When you have an event to announce, it might be a good idea to rent a mailing list in addition to contacting your own list.
Why? Let's use a client of mine as an example. She was an emerging artist with her first show at a local gallery. Her own mailing list was small, so in addition to relying on the gallery's advertising and mailing list, which was minimal, I suggested that she rent a mailing list to extend her reach and attract more people to the show. Here's what we did:
1. We rented a list through a reputable printing company who could print and mail the cards for us. Lists can be "opt-in," meaning the people on the list agreed to be on the list, and "scraped," gleaned from public information like phone books. Check how often they "clean" the list (eliminating bad addresses) and check their BBB rating. Since the printing company we used (drivethruprinting.com) addressed the cards and used their first class bulk permit to mail them, we saved on labor and postage. You can also get lists via ArtNetwork* and I use OvernightPrints.com a lot, but there are many reputable companies to choose from, just do your homework.
2. We worked with the printing company to carefully search for people to include on the list. We asked for people who lived within 60 miles of the gallery with a household income over $100,000 and who had expressed an interest in fine art. Result: thousands of names and addresses. We did not ask for email addresses. In my opinion never rent or buy email addresses.
3. We designed a postcard using the same image the gallery used on their advertising. Using the same image helps people to start to recognize and remember the artist. Inviting them to the reception imparts a sense of urgency (it's only on one day for three hours), and the postcard showed the dates for the show as well.
4. The postcards were mailed first class, about three weeks before the show. This gave people enough time to schedule it in, but not so much time that they put it aside and forgot about it.
5. We used the list as per our rental agreement. It's cheaper to rent a list for a one-time use than to use multiple times. List rental companies do check on this by seeding the list with names/addresses.
6. At the opening reception we asked people if they would like to be added to the artist's mailing list. Many did and gave us their email address as well and this increased the artist's mailing list with people she CAN mail or email as often as she wants. The artist also made a point of circulating around the gallery, introducing herself to as many people as possible and talking about her art with them.
7. Result: The gallery was packed and the event was lively and energetic, the artist sold several pieces and added dozens of names to her mailing list. Extra benefit: those names are people who have seen her work IN PERSON, who KNOW HER now, and who will certainly remember the great time they had at the reception the next time they get an invite, notice, or email from the artist.
Want help with doing this for your next show or event, or any of your art marketing? Start with a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Sign up here: http://www.artistcareertraining.com/request-a-consultation/ or email me: Robin@ArtistCareerTraining.com
All my best to you and yours!
P.S. For even more exposure for your art and event, try mailing lists from A.C.T's Affilate* ArtNetwork. The Mailing Lists come on pressure-sensitive peel-and-stick labels for easy usage, and they have over 20 categories and location specific lists to choose from including: Art publishers, museum curators, university galleries, art galleries, art reps, and corporate collectors.