- Start with an overview of the coming year. When are your trade shows? What other events do you have on your schedule that merit special attention, such as retail fairs, gallery appearances, trunk shows, open studios? When will you debut new work? When will you offer collections for holiday, or other seasonal products?
- Break down the marketing methods you want to use, such as postcard mailings, email blasts, advertisements, social media, etc.
- After developing your marketing budget and figuring out your monthly allotment, choose those things that will fit in with the budget and the plan each month. Make sure you are allowing enough advance time to do a thorough job of spreading the word.
- Get a blank calendar (these can easily be downloaded free online) and start scheduling in your activities. You can also use the calendar in Outlook, or Google calendar. We like to schedule marketing activities weekly, broken down in categories like those shown below:
- Coordinate your activities across mediums. If you have a trade show coming up, you might do a direct mailing to invite your regular buyers as well as prospects to visit your booth. Promote any show specials at this time, and include your most recent line sheet. Promote the show on your blog, on social media and perhaps an email newsletter as well. Stagger these activities ahead of the event, to catch attention and hopefully be seen more than once by potential buyers.
- Use online tools to make social media marketing easier. Check out Buffer App, TweetDeck, HootSuite, and Social Oomph, which all offer free services,and allow you to pre-schedule your messaging. Find the ones that work for you, and use them to save time.
- If you send email newsletters, schedule them at least every 6-8 weeks, so that you are not forgotten. When you are announcing a major event (upcoming show, a new line, etc.) you may want to follow up with a second reminder email a week or two later.
- Make sure you use a “Call to Action” in each contact. This refers to what you would like the recipient to do. Should they visit your website, respond by email, come to your show? Be clear, and specific. Don’t confuse things by promoting too many events at once.
- Keep your website updated with current images of your line and a list of upcoming events. Use a subscriber opt-in form on your home page to encourage prospective customers to get on your contact list.
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