Simple tips to increase your mailing list signup at gallery exhibitions & craft fairs

by Helen Aldous

Whenever you exhibit your work at a gallery or have a stall at a craft fair it is a great opportunity to get people to sign up for your mailing list.

By keeping a list of people who like your work you have a ready opportunity to let them know whenever you are exhibiting or have a new piece of work ready. Collecting emails is ideal for this as it is a quick, direct and low cost way of reaching out to your audience. You can keep them abreast of what you are up to and direct them to work that you are promoting on your website.

Many artists keep a notebook on their stall or in the exhibition area for people to add comments and contact details to. However, getting people to part with their email address is not the easiest thing and you may find that you end up with more comments than contacts.

The good news is that there are quite a few simple things that you can do which will increase the number of people willing to give you their email details:

Display a clear NO SPAM! notice

Make it very clear on a little notice next to your book that email addresses will not be shared, sold or abused in any way. Maybe also make it known that you don’t send out zazillions of emails and won’t be stuffing their inbox full of rubbish. This will increase peoples confidence in you and make them more willing to share their details.

Chocolate attraction

A slightly sneaky tactic is to place a bowl of  gorgeous chocolates next to the signup book. This will draw people towards the book and a piece of chocolate will increase their feelings of goodwill towards you. This really works, and you can always eat any that are left over at the end of a long day. ;-)

Make it obvious

Looking round art fairs I always notice that a lot of comments/signup books just offer a blank page for you to add what you want. This often results in just comments and no emails.

You need to make it obvious to the visitor what you want them to do. Draw columns in the book and title them NAME, COMMENT, EMAIL. This way you guide the person through the process which makes them feel comfortable and more likely to fill in each column. I guarantee if you do this it will double your email signups. Make sure that you make it clear [on a notice perhaps] that by giving their email they are agreeing to join your mailing list.

Ethical bribe

Offer people who signup to your mailing list something in return. Depending on your work perhaps you could offer a small piece of work or entry into a draw to win a larger piece.

And the most important thing you need to do…

Make sure you copy the emails into a database when you get home. Don’t just collect them and then ignore them, leaving them at the bottom of your bag or forgotten in a corner of your studio [talking from personal experience again here.]

Your mailing list is a really valuable tool for selling your art. Keep adding to it whenever you can to keep contact with the people who love your work.

Do you have problems building your email list of people interested in your work? Any good tips that work for you? Please share them with us below.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Javier September 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Great and useful tips! Thank you Helen, I LOVE everything in your site.

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Helen Aldous September 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

Thanks Javier. You have some fabulous work on your site!

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Julia October 4, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Set up a Wordpress blog and make good use of the various newsletter signup plugins too :)

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Helen Aldous August 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Thanks Jodi.

All those tips are absolutely spot on. Thanks for adding them. I think the whole subject of sending out emails and using email service providers does definitely deserve a post on its own. It’s now on my “to-do” list ;-)

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Jodi Kaplan August 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

The chocolate is an excellent idea!

Here are a few more tips.

If you’re collecting names, make it clear on the signup not only that it IS a signup, but what they’re signing up for, and how often you will contact them. If it’s once a week, say so (and stick to that schedule).

When you send your emails, you must include an opt-out link, and your physical address (a P.O. box is OK).

Do not use Outlook or Apple Mail to send the emails – sign up for AWeber or MailChimp or another email service provider. They’ll manage the opt-outs automatically, add your physical address, and make sure that the people on your list don’t see each others’ email addresses.

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