One of the biggest mistakes artists make in their businesses is not following up. As a professional, you must learn to follow up with people who express an interest in your work (especially those who buy from you!) and with leads you are given.
Three primary tools for follow-up (there are MANY others):
- Snail Mail. That’s right, post offices are still delivering mail the old-fashioned way and you should be using it. Send THANK-YOU NOTES to everyone who helps you along the way–particularly those who purchase significant items from you. (No, you don’t need to send a thank-you note to everyone who buys a packet of greeting cards from you at an arts festival.) Send BIRTHDAY CARDS to your champions and fantastic clients. (You know their birthdays because they’re in your database of client information!) Send a NEWSLETTER regularly to everyone on your mailing list. As outlined in my book, Cultivating Collectors (no longer available), you can also use email for your newsletter. The most important thing to remember, however, is that a newsletter contains . . . you guessed it . . . news!
- The Telephone. Call your gallery each month to see how sales are going. Call the recent customer in whose home you painted a mural. Call a venue to make sure they received your exhibit proposal. If you can’t remember to make these calls, put them on your calendar or make a computer reminder.
- Face-to-Face Meetings. Virtual space is great, but there’s nothing like getting together. Met a new artist at an opening last week? Of course you got their card! Invite them to your studio or a local coffee shop for a mid-afternoon break. If they’re actively marketing their work, maybe you should get together more often and help each other out with your marketing plans, available for free at ArtBizConnection.com (no longer available).
However you choose to do it, make following up part of your routine.