If you have been ignoring your contact list or relying solely on people to sign up for your email updates with an online form, it’s time to re-commit to nurturing your contacts.
Your contact list is where you store all of the people you know or would like to know. It’s storage. You can safely send postcards and snail mail to anyone on your contact list. You can also send personal emails to individuals on your contact list.
Your email list is for those who have opted in (asked) to receive your bulk email blasts, newsletters, and reminders.
I appreciate the combination of snail mail and email, but the primary benefit of my contact list is to spur my memory, which helps me personalize my relationships with students, subscribers, and others in the art world.
This is why I insist that your contact list is your #1 asset.
Reacquaint Yourself with Your Contact List
Stop waiting for people to sign up and start being proactive! You could take any of the following actions on your contact list right now.
- Research and select software that maintains your contact database. I just posted an updated list of artist contact management software. Look over the list, read the comments, and chime in.
- If you just started using your database, identify a certain number of people you can add to your list each day or week. Or set aside a day to get ‘er done. Your first goal is to get everyone you know into your database. In I’d Rather Be in the Studio, I put the minimum number of contacts at 150 because everyone knows at least 150 people.
- To expand your contacts, add 5 influential people a week to your database. These might be people in your niche market, curators, gallerists, art collectors, or art consultants. Remember, you’re not adding them to a bulk email list. You’re adding them to your database so that you remember who they are. Not sure where to start? Use Google to search for these influential people.
- Code your list. Use a sorting system in your database so that you can quickly pull up buyers, friends, family, other artists, and VIPs.
- Use your list. Your list is worthless if you don’t use it. Use your list to send thank-you notes and personal correspondence just to let someone know you are thinking of them. If you have a show in a certain region, pull up names from that area and do something extra special for the people on your list.
What’s your first step?