2 Powerful Strategies to Start Winning at Your Arts Career

If you’ve struggled making money pursuing what you love, the tips in this article will help you overcome those roadblocks.

Whether you’re a painter or a musician, I’ll show you how to build a website and an email list to start winning fans who actually want to buy your work.

And I’m going to break down the process for you, step-by-step.

Check this out:

Why You Should Create an Email List and Where To Start

Building an email list might seem like a boring thing to do, but you may not know that email marketing has the highest return of investment of ANY marketing channel.

But to create an email list, you’re going to need a website and a unique email domain.

Why is this important?

I want you to look as credible as possible so you can establish yourself as an artistic leader in your niche.

The Truth About Creating Your Own Website

This is going to cost some money, and I know there are free options out there. So why pay at all?

Two reasons:

  1. You will have full control of your site name instead of sharing something like wordpress.com. This looks unprofessional compared to yourname.com
  2. You will have invested money in the website, which will give you a psychological push to build on these first steps you’re taking.

With that said, let’s keep it real. I don’t want you to pay too much for this. If you’re going to Starbucks 2-3 times a month, running your website should be affordable.

To get started, I recommend Wix because it is less technically involved than WordPress. Here are the steps to get started:

Once you’ve done that, let’s move on to the next step.

How I Get Great Marketing Copy On My Website Without Being A Marketer

The huge error most artists make is that they assume their art is all about them.

This is the truth about creating art:

It’s about the people, your audience! To make that resonate, you want to write web copy that resonates with those people.

Spend some time thinking about who follows your art at this time. What do they excited about? Where do they live? How old are they? How much do they make on an annual basis? How do they feel about the President?

The more specific your questions, the better.

Next, use Donald Miller’s brand script to fill in the details of your site.


Here’s the deal:

I’m making a HUGE simplification by giving you this guide. But it’s enough to get us started.

Just like the chords of a good song make us expect to hear a V-I resolution at some point, good stories resonate with us because they have a familiar script. That PDF I just shared with you is that script.

So go ahead and fill it out the best you can with special emphasis on the character (your target audience), their problems, and your plan to help them.

Ultimately, your art takes your audience from the pain of everyday life and transports them to a better place. You get define where that is.

Once you realize this, you have the framework to start writing your site copy.

Don’t worry about selling your art yet. I’ll share more about that soon.

Custom Email: Your Ultimate Cool Factor

Let’s be honest, using you@yourname.com looks a lot cooler than a gmail account.

Getting a G Suite Plan will cost an extra $6 / monthly to use, and the cost is TOTALLY cheaper than that fancy vegetarian bean wrap I just ate at Starbucks.

So go ahead and sign up. You’ll be all set to take the next steps for building out your email list.

How to Build Your Email List from Just Your Dear Aunt Sally to Dozens and Hundreds of People

When building and communicating with your fan base, email lists are solid gold. They are THE way to build wealth via the Internet.

I’m not going to lie to you…

Actually BUILDING your email list is the hardest part of this process. In this section, I’m going to show you 2 direct strategies you can use to build out your website.

Here’s My #1 Takeaway Lesson: Direct Conversions

Take a form to your concerts or exhibits and ask people to share their emails.

To go old school, I’ve created a form that you can use here to print off: Artist Email List

Next, document your event. Have a friend take pictures of it. Take a selfie with some fans. Record the music.

Here’s what to say at the end:

Hey everyone, thank you so much for coming to my event. I’ve started an email list to keep you in touch with what I’m up to. You can find it on the way out. I’ve also been taking pictures and recording moments from this evening, so if you sign up tonight, I’ll send you the best pictures. Thank you for coming!

Step #2: Offer a Signup Sheet

Wix offers a free and easy way to get subscribers with their app.

Wix Get Subscribers Overview | WIX App Market | Wix.com

You can install this directly on your website so that visitors can sign up.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  1. No one cares about your email list
  2. No one cares about your email list
  3. No one cares about your email list

Why? Because we’re all getting spammed, all the time. Companies drown us in their newsletters with products we mostly don’t want to buy.

When companies don’t understand our needs, we hit that unsubscribe faster than the President can tweet about fake news.

So what’s the solution?

You want to offer something in exchange for that precious email address.

You can fill in your signup form with the following content:

Get news about my art

Get a free [YOUR ART] in return

Email Address

Join Now

Also, take the time to add a “No, thanks” button below “Join Now” on your signup form that has humor or sarcasm in it.

Something like “No thanks, I’d prefer not to get good art” should make the point clear.

With a signup form and old school paper strategy for your events, this should be enough to get you off the ground.

How to Convert an Email List into a Group of Raving Fans that Beg to Give You their Money

The next steps to take involve emailing the people that follow you about all the cool stuff you’re doing.

Here’s the deal:

Everything operates on the law of reciprocity. Once you provide enough value to your fans, they will feel compelled to invest in what you have to offer.

Let’s get started.

The Secret to Making People Feel Valued

Don’t be afraid to ask your audience for their opinions about how to present your work better.

For a small email list of less than 100 users, a good question to ask would be what kind of venues they want to see you perform in with some specific options to choose from.

As you get to know your Buyer Persona, consider asking “What are two things musicians absolutely need to get better at doing during their concerts?”

SurveyMonkey is currently a good (free) option for making a survey.

A Good Email List Should Entertain and Help Your Audience

Respect the people you contact by treating every email you send as an opportunity to build relationship.

The first step is to create free content. This will involve social media like Twitter, SoundCloud for musicians, and Instagram for artists. There are lots of other places to invest, but these three platforms give you a place to start.

I know this has nothing to do with your email list, but you can point these social media platforms to your website where users can join your email list.

When you do email, be willing to share about your life.

Always use your stories to remember that you are there to serve your audience. Love and adore those people because they are the ones that give meaning to your creativity.

Treat Your Email List Like Your Own Personal News Agency

At this point, your digital life has just begun. Your job now is to make sure people can easily discover what you’re working on.

If you have a concert or an exhibition, tell your email list. If you’re publishing a vlog, tell your email list. If you’re on iTunes, sell a t-shirt, or have a signed piece of art, tell your email list.

If you’d like to learn more about the techniques for promoting your work, check out Chapter 10 of my book Ready Set Go: Life Hacks for Young Musicians.


And that’s my guide to building your own fan club.

Now I want to turn it over to you: what did you think about these strategies? Or maybe there’s something I missed.

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

That’s all I have for this post. You made it to the end!

Jacob HallmanAbout the Author: Jacob is the learning-obsessed co-founder of StudyGate, a tutoring platform for college students trying to get through Gen Eds and pass their STEM classes. Why so obsessed? Well his skills on the saxophone have nothing to do with it (OK maybe a little). It’s because StudyGate provides insanely practical help that students can immediately use to start getting better grades.

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(865) 630-0626