Everything I’ve ever read about art business promotion says gathering and using an email list is of utmost importance.
So I set about to gather as many names as I could at my shows – mostly by offering a drawing for free product. As use of the Internet grew over the years, and the volume of everyone’s email increased overall, I felt spammy and guilty if I sent out an email to my customers. It took me way too long to realize, duh, they wanted to hear from me! That’s why they signed up for my mailing list. If I signed up for a mailing list and never received news, I’d be disappointed.
I did refine my method of gathering names through the drawings I held in my show space. I tried honesty as a concept. My drawing slips included 3 options to be checked at the top:
Even though I recognize that not everyone has a computer :::shakes her head in disbelief:::, I have done away with the postcard mailings. The increasing cost couldn’t be justified by increased sales.
And I stopped using product giveaways as a method of obtaining names. The main reason was because I sucked at the follow-up – mailing the product to the winner. I might be better at these days with my now routine use of printing postage online and scheduling a pick-up of the package at my house. Say what you will about the post office – that’s a pretty cool service.
The other thing is the value of the product I was offering for the drawing was too high. I thought I had to wow customers to entice them to enter the drawing. No offense to us human beings, but honestly, any little thing for free, gets our attention.
Now I use a nice journal to record names – but I haven’t quite got the habit of asking people if they are interested in signing up yet. However, selling next to my pal and inspiration, Lori Prince recently motivated me to do a better job with that. My new mantra: WWLD? What would Lori do?
I highly recommend Mailchimp – it’s free up to a certain level which is manageable by most of us artists. They offer attractive templates and build in links to your social media. Constant Contact and AWeber are others – I’m not as familiar with them. All of these mailing services provide lots of stats on how many people opened the newsletter, clicked through to your site, etc. I love the smell of fresh stats in the morning!
In the beginning of my mailing list use, whenever someone would unsubscribe, I took it personally. (As I tell Steve, everything is personal to a woman!) Now I see it as a step to cleaner, more effective mailing list. I have always signed up for email lists and newsletters, even more so now as I work to keep track of my Rochester Artisans and to find good information to provide them. And I unsubscribe from time to time. So I’m over the personal thing.
My new personal goal for my newsletters is to make them more personal. I’ve gotten a little slap-dashy about them lately, with just the facts, ma’am. Brief, but personal is my goal.
ArtProMotivate is a website I found recently through our @RocArtisans Twitter feed. This article on Why Artists Should Create a Newsletter to Build an Email List is what got me thinking about mailing lists.
This video by AWeber explains more.