How to Make Your Mailing List More Useful

Everyone who buys a copy of my book from me is grouped together in my list. This is Eszter Rajna reading my book in the elegant tea lounge at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford.

One of the biggest excuses artists give for not being in more frequent contact with their lists is that they don’t want to bother people. You know what it’s like to receive tons of email and don’t want to contribute to the overwhelm.

I understand. Even though everyone on your list has opted in to hear from you, it still doesn’t feel right to email so many people if you haven’t established a marketing groove.

There’s a solution: Send emails only to people for whom they are appropriate. In other words, target your messages rather than sending every email to every person on your list.

All of the attendees at my Nashville workshop are grouped together on my list. Photo courtesy of Mary Claire Crow

Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Emma have the capability to

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I Love Email (But I Love Real Mail More)

Envelopes and Labels

You know I love email, right?

I don’t necessarily love all of the spam that hits my inbox or the countless hours I spend reading and replying to email, but I can’t imagine running my business without it.

How would I ever be able to help as many people as I do for such a bargain rate?

And as much as I love email, I love real mail even more.

The supplies arrive.

Why You Should Rave About Real Mail, Too

Here are three reasons why I’m raving about real mail to my students, members, and private clients, and why you should, too.

1. Real mail is tactile.

Envelopes and postcards are things you can touch. You can cut, tear, and unpack a package (sometimes you can even smell it).

Add a Continue Reading…

3 Thought-Provoking Questions for a Better Artist Statement

Vickie Martin collage

A strong artist statement is essential to the effective marketing of your art.

There’s no skating by on this one. You need at least one artist statement for each body of work you create.

Writing your statement is a process. Like any other type of writing or artmaking, you can’t expect to nail it in a single sitting. And, like all good things that take time, it will be time well spent. The process helps you gain clarity about your art.

©Terri Schmitt, Lemons and Ball Jar. 16 x 20 inches.

If you can’t define your art in a statement, you will likely face difficulty marketing your work. Where else will you get language for wall labels, brochure and website text, informal presentations, and conversations?

Answering these three questions will help you write a better

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Is Your Art Just Free Décor?

Judith Glover painting

There are all kinds of places where you could show your work.

Coffee shops would love to have your art! Salons would fawn over it! Professional offices would think they’d died and gone to heaven!

This is great news for you, especially when you are just starting out. It’s a stamp of approval when public spaces want to show your work.

©2014 Ginny Herzog, Relic 12-514. Oil, cold wax, and collage, 30 by 40 inches. Used with permission.

Almost every artist does the “free” circuit. It’s where you get your toes wet.

These seemingly low-risk venues offer a place for you to learn how to install your art correctly, while introducing your art to new people.

You’ll test your conversational skills, your pricing, and your negotiating skills.

Because these non-art venues are considered “less serious”

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Conquering Newsletter Anxiety

williams-shirley-email

Most artists start an e-newsletter with good intentions of staying in touch with their list.

They imagine a monthly newsletter with regular columns, special features, and a calendar of upcoming events. It starts out good enough, but then something goes wrong for some artists.

Shirley Williams recently sent opt-in requests to her list in order to comply with Canada’s anti-spam legislation. After I confirmed, I got this delightful reply. I thought the “VIP List” was a nice touch at the top.

It goes a little like this . . .

One newsletter goes out and contains every possible bit of information the artist can come up with. When it’s time for the next issue, the artist has nothing new to share. She gave all she had in the last issue.

She decides: It’s cool to skip an issue or two. So she waits for

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How I Became the Boss of My Inbox

Be the Boss of Your Inbox

As I write this, I’m sitting with an inbox with far more messages than is comfortable for me. I usually keep a relatively sparse inbox, but the messages accumulate from time to time.

Here’s the ugly truth.

I know that 177 messages isn’t a lot for most people, but it is for me. Instead of beating myself up over it, I’m going to hold myself accountable to under 20 messages before this post is published. Because, I’ve learned . . .

I am the boss of my inbox.

I refuse to let email messages control my life. I’m in charge. You, too, are in charge. You have to be.

If you’re going to be in control of your art career, you have to control every aspect of it. Stop allowing things like email to monopolize your time. Become the boss of

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Entrepreneurial Freedom

M.G. Ferguson oil painting

Many people become entrepreneurs because of the freedom it affords them. When you own your own business, you are free to set your own goals, get out of bed when you like, and control your brand.

Of course, most people who seek this path of independence have no idea what they’re getting into. They don’t realize how much harder it is to be a successful entrepreneur than to clock in for an 8-to-5 job.

©MG Ferguson, Summer Walk Home. Oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches. Used with permission.

Still, on this (almost) Independence Day holiday in the U.S, we should celebrate our entrepreneurial freedom and all the things we are free to do.

May you be . . .

Free to explore new creative ideas. To not be tied to the past. Tradition

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Activate Your Marketing for a Bigger Audience

Yellow Male Cat

Is your marketing too passive? Are you putting your art out there and hoping someone will see it, buy it, or give you a show?

Jack isn’t always interested in being active.

I’ll confess that I’ve become complacent with my marketing. I write my blog posts every week and post to Facebook and Twitter. Then I sit back and wait for something to happen.

And I rely too much on my existing list without reaching out to new potential audiences.

Fortunately, my coach is correcting my ways. She’s amazed that I have had such good results, and pointed out that I could help a lot more people if only I’d become more active with my marketing.

This got me thinking about all of the passive marketing that we do. How could we approach it more actively in a way that puts us in the driver’s seat of

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A Solution for the Mailing List Conundrum

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

Have you been baffled by what to do with the two lists that many artists have: one list for newsletters and a second one for blog posts?

My predicament (and solution) might be of interest.

Please read on even if you don’t have this issue because I’m sharing big news that affects your Art Biz Coach and Art Biz Blog subscriptions.

For years I have been struggling with confused artists who don’t understand the difference between subscribing to the Art Biz Blog and subscribing to my Art Biz Insider newsletter. I get it!

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

I was confused myself. What do I post on the blog? What do I save for the newsletter?

Many of you probably struggle with the same thing. You have one list for your newsletter, while also offering subscriptions to your blog. Two lists – it’s

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3 Artist Stories To Inspire You

Brad Reyes Art

I haven’t been telling you about all of the amazing thing my members, students, and followers are doing and I’m going to try to do a better job of this. Starting now.

I hope these three stories inspire you.

1. Holly Wilson

Holly Wilson presents her audacious idea at Art Biz Makeover in October of 2013.

Holly Wilson, a member of the Art Biz Incubator, was nervous and shaking as she presented an audacious product idea at my Art Biz Makeover event last fall. After receiving lots of laughter and positive feedback, Holly immediately put her plan into action. The concept is in response to the sexism she has faced from gallerists.

The result of Holly’s action was a successful Kickstarter campaign, which got picked up by Continue Reading…