Your Artist Newsletter Delivers Trust

I sent my first email newsletter on March 25, 2002.

When I started, there was one other email newsletter that I was aware of that was published to help artists build their businesses.

If you had told me that I’d still be writing it in 2016, I would have questioned your sanity. And then I would have questioned my own for starting.

Mixed media by Darlene Olivia McElroy
©Darlene Olivia McElroy, Sweet & Juicy. Mixed media on panel, 24 x 24 inches.

I’ve been delivering this content every week for 14 years. Every. Single. Week.
I’ve never missed an issue. (Knock on wood.)

I’ve come close. Some editions are down to the wire, as I feel pressure to publish high-quality content in an increasingly noisy environment.

What's the Big Deal?

If I skipped a week here and there, you probably wouldn’t miss it, but you might wonder if I am serious about nurturing a relationship with you.

You might question whether or not I’m “the real thing” or just another fly-by-night person thinking she has the chops to coach artists about their careers and businesses.

Here’s the thing: You signed up for a weekly email. You may not be waiting for it to hit your inbox at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Thursday mornings, but you expect it.

I don’t want to let you down.

My newsletter, whether you realize it or not, nurtures trust. You, whether you realize it or not, have grown to trust that I will send it every week.

In the crowded online world and in the crowded art world, trust matters.

How To Build Trust With The People On Your List

Trust with your list starts with a promise: to give people what they signed up to receive.

Watercolor painting by Laura Bethmann
©Laura Bethmann, Moons in Mind, Tiger Lilies. Watercolor on paper, 41 x 29.5 inches.

I suggest clearly articulating your promise. “Sign up for my list” isn’t a promise, it’s a command. A promise sounds more like this: “If you are kind enough to trust me with your email address, you’ll be the first to see new work in my monthly email newsletter.”

This is your word and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

If you promise a monthly email, send it monthly. Once you skip one issue, it is easier to skip the next and the one after that.

Don’t bother with the excuses because I’ve heard them all. If I figured out how to start sending a weekly email back in 2002 and have been faithful to the schedule, you can make a promise that you can live up to.

I hope that the mere pressure of living up to this promise should help you find something to say.

Make a promise to yourself, not just to the people on your list. Do it to claim your position as CEO of your art business.

The people on your list aren’t random people off the street. They are people who believed enough in you that they gave you access to their inboxes. They trusted you.

They said freely: “Here’s my email. Use it! Let me know what’s going on with your art.”

Don’t squander this trust. If you blow the chance to share your art with the people who have asked to see it, you might as well throw in the towel. Your opportunities won’t get much brighter than this.

Oil painting by Bobbi Heath
©Bobbi Heath, Double Mandarins. Oil on linen panel, 5 x 7 inches.

Your Turn

It goes beyond your email newsletter.

Are you honoring your commitments?
Are you meeting your deadlines?
Can people depend on you to follow through with your promises?

These aren’t small things. There are thousands and thousands of artists trying to turn their art into full-time careers.

Gallerists, curators, and collectors don’t have the time or patience to deal with difficult artists. They’ll find someone else to do the job.

How are you building trust? How are you ceding it to other artists who are more reliable?

Share this post

Your mailing list is your #1 marketing asset.

A transcript with the 3 lists every artist should have + a 3-page assessment for understanding the health of your list. FREE with opt-in.

32 thoughts on “Your Artist Newsletter Delivers Trust”

  1. Tim Drew Stevenson

    Hi Alyson

    Just a big thanks for the trust pointer- eye opener for me today (count me in as one who has used the “sign up for my newsletter” command; must change this- now to find the right wording…)


    Tim Drew Stevenson

  2. This is so timely as I get ready to send out my April 1st newsletter! I love the wording for articulating the promise. Thank you for your consistently excellent content!

  3. Wow… 14 years. Without missing.

    That does indeed say something about Alyson. You’ve been an inspiration to me and many others. Thank you.

    And… Congratulations!

  4. I’m very consistent 🙂 I posted my first blog post in 2003, and my first newsletter went out in 2007. I’ve been at it since. I may have changed platforms and other things, but I’ve been consistent in connecting with my followers 🙂

  5. Alyson … I love the distinction between a demand (about me), and a promise (about the audience, and the art). Thanks, too, for modeling consistency. And as always for the reminder that there is no unique or original excuse!

  6. Congratulations on keeping your word for these many years. You’re so correct in that while I don’t read every newsletter you send, I do count on it being there. When I was minister of a church I was true to the promise that there would be a monthly newsletter. I believed it was an important part of my job. As an artist, however, I’ve flaked a bit.

