because you’ve given them too much

It’s also possible for the cutting of unpopular articles and reduction of your click through rate as a whole. If your main article affords you to put an eye catching image near the top, think very carefully about removing it even if it gets few clicks as while people may not read this article the image may draw them into the rest of the content.

Lucidica is the IT Department for Small Business, we run monthly digital marketing seminars at the British Library on topics such as email marketing, search engine optimisation and Google AdWords.

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