What is the best way to increase your income on the internet if you are an artist?
There are a lot of options to deliver your content, images and messages online.
Blogs, social media, static Web sites and user-generated content sites like Squidoo or Ezine articles all provide an opportunity to get the word out about your artwork.
Each of these has its distinct pros and cons. I love blogging, but it's a a lot of work.
And you have to keep feeding the engine--no matter how well-received your post is today, tomorrow your readers want to know what's new and fresh.
Static Web sites and user-generated content sites are tried and true, and they belong in any fully-developed content strategy, but they're not the first place I'd put my energy.
For my money, the smartest way to start out with internet marketing is with a simple email newsletter.
They're inexpensive--about $20 a month to deliver. They're faster to put together than a paper newsletter, requiring only minimal graphic layout. And the really fun part is, you can create a fantastic sequence of communication, then deliver it again and again to each new person who signs up for your list.
Benefits of using email marketing to your clients, collectors, and gallery contacts
- 90% of your sales will come from an email newsletter - Need I say more?
- Consistent email contact builds trust which leads to more and greater sales
- Auto-responders send out a sequence of regularly timed messages that you have created in advance. They work for you even when you are away or sleeping. Truly, the lazy man's way to riches.
- Consistent emails constantly keep your name in front of your customers and so they think about you next time they are ready to buy.
- You can offer a series of new products to your clients that are evenly spaced throughout your email campaign. More products offered means more sales
The reason no one is buying from you is that they don't know you and they don't trust you yet. A consistently delivered email newsletter solves both of these problems.
Here’s your simple formula for creating more sales with an email newsletter:
Consistently Delivered Messages = Trust = Sales
There are a lot of steps to putting an email newsletter together. None of them is rocket science, but put them all together and it can be a little intimidating.
I've seen a lot of folks get bogged down just trying to choose a provider. I completely understand—you don't want to make a mistake or burn a lot of time & energy with the wrong service.
Fortunately, there's an extremely easy answer to this question. There really is one provider—and no, I don't work for them!—who stands head and shoulders above the rest.
This article will give you the complete scoop on what you need to look for and why these guys are the gold standard.
Do You Need An Email Newsletter Provider?
A lot of folks think they can "do it themselves" by either sending customer email newsletters through a program like Outlook or (if you're a little more tech-y) writing your own PHP or other program.
"Doing it Yourself" is a BIG MISTAKE here.
First of all, trying to send out bulk email to more than 10 or 20 people gets complicated in a hurry. You lose track of who's already gotten what. You have to create folders and subfolders. Your local email service starts to get cranky with
you (sometimes very cranky) because you're sending too much stuff. It's just messy.
But that's not the reason not to do it.
You need a special email newsletter provider because if you don't, one of these days you will be marked as a SPAMMER.
It's a little known fact that most of the email that gets marked as spam is actually completely legit. People click that "spam" button if they forget that they signed up to hear from you, or if they're just not as interested as they used to be.
A lot of the time, they even click the SPAM button completely by accident. Before you know it, the "big guys" have sent your name around as a "bad character," and NONE of your email gets delivered . . . to ANYONE. Not your
personal mail wishing your grandma a happy birthday, not the business mail you use to confirm delivery of your product, NOTHING.
You really don't want that to happen.
Use a reliable email newsletter service and they manage all those relationships for you, so your mail will get delivered consistently. They send from a completely different computer, so your personal email can never be accidentally marked as a spammer.
The good ones also give you a heads up if you've written something that will raise the "spam" flag on the automatic filters (you'll be amazed at some of what gets flagged). They deal with all the hassles for you, and they keep things simple and
organized. You just spend a few minutes typing your content in and they take it from there.
A dedicated service to send your email newsletters is a critical business expense just like having a phone line is—and it's just as dumb to try to go without it!
A PIECE OF "EXPERT" ADVICE YOU MUST IGNORE:
Lately, some of the "experts" have been telling folks that deliverability (that's the jargon for whether or not your email gets to your readers without landing in a "junk" folder) is only about content. They claim that the spam filters just check
for certain words, and if you keep your nose clean your stuff will sail through.
These are people who have little or no experience testing different email providers.
OK, it's partly true. Yes, you have to have good, valuable content. And you can't be a spammer. It helps a lot of you send something your customers want to get.
But that's not the only piece of the puzzle.
As a matter of fact, it matters a lot who's sending your email newsletter for you. Some of the bigger names (including some you see advertising in the business journals and magazines) don't spend the time they should creating solid relationships with the email providers. They're not on the phone with AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, Earthlink, Comcast and all those other guys, making sure that those providers are delivering your email.
And if you publish a newsletter with one of these not-so-great services, even if you have the best content in the world on a totally harmless subject, you can see anything from 10-25% OR WORSE caught in spam filters.
Let's be really clear. When your newsletter gets stuck in a spam filter, your customers can't read it. Which means they don't forward it to their friends or come in to check out your great new promotion.
Which means 10-25% OR WORSE of your money and time are WASTED.
I don't want to get into any fights or make anyone's enemies list, so I'm not going to name the providers I've seen firsthand do a lousy job of managing the spam filters.
In fact, I'm just going to give you one name—the "gold standard" for sending mass email.
My 8% rejection rate shrank down to under 1%. My clickthroughs (that's folks who click on a link in your email—important to keep track of, because that means you've got interested readers who are motivated to act) improved by
about five times. That's all I needed to see—I'm a believer.
THE BEST EMAIL NEWSLETTER PROVIDER I'VE FOUND ANYWHERE
OK, enough with the suspense already. The best email newsletter provider for small businesses (or even big ones, in my opinion) is a company called Aweber.
I haven't seen any other provider come close to getting your email past the spam filters.
If you've been hanging around the Internet Marketing dudes, you know this name already—they're simply the best.
IF IT'S THE BEST, DOES THAT MEAN IT'S EXPENSIVE?
Aweber costs a little under $20 a month for the basic package, which gives you up to 250 subscribers. Then it jumps to $29 a month for up to 2,500 subscribers, with modest increases as you get more people on your lists. Other than some of the great free services provided by Google, I can't think of a better, smarter bargain for any business owner or organization. Anyone.
Remember, it's not just cheap with GREAT features, but the Aweber program is designed for folks who don't have a PhD in computer programming. Setting up Aweber is about as easy as it gets—if you managed to figure out how
your email program works, you're overqualified to use Aweber.
(No, I don't work for them and I don't own their stock. Maybe I should find out if they even offer stock, so I can buy some. It's just really, truly that good. No baloney.)
A MISTAKE EVEN EXPERTS MAKE
Once in awhile, I see a business owner using the email provider that comes with their shopping cart program, or their web domain host, or whatever.
Even people who ought to know better do this. I guess they don't like the idea of paying for a new program when they can use something they already bought.
Don't do it. Your customers can "white list" you (that means they add you to their email as a safe sender) until they're blue in the face, some of your messages are still going to get jammed up in their spam filters.
These "add-on" emailers just don't put as much time and energy into making sure as much email as humanly possible gets in front of your customers, instead of getting stuck in a spam or "junk" box somewhere.
Use a good, dedicated service with an EXCELLENT reputation for deliverability, whether it's Aweber or another service.
Full Disclosure: Aweber is an affiliate program and I earn a small amount for each subscriber that I send them. They are the email service that I use and trust and very much recommend to my readers.