This went on for years. I had this book of names and never did anything with it.
About two years ago I decided it was time to do something about that. I signed up for an email service (I happen to like MailChimp) and started sending out a newsletter.
At the beginning, I wasn't really consistent about sending out emails. However, I would always try to get a newsletter out right before doing a show. What I quickly noticed was that my customers were coming to the shows! It was just a few customers, but those few actually bought from me and made the difference between the show being profitable or not.
When I started communicating more consistently, I noticed something else. Many of my newsletters would include photos of my progress on a new piece. When these customers would come to a show, they would ask if I had finished the piece yet.
This was very exciting to me. People were actually interested in what I was doing. And they were excited to be a part of it.