Marketing is often one of the biggest challenges that artists have. Here’s how to get started
There are many ways to market your work, from advertising to direct mail to brochures to websites to social media to videos to pursuing publicity in the press, just to name a few. It can all be overwhelming – and you cannot do everything. One common problem that artists have is trying a little bit of each and not doing it consistently, or very well. That approach usually ends up with little or no results.
Decide what works for you.
If you have a website, but don’t want to blog, then don’t plan to do it. If you like Facebook but couldn’t be bothered with Twitter or Pinterest, that’s perfectly fine too. If you feel confident sending out email newsletters and especially if you have an email list, that may be a good marketing vehicle for you. Since persistence is the most important factor, you should be comfortable with the methods you choose and stick with them.
Make a budget.
Marketing expenses are part of your business budget. Brochures, line sheets, postcards, mailings, advertisements, and other items come with a price tag. It is unrealistic to think that you can market your art completely free. If you don’t have a budget set aside, your marketing will suffer. Plan this upfront and stick to it. If you find that your original estimate was too high or low, make adjustments. Come up with an annual marketing budget, and break that up into monthly budgets, concentrating more funds in months which precede your biggest opportunities to sell.
Here’s a situation that has caught many entrepreneurs unaware: If you get busy working on orders, commissions or shows and stop your marketing activities, you are making a big mistake. Once your projects are finished, your sales will drop off a cliff. You must always be setting yourself up for more business, even when you’re busy. Otherwise, you will end up scrambling to bring in business while enduring a gap in income, and that’s not a good scenario.
Don’t expect instant results. The key to marketing is to present your work in front of your prospective customers over and over again. It takes the average person more than several exposures to your message to even notice and recognize your work. Being in business and marketing that business is a sustained activity that slowly builds sales.
Need more marketing ideas? The Arts Business Institute has a popular E-Course called Marketing for Artists & Craftspeople. This 133-page course has templates, self-evaluations, case studies, six videos and over 200 links to more resources. Check it out here.
Photo: Work by ceramic artist Lori Pollpeter Eskenazi