Artists need an audience to get feedback on their work, both positive and negative. One way to find an audience is by performing in the middle of a busy street and hoping that someone will be interested in what you’re doing.
Another way to build an audience is by taking advantage of the options that are available on the Internet, such as using social media. However that too can often feel like playing music on a busy street. People are coming and going with different motivations directing them, and trying to interrupt them can feel exhausting.
Email: The Dark Unicorn of The Internet
A more reliable way to reach out to people is over email. The message goes out, and will sit in the inbox until they open it. If you have something important to share with people who are already interested in what you’re doing, it is your duty to let them know of any new things you’ve been working on that they might like. A lot of creative people I know are afraid to ‘bother’ their peers, but in the end those peers get annoyed that they’ve been left out of the loop.
A popular tool for keeping everyone in the loop is Mailchimp, which is becoming synonymous with the term email marketing itself (like Kleenex and tissue paper). The way it works is you setup an email list, and embed a form on your site for people to sign up (similar to what we have here on Spaghetti Lab). You can also email people by using the bcc field in a program like Gmail, however this presents a few problems. If you accidentally put the names in the cc field, people will be upset with you, and you also need to give people the option to stop receiving these mass emails (more on this in a few secs).
Who Can You Email?
You are technically not supposed to add people to a mailing list unless they explicitly asked to be added (which is called opting-in, and now has strict laws about this). However if you are starting something for a small group of friends it is possible to add them. Just be very respectful of how often you email them.
The other side of email marketing is sending the email itself. This is your moment to shine. You can tell people about a new project that you’re doing, or interview someone else in your space that your audience might find interesting. Some people prefer to send great links that they’ve been reading lately. Whatever you do, try to do it in a way that is either fun or genuine.
Remember that although we use computers, there are humans on each side of the screen. Speaking with an authentic voice will be appreciated by the person on the other end of the communication. People should feel free to unsubscribe from your newsletter without feeling guilty. So you must respect their wishes to do so.
One of my favourite newsletters at the moment is the Creative Independent. What are some of the best newsletters that you’re subscribed to?