Art Biz Blog

Business tips for artists on Social Media, Marketing Mindset and Creativity.

List Building: 7 Ways To Grow Your Artists Mailing List In 2020

Would you like to increase your followers, grow a list of people who might like to buy your art or art workshops, and ultimately make more money doing what you love?

If the answer is in any way a ‘YES’ then you will want to swoop up and devour this blog all about ‘List Building’.

I know, this probably sounds cold, hard and calculating, doesn’t it? And something you just don’t want to be filling your time with, right?

Well I’m hoping that by the time you’ve read through this simple 7 Ways To Grow Your Artist’s Mailing List blog, you’ll be jumping around your studio with glee and excitement….

NO? Well at least you’ll begin to see the importance of List Building.

So what exactly is ‘List Building’ and why should you do it?

List Building is the activity of consciously and strategically putting in place a series of actions that will take people from ‘just finding out about you’, to ‘wanting to hear more’, right up to becoming a paying customer. A mixture of online (often automated) and offline actions. So you can do the hard work upfront and the rest takes care of itself. (Well mostly).

Why should Artist’s do it?

Well, you won’t have any customers if you don’t – it’s that simple. List Building should be the core of your professional sales and marketing activity. Building a database of potential customers is the life-blood of any business and being an Artist is no different! Imagine putting on a show and having nobody to invite…

So, what do you need to do next?

First, you’ll need all your marketing basics in place, before you can go to the next stage.

Then you need to understand the underlying principle of list building; that people will only give their email address to join your mailing list, in exchange for something of value (and for free) of course.

For example:

A Free Report, E-Book, Video-series, or other information of value to your target audience.

What we can call a ‘Free Giveaway’ and although this sounds complicated, it really can be super simple. (Remember: Less is more).

Check out my blog on how to do this here: Artists: How To Set Up Your Mailing List With A Free Giveaway

Once you have your ‘Free Giveaway’ completed, your only job is to send people to that page, or opt-in box on your website. Then build an on-going relationship with them over time. There are many ways to do this and here I have listed out my favourite 7 for you.

List Building: 7 Ways To Grow Your Artists Mailing List In 2020

1. Facebook/Instagram Ads.

OK let’s start with the ‘paid for’ strategy, which likely won’t be where you will start out, but definitely is where you want to aim towards as your end List Building goal. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but once achieved you can set up an Ads campaign to run for 10-14 days time and simple swap it over and continue. 

Imagine if your artists’ mailing list was growing in the background while you are in the studio working? This can be your end goal and you can easily follow these other 6 steps to get you there.

2. Competitions at Art Fairs

This is great fun and I think I learnt from a master back in the day. Most artists I saw set up their work at a stand, got out a book or newspaper and hoped to make a sale…(Yikes this is Mistake No 1 at an Art Fair)…

However, you a missing a trick here. Not only should you really be actively engaging with your prospects, but what if you ran a competition. A competition that people would need to sign up for, thus providing you with many more people on your list.

The first time I saw this done, the artist in question got about 1,000 new people onto his mailing list. How wonderful is that! Offer a print or something that is great value for your audience but not a big cost for you and make this your prize. Don’t forget to write a ‘disclaimer’ and ‘permission’ on your sign-up sheet.

3. Business Cards From Networking Events.

So many people just don’t think about list building when they go networking. But if as you collect a card, you ask if it’s ok to add their details to your customer list, where you send out great value information – most people are good with that. Mark this ‘permission’ on your card and don’t forget to add them to your email marketing program when you get home.

4. Instagram Stories and Posts.

You have a couple of ways to do your list building activity on Instagram. Firstly in your bio, you have the option to add a URL, so you can either use your website or a specific landing page. Then when you are posting, don’t forget to talk about this in the post description and drive them to your bio.

Secondly, I think Stories are a great place to mention your ‘Free thing’ or what value you offer if people join your mailing list. You can tell them where to go to sign up in the text on your Stories. Also, consider a ‘promo’ post occasionally in your feed where you talk about this and can direct people again to the link in your bio.

5. Pinterest Pins

You can pretty much do the same strategy here on Pinterest too; except that the links on each of your pins are clickable (which they aren’t yet on Instagram). The other major benefit of Pinterest pins is that they stay visible permanently, much like a web page, so you will get everyone who lands on your account looking around. On Instagram, they can get lost down your feed. Create fresh new pins about your Free thing and pin this to your About board for starters.

More on the latest strategies on Pinterest coming up.

6. Videos on YouTube

As YouTube is a primary search engine for a lot of people, if you are an art workshop or course provider, or you teach art in any way – then this is a fantastic strategy for you. In each video, you can talk about, have a link to or have a text about your Free thing or how to join your mailing list. In the description you can have as many links as you like, so adding the URL there is ideal. 

7. Guest Blogging (and Podcasting).

Writing regular blog posts (like this one) for your own site is a great list building strategy, although not as fast as some of the other strategies mentioned here. Create your article and either mention your ‘Free thing’ within your post (you can even create a new one for a specific post or article) or have an option for them to join up at the bottom.

If you love writing or speaking then getting yourself onto someone else’s Blog or Podcast as a guest is a brilliant way to really get list building. Make sure it’s a good match and that you will be adding value to the other person’s audience. This is an ultimate win-win of course.


There you have it 7 Ways To Grow Your Artists Mailing List In 2020 and beyond. Start with the basics and grow from there. Remember CONSISTENCY is your best friend, so make sure you do something small every day to strengthen your list building.

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