Today we take time out to honor the humble, under-utilized, centuries-old, low-tech postcard.
Why spend virtual ink on such an old-fashioned method of communication? Because postcards can do what email cannot do.
Postcards can’t be targeted as spam by an aggressive filter.
Postcards can’t be accidentally (or purposefully) deleted by recipients.
Postcards are likely to be tacked to a refrigerator or kept as a memento.
Postcards are tactile. We can hold them in our hands and ponder them. They have the potential to delight, which is something we rarely say about email these days.
You, like the private clients I advise, would benefit from sending three or four postcards a year.
Postcards are most often used to invite people to an upcoming exhibition or open studio.
Some artists design a single postcard with a schedule of all upcoming shows they’re participating in.
But if you don’t have an upcoming exhibition, you might wonder what you’d say on a postcard or why you’d send one in the first place.
Here are 8 other occasions for using postcards to promote your art and build relationships with your list.
Are you announcing, commanding, or inviting in your marketing messages? There is a place for each of these in your art marketing, but I encourage you to be aware of which you’re using and when. An announcement is a presentation of the facts. “I’m having an exhibition. The opening is at this time and this place. Here’s how you see my art.” Tamara McElhannon’s lovely announcement is pictured here.
This is the most fun, most useful, most versatile postcard I’ve ever created. And I’m tipping my hand because it’s possible you might see one of these in your mailbox. Still, it’s valuable enough that I don’t think I can keep it from you any longer.
Since the topic of the week seems to be old-fashioned marketing rather than Internet marketing, let’s think about why you might want postage stamps with your art on them — even if they cost more than double the face value.
Most artists have postcards printed from time to time, but very few consider a postcard strategy.
Where do postcards fit in your marketing plan?
Think about adding postcards to your regular self-promotion efforts. Email, Facebook, and Twitter are great, but you should mix things up a bit. Get offline from time to time and interact in the real world—especially when it comes to your marketing. Send postcards to your mailing list three to four times a year.
Vala Ola, Sensuality. Bronze, 29 x 11 x 11 inches. ©The Artist
Postcards are relatively inexpensive to print and mail. Yes, postcard mailings still cost money, but they’re cheaper and more personal than buying an ad. Postcards are real mail sent to real people who know and like you. They have an image of your art on the front (hopefully with your
Audio version. Think about adding postcards to your regular self-promotion efforts. Get offline from time to time and interact in the real world—especially when it comes to your marketing. Send postcards to your mailing list three to four times a year.
Next time you get something in the mail from another artist or gallery, notice the writing that is on the front along with the image. See how the text helps you remember the name of the artist in relation to the work.
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?
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