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The Artist's Perspective - Your Contact Info

I’m confused, or maybe I’m actually not.  Hum, better yet, let me start this article with a scenario. You are an artist, a working artist. One who diligently enters shows and places your art in or at all sorts of places trying to gain any exposure you can.

You obviously do so because you are trying your best to bridge the gap between your art and your potential clients.  There’s little question you want them to notice what you do and to contact you with their art wishes. Correct?

Okay, so you are standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. The line is somewhat long and you find yourself striking up a time passing conversation with the person in front of you. As this happens, the fact that you are an artist comes up.  I’m not making this up; you do this right?  Well anyway, the person says to you, My wife and I have been looking for art to place over our sofa, do you have a card? But instead of giving them a card, you hand them a form which asks for the following information. Full name, email, the subject they are are interested in, how they heard about you and you also let them know they can include a message to you! 

So, it is with great hope that all of you reading this are saying - Seriously?!! Whew, Tom Neel has lost his mind!  Have I now?  Well, let’s move on to delve into the source of my madness. Why on earth would anyone seeking success create such a hurdle for a potential client? Not just an artist, but anyone in business would think that was a ridiculous approach. Trust me, I’m in the front of that line, and thus, I send you to my opening sentence - I’m confused, or maybe I’m actually not.

Artist contact pageAre you are wondering where this is going? Good!  Second scenario. A potential client is looking for art online and one way or another they find their way to your website. They see your home page and like what they see. They look at your work, they read your bio, they are excited they have found the right match to make their art wishes come true. Oh boy, I have to contact this artist right away!  Let me contact them right now! (It’s their lunch break, or it’s the 15 minutes they have out of their busy day to do so)  So, they go to your contact page and instead of finding the only two important pieces of information needed - your phone number and email, they find a place with required indicated fields! Ones that require your name, your email, subject, how did you hear about me and a place for comments. SERIOUSLY?!!  I guess they can now sit around and wait for you to reply?

One would think many artists are doing so well that they can afford such professional hurdles for their potential clients to jump over. I doubt this is the case. I actually think what is going on here is that in the process of having a website built, they and their webmaster get caught up in processes, possibly ones used by much, much larger companies. Ones that honestly do not want to be contacted. They are trying to create hurdles. Are they smart? Yes and no? Yes, because they are avoiding problems, but no, because small problems become bigger ones. But for whatever reason, they feel they can do this, you as an artist can’t. You simply must make contacting you incredibly easy. Your website is nothing more than a very big business card. Your business card has a grand total of 7 square Inches of real estate per side to keep with you to give to anyone who wants to know more about you. Not the case with your website. You would never not put your contact info on your card and you sure as heck shouldn’t miss easily and visually placing it on your website! I don’t even have a contact page, my number and email are easily found on my home page and every other page on my website.

Tom Neel Bus CardThis all has me now wanting to work backward to talking about your business card. If I was to ask you to remove a current and fresh looking business card from your wallet or purse, could you do it? No fumbling about and then pulling out an old dog-eared thing either.  If you can, good job!  If not, please get cards made. I carry them in my wallet; they are in the pockets of each of my sports coats, my cars, etc. Is it possible I could find myself without one? Sadly yes, because I give out so many, but it’s not very likely.

It’s amazing to me in a world of access, one with an endless amount of information shared on a plethora of social media sites, that any artist would avoid broadcasting the two most important pieces of information to their artistic careers - their phone number and email.  Don’t be shy, make yourself an easy access artist!