In my area, it is Open Studios time. These are events where artists open up their home studios to invite visitors to get to know them and to see their art that is for sale. I go to this event almost every year to visit some of my favorite artists in the area. I am a consumer of art and have several of my found treasures hanging in my hallways. The good news is that I received several emails to remind me of the event from a few of the artists that I signed in with. The bad news, these artists are not emailing me in an audience development way.
I am receiving a group email format, and most of these artists are sending them not in a blind copy email, so I see everyone’s email on the list. So, this email is not really personal, and it is an invasion of privacy. I rather not have my email be seen by everyone.
To my visual artist friends out there, this is your challenge. You have an opportunity with these open studios to build relationships with everyone that comes into your door. People seek you out because something about your art or description of your art has attracted their attention. If you want them to become your special patrons, you need to start treating each and every one of these people as special.
What do you need to do to treat them special? Start sending out personal emails. One artist had 12 people on their list. Only 12 people. You can send out a nice message to each of these people. For the artists that have more than 12, why not send out messages a little at a time starting two weeks in advance? I am receiving an email on Thursday, the Thursday before the beginning weekend. What if I already had plans for the weekend? The email is a little late and shows the lack of real interest to connect with me as a person. It shows you are too busy to take the time to email me directly, especially since you are sending the email so late.
I have not received emails from the artists I actually purchased from. Interesting! Aren’t you interested in building a relationship with me so I would want to buy more of your art? I already proved I love what you do.
Visual artists, you have such an amazing opportunity with your open studios events. The personal touch is needed. You need to start having individual invitations and conversations with your patrons. If you want me to buy your art, to continue buying your art, to tell others about your art, you need to start addressing me as an individual person and spend some time with me after I arrive, and then send a thank you follow up after I purchase (or even if I don’t). People take the time out of their busy lives to visit you. In this economy, when they purchase, you should make a fuss over them to thank them and get to know them as people. It’s the least you can do for them.
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Audience Development Specialists
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”