Sometimes I do *really* stupid things over a long period of time, one of them was thinking I could become a professional artist without studying anatomy, another was not setting up and maintaining a mailing list over the last 7 years.
There are lots of reasons why Mailing Lists are great, I'll try to outline some of the most important here.
If someone said to me 7 years ago that my relationships were *more* important than my portfolio in getting me commissions, I probably wouldn't have believed them.
Turns out pretty much every good art opportunity I've had was because of a friendship. My portfolio was often a secondary concern, important but often not as important as you'd think. Sometimes your portfolio can be the opening conversation point in a potential new connection but if you aren't friendly and approachable you almost certainly won't get offered any work. How do mailing lists fit into this? Staying in touch with lots of people is really difficult, most artists are introverts and don't have particularly large real life social networks, online social networking websites are good at maintaining some presence but many of the best contacts you make won't be ready for a nuclear Facebook add straight off the bat!
So what tends to happen is we meet interesting people and good business contacts, have a good conversation, exchange a few emails and then lose touch all the same. People drift apart... like tear drops in the rain..... like ships in the night........... like DiCaprio in Titanic when he has to let go of that floating door thing with Kate Winslet on it...
.... He's floating down into the dark sea water.... THEN BANG YOU HIT HIM WITH A MAILOUT !!!
Suddenly DiCaprio is commissioning you to do artwork. GRATS! Your monthly updates with all the cool stuff you have been working on have kept him clinging onto that 1 passenger door boat.
I'll 'quick fire' some more benefits to:
- Pull all your followers together under one roof for the more effective communication.
- Send traffic where it's needed when it's needed, cross pollinate your followers from one platform to another.
- Cultivate a following, if people really like what you do they'll become loyal to your causes, maybe they can help with a charity you're supporting or even help fund your own Kickstarter project!
- Word of mouth is everything, by letting them know what you're doing they are more likely to tell others, some of which might want to hire you.
- Communicate in a more personal way, they've signed up because they are interested in what you do, you can communicate more confidently knowing this.
Does and Don'ts.
'Email Marketing' is a dirty word, I don't know about you guys but probably 90% of the emails I receive are promotional offers from big organisations I'm pretty sure I never opted to sign up for. RAGE.
Don't add people to your mailing list who might not want to be on it.
Do remind people you have a mailing list when it seems appropriate and point them towards it.
Don't do too many updates, anything more than a monthly update might be pushing it for most people.
Do save yourself some hassle and use something like Mail Chimp which makes it relatively easy to manage and customize your mailing list.
Don't end up writing mail out's just like spam, you most powerful asset is you, get your personality across and make the email an entertaining personal message from you.
Do encourage replies direct to you so people know you'd like to hear from them.
Let me know what you think, what are your experiences of mailing lists?
Oh and here is my mailing list if you want to stay in touch :3 sorasabi.us4.list-manage.com/s…