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Re: Mailings

Dear Susan,

I think this is a good topic to address also. Most of us are in the business
of self-promotion to some degree. It is good of you to share your strategies
with us (so often we hold this information close to the chest for fear of
creating more (gasp!) competition).

I send out a newsletter twice a year and postcard mailers for open studios,
also twice a year, following the newsletter. My mail program is MS Word, which
allows me to create a mailing list and sort it by several categories,
including zip code (which will come in handy if I ever get to the point where
I think bulk mail sorting is worth my time and energy). My first category is
KEY, where I have a letter code to identify Collectors, Book Artists,
Professional contacts, Students, Personal, etc. I had hoped this would do the
job for me when sorting my list, but I have found that it only works if I have
only ONE category for the name. Unfortunately, most of my names have two or
more categories they fit into. The only way I could deal with this and still
sort appropriately, would be to input the information again for each category
the name fits into. Then I would have difficulty when I am printing out labels
for the complete list because there would be so many duplicates.

One thing I do, in order to keep the list up to date, is print on the
newsletter address side (it is a self-mailer) the works "Address correction
requested. Do not forward." The post office then returns the piece to me if it
is undeliverable as addressed, usually with the correct address. Though
sometimes, if a forwarding order has expired or I somehow managed to get the
address hopelessly wrong to begin with, I just get the piece back stamped "no
such number" or something like that. It wastes money in the short run, but in
the long run it keeps the list up to date.

I don't have a system for eliminating names, though I try to keep my list at
700. I print 1000 newsletters each time and this gives me enough to make up
for the errors and spread around to local art institutions and supply stores.
Some people fade because of the above addressing problems. Some I eliminate
because they KEEP moving and I can't keep up (younger students, usually).
Occasionally I go over the list and decide - perhaps arbitrarily - that so and
so is never going to buy anything from me, could care less what I am doing
with my life and work, or is too far afield, either in location or in
interests, to continue sending to. I NEVER drop collectors, no matter how long
ago they purchased from me, or how little they spent. Even if all they bought
was a card. You never know.

Like Susan, I would love to know if someone else on the list has a "system"
for maintaining their mailing list. It is a tremendously time consuming task,
and it would be nice to feel there was some logic to it.

Barbara H.

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