Last month I asked folks what topics they wanted blog posts on and one of the topics I received was, “How to better market yourself”. Marketing is a HUGE cloud and I am no marketing genius but I have learned enough to share my experiences with you. In this first segment that I titled “Marketing for Creatives”, I want to talk about two topics that I consider to be the most important in marketing yourself as an artist: 1. What are you marketing? 2. BE comfortable with the idea of people giving you money for your art.
What are you marketing?
When you create a post, piece of content, story, e-mail campaign, story, etc. that you consider to be for marketing purposes you need to ask yourself, “What am I marketing?” This one is very important because if you don’t know what you are trying to point people to, those same people will have no idea what you are trying to tell them. So WHAT are you marketing?
See my example below specific to print sales.
There will be a select few people in your sphere who will actively seek out what you have to offer but most won’t. Here is an example: I really like the brand Hot Topic but I would never think to seek out sales or special promos from them aside from the holidays. That is why their marketing e-mails work. They are letting me know what they have going on right now and what new products are available. If I am interested I will open the e-mail, if not I will move on but they will still remain top of mind for a while. I have often found myself a day or two later hopping onto their website to see what they have.
But what if you’ve read these two paragraphs and still don’t know WHAT to market? I have created a list of ideas for you to think about:
- More likes on your Facebook page
- Comments on a post
- Art/product sales
- More traffic to your YouTube or Vimeo page
- Sales of a class you are teaching
- Newsletter signups
- An event you are a part of or are hosting
Create your posts around the outcome that you are trying to achieve. For me these past two months have been about sales because I lost my main source of income with the quarantine. While I applied for unemployment (which was denied) I worked hard to boost my sales to help make-up for the income that I wasn’t bringing in. This has been a HUGE motivator to market my print sales almost every single day. Since I have been professionally taking photos for 10 years, I have quite the inventory available to choose from. If you have a few pieces to market, post about them every other day and market one size at a time: this will give people options to choose from. Perhaps the 11×14 was not the right size for them but the 16×20 was. In a fast swipe world, people don’t normally think to go look for a different size than what you posted about – we almost make instant decisions the moment we see the post. For example, “I like that print. Oh, 11×14… too small.” And they tap to the next post or keep scrolling.
If you are marketing for more newsletter sign-ups, give your audience a reason to sign up for it. For example ask yourself these questions and then craft your social media posts (or conversations around them): Are they getting special coupons? Newsletter only access to what you have to offer? First to know about new products? First to register for your events? First access to purchase limited edition works before you release it to the public? First access to your art opening guest list? Giveaways? Etc.
In any post or conversation that you initiate about marketing, know what you are trying to point people towards, ie. What are you trying to market to them? Be clear 🙂
Be comfortable with the idea of people giving you money for your art.
This is a tough one. Perhaps I should have opened with this or made it a post of its own. This is not really a marketing tip but a career tip as an artist.
If your intent is for your art to be more than a hobby, you really need to make peace with the idea of people paying you for your art. Actually, even if it is a hobby you need to accept this concept.
I have fallen in this trap of not believing in my self worth. I understand that it is hard to set pricing on your art. I hate numbers and figuring my number out is daunting. But here is one thing that I do know: I have dedicated over 16 years to my craft as a photographer. If anything, time spent learning and practicing my craft is my ticket to charging what I feel I deserve. And here is the thing, just because your circles may not be paying you what you deserve DOES NOT MEAN that someone won’t – you just don’t know them. That’s why galleries are so beneficial. For those artists who do have representation, their works are being sold by professionals to art collectors who value the work and see its worth. So if I can leave you with anything is this: There are almost 8 billion people in the world and you may only know a few hundred or a couple thousand… Go find the people who want to pay you what you are asking for.
If you are even going to go down the path of marketing yourself and your artwork, you have GOT TO BE good with the idea that people will be giving you money for your art. Perhaps in the beginning, it will be much less than what you want. But, through hard work, discipline, experience and education you can start charging more.