How To Warm Up a Cold Email List

You were told you needed an email list, so you asked people to subscribe. And they did.

But you didn’t do anything with their subscription. Those poor people sat in your system. For months. Maybe years. Never hearing from you.

Your list has gone cold. Ice cold.

Now you realize how silly it was to ask people to subscribe only to neglect them. You’re ready to commit to staying in touch with your list on a regular basis, but you wonder:

Will they remember me? What will they think if I just start emailing them after all this time?

You’re right to be concerned.

Regular emails – regardless of whether you call them newsletters or not – are so valuable because they keep your name in front of people. And they keep the list warm.

If you are ready to pay attention to your list consistently (and clear that you will keep the commitment), you have a little bit of work to do.

You need to reintroduce yourself to your list before you ask them to attend an opening or to buy your art because it’s not polite to call on people only when you want something from them.

There’s no sense procrastinating your first-in-a-long-time email because the longer you wait, the more painful it will be to write. Not to mention the energy it will use up in your head and heart in the meantime.

Once you’re clear on the commitment, there are three options for an opening email to reestablish a relationship with those on your list. You can use them individually or in combination with one another.

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7 Ways You Might Be Scaring Off Potential Buyers

Art buyers often have as many insecurities about the process of buying art as you do, which means they are sensitive to the signals you’re sending.

It’s your job to reassure them that they are making the right decisions – and you can do so in very subtle ways without resorting to sales speak.

And it has just as much to do with what you don’t do and say.

Here are seven practices that will scare off your audience and potential fans.

1. Being indecisive about prices.

Indecision makes you appear less confident.

Set your prices after you’ve done your homework and be ready to share them in person and online.

If you’re ever pushed for a price that you aren’t certain about, say, “Let me check my list and get back to you. I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong price.”

2. Apologizing for your art.

The apologetic artist who brushes aside compliments about her art is not market-attractive.

I am not in any way condoning arrogance. I’m saying that you need to hold your head up and say “Thank You” when you are given a compliment.

As Julia Child said in Julie & Julia, “Never apologize. No excuses. No explanations.” Along the same lines . . .

3. Playing down the fact that you’re an artist.

Heart surgeons don’t look at the ground and say, “I’m kind of a heart surgeon.” When someone asks what you do, you shouldn’t respond meekly with, “Well, I’m kind of an artist.”

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Life Is Beautiful and I Have Proof

All is right with the world. I have proof.

I’m at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibition. I arrive early with Rob, my trooper of a husband. He’s agreed to be my companion through the permanent collection galleries before our afternoon ticket time.

What I witness restores my faith in humanity.

Here’s how it goes down.

Is It Art?

As a former museum educator, I know that it’s wise to avoid school tours in the galleries. If I had thought about that, I might have visited later in the day. But then I wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to have had this experience.

There is at least one group in each of the galleries. Most students have assignments and a docent.

One docent teaches native Spanish speakers how to say Marcel Duchamp.

Mahr-sel’ Du’-shahn

They giggle.

She stands in front of Duchamp’s Fountain and asks: Is it art? They are pretty certain it isn’t. It’s a urinal, for Pete’s sake.

I don’t stick around to hear more of their reasoning. I already feel like I’m an intruder.

I’m less interested in the art history lecture than in the way these kids are fully engaged with the art. They are hanging on every word she says.

My husband finds me and asks what I’m up to. “This docent is awesome,” I say.

Then I catch a glimpse of another heartwarming scene.

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How to Make a Dynamite First Impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression. True? True!

Competition is fierce in today’s art market, and you must distinguish yourself.

How will people come to know you? More importantly, how will they remember you?

Consider this advice when you want to be memorable in the right way.

Be prepared.

There is no excuse to go into a meeting or situation blindly when you have the virtual world readily available. A simple check with search engines or a social media account might lead you to a treasure of information.

Conduct your research in advance to show people that you’ve heard of them – this always impresses.

You might also discover facts in your research that will help you skillfully navigate any conversation.

Be on time.

The little computer we all carry around in our purses and pockets has made it far too easy for us to be tardy to appointments. All we have to do is text someone to tell her we’re running late.

This is usually fine when you know the other person well. It’s not fine if it’s your first meeting or if you make it a habit.

Be interested.

People will think

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Being Seen: The Social Part of the Artist’s Life

Meeting people and building relationships is the most important thing you can do for your art career. This means you have to get out of the studio and socialize.

