Marketing your art

Ways to annoy others with email

The good thing about Email announcements is that there is no cost to send one, however one should approach them with caution. Spam is a constant problem for everyone and if your announcement is perceived as spam it can cause problems. Even if the person receiving the announcement is someone you know you could hurt your cause if the message causes the user annoyance in one way or another.

A list of the ways an email message could annoy the recipient:

  • Frequency
If you send emails too often the recipient will find it bothersome to read through them all. In my opinion art announcements via email should be timed to coincide with a real life event such as an exhibit opening, workshop or lecture. An email announcing 3 new paintings on your website is probably not a good idea.
  • Clarity

If the content of the email is not carefully considered and edited for factual errors, spelling and clarity, you will reduce the effectiveness of your message. A journalistic approach of Who, What, Where, When is very effective. If you are not good at crafting words, consider asking the help of someone who is.

  • Omitting a subject or reusing the subject of another email

Most email is written in haste and so a good way to make your email announcement stand out from everything else in someone's inbox is to give careful attention to the crafting of your message. The subject line is the place to pull in a reader.

  • Not hiding the recipient list (how to hide the recipient list)

There are several reasons to hide the names and addresses of those who you are sending the message to. The recipient list will be at the top of your message so if someone wants to read what you have written, they will have to scroll past the list of names first. Many people may not bother to do so. Another reason is that the person who gave you their email address may not want you to give that address to others. I have seen addresses get spread around this way and you do not want to be the person to be blamed for someone else getting spam. The final reason is aesthetic. All those names and addresses make your message look ugly.

When I had a 56K modem (not so long ago), I would occasionally get messages with huge attachments that would clog up my mail box and often cause my mail to stop working for a few days until I contacted the internet service provider and asked them to remove it. When those messages make it to me they often only display a corner of the image since such an image is too large to fit on my screen. If you send an image file that has not been optimized for the internet, the recipient will not be pleased, will not come to your reception (unless to they come to yell at you) and they will not buy art. Sending such files makes enemies not friends.

  • Putting the content into an attachment

If you write up an press release and attach it to your email, a good number of the recipients will question whether you have sent them a virus and very few will bother to read it.

One common way to make an email announcement is via an image attached to the message. This is not in the same category as text press release described above. This is an ideal way to take control of the formatting of the message in a way that is not available via email text. (See an example) One thing to consider when making an announcement this way is that not all email programs work the same way. Some will show images in the messages others will show the image as an attached file. In some programs the user can choose whether to show images or not. When I use image files to present the announcement, I also include some information in the text of the email so that those with no access to the image will know what this is about.

  • Not responding to a reply to your announcement

Email is a two way street. If someone writes back to say "This looks fun. I will try to make it to your reception." Do not ignore them. Even if you are busy getting ready for the show write back and say "I'm glad to hear you are coming. I look forward to seeing you."

  • Not removing people who request to be taken off your list.

This final point really crosses the border between annoyance and spam. If some one request to be taken off your list. Take them off and keep them off. An email announcement list should be composed of people who want to get your announcement.







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