The Alex currently sit 20th in League Two, seven points clear of 23rd-placed Leyton Orient and 10 clear of bottom club Newport County.
Since taking charge following Steve Davis's sacking in January, Artell has led his side to just two victories in nine games, and their last league fixture was a 4-0 defeat at Hartlepool United on Tuesday.
Artell told BBC Sport: "I've told the players they have a choice - either work hard and improve, or it's oblivion. That's for their careers, this football club and every one of us. They'll end up in the Conference North on £200 a week with a job as a milkman.
"We saw again the fragility after going 1-0 down. I'd have rather watched paint dry than the first 45 minutes. You have to dig in. Once the second goal went in, we relaxed and just lost all structure. It was the worst performance since I've taken charge."
Up next for Crewe is a tricky away trip to high-flying Portsmouth on Saturday.