“I’d like to interview you for an article in our Sunday Life section.” That was how I met Darragh. My studio walls were top to bottom with figurative work, and when she mentioned her teenage daughter, I asked if I could paint her.
I write a newsletter. Every month. For 2 and a half years. Scrumble does not have a huge readership. It’s not a how to conquer marketing as an artist nor how to get a zillion likes on Facebook. It’s like a short story with three chapters, the three passions in my life: art, golf, and travel. It has a hook every month, some unlikely group of words that tie the chapters together. May was the fun combination of “Getting My Ducks in a Row.” I enjoy writing it, but it’s work, it takes time. It has a loyal group of readers, and I love them, love their emails:
“Your prose is an art form in itself, as beautiful as any poetic description.”
“I’ve been meaning to write all year to tell you how much I enjoy your Scrumbles (what a great name!). They are so interesting and thoughtful.”
My newsletter is a pipeline to my art, my website, and don’t I want everyone to visit it? But how could I get that newsletter to more people. I’ve read, and I believe it, that the core of our efforts should be directed to the people who know us. So my first chore was to consolidate my contact lists. Over 1600 contacts in Yahoo. Email lists from my art groups. Golf friends, community acquaintances, and professionals. Friends and family. Client contacts through FASO. And the most special group, my collectors, people who share their home with my artwork. Yes, it was a big chore, lots of time, and Excel was greatly appreciated, with its copy, paste and sort functions. I didn’t put everyone I’ve ever met in the document, just people that I thought would know me or my artwork, and would be interested in updates.
The second part: Offer them something. Don’t we all want something nice, unexpected? I decided on Monterey Morning, a small original pastel of the California coast.
Now with my list sorted into groups, I could write a message that pertained to the group. But I wanted a “pretty” message, not a plain email, and anti-spam laws rule! I found an email server that allowed me to add people based on previous contact, had really nice templates, and had statistics on opens. The basic message was subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll be entered in a drawing for this painting, with a nice image of the painting. Through the internet world my message went … and I waited.
New subscribers popped in, and I made contact with some old friends. Now we come full circle back to Darragh; we had lost touch after I moved to Houston. When she received my “Win this painting” email, she wrote: “What an amazing offer. I’m sitting under the portrait of my daughter, who is getting married May 23!” How gratifying is that?
“Win this painting” had a two week entry deadline. With my numbered list of new subscribers and Facebook Likes complete, I used RandomNumberGenerator.com to pick a winner. No. 13, Darragh, was the winner!
This whole project? Lots of time. Things I’d do differently. A learning experience. But I have an up-to-date list of the people who are interested in my art, and they get a chance to see it in each new Scrumble.