I hear it all the time: “It’s was just so easy to set up!”

A favorite artist and friend of mine just reached out to get help with marketing. She had just bought the “Artsy Shark Success Guide to Email Marketing for Artists“.  Great. She’s on the path to success!

Then, I viewed her website and my heart sunk. I was saddened to see that she had her work on a third-party site. I won’t name it, but it’s one of those “artist” sites where they give you access to pre-set templates to build out your own pages under their server.

She has her own domain name. So it looks like it’s her own site. But it’s not her’s and unfortunately using this kind of site creates many disadvantages. It doesn’t allow for control of her messaging. And the worse part of those kinds of sites: they are in it to make sales of any of the work under their server first and your site is a second priority.

This becomes obvious when you click on the link to join the artist’s email list. It will not give the artist control over the signup page. And, in this case – and in many other examples I have seen – the host site will super-impose the “opportunity” to join their umbrella organization – the third-party’s site owner’s master list.

Here’s a typical sequence:

Email Sign-up Example

And this is the beginning of the issues. You are not even gathering the person’s first name. This is against all best practices. It’s very important to your success to have that first name going forward. But it gets worse.

After entering my email, I get the landing page you see below. It puts the artist’s needs on the back-burner and emphasizes the hosting site owner’s agenda. The third-party who is running the show is setting the rules YOU must follow.

NOTE: The settings below are checked by default. To add insult to injury, they imply that you, the artist, is recommending your client signs up for these other emails.

This is not to your benefit for client acquisition.

Seriously? Do you want other artists images sent to someone you just enticed to join your list? This particular company will very aggressively market the entire site to your clients with daily emails. They will now send images of YOUR competitors art into your client’s inbox. And YOU will appear to be in complete compliance.

Can you tell this annoys me to no end?

It’s such a big deal and so important that you grow your list. It’s a big deal because you want people to eventually get to that head and heart space and level of a relationship with you and your art where they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST you. Yet here you are; advocating that they sign up to get daily emails from someone other than you.

You are virtually creating a channel of communication they might not want, and that throws you under the bus… and…well…. all I can say is, please rethink your strategy! Just looking like you advocate for these other emails may make some people feel uncomfortable about you. It’s so corporate/slick feeling. Really the opposite of what most artists should be projecting.

And on top of that you are paying a monthly fee for most of these sites. The price is roughly the same or more than what you would pay to have a privately owned, individually influenced and personally operated site.

You work hard to get a visitor in front of your art

I am advocating that your hard work should send someone to your own website that you totally control. A website where you call the shots and where you collect email subscribers under your own terms using professional tools that you can’t get from these “baked-in” one-size-fits-all email systems that won’t even collect the first name.

Can you get around the system? Yes. I know from another client that some of the third party sites have the ability to be customized, but the amount of knowledge you would need to get out from underneath their default “built-in” email marketing system is formidable.

And frankly, you should want to have as much control as possible. You certainly don’t want to have your clients see marketing emails from a source you have no influence over. Nor should you grant permission for them to market to your clients and to use whatever messaging or designs they decide to use. It would be like having someone in your studio or at an art event representing you and finding out they were falling down drunk or walking all your interested buyers over to another artist’s work.

The Golden Triangle of Sales Success works when you are in control of each of the parts.

If you need a reminder, here’s the link to my article all about my “Golden Triangle of Sales Success“. When you can control the entire look and feel of your website, the entire look and feel of your emails and have all the necessary tools to measure and track your email activities and website traffic, you can control your destiny. Add to that a professional shopping cart (many options for this!) and you have closed the loop.

This is not hard, but it’s not always easy. However, using something that is theoretically “easy” – like a pre-set website template “just for artists” with a built-in email system, is simply not in your best long-term interests. It’s just as easy to use some of the terrific website builders that are available today and that you own and control.

Surprisingly, many artists don’t realize that they are using a “third party” site. Or if they do, they don’t realize how being on such sites can hurt their ability to control their own marketing messages.

If you are not sure if you have a “third-party” site, contact me for further one-on-one clarifications. Please include your website link in your email to me.

To be very clear: I have no agenda. I have no financial end-game here to get you to sign up for something that will get me a token fee. In fact, I am fully booked with website projects and email clients at this time. I plain and simply want all artists and any small businesses to be successful.

I want you to work smarter, not harder and use the right tools. I want you to control your financial destiny! Contact me!