What is the single most important tool in building your art business? It's your mailing list.
In the simplest terms, a mailing list contains names and contact information of people you know or might like to know.
For the artist, a mailing list usually begins with friends and family, and then expands to buyers and potential buyers.
Your website or blog is the best way to collect names for your email newsletter.
You use your mailing list to stay in touch with all of these people–to keep them informed of your goings-on.
In a nutshell, your mailing list–something unique to you and your career–is the primary tool you use to share your art with the world. As you may know, I think sharing in a sincere way is much easier and much more effective than trying to sell.
These days, the artist’s mailing list contains both bricks-and-mortar addresses along with email addresses and phone numbers. For these reasons, it might better be called a contact list. You need all three types of information in order to keep your name in front of people and to conduct critical follow-up.
5 Reasons Why You Need a Mailing List
- Most people will not buy from you the first visit or even after several visits to your site
- The reason they don't buy from you is that they don't know you and they don't trust you yet
- Most people visit your website once and then click away never to return
- 90% of your sales will come from people on your email list who trust you
- Consistently delivered messages = Trust = Sales
Guidelines to Getting Started
►Don’t delay. The longer you wait to begin or to update your mailing list, the more work you make for yourself. You don’t want to have something to tell everyone and then have to carve out time to input names into your computer. A mailing list is something every artist can do regardless of experience. You know people already! Having said that .......
►Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for not starting earlier and don’t look back.
►Don’t purchase a mailing list. Build your own from scratch. Lots of people will eagerly sell you a mailing list, but you’re going to become annoying to gallery dealers and curators who have nothing to do with your work. No purchased mailing list can be as valuable to you as the one you build with a keen eye on your long-term goals.
To build your list from your website or blog, you will need a link or widget placed on your site. This is easy to do and gets you going fast. See my email subscription form at the top right-hand corner and bottom of this blog.
►Use an email marketing service that makes it easy on you. I use Aweber to collect my email names and manage my email newsletter. I've written a very thorough blog on why I think they are the gold standard for email management: Click here to read the article.
►Do only what you can, but do it consistently. Once you have your widgets in place on your website, they will work for you around the clock gathering names and addresses of people who are interested in what you do. Then you will create a series of auto-responder emails that will have your newest art offerings. The auto-responder will send out your emails on a regular basis for you. It's a very smart way to do business.
For your friends and family on the list, input 20 names a week until everyone is in there. If you work better with large projects, set aside a day or two to crank it out. When it comes to updating, add and correct names and addresses in a way that makes sense. If you make lots of sales, meet lots of people, or have seasonal sales, you might need to do this weekly. If you are slower at getting your work out, monthly updates might be sufficient.
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