A Strategy for Asking People for Their Contact Information

Lisa McShane

Two things about my process for collecting contact information are key. 1. There is no sign-up in full view, so the information remains private. 2. The request is active and in person. When people give us their email, they know they’ll be getting a “painting in their inbox” (and an immediate thank you for stopping by the show) and nothing more.

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Send It Snail Mail

Carol Nicola

Last week The Wall Street Journal ran an article titled Firms Hold Fast to Snail Mail Marketing. In a nutshell, businesses are finding that 1) email gets lost or is quickly deleted and 2) their customers miss some of the mail they used to receive regularly in their mailboxes.

When I advise artists not to give up on regular mail, the response is often, “But what would I send?!” Here are five ideas.

Carol Nicola, Spirit Being Knowing. Cast Glass, 22 x 12 x 6 inches. ©The Artist

1. Note Cards with Your Images on Them

Of course you send loads of Thank You notes, but you also want to send It Was Nice to Meet You notes, Happy Birthday notes, Thinking of You notes, and more. You need note cards with pictures of your art on them. Cards

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Don’t wait until they’re ready

You never know what will take place over the course of a year. You never know how many other artists that person is going to run into in the months to come or how many other portfolios he’ll look through. You have to keep your name in front of people.

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The first 4 steps toward selling your art: Step #2

Sally Tuttle, Winterish Series-2, 2007. Encaustic and dry pigment on board, 6 x 6 inches. ©The Artist.

One of the last three steps toward selling your art is creating your mailing list. Anyone can do this! You know people, right? Start there–with everyone you know.

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Podcast: Include prior connections on your mailing list

Are you assuming–perhaps incorrectly–that certain connections are separate from your art connections? Regardless of the type of work you did before diving into your art career, every contact you have made is valuable.

http://artbizblog.com/audio/includeconnect.mp3 Related

Newsletter (a written version of this podcast)

Don’t shrink your mailing list just yet (newsletter)

I’d Rather Be in the Studio! (book, pages 17-19, 197-211 of the 2008 edition)

Listen & Download

The last episode of the Art Marketing Action podcast was November 22, 2010. You can listen to or download any episode on iTunes.

Send to Kindle

Include prior connections on your mailing list

Are you a second-career artist? Did you do something else before diving into your art career? If so, your previous life and connections may be more beneficial to your art career than you thought.


Keith Murray, Old Glory. Oil on canvas. 36 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

Artist Lanie Frick called me this week to confess a story that broke her heart. She had been in a different line of creative work before devoting herself to fine art. A few years ago, she decided to burn the sales receipts from that business. She couldn’t imagine that she’d ever need those again. Then she read my book and had a bit of a bad day. She realized that all of her previous customers’ names and addresses had been turned to ash. It dawned on her that those contacts could

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Don’t neglect old-fashioned mail

Postal rates just went up in the U.S., but that’s no reason to stop sending mail. It’s more important than ever to use regular mail in conjunction with any email messages you’re sending out. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you shouldn’t neglect buying stamps.


Deb Schmit, Highland Dreams Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches. ©The Artist

Above all, regular mail won’t be considered spam. People have all kinds of filters set up for their inboxes these days. You can’t be certain your email messages are getting through. While you might grumble about the reliability of the postal service, there is no doubt that it’s far more reliable than email.

Likewise, regular mail can’t be accidentally deleted. It doesn’t take much to get frustrated by an overflowing inbox and delete a load of messages at once.

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Show a little love to your community

It’s February! The month when I (and many others) revert to those days when I used to put Valentine’s Day cards into decorated paper bags that were attached to the backs of elementary classroom chairs. While I no longer stuff greetings into paper bags, I am an easy target for anything with a heart on it or anything that’s pink and red.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to follow suit, and you don’t have to get all sappy. But you can take advantage of the season and show your patrons, collectors, and community a little love. It’s a perfect time to pay attention to that contact list.

Jennifer McChristian, Chapter Four. Oil on panel, 16 x 20 inches. ©The Artist

First, make sure your contact list is up to date. All names, addresses, and email addressees should be entered into

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Spook yourself into action

Halloween is as good a time as any to spook yourself into action. While I usually try to be reassuring and supportive with these newsletters, I’m here to scare you this week. Boo!

What if a collector calls for a commission? Are you ready with your pricing and conditions? Can you say “No, Thank You” if it’s not something you’re interested in? Can you under-promise and over-deliver? See articles on art pricing.

What if a venue has an opening for your work next month? Is it photographed? Is it framed? Is your mailing list in shape? You sure want to spend your time on last-minute promotions rather than inputting names into a database! See Promote Your Exhibit. What if you sold something? Do you have your sales tax license? Are your Thank You notes ready to go? Do you have

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Don't Shrink Your Mailing List Just Yet

David Castle, Elementals, Candied Trees. Watercolor on paper mounted on canvas, 22 x 30 inches. Private collection. (c) The Artist

Everyone wants to know the answer to this question. How long should someone remain on your mailing list? Or, more to the point, why should you keep someone on your mailing list after five years if you never hear from them and they never bought anything from you?

Here’s why.

During a visit to artist David Castle’s studio, he shared with me this story. A certain couple had been on his mailing list for five years, and he was seriously considering dropping them. After all, he had neither seen nor heard from them in five years. Then, out of the blue, David got a phone call. They were going to be in town and

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