How this artist tells visual stories through email to make more Shopify sales.
By Kristin MacLaughlin July 1, 2020
Learn how he is able to use email marketing and Shopify to get to know his audience better, create personal connections, and grow his online business.
BOMONSTER is an artist who creates art and apparel for hot rod, truck, and motorcycle fans using a unique scratchboard style to create his images with a sharp knife. A blackened board is scratched with a sharp Xacto blade revealing a white layer underneath.
BOMONSTER visually tells a story through his scratchboard art that creates an emotional connection with his audience. He sells his artwork at live music events and car shows across the country, and through his website with the help of his wife and adult children.
But BOMONSTER had a problem. He knew he needed a way to keep in touch and connect with his customers. At shows, his customers kept asking him if he had an email list to subscribe to for updates on his work.
He tried to do it on his own by sending them PDFs from his personal email, but most of his messages went into spam folders. Plus, creating emails on his own was tedious and lacked eye-catching design and branding — which are important elements to an artist.
Not only did he need an email marketing solution that could easily integrate with his Shopify website, he needed an email marketing provider that had the features he needed to run his business. He also wanted something affordable and powerfully-simple. AWeber was the perfect option.
“What’s important to my customers is important to me.”
At live shows, BOMONSTER found that people continually asked him if he had an email list in order to receive updates.
He knew he needed to put an email marketing plan in place to help build customer relationships.
“I did a lot of research into email service providers (ESPs) when opening my Shopify site, and most were too expensive or offered analytics too advanced for my start-up needs. I read some favorable reviews of AWeber that made it seem like it was easy to use. So, I decided to give AWeber a try,” says BOMONSTER.
“Whenever I send out an email, I notice a spike in sales from my website.”
BOMONSTER sought an ESP that works seamlessly with Shopify, which gives him the freedom to create and alter the look and feel of his site.
“I love that AWeber works well with Shopify. Everything is seamless, from the pop-up forms that integrate with my lists, to product and blog links in my emails,” says BOMONSTER.
AWeber’s Shopify integration also enables tag support, which allows you to apply unique tags for each product your subscribers purchase. With tags, you can also pinpoint customers who have shown peak interest in your product but haven’t purchased yet. Then, you can send them a message to motivate them to buy finally.
How to set up tag support in AWeber’s Shopify integration
- Connect your Shopify integration with AWeber.
- Select “Advanced Settings.”
- Enter the “Product,” “List,” and all of the “Tags” that you want to automate.
- Click the green “Add automation” button after you enter each tag.
- To automate a specific campaign, go to the “Messages” tab in the AWeber dashboard and click “Campaigns.”
- Select the campaign you want to automate and click the blue “Replace Trigger” button.
- Then select the “Tag Applied” blue button.
- In the side column, under “Tag Applied ” enter the tag you want to trigger each campaign.
- Activate your campaign.
“Email is the ultimate storytelling vehicle.”
Email is all about creating an emotional connection and telling a relatable, visual story. Each email that BOMONSTER sends tells a story and creates a deeper and more meaningful connection with his audience. Listed below are a few of his favorite email moments.
A different approach to holiday promotions
BOMONSTER’s #1 objective for his emails is sales, but if they look too “sales-ey,” it can affect the open rate. He tries to avoid the pattern of continuous discounts, “how-to” or “what’s new” emails – understanding those could be effective strategies in small doses – but he wants the customer always to be surprised with something new.
Rather than the traditional holiday promotional email, for Christmas, he sent out a “Merry Christmas – thank you for your support” message with a cool Santa hot rod graphic. He found it generated sales because it was an alternative to the holiday “sell/sell/sell’ emails.
BOMONSTER’s “fiercest competitors”
During COVID-19, BOMONSTER sent out an email linked to some artist friends’ websites calling them his “fiercest competitors.”
The other three artists he promoted in that email are friends of BOMONSTER. “We’re all self-employed and going through a tough time. It might have been a little reverse psychology to promote myself while promoting them. But it came from a genuine place of being a fan of all their work and wanting my customers to support all good work in the category, not caring who gets the sale,” says BOMONSTER.
Father’s Day — celebrating Dad, the ultimate photobomber
For Father’s Day, BOMONSTER sent a funny story about his dad always accidentally photo-bombing his pictures.
Virtual car show
BOMONSTER watches corporate brands and how they react to customer trends. Music and entertainment went 100% to streaming services. Zoom meetings became popular and live events started branding themselves as “virtual” experiences.
BOMONSTER thought a virtual car show through email could be a fun way to use his car show photos taken earlier to connect with his audience when those car shows were canceled.
“Business in 2021 will go to the brands that create online relationships with their customers.”
As companies adapt to an online sales model, the ones that connect personally to their customers will win. One of the benefits of small business is the ability to talk personally to customers with credibility.
BOMONSTER knows many of his customers from live events or social media. He decided to write his emails in first-person to create a more personal “letter” feel.
“My emails show that I am a person, not a corporation. I don’t mind being personal because I imagine actual customers when writing,” says BOMONSTER.
“Artists don’t sell, people buy.”
Art is an emotional decision and rarely a rational purchase. It either grabs you, or it doesn’t. “Not everyone likes my art but the ones who do, love it. There’s nothing I could say to the ones who don’t to change their mind. All we can control is presenting it as well as we can and hope someone relates to it enough to want it,” says BOMONSTER.
Email allows BOMONSTER to present his art virtually, which is seen by more potential customers.
BOMONSTER’s best advice? “Pay attention to what large, successful companies do, and apply them to your small business.”
BOMONSTER opens emails he receives and takes note of what they look like and how they communicate. Some inspire, others get closed immediately. He identifies what he likes and that he can emulate.
BOMONSTER’s five rules for email marketing:
- Friendly wins over insincere
- Fun wins over boring
- Good art direction wins over standard forms
- Clarity wins over complexity
- Design for mobile, and it will also work on desktop
Connect with your audience and start growing your email list today!
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