How Evernote Can Save Your Relationships with Collectors

Guest Blogger: Laurie McCarriar

Using a database or spreadsheet to take care of your customers can feel like choosing a Swiss Army Knife to file your nails. It works, but it sure is awkward.

Databases Can Be Too . . . Too

Database/spreadsheet programs for artists try to have the tools to do everything, but they can be a little clunky when it comes to actually using them. They promise to track your art, your customers, your sales, your shows, your editions, your invoices… and heck, probably even your dinner date next week!

The programs are so complex with interwoven cool database-y, interlink-y tricks that pretty soon you’ve got 10 windows open and you still can’t find that note you made in a comment field about what your customer likes.

What is the right tool for any job? I think the right tool is:

  1. The simplest one,
  2. The one you will actually use, and
  3. The one where you can find the information you need quickly.

Evernote, an awesome, free app for Mac, PC & mobile devices, can do just that—and help you serve your customers better.

Your Collectors Deserve Better

Is your buyer a piece of data or a living, breathing person?

Customers (and potential customers) need nurturing. Relationships are so much more important to growing your business than filling out database fields for super-dupery sorting. When you put your buyer’s name and contact information into your database of transactions, or a potential customer into your gmail contacts, they might get filed away and forgotten.

Evernote makes it easier to keep in touch with the people who love you and your work by supplementing your brain—making links between the things you know, and the people you’ve interacted with.

5 Ways to Use Evernote to Cultivate Collectors

1. Store your buyers’ info.

Make a note for every person you want to stay in touch with.

Record all of your interactions including the conversations you’ve had, their hobbies, what they’ve bought… and ANYthing you can think of. You are not bound by rigid fields someone else sets up for you.

2. Search for connections.

Evernote searches all of your notes organically, retrieves and shows you connections and possibilities you may never have thought of.

Alyson has posted about how handy the web clipper is in Evernote for researching and syncing between devices.

evernote-content

With your customers and their interests lodged in Evernote, you can quickly do a search and find an interesting, pertinent article to send to your customer.

3. Connect spontaneously and informally.

You’re walking down the street and you see something that reminds you of a conversation you had last month with a fan … but who was it? Evernote reminds you, and you can take a quick pic and email it off with a note.

As an artist in business, your most valuable asset is your list of fans. Doesn’t it sometimes feel pushy to send out only announcements? With Evernote helping you, you can send them personalized notes that delight and inform them, so you stay at the top of their mind.

4. Keep your email inbox clean.

You can forward important customer emails from your inbox right to Evernote using your assigned Evernote email. Don’t forget to modify the Subject line to include your customer’s name. (See how to do this.)

5. Connect buyers to purchases.

If you also set up Evernote to track and catalog your art, use Note Linking in Evernote to quickly see what each customer has purchased.

McCarriar-Evernote

All the information you need is at your fingertips in Evernote, in a format that is easy to access that you will actually enjoy using. Try it!

Laurie McCarriar

About Our Guest Blogger

Laurie McCarriar is an Asheville-based photographic artist and artist geek, who helps artists & creatives learn and embrace simple tech tools to make the business of art less overwhelming—you get more time in your studio! Upcoming online course and reference guide: Artist Geek Guide to Using Evernote (for Artists)—ninja tips, tricks, workflow and templates to track your art, organize your brain, and keep your customers happy. Evernote is also one of the featured topics at her Beach Geek Retreat Week, held in Sandbridge VA every September.

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21 comments to How Evernote Can Save Your Relationships with Collectors

  • I completely agree, tracking interactions with collectors is super important!

    The one thing I’m not sure about (as I don’t use evernote) is if can handle the more mundane needs of a collector database – I will be mailing 500 postcards this week and need to print out mailing labels – with a database this is super easy.

    Can this be done via evernote? Pull out all the addresses and create printable address labels in a few minutes?

  • hey Lisa,
    No, Evernote does not make it super easy to print mailing labels…I hear ya about how databases make that easy. I tend to store my contact’s addresses and such in my email contacts for printing labels and so forth. Yes, it is double entry, but not everyone on my mailing list is in my collector’s list in Evernote-where I keep the more personal info at top of mind.

    • Dora

      Are you suggesting using Evernote for art inventory and contacts rather than Bento or other art specific database programs? If so, I’m in because Bento gives me a headache.

  • Great idea! I use Evernote as way to organize my painting inspiration ideas and art business articles such as this one, but I haven’t used it for organizing contacts. I’m going to save this article on Evernote right now so I have it as a reference :-)

  • Laurie – have you ever looked at CRM (customer relationship management) software that essentially does both the database and the interactions tracking all in 1 piece of software so no double entry is needed?

    That’s what I use – I’ll be writing a blog post about it soon because seems to me that the very obvious to me “use CRM software” – is less obvious to others given that I develop CRM software for my day job and most artists don’t go anywhere near the stuff. it’s also great for tracking projects, etc. The power of a database combined with the more free flowing ability to capture interactions and notes.