    I publish more or less once a month and I’ve, perhaps wrongly, believed that artists are expected to be a bit flaky. But I think you’re right on the money here. If I honor my commission agreements and am in every other way integral with my word (and I’m impeccable about these things), not acting with commitment with my newsletter sends a message that may undermine my other efforts.

    I realize I feel somewhat uncomfortable when I ask for people’s email, as if it’s something they do out of obligation, not desire. I semi-apologetically promise them I won’t be that annoying marketer who stuffs their inbox with unwanted stuff. If I read you correctly, however, when I promise value (consistent, first opportunity to see new work) and deliver it in a manner consistent with that promise, it’s actually giving people what they want and not a burden on them, so need to apologize in advance.

    Thanks again for this opportunity to reflect on my biz practice. It’s very helpful and I appreciate that, once again, you delivered right on time.

  7. Congrats, and happy anniversary
    to you, Alyson! I am celebrating 10
    along with you, and you were the first
    “coach” to start me out on this online
    journey, when Art Biz wasn’t even a
    I cannot thank you enough for your
    gift and voice for us creatives. I always knew that the time would come when business and art would be mentioned within the same phrase! I look forward to the day when these are interlocked in art
    school courses in all universities, and
    artists are no longer questioned about the value of their work.

    As far as building trust, I am continuing the task of keeping up with
    the changing social media scene, although daunting.

    Thank you and congrats for choosing
    your journey. So glad we have been able to share it together! 🙂

  8. Alyson, this is fabulous! I’m going to be sharing this at my blog or in my newsletter, especially for readers have have an email list of “only” 80 or so subscribers and are reluctant to mail until they get several hundred.

    I’ve been mailing my my publicity tips ezine for about 15 years and I’ve missed fewer than 10 issues, even when I moved from once a week to twice a week. Consistency builds trust. It also trains people to look forward to hearing from you at the same time and on the same day.

    1. Joan: Yes! You can tell those people (that I said) they’re crazy. They’re never going to get a couple of hundred until they start publishing.

      You’re my hero. Some time after you started the 2x a week, I tried it, but didn’t last more than about 4 or 5 months. My hat is off to you.

  9. Congratulations!

    I don’t send a newsletter, but am considering it. I blog, but don’t make it a priority.

    What I now make as a priority is being positive that if I commit to a commission or a show is that I fulfill that commitment in a timely manner. I used to say. “I don’t like commissions. I don’t like deadlines. I’m an artist and don’t want anyone putting restraints or conditions on me.”

    How many others in other businesses have that luxury? Not many! So I sort of took it as a challenge and began running my art as a business you know what? It has not hurt my creativity one bit! If anything, it has helped.

    I often run completely up to the deadline–but I start early so unforeseen problems can still be fixed. It has taken me awhile to get in the flow of meeting expectations, but it is so rewarding when I do.

  10. Ah … consistency – the bane of us artist types, but so vitally necessary for us business owners (the other hat). Kudos to you Alyson for shining a light on how important it is to not only show up, but on time & on schedule in order to build trust with our tribe.

    I’ve sent out a weekly newsletter for the last 25 consecutive weeks, even while in the midst of moving our home. I batched up 4 of them ahead of time, knowing the move was coming. I look forward to my 1st anniversary ☺.

    It can be done, and the more I commit to it, the more significant that commitment becomes. Thank you for inspiring the rest of us with YOUR commitment since 2002. Happy 14th Anniversary!

  11. Wow Alyson, that is an incredible and inspiring anniversary. A goal to set and achieve. This gave me a different way of looking at and approaching things. Thank you!

  12. Congrats Alyson! What’s amazing is not just the length of time you’ve been at it but the consistent quality you deliver. Yours is probably the only newsletter I have on a ‘never unsubscribe’ list! Looking forward to the next 14 😉

  13. Wow Alyson, I didn’t know…14 years is a wonderfully good testament to your dedication to artists! Thank you and well done!

    Thank you for the wording you shared as this is new insight for me – command vs promise. I plan to make 4×6 sign up cards for my 3 art events in April. Hopefully I will be growing my email list soon! (Also need to change the wording on my website).

    Thank you again!

  14. LOVE the idea of “If you are kind enough to trust me with your email address”, as opposed to the “please sign up”. I am trying hard to build an email list and am finding people very hesitant to be added to yet again another list. Altering the energy of that request just might be the key. Thanks Alyson for another great idea!

  15. Another thought provoking post Alyson, thank you! I have had a look around at many artist websites and many of us use the sign-up demand. I like the idea of taking the demand away and offering a promise instead. I will have to get my head around how best to do that.

    Congratulations on being a stalwart newsletter writer & shining example!

  16. Blogging weekly, thinking about starting a monthly newsletter. I’m not certain enough of the type of content I want for the newsletter yet.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

Privacy + Terms

Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

Privacy + Terms