I sent my first email newsletter on March 25, 2002.
When I started, there was one other email newsletter that I was aware of that was published to help artists build their businesses.
If you had told me that I’d still be writing it in 2016, I would have questioned your sanity. And then I would have questioned my own for starting.
I’ve been delivering this content every week for 14 years. Every. Single. Week.
I’ve never missed an issue. (Knock on wood.)
I’ve come close. Some editions are down to the wire, as I feel pressure to publish high-quality content in an increasingly noisy environment.
What’s The Big Deal?
If I skipped a week here and there, you probably wouldn’t miss it, but you might wonder if I am serious about nurturing a relationship with you.
You might question whether or not I’m “the real thing” or just another fly-by-night person thinking she has the chops to coach artists about their careers and businesses.
Here’s the thing: You signed up for a weekly email. You may not be waiting for it to hit your inbox at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Thursday mornings, but you expect it.
I don’t want to let you down.
My newsletter, whether you realize it or not, nurtures trust. You, whether you realize it or not, have grown to trust that I will send it every week.
In the crowded online world and in the crowded art world, trust matters.
How To Build Trust With The People On Your List
Trust with your list starts with a promise: to give people what they signed up to receive.
I suggest clearly articulating your promise. “Sign up for my list” isn’t a promise, it’s a command. A promise sounds more like this: “If you are kind enough to trust me with your email address, you’ll be the first to see new work in my monthly email newsletter.”
This is your word and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
If you promise a monthly email, send it monthly. Once you skip one issue, it is easier to skip the next and the one after that.
Don’t bother with the excuses because I’ve heard them all. If I figured out how to start sending a weekly email back in 2002 and have been faithful to the schedule, you can make a promise that you can live up to.
I hope that the mere pressure of living up to this promise should help you find something to say.
Make a promise to yourself, not just to the people on your list. Do it to claim your position as CEO of your art business.
The people on your list aren’t random people off the street. They are people who believed enough in you that they gave you access to their inboxes. They trusted you.
They said freely: “Here’s my email. Use it! Let me know what’s going on with your art.”
Don’t squander this trust. If you blow the chance to share your art with the people who have asked to see it, you might as well throw in the towel. Your opportunities won’t get much brighter than this.
It goes beyond your email newsletter.
Are you honoring your commitments?
Are you meeting your deadlines?
Can people depend on you to follow through with your promises?
These aren’t small things. There are thousands and thousands of artists trying to turn their art into full-time careers.
Gallerists, curators, and collectors don’t have the time or patience to deal with difficult artists. They’ll find someone else to do the job.
How are you building trust? How are you ceding it to other artists who are more reliable?
Alyson B. Stanfield is an artist advocate and business mentor at ArtBizCoach.com. This article was originally published in her Art Biz Insider, which is sent weekly to thousands of artists who are elevating their businesses. Start your subscription now and get Alyson’s six free art-marketing video lessons at ArtBizCoach.com.