Email Marketing vs. Print Promotion for Artists

silenced If you’re like most Illustrators, then you probably ask the following question from time to time:

 

“Which is more effective? Email or print promotion?”

 

Obviously, you want to spend your time and efforts on the marketing strategies that will yield the most amount of work for the lowest cost and the least amount of effort. The thing is, all Art Directors are different in the ways that they like to receive submissions from artists, so there’s never going to be one universal answer to the question above. This means that it’s a good idea to promote yourself in a variety of ways while paying close attention to what works best for each particular client. In addition, it can be helpful to tailor your marketing strategy to fit your particular business.

To help you consider how much time and energy you’d like to devote to email vs. print promotion, here is a look at the pros and cons of each approach:

– EMAIL –

Pros

Low Cost – While crafting effective email promos and sending them to your contact list does take some time to do properly, this will always be the low-cost option, as opposed to the money you’ll need to spend on postcards and other print promotions.

Direct Link – One of the best parts about email marketing is that you can include a direct hyperlink to your portfolio website, where an Art Director can browse your work, learn more about you, and find the contact info that you’ve hopefully made easy to find.

Simplicity – Sending emails has likely become one of the most intuitive activities in your daily life, so sending more shouldn’t be a problem. You won’t need to agonize over which image from your portfolio to include in the email since you can instead send an Art Director to your entire portfolio.

Cons

Spam Filters – There will always be a chance that your email will get caught up in your recipient’s spam filter, which means they’ll never see it. Your chances of making it past the spam police are greater if you include less links and attachments in your email and don’t use punctuation such as exclamation points in the headline or body of text.

Risk of Annoyance – Even if you make it past the built in spam blocker, everyone has there own personal spam filter in their brains. It’s a well-known fact that some Art Directors simply don’t like seeing their email folder filled with submissions from artists, and therefore perceive it as spam and delete it without ever opening it.

AD Effort – Assuming an Art Director is open to email promotions, you are still requiring them to take the action of reading it and clicking on a link to your site before they ever get to see your work. This might seem like a minor thing, but keep in mind that Art Directors are busy people, and you’re not the only Illustrator sending them an email.

– PRINT-

Pros Instant Visual – Probably the best part about sending a postcard or other form of print promotion is that when an Art Director receives it, they see your artwork right away, without having to take action or visit your website. As with any approach to marketing, you only have a brief moment to grab the attention of your audience, so why not use that time to put your work in front of their eyes?

Keepsake – If you impress an Art Director with your work, there’s always a chance that they will keep your print promo, and even put it up in their office if they really like it. If you’re lucky enough to inspire an AD in this way, they’re more likely to remember you when that next project comes around.

Cons

Cost – Obviously, there is some element of expense when it comes to printing and sending your physical mailers, so you’ll need to consider the effect that this will have on your bottom line, while weighing its potential for bringing in new work.

Time – Unlike email promotions, there is more time involved in designing, addressing, and mailing your print promotions.

Slush Pile – Art Directors usually receive print promos just about every day, which means that yours will be somewhere in a stack of those sent by many of your fellow Illustrators. While this is also true with email marketing, it’s important to remember this when designing your postcards.

No Direct Link – Even though you are showing the Art Director a sample(s) of your work, and hopefully your contact info, they’ll still need to take action to visit your online portfolio or learn more about you. Without the direct link that is included in an email, they’ll have to like your print promo enough to take further action. … After looking over the list of pros and cons above you may be feeling even more confused about which approach to take, but hopefully I’ve helped to outline some things that you’ll need to consider when creating your promotional strategy. As I stated earlier, every Art Director and every artist works differently, so I highly recommend trying a combination of print and email marketing, while paying attention to what works best for you. Also, some publications and other businesses list Submission Guidelines on their websites, so it’s always a good idea to try and figure out the best way to contact them.

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Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at thomasjamesillustration.com.
Thomas James

Posted by Thomas James on 10/05/15 under business
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