It’s a constant challenge to find new collectors for your artists. One place you might not have thought to look is within the inactive subscribers on your own gallery email list. A gallery’s contact list is gold and made of people who, at one point and time, raised their hand and said “Yes – I want you to stay in touch with me”. But time goes by and for any number of reasons they start ignoring your gallery emails. They don’t open them, they don’t click over to your website, nothing. They become inactive subscribers. In a study by Marketing Sherpa, 75% of an email list is inactive. YIKES!
The top three reasons an art gallery’s subscribers may go inactive are:
- Too many emails
- Emails are not optimized for mobile
- Predictable or repetitive content
Some of those inactive art lovers may just need a little reminder or something to snap their attention back.
It is a good idea to identify the inactive people on your email list annually and try to rekindle the relationship. How? A re-engagement strategy. Traditional tactics to get people to re-engage include sending a special offer or discount code, a poll or survey or an online contest. To me these are probably not the best tactics for a fine art gallery. They seem a little too “retail”. There are strategies that I think might be worth a try for a gallery business.
Here are few messaging ideas that may be appropriate for your art gallery.
- Offering a one-of-a-kind experience or VIP invitation.
- A brand focused email reminding them of the benefits your gallery offers.
- Ask the direct question. Do they want to remain on your list or not?
- An invitation to connect with your gallery in other ways, such as social media.
- Tap into subscribers emotions.
- Any combination of the above.
The tricky part is that you are trying to re-engage with people who haven’t opened your emails by sending them…. an email. It’s likely the only means you have to communicate with them, so you have no other choice. To stand out in their inbox, your re-engagement email needs to be completely different from what has been ignored in the past.
Stay within your brand visually, but step outside the box with subject line, pre-header text and images. These are the three elements of an email that people see first. That is where attention needs to be acquired. You will find lots of inspiration on how to craft these elements online. There are many examples of re-engagement emails sent by companies. But you’re a busy person, so I pulled a few that I thought were particularly impactful. These examples each have different aspects that I liked and thought an art gallery business could easily modify slightly to make it work for their inactive gallery subscribers.
Ask the direct question
- Simple, short and sweet message asking if they want to remain on the mailing list.
- Acknowledging that the recipient has not opened any recent emails.
- Strong, clean graphics
- The headline here would be a good email subject line to standout from past emails sent.
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- Pre-header text is “Let’s work this out” and headline stands out
- Clean graphics
- Asks their preference about receiving promotional emails
- Offers a line about the benefits of opening their emails
Click to enlarge image.
Both of these examples directly ask the inactive subscriber if they want to continue the relationship with these companies. The tone is relaxed and friendly. The simple design and good use of headlines help a recipient quickly understand what is being asked and make it easy for them to reply.
Invitation to engage in a different way
- Singular focus and call to action
- Respectful that people like to interact with business in different ways
- Strong graphics
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Shameless, but effective emotional connection
This one needs no explanation. Deploying a sad little fury animal with a plea to re-engage with your gallery would certainly stand out in a subscribers inbox. The subject line would need to unique and powerful.
While all these examples above are from businesses outside the art world, I hope they inspire how you might design a gallery re-engagement email.
Renewing the interest of inactive subscribers is easier and less expensive than finding new art collectors in other ways. You can not guess what caused their interest to fade, but many will still be warm leads. You should expect to re-engage approximately 35-45%. These are potential sales hiding in plain sight.
Send three re-engagement emails over the course of a few months with different call to action messages to give your strategy the best chance. Those who unsubscribe will help keep your list clean and campaign stats more accurate. Either way, it’s a good thing your gallery marketing.
The best way to keep gallery subscribers active is to ensure you are nurturing the people on your list by sending different kinds of information to their inboxes. Review all the emails you sent last year to your list as a whole. How much do they vary? What percentage of emails was something other than an invitation to visit the gallery for a show.
Remember subject line, pre-header text and images are the most important parts of your email to get them opened. Depending on the email service provider you use, you may be able to create a re-engagement strategy once and then set it up to run automatically. Look for this marketing automation feature in email service.
Take good care of them and they will take care of your business, through sales and referrals.