8 (Other) Occasions To Send Postcards That Promote Your Art

Ann Cunningham printed six postcards at once with the intent to distribute them within the next year. That’s dedication!

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.

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I Love Email (But I Love Real Mail More)

Envelopes and Labels

You know I love email, right?

I don’t necessarily love all of the spam that hits my inbox or the countless hours I spend reading and replying to email, but I can’t imagine running my business without it.

How would I ever be able to help as many people as I do for such a bargain rate?

And as much as I love email, I love real mail even more.

The supplies arrive.

Why You Should Rave About Real Mail, Too

Here are three reasons why I’m raving about real mail to my students, members, and private clients, and why you should, too.

1. Real mail is tactile.

Envelopes and postcards are things you can touch. You can cut, tear, and unpack a package (sometimes you can even smell it).

Add a handwritten note and voilà! You’ve enhanced your

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6 Ninja Tips for Getting Noticed

billboard-here i am

If you’re feeling a little like a wallflower or left out of the art conversation, here are six tips – short of renting billboard space – to get you back on the radar of the VIPs in the art world. Most of these actions work well with arts administrators, arts writers, gallery directors, or curators. Any one of them would be a step in the right direction.

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The 3 Ds of Real Mail Marketing

Sign I came across in Black Eagle, Montana for the 3-D International Restaurant and Lounge. I was told the 3 Ds are “drinking, dining, and dancing,” but let’s pretend they are delight, differentiate, and depend.

Are you neglecting real mail (a.k.a. “snail mail”) as part of your marketing strategy? We’ve been so spoiled by the immediacy and low cost of email that many of us have forgotten about the advantages of real mail. In the season of holiday cards, gifts, and Christmas letters, let’s remember why it’s still valuable to your art business to use the post office.

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5 Reasons to Use Real Mail

Are you one of the many artists who has given up on real mail in favor of using email to stay in touch?

It’s time to rethink that strategy.

© Jacquelyn Sparks, Reconstructing Charles Proctor. Project for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s Momentum Spotlight.

5 Reasons to Keep Sending Real Mail

1. Real mail is tactile.

2. Real mail shows you went the extra mile.

3. Real mail sets you apart.

4. Real mail is delightful.

5. Real mail is lasting.

Are you using real mail for your art business or have you given up on it? We want to know how and why.

The above text is an abbreviated version of today’s Art Marketing Action newsletter. You’ll get the complete current edition when you subscribe by September 20, 2011. Subscribe now and don’t miss another issue.


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Holiday Card Absolution

Deborah Bollman O'Sullivan shares her holiday greeting card Wish. ©The Artist

You are hereby absolved from sending any holiday greetings on behalf of your art business this year.

Deborah Bollman O’Sullivan shares her holiday greeting card Wish. ©The Artist

Getting holiday cards from artists is wonderful. I love it! I hope you ignore my first sentence above and send me one.

But you don’t have to. If you are planning on sending holiday cards this year, take a moment to think about what you are sending and why.

Holiday cards often get lost in the stacks of mail that appear during this season. Those stacks are dwindling each year, but there are still a lot of holiday greetings going out.

(In a few years, I’ll be advising you to be sure to send out cards because no one else is doing it.)

It can be awkward. Is it okay to

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Implement a Postcard Strategy

Vala Ola, Sensuality

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

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Art Marketing Action Podcast: Implement a Postcard Strategy

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.

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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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Podcast: Don’t neglect old-fashioned mail

There is such a focus on email that we tend to neglect the value of regular mail and the role it should play in marketing efforts for your business. Listen to the following reasons for including mailings in your marketing strategy . . . then go out and replenish the supply of stamps in your office!


More on This Topic

Art Marketing Action newsletter (a written version of this podcast)

I'd Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion (my book contains loads of information about using mail and email)

Summer Blast Off! Get clear on priorities, establish boundaries, and gain courage in this 28-day class that begins June 3.

Instructions for subscribing to the Art Marketing Action podcast on iTunes.


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