    • hey Lisa, you sure are right about CRM software. Still, many of the artists who follow me are really just looking for some simple and free solutions they can implement without much of a learning curve.

      Evernote can work organically and right away (and as I said in the post, integrates with all of your other notes and research) – it’s a great fit for many artists who really don’t have any level of techy background or need right now for the level of control CRM gives.

      • Laurie – CRM software doesn’t require any sort of techy background – it is written to be used by sales people. The learning curve is just as small as with evernote.

        I’m not talking salesforce.com but crm software for small businesses. It was created to track customer relationships – which is exactly what artists are doing!

  • Laurie – great tips! I have been using Evernote for web clipping – especially useful for all of the pottery tools and techniques I want to capture for future use!
    I have been keeping notes about my collectors in my mailing database – but like the idea of linking to purchases using notes — the linked notes feature and emailing to a notebook were unknown to me before this post – so thanks!

    • Hi Terry, yes there are a lot of semi-hidden features of Evernote that come in handy. I’ll share some of those occasionally on my blog at artistgeek.com – and in my e-zine GeekTips.

  • What a shame that (it appears) Web Clipper does not have Opera browser compatibility. I have yet to find any software that impresses me enough to give up my favorite browser. If they implement Opera compatibility I’ll be very interested in Evernote’s Web Clipper. At the moment I am using the free version to keep notes that come up when I am on the computer, but that’s about it. I took notes from the last Artist Conspiracy phone call using Evernote and I did like that convenience.

  • I’ve found artistgeek.com to be a wonderfully straight-forward and helpful resource — the way you present your ideas is inspirational (very fun and creative). Thanks for helping those of us still stuck in the “store everything on paper” age to get a grip on new tools and approaches that don’t fry our brains and empty the wallets.

  • Dianne Bryan

    The blog has screen shot which lists CONTACT TEMPLATE. Where do we find this TEMPLATE for evernotes- not found in any of the help notes or anywhere else.
    Thanks for all your info.
    (You’re right about the data bases.– and I am a bit geeky but these looked insane.– would take as long to enter the painting as it did to PAINT it!)

    • Hi Dianne, the Contact Template you see there is something that I am developing… template notes that are handy to copy and use for things that artists most might like to keep track of. The nice thing about these Evernote templates is that they can be changed and customized at any time to fit your use. And I can even supply custom template notes based on individual’s needs…

      Stay tuned (and sign up at http://www.leftbrainforartists.com) – the templates are a part of my Evernote for Artists guide coming later on this year.

      Laurie

  • [...] If it feels icky, don’t do it. Building relationships isn’t about sales, but about people. Potential collectors will sense if you don’t genuinely care about them. And you won’t feel good about yourself if [...]

  • I’ve been using Bento for a couple of years now and have LOVED how I could capture all sorts of info, sort, print labels, etc, and it synced great with my iphone. BUT, here’s my dilemma. I recenlty got an ipad and Bento for ipad does NOT sync with Contacts on Mac. WHAT???? You don’t want to hear what I truly think about this.

    Anyway, this has put me on the scouting mission for contact apps that SYNC WELL with ALL MOBILE devices. I am not taking this lightly as it took me WEEKS to get my contacts set up in Bento.

    So I am considering the Evernote route, but don’t like the idea of double posting for labels as I already have to do that to keep my email server lists up to date. And the CRM software has more bells and whistles than I want in one piece of software, are pricey, and they don’t necessarily sync with mobile devices! Grumble, grumble…..

    If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

    • hey Libby,
      Evernote is not going to be a replacement for a contacts database. I use it to track the full extent of communications, conversation, sales, and ideas for people who already are or may become customers. I spent years doing all my tracking in Filemaker, and I have Bento, but never took the time to set it up fully. I just did a google search on syncing iPad Bento with Mac Contacts and there are a number of posts in the filemaker help section. Not knowing exactly what’s not working for you, I don’t want to suggest one or the other, but Bento may yet work for you…I’m guessing you’ve already done the google search route though.

      I don’t have much use for label printing these days, as I don’t do mass mailings, just personal notes and so forth. And rather than sorting, I use Evernote Search if, for example, I need to find out if any of my best customers are in Rhode Island. Evernote seems to work great as relationships develop, and my regular Mac or gmail contacts + my email newsletter service work great for casual connections.

      hoep that helps (a little)! see ya sometime…

    • I’ve also used an iPad app called MyStuff2, which is a home inventory type app. It accesses the Contacts on the iPad, and is completely customizable as far as what info to collect. I like it a lot as an inventory/sales tracker, but it takes a lot of setting up of course, like everything does to get it to work well for collecting the info you need. That’s why I like Evernote… searchable at the spur of the moment, and good for the ‘messy file cabinet’ approach to keeping all your info in one place.