March 3, 2016 | Alyson Stanfield

Who Are The People On Your List and What Are They Doing There?

Art Biz Coach has been helping support artists since 2002.

There are 25,000 people on my current email list, and perhaps thousands more who have left that list. There are 25,000 fans on the Art Biz Success Facebook page, and thousands more that are somehow connected to me.

Erica Norelius painting of man dreaming of Sargent
Erica Norelius, Dreaming of Sargent. Oil, 20 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

My point: I’ve crossed paths with a lot of artists.

They buy my book, sign up as a private client, attend a live workshop or event, or learn from me in an online program. Others might comment on a post on my blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Every so often I come across some familiar names in an old file or document. They were active in the Art Biz Coach community at one point and have since disappeared.

I wonder what has happened to them. Have they given up their art business? Are they more active on other sites?

While thinking about the engagement level of artists on my list, I wondered if you might have some of the same people in your life.

See if these sound familiar.


The lurkers have been on my list f.o.r.e.v.e.r. They don’t comment or enroll in my programs, but, apparently, they receive value from what I write. I keep sending them emails every week, and they continue to read them (or not).

Don’t judge the lurkers!

There are hunkered down now, but you never know when they’ll be ready for what you have to offer.

I’ve discovered that some people might be on your list for years before they become collectors, students, clients, or raving fans.

Susan Fox painting of woman wearing pink scarf
©Susan Fox, The Pink Scarf. Oil, 20 x 30 inches. Used with permission.

Serial Peeps

This is an interesting phenomenon: people who come and go in cycles.

They’ll pop up in numerous places for a while, and then Poof! they disappear – only to reappear later.

I know that artists can be much more successful with consistent effort, but I don’t know what causes them to disappear for long stretches of time.

Oh, well. I’ll be here for them when they return.

I’m not sure about serial peeps for artists. I’d love to hear if you have people that drop in and out of your career life.


The drop-ins are an interesting lot. Someone told them about Art Biz Coach or they discovered a link somewhere. They visited, commented, and left. They didn’t sign up or buy.

And, yet, I know that I helped them solve a problem, which makes me happy.

Your drop-ins might have come across your online presence in the same way, or perhaps they showed up at your opening or booth.

How do you engage these people? You can start by adding a pop-up sign-up form to your site. Yeah, I know they’re annoying, but I also know they produce results.

Of course, you want to respond to comments or questions, but you could also add them to a follow-up list and send them a personal email message in a month or two.

Then, if you really have your act together, send them another email six months later.


These people are great! My supporters recognize the value in what I offer and share my articles, services, and products.

They’re not necessarily my target market, but they are connected to artists that might need what I offer.

Your supporters are probably of a different constitution. Artists’ supporters usually show up at openings and events and occasionally reply to your emails.

They love you and want to be a part of your world.

You can probably count on certain supporters to refill the cheese tray or help you install the art.

Supporters might make small or single purchases, but they mostly exist to increase the number in your flock and lend a hand when you need it.

Edrian Thomidis ceramic of woman surrounded by bees
©Edrian Thomidis, Get More Bees With Honey. Ceramics, 14 x 12.5 x 11 inches. Used with permission.


Raving fans rock! They comment on my blog and social media posts, send cards in the mail, and sign up for almost everything I offer. If I’m lucky, they will offer a generous testimonial for me to share.

The most avid among them attend Art Biz Breakthrough and join my Inner Circle.

They tell their friends about me.

Your fanatics probably:

  • Brag about your art to whomever will listen (heck, they might even ask for a stack of your cards that they can pass out)
  • Host an unveiling party at their home or office
  • Buy multiple pieces from you
  • Urge people to attend your openings
  • Cheer you on and give you “shout outs” online

Your Turn

I’d love to hear about the people on your list. Please leave a comment below.

43 comments add a comment
  • Thrilled to be one of your “Fanatics”. Just yesterday on a call with Alyson’s inner circle I learned of a glorious mistake I made… one of many as I travel this path. Having this safety net and deep well of wisdom, resources and support makes me be bolder both in my business and my art.

  • Alyson, a great and timely article. I think every one has people like yours. How do you keep track of the peepers and drop-ins?

    • Karen: I can’t really keep track of the lurkers. I can only nurture them by giving them free content (which I have done every week for 14 years – often even more frequently than that). The drop-ins – I have their names at least. I’m primarily interested in those who leave comments on the blog. I try my best to respond to all comments, which is one step. Not sure about the rest.

      We have to be sane about the process and give most of our attention to those who we can serve at a higher level.

  • And… funny how I often think I am the only one…I have all of them…just did not have names for them.

  • Great article :) Not only do I have the groups mentioned, I feel like I could sometimes be in each one of these groups!! For example, I gather the information and percolate on it, sometimes for a lONG time (Lurker). I go in spurts with interacting socially online, FB, Instagram, LinkedIn, leaving comments– then try to stay offline for days when I have a deadline looming (Serial Peeps). I could go on and give an example for each, but I think you get the idea. Which makes me wonder about myself….

  • For years, I hovered over the announcements-only Yahoo group (remember those?) I used to manage my subscribers, fussing over every person who unsubscribed. What am I doing wrong? Why are they leaving me?

    Then, I switched to a real paid email subscription service, that shows me who is opening emails, and who is clicking links. And that sort of changed my thinking about people who were leaving. If you’re not opening emails, maybe you’re too busy to hear from me. That’s OK—you can check in on FB, or Instagram when you have time. If you’re opening emails, but not clicking links, maybe I’m not talking about stuff in which you’re interested. If you unsubscribe, I’m sorry to see you go, but I understand that where I’m headed right now is not where you want to go. That’s OK, too.

    Also: I purge my list regularly, of people who haven’t opened an email in six months, so, about a dozen messages. They’re either way too busy to hear me, aren’t interested, or dead.

  • Codie Lea

    I am totally a “Lurking Fan”! Can we make that a thing? I have received a lot from all that you have shared and I have a goal of joining one of your business coaching sessions, but since I started following you I have only just begun to get back in the studio. So for me the weekly emails have been my little encouragement to keep going for my dreams. And so far it has worked! I work in my studio “playing” and creating regularly, I just opened my Etsy page and I was featured on a local tv channel for my heartbeat paintings. So what you offer is a blessing, especially to this lurking fan! Thank you!

  • Beverly Fish

    I have lurkers and fanatics. I myself am a bit of a lurker but I save articles and go over them or print them out. I like to think about things and plan. I don’t comment much but I love your information you provide!!

  • Hi,
    Drop-ins work for me.
    Living in Alaska with very few roads, the internet is for many a view and exchange medium into the world.
    Marketing drives me crazy but submitted eight drawings to be judged for a local Alaska resident only art grant.

  • Susan Fox

    Thanks for posting my painting! I’ll be including the link in my next newsletter. :0)

    I’d consider most of my subscribers to be “supporters”. Some of them also follow me on Facebook. Many have been subscribers for years and years. Some are buyers and collectors. Some enjoy experiencing my adventures in Mongolia vicariously since they’ll never go there. I appreciate the loyalty of all of them and their support whether or not they are buyers. Since much of what I do has a conservation connection, it’s very valuable to me to have people follow me who are open to being educated about those issues, particularly endangered species.

  • I am in agreement with Rebecca Dierickx because I’m in one of those categories at any point in time. My Art career has been going in cycles of ups and downs with having two little boys within the last three years, and still working a full-time job. I definitely love the raving fans but will take any of the other categories of fans as well. You never know when the next spark of interest will bring a sale or referral. Keep making Art everyone!

  • Yep, I fall into all those categories on most emails I subscribe to. Life and art are busy, so depending on where I am, I am more engaged or not. Right now I am trying to propel my art career in a new locale, so I am more engaged here and in Alyson’s Inner Circle. And it is working.

    As far as my list goes, I relish every subscriber. I hope I bring them a little something with every post or email they see, even if they don’t actively engage. Sometimes, years later I get a note about my art and how it brightens their day. Or someone who wants something custom for their wife. And I am always honored. And those who unsubscribe, I completely understand…because I do that too!

  • I probably fit into a couple of your categories! I have been a lurker for years, first started following your blog and newsletter at the very beginning! I’m also a serial peep because I come and go a LOT. Mainly because my life is so crazy, ie kids, business, school, etc!
    I have had people from all the above categories in my 20+ years as an artist. The fanatics are my favorites because I know where they stand. Lurkers surprise me from time to time. I’ve had many drop ins throughout the years.
    One of these days I will do something more than lurk on you, I have always wanted to attend one of your workshops. Money always seems to be an issue for me. That will change soon! :)

    • Paula: You are more than a lurker. You hosted a book party for me in Albuquerque and help get I’d Rather Be in the Studio off the ground. Eight years ago! I’m still grateful.

  • I guess I am a little bit of a lurker, serial peep and drop-in and slowly making my way up to the others… I usually read information to help me sort things out or validate what I am already doing. I’ll take any fan in any category above as they all help in one way or another. my focus is to get my work out there for as many people to see, which in turn helps with sales.

    Thank you for including my ceramic work on your post! I’ve already shared your post on social media and will be adding a blurb on my blog with a link as well.

  • Luise Christensen-Howell

    Always enjoy reading your posts. As much for the generous information you give so freely as well as for the comments from other Artists. And I pass along links to your facebook page and blog to everyone that I think could benefit. I am “a fan” even though I do not interact very much. Over the last three years my Art Business has evolved in a different direction, more focused, more full time. By following you and links on your site I have been exposed to other, like minded Artists that have been working their craft for many years like me and still benefit from good, sensible advice. When I started in 1984 I had no idea this was a rest of my life passion. I wished I would have had access to your advice then. Thanks for all you share.

  • Jeanna Delfin

    Haha. I love this post. :) I bought your Creative Content Camp program last year and it has helped tremendously. The process of building a brand has been a tedious, since I wear all hats (i.e. graphic designer, web developer, lifetime-learner-of-rapidly-changing-technology, social media marketer, writer, and finally, artist).

    Since then, I have spent months working on rebranding and implementing all the lessons and content that you’ve given. Still, there’s more work yet to be done. :) But I know that it will pay off.

    Sometimes we suffer from information overload, so it’s hard to comment or respond to all the content is posted online. But I’d like to say thank you for the value that you’ve put out there. :) -Jeanna

  • Definitely a lurker!

  • Cary,Carolyn Davies

    Really l love your article this is very interesting,l really would love to do your sessions on line but l haven’t been able to understand the computer ,l have a iPad ,l feel l get very inspired by what you have to say thank you so much.Cheers Cary:)

  • Thank you thank you thank you for all your generous advice and articles. I don’t always act on them, but I read them all faithfully and share links to your blog. Studio practice has always been easy for me to do and when I have free time, that’s where I head. It’s a lot harder to fit in the business of art but slowly, slowly, I am doing more of that. Much of that is due to your encouragement.

  • Beth

    I could fit into several of the categories, but especially the lurker & supporter! I’ve been to at least one of your events. I love reading your weekly e-mails and sharing them with artist friends that may not be familiar with you/your business. The information you have given has been invaluable and affirmative & encouraging! Thank you for all you do for the ARTISTS and the Art world!!

  • Great article! I have been all of those at some point and I have some of each type in my list. Great info as usual.

  • Hello Alyson –

    I do not know if you will get this because I may not be able to answer the question that is asked in order for this post to go through –

    Which is rounder: square, triangle, rectangle, circle, hexagon or pentagon?

    I have just found your site because it was recommended to me from someone at the FASO team –

    but I would like to say that for a long time now and still I have not created any type of list because ——— I decided to focus on creating art – and now that I have over 500.000 images and the kind people of Imagekind (where I spent 10 years uploading 351,295 images over 10 years ) have decided to remove my collection from their site I have only a few thousand posts to Pinterest :

    to share with you besides the few images that I have placed on the FASO site linked to here –

    what I am puzzled about is that of course it seems to make sense that an artist is responsible for marketing – but little else is known about the subject from my world – but I am certainly not interested in attempting to find out or figure out what the people who have received my cards from my “Doubling Project”:

    over the years are doing (they number in the over 5 million range) – for I am sure with absolute certainty that if and when they are interested in find out what I am doing or if I am still alive and kicking and able to provide them with something that they need that they will – as always get in touch with me when they are good and ready – just as someone who wanted something today picked up the phone and called and is on his way here – today – Sunday for something that he wants –

  • Lea Zrenda

    Hi Alyson! I’m confessing to being one of your “lurkers”! I took a workshop from you years ago and still keep up and love to read your e-mails! My career took a sharp downturn due to a bad (years long) bout with rheumatoid arthritis but I’m feeling better and planning to get back at it full time! Thank you for all you do!!!

  • I’m generally a lurker on your list, I read parts n pieces and watch a video here and there, and am hoping to come to a coaching seminar soon. I’ve had a faux painting biz for 16 years, got back into canvas painting about 4 years ago, and just opened ARTSPaCE workshop+gallery in my town less than a year ago. I appreciate your experience and guidance, and could certainly use more:)

  • I could label myself “all of the above”! Still out here, and still making art, though nothing you’d recognize from our sessions way back in 2004. I am dealing with an aging parent and an epileptic rescue dog, which means frequent interruptions and difficulty in focusing sometimes. I count on your newsletter to steer me back on course, whether I respond or not. Thank you so much, Coach!

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