The marketing questions I receive from artists typically sound like this: “How can I get better at Facebook,” “How can I sell my work online,” or “What website platform should I use?” My response is always to take a few steps back and ask you about yourself, your work, and your ideal buyer. I question whether using Facebook, selling your art online, or whatever tool you are considering, is the right choice for you, rather than simply advising you how to get better at using individual tools and tactics. The most important step you can take for your art business is to create an art marketing plan.
A marketing plan will help you . . .
Be more strategic than reactionary
Creating a marketing plan requires focused thought. Taking the time to consider your business and your audience will help you be more strategic rather than reactionary. When you only take the time to think about marketing when you are in the middle of marketing—or faced with needing to sell some work—you are not giving marketing decisions the energy and clear-headed thinking they deserve.
Deliver your unique message effectively
At its core, marketing is about much more than the tools you use. Being successful at marketing requires understanding what makes you and your work unique, having an understanding of your ideal buyer, and choosing and using your tools with those in mind.
The tools you use—social media, email, festivals, group shows, a website—are simply a means for you to deliver that unique message to your audience. Without understanding what your message is or who your audience is, your marketing work won’t be as successful as it could be.
Set clear goals and stay focused on them
Part of a marketing plan involves setting goals. We all set “goals” in our heads, but writing them down and making them official gives you a destination; the rest of your marketing plan is the map for how you’ll get from here to there. Having a plan will also help keep you focused on your goals and your roadmap so you don’t get lured off into the weeds in response to every new thing that comes along.
The trouble with not having a goal is you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
You will have more confidence about marketing . . . and confidence is appealing! Besides, it’s more fun to go through your day feeling confident about the tasks you’re working on.
Attract your ideal buyer to you
You will be able to share your work and your story with authenticity, which will attract your ideal buyer to you rather than doing what “everyone else” is doing whether it is right for you or not. Yes, you will have to work to find that audience of ideal buyers; when you do, they will connect with you, so attracting your ideal buyer becomes easier.
Create work that sells
When you create a marketing plan that has taken your ideal buyer into consideration, you can’t help but be better at creating work that will appeal to them. And as much as we all want to believe that using the right marketing tactic or tool will help you sell your work, above all else you need to be creating work that people