Offering Something of Value that Encourages Mailing List Sign-Ups

If you wonder how you can get more people to sign up for your mailing list, read today's Art Marketing Action newsletter, where I give you three guidelines to boost your list.

The third item in my list of guidelines is to give people something they want. That's usually why you sign up for a list, right? Because the person has something you want to receive–something of value to you. Something like art marketing action tips.

What can you give them that they would want? Some ideas . . .

  • A small, image of your work that they can download, print, and put on a bulletin board or in a small frame. You pick the image and tell them why it's significant. Entice them into wanting it for their own.
  • An e-card they can send to people for a holiday or birthday. Or make it more unique than that. How about an e-card that wishes them a good night's sleep or a good hair day?
  • A newsletter that is entertaining–not filled with fluff that's only about you. (More about newsletters in I‘d Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion.)
  • An invitation to a subscribers-only preview party at your next exhibit.

I hope you'll leave your own ideas and experiences in the comments.

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13 thoughts on “Offering Something of Value that Encourages Mailing List Sign-Ups”

  1. I offer a drawing for a free set of my work (value $13.50). The slip they fill out asks for email or phone number for notification with a name & address form at the bottom for optional mailing list. I state the list is low-volume – few times/year. The vast majority of people sign up for the mailing list. My mailing list has grown by leaps & bounds since I started doing this. I think this year I’ll add a note about privacy. Thanks Alyson!

  2. I offer a free gifts for signing up for my newsletter that goes out every 30 days. My gifts include,a PDF of coloring pages and a letter from the tooth fairy (ya never know when you are gonna need that!). I add gifts in PDF’s periodically in my newsletters as well. Aloha, Kathy

  3. We offer our buyers a chance to sign up for our mailing list – and let them know we do a drawing for a $ 30 gift certificate after each show. Over 90% of my buyers sign up for the mailing list. At our show this past weekend, one person did ask how do people know that we really do award the gift certificates. As I was trying to figure out what to say – the person behind her in line said – well this is what she sent me after I signed up at one of the fall shows. It was one of previous customers, back to redeem their gift certificate (and to buy an additional three photos). We also send each buyer a hand written thank you note after the show thanking them for their purchase. I try to coordinate the photo on the card with the item they purchased. I’ve had several people stop by at shows thanking me for the cards, and some have bought a copy of the photo that was on the card I sent them. Since we started offering the drawing for the gift certificates, and sending out the thank you notes, our mailing has doubled in size, and the number of repeat customers has increased significantly.

  4. I am an emerging artist just starting out in the “free stuff” arena. As a giveaway for signing up to a monthly newsletter, I have created a pdf mini-poster that can be printed and framed in an 8×10 frame. It has my name, signature, Web address, phone number, and copyright statement on it, of course. It also has a statement that encourages people to freely distribute the poster. Since I do not have a mailing list for my newsletter yet, I will announce the giveaway by sending emails to family, friends, and anyone who has given me their email address at gallery shows. I will also be writing a press release and posting it through one of the paid press release services. I am considering running a Google ad, but that can get pricey. If anyone have suggestions on how to get the word out beyond that, I am all ears. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

  5. Recently, I offered my new postcard, and 4 of my recent postcards all in one mailing if my blog readers wished in return for their snail mail info. I let them know up front that it was for my mailing list, and I id add a number of addresses including some overseas ones.

  6. I found if I just left a sign up sheet or notebook around very few people signed up but if I asked them to sign up and told them what I did, such as send out quarterly newsletters, postcards announcing special shows or workshops, etc., that I got quite a few sign ups. I generally asked only people who were buying or who seemed really interested. This keeps your mailing list a quality list, not just a lot of names. I’ve also learned it pays to keep people on the list for a while, even if you don’t hear from them right away. One woman I hadn’t heard from in a few years had emailed me at one point to say that although she hadn’t showed up at any shows, etc. that she loved to get my information and that one of these days she would come. This winter she came to a show I had and bought a significant amount of work. It was well worth keeping her on my list for the few years it took her to reappear!

  7. I don’t believe in having an address book out at a show. It is one of the most costly and amateurish mistakes you can make as an artist or gallery. I use lead cards that I keep on my person. I do keep a couple out on a cabinet in case I’m busy with another person. The problem with an address book is that you know nothing about the person signing the book. I would guess that 99% of the people who sign these books aren’t potential buyers, but yet you’ll start mailing postcards and other things to them which gets very expensive. Galleries are the worst at this. They spend thousands of dollars a years sending info to people who have no intention of buying anything, but they did sign that address book. If they would use a lead card, the employees would actually have to interact with the buyer instead of just saying, “Hello, how are you?” My lead card is 4” x 6” and by the time I or they fill it out, rarely do they refuse, I will know where they live, if they own more than one house, own a jet, profession, married, single, etc. I will have ALL their phone numbers qualified so know which one they actually pickup and not the gatekeepers. After they leave, on the back of the card I make profuse notes; personality type, communication style, gatekeeper’s name, any info I can use to write a personalize letter to them which every person gets that does a lead card. By the end of a three day show, I may only have 18 to 24 lead cards, but they are all rock solid. I transfer all this info to my database program so when we talk I have this info in front of me so I can ask about the vacation or grandkid story they told me. Interesting note: I find that by just handing the card to the person, they’ll fill out every line of the card, but when I ask and fill it out, they can sometimes pull back a little. So just hand it to them. I have pens with my name on them and I let them keep them. There’s a certain finesse in using these and asking the probing and qualifying questions, but it’s worth learning. I will gladly email anyone a copy of the lead card in jpg format. Mark S. Levin

  8. New subscribers to my list get an immediate link, via autoresponder, to a digital version of my annual art calendar. My name/website info is printed on every month there’s an extra, digital version-only page with special pricing on cards or prints. A member’s only benefit. My subscribe page: just in case you would like a digital calendar – printable from your home computer with my compliments.

  9. I think Mark’s idea of a lead card is excellent. I had a shop so having a mailing list book out worked for me in that context. I agree you can get a lot of useless addresses and over the years I have learned to just ask what I think are truly potential buyers or students to sign my book. After they leave I add notes (what they bought, what they said they were most interested in, whether they are summer folk, etc.) For those showing in more upscale venues I like the idea of a lead card a lot–great info, Mark! Thanks!

  10. I’ve just begun to print magnets with an image on them as a small gift to include in thank you notes.They’re light, thin and fit easily into an envelope. But I rarely receive no for an answer when I ask if people would like to be on a mailing list. As a general rule I ask as I am writing up a sale, so I’m usually only bothering with clients who have already made a commitment to my work. However if I get into a conversation with someone at the gallery or at a show who seems very, very interested but just not ready to commit at that point in time I usually ask if they’d like to be on the list, and hand them a business card too.

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