by Carolyn Edlund
Having a strong mailing list is a huge asset for every artist. Here’s how to build one.
If your goal is to sell artwork, you will need to reach out to potential customers and collectors on a regular basis so that they become familiar with your work and consider purchasing it. Most sales are not made on an impulse basis; they take multiple exposures. This is the marketing part of your art business. Here’s how to build that list:
1. Existing customers – As you make art sales, thank your customers and let them know that you would like to stay in touch with them as you create more work. Existing customers may be your best source of additional sales. It is easier to sell artwork to people who are already your collectors than it is to find new clients. Besides being a foundation for your mailing list, existing customers can be an excellent source of referral business for you.
2. Email newsletter subscribers – Does your art website invite visitors to join your mailing list? It should, with a “double opt-in” form which requires email confirmation. You might mention that you send an “occasional newsletter” so they don’t think you will contact them every week. Some artists offer an incentive, such as the promise of special offerings only for subscribers.
3. Artist blog subscribers – Your blog is a great way to stay in touch with fans on a regular basis. This is also an opt-in list. Publish your blog posts on a regular basis and also use this list to send an artist newsletter occasionally, too.
4. Gathering names at events – You will find that retail fairs, open studio events, trunk shows and other artist appearances are perfect opportunities to grow your mailing list. This can be done as simply as having a guest book available for interested people to enter their names and emails. They must understand they are agreeing to receive communication from you.
5. Expand your reach – You can get publicity by using a list that you don’t even own, through creating strategic alliances with others. Here’s how it works: partner with another artist, interior designer, or business person who has an audience you’d like to reach. That partner sends their own newsletter, and in it they will recommend you and your work to their recipients, and recommend that they join your mailing list. In your newsletter, you reciprocate by referring them. Neither of you has to share your hard-earned mailing list, but you both get exposure.
It’s important to note that you cannot simply add email addresses to your list, or harvest them from other lists. This is a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. Your email communications should offer members of your list the opportunity to unsubscribe if they choose.
Artist credit: Tatiana Roulin. See more of her artwork here.