I'm using this time during the coronavirus outbreak, while we are sheltered in place, to help you focus on small things you can do now to stay in control of your art business. This post is a complete transcript of Art Biz Podcast episode 47.
I started by talking about why structure and control are so important now. I invite you, if you haven’t already heard it, to go back and listen to those tips in episode #46.
In this episode, I want to talk about something specific you can add to your daily structure that I think will lift your spirits and that I know will lift the spirits of others: Mail. Real mail.
Email Isn’t Always the Answer
Email is terrific. It’s fast, inexpensive, and connects to other online resources. But along with email comes a few headaches—primarily, and I don’t have to tell you this, too much of it.
It’s stupidly easy to type up a message and press send. Everyone does it. Every day. And they’re doing even more of it right now because even more of our lives are lived in the digital space while we are staying at home. That means there is a dizzying number of emails flying over the airwaves.
How can you make sure your email is being seen by those you want to stay connected to? You can’t.
I don’t want you to discount email completely, but it seems like a good time to try a different tactic—to revisit a strategy for sending real mail that lands in a real mailbox.
Music by Wildermiss.
4 Reasons You Should Send Real Mail Now
There are 4 reasons why I’m raving about real mail to my students, members, and private clients.
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).
Handwritten notes enhance your emotional bond with recipients—something that can’t be duplicated with email. I can’t think of a single email, regardless of how kind it was, that evokes the same level of emotion as a piece of mail with handwriting.
This tactile quality is as important to you as to the recipient. I am certain you will experience more joy writing a single note or shipping a single package than you will sending 500 emails.
Couldn't we all use a little more joy right now?
2. Real mail distinguishes you from other artists who aren’t using it.
When you send a package, letter, or postcard, you have to address it, stamp it, and put it in a mailbox. It’s so much work that most people don’t do it. How did we ever manage before email?
People who receive your mail will recognize and appreciate this extra effort.
Anything with your handwriting, in a note and on the envelope, will get more attention than printed labels. Even if you’re sending a postcard with pre-printed text on it, write a personal note somewhere.
3. Real mail is more likely to be seen by recipients than email.
There are 2 major issues that make email delivery unreliable.
First, filters might send it to the recipient's junk mail folder, where it’s dead on arrival. Second, if an email does reach the inbox, the busy recipient might delete it in an effort to eliminate an overwhelming number of messages.
I don’t know about you, but I am quick with the Delete key.
I can easily plow through 300 emails in an hour when I need to. My focus isn’t on responding to the juicy stuff. I’m just trying to get rid of everything that doesn’t absolutely require my attention. I miss hundreds of marketing messages this way, but it’s the only way to remain sane with an overflowing inbox.
Maybe I missed one of your messages while emptying my inbox.
Can you imagine this happening with real mail? No!
I’m aware that some people never get around to deleting email, but in the company of several thousand messages in an inbox, your email might as well be in a black hole. This brings me to my final point.
4. Real mail endures.
It’s more likely to be preserved.
Recipients can store a letter or postcard in a folder, tack it to a bulletin board, or slap a magnet on it for the refrigerator. They can keep it on top of a busy desk to make them smile.
Some people even frame their mail from artists.
The bottom line is that real mail has the potential to delight. Imagine the expression on recipients’ faces when they sort through their unwanted mail and discover a piece with your art on it. ART. In the mail. That’s a fun find!
Who to Send Mail to Now
Of course you want to send mail to the special people in your professional life right now. Your collectors, your gallerist (who is likely struggling), and any team members who are vital to your success.
You might also want to share gratitude with first responders and the critical people who keep the grocery store open or deliver food and packages to your door. And don’t forget to leave a personal note to your mail carrier inside of your mailbox.
What To Send in the Mail Now
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that it’s a good time to send real mail. Or deliver it. Or leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep.
Don’t worry about the germs right now. If recipients are taking the proper precautions, your mail will be safe.
What’s more disturbing is the thought that coronavirus might shutter the postal service as we know it. The thought of this breaks my heart, and has me scheming about ways I can use mail now to support the system.
Whatever you send should feature your art, and you could add something useful for the occasion—something the recipient might want to keep. Perhaps:
- Instructions for an art activity to do with kids
- A poem or inspirational quote, which is especially meaningful if they’re your own words
- Your favorite recipe
Truly, all you have to send is a quick note that says Thinking of You or Stay Healthy. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
For more tips on using real mail, see actions 6 and 11 in my book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio.
Music by Wildermiss.
Join the Conversation
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