What is a contact list?

The definition of a mailing list should be expanded and reconsidered as a “contact list.” Social media puts you in touch with all kinds of people that aren’t on your traditional mailing list.

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Invite Friends to Join Your Newsletter List

Jeanne Guerin-Daley, Friendship Sprig, cyanotype

Jeanne Guerin-Daley started an artist newsletter, but there are still many people in her contact list who have not subscribed. She’s knows a lot of them would be interested in receiving her updates, but she doesn’t want to violate their trust or any spam laws. How does she encourage them to subscribe?

I applaud Jeanne’s hesitation to add her friends to her regular newsletter list without their consent.

If you have a prior relationship with someone, adding them to your newsletter list is probably not breaking any laws (as long as the other CAN SPAM laws are adhered to)*. But it might violate the trust between you and your friends. *Note: This is not intended to

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A Strategy for Asking People for Their Contact Information

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,

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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

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.


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’

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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

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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

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