Friday, March 27, 2009

How many times have you gone into an artist/crafter's booth at a festival or show, signed their mailing list, only to hear nothing ever again from them?

As artists/crafters we're guilty of collecting people's information but then doing nothing with that information. This blog will expand on some ideas about how to get the most bang out of your mailing list:

  • I recommend that you collect only what you'll use. If you only send out e-mails, don't collect addresses, etc. Make it simple and easy for your 'fans' to sign up for your mailing list.

  • Offer an incentive to sign up on your list; a drawing at the end of the show; a 10% off coupon that can be used to purchase your work, etc.

  • Once you have the list, enter it into your computer and back it up so you can't lose it. Some folks keep lists of buyers separate from 'lookers'. Some separate folks interested in classes from art buyers. Collect and organize it the way you'll use it.

  • If your mailing list grows over time, it can get out of date. I also find that folks' handwriting sometimes leads to my entering the wrong e-mail address. How do I get around that? First of all, at the end of each day of a show, I enter my e-mail addresses and send out an immediate message thanking them for signing up on my list AND I offer them a 10% off coupon to be used in purchasing my work in the future. What I'm really doing is checking whether I've got the correct address. Any bounce-backs from that days' addresses allows me to look at the list more closely and correct the addresses. If I can't correct them, I knock them off of the I don't get future 'bounce-backs'. I'm also trying to incentivize them to return to my booth the next day and purchase that piece that's been nagging at them since they left the venue. Sometimes it works.

  • I use my mailing list only for a monthly newsletter and special show announcements. For the latter, if you keep a separate list of people who have purchased items from you, send them a 10% or 20%-off coupon for one item in your booth. I have a potter acquaintance that does that and not only does he have great attendance at his shows, but these folks buy around 50% of the time!

  • When you send out things to your e-mail list, blind copy everyone so that everyone's privacy is maintained AND so no one can steal your hard-earned e-mail list. If another artist or crafter can see those names, what is to prevent them from placing those names on their own list?

  • Always offer some way for people to unsubscribe. I put a statement in small print saying, basically, "reply with 'unsubscribe' in the subject line to be removed from my list".

Good luck! And next time I sign up on your list, I hope to hear from you!



  1. If your list grows large, you have to check your e-mail service... mine only allows you to send to so many people per certain time period. So my e-mails as bcc's were starting to get marked as spam... I finally had to go to a newsletter service. I currently use Constant Contact, though there are others.

    Also, the thank you note not only checks the e-mail address... but it reminds them that they've signed up so that when they get a newsletter, it doesn't go in the garbage! (I always tell them which e-mail addie to put on their "good" list so it won't be marked as SPAM).

  2. Great tips! Thank you for posting. I currently use iContact and it has really simplified the process for me - from organizing my lists to providing easy, professional-looking templates. I'm always looking for new ways to jazz things up and entice my NL members, so I appreciate the ideas you've posted!