You must, gasp, be social in the real world as well as online.

This goes against the natural tendency of so many artists who would prefer to be alone with their art supplies. But it’s absolutely necessary when you want to attain a high level of success.

If you desire more sales and more recognition for your art, you must make it a priority to meet more people.

You need to get out and meet more people if you find yourself …

  • Sitting behind your computer all day and researching the latest magical way to promote your art online.
  • Attending only your own openings.
  • Living in the same place for years without knowing your neighbors.

Why This Matters

Your art must be seen in person in order to be appropriately appreciated. Eventually, you’re going to have to

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Opening Lines at Art Openings: Starting a Conversation

It’s easy to meet people when you’re at an opening of your own art because you’re the host or hostess. Your job is to meet everyone and to introduce your guests to one another.

Not true when you’re the guest at someone else’s opening. When you don’t have a role to play, it’s uncomfortable to force yourself to meet people.

And, yet, you know it’s important.

Students in my Art Career Success System understand how critical it is to meet more people. New relationships might lead to opportunities, sales, and lifelong fans.

So what do you do? How do you start a conversation with a stranger without getting sick to your stomach?

Alyson to the rescue! Below is a list of conversation starters that you can start practicing immediately.

You don’t even have to be at an opening to begin. Try talking to

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How Your Art Makes People Feel

©Margaux Lange, Bust Heart Necklaces. Salvaged Barbie doll parts, sterling silver, and hand-pigmented resins, pendant measures 1.5 x 1.25 inches.

People don’t buy what you do or why you do it. They buy how it makes them feel. – Bernadette Jiwa

When I heard Jiwa utter those words on a stage in Denver last year, I had an AHA! moment. I had previously been sucked in by Simon Sinek’s famous TED Talk, Start With Why.

People don’t buy what you do, or how you do it. They buy why you do it.

It’s a powerful message that is hard to disagree with, yet it fell short for many artists, who were paralyzed for months or years over the inability to nail their Why.

Jiwa’s quote adds clarification. People buy how it makes them feel.

People buy your art because it makes them feel something.

To find your purpose (your why), all you have to do is remember the connection you are making with others through your art.

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Mean People: When Your Soul Has Been Swiped by the Grinch

Lorelei Land Caricature

A hateful email hits your inbox.

A surly comment is left on your blog.

A nasty response is added to one of your Facebook posts.

How Do You Respond to Mean People?

I have plenty of experience with this and confess that I’ve used all of the following suggestions (except perhaps #2) at one point or another.

Your response to malicious words will depend on the level of wickedness.

If there is any question of intent in the language, make sure you’re not misreading their words. It’s easy to misunderstand email, so ask for clarification if there is any doubt.

Try this -> “Hey, Rex, I’m not sure if I’m reading this correctly, so please help. Did you mean to imply that … ?”

Armed with your answer, you can move on to any of these responses.

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Feedback Whether You Want It or Not

feedback

We are often too quick to ask for feedback.

We’re equally guilty of giving feedback when it’s not requested (or wanted).

I’ve been guilty of both – especially the latter – and I’ve learned a lot about giving and receiving feedback. I owe much of what I know about feedback to Cynthia Morris, an artist and coach.

Here’s what I’ve learned from her and from others.

When Not to Ask for Feedback

Feedback is serious stuff. You should only ask for it if you’re prepared to hear the answers.

At certain points in the creative process, your project is in a delicate state. You might have a direction and be excited about it or, alternatively, not know what you’re doing.

Proceed with caution when you’re at this point. Asking for feedback too early doesn’t give you time to nurture your baby. The wrong words could put a quick halt to any enthusiasm you had and before you know it, your bubble has burst. Ouch!

How to Ask for Feedback

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Your Life’s Work: The Artist's Retrospective

Virginia Folkestad discovers insights into her life’s work by using a visual timeline.

A retrospective is an exhibition that shows off the entire oeuvre of an artist’s career. Typically arranged chronologically and later in an artist’s life, retrospectives treat art viewers to the progression of the work in a single space.

I try to visit as many retrospectives as I can for artists I admire, which sometimes involves traveling and going out of my way as necessary. You never know when they will happen again since it’s difficult to borrow or gather the work in one place.

Retrospectives aren’t just for viewers. They provide an excellent opportunity for artists to examine their accomplishments.

Even without an art venue for your retrospective, you can take stock of your life’s work by creating a virtual retrospective.

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