Your #1 asset in your art business is the people you know and, more importantly, the people who know you.
We group these people together, call them a “mailing list” and store their information in a database. If we're on top of things, we use that information from time to time. 😉
Previously, I defined an artist mailing list as follows.
. . . a mailing list contains names and contact information of people you know or might like to know. For the artist, a mailing list usually begins with friends and family, and then expands to buyers and potential buyers. You use your mailing list to stay in touch with all of these people—to keep them informed of your goings-on. In a nutshell, your mailing list—something unique to you and your career—is the primary tool you use to share your art with the world.
These days, the artist's mailing list contains both bricks-and-mortar addresses along with email addresses and phone numbers. It might better be called a “contact list.” You need all three types of information in order to keep your name in front of people and to conduct critical follow-up.
With the explosion of social media, it's time to expand this definition.
Not only do you have contact with the people described in the mailing list definition above, you also have connections on LinkedIn, followers on Instagram and Twitter, and fans on Facebook. These social media connections might not be included in a formal database, but they are waiting to hear from you.
Consider all the ways your contact list has grown.
You're reaching more people than ever—people who have asked to hear from you. The cost? Your time.
Still . . . even though your social media connections are an important aspect of your marketing, they can never replace the carefully cultivated list of people you've met and communicated with on a more personal level.
Your traditional mailing list is comprised of the people who have purchased art from you or supported you in some other way, and they are the most valuable contacts you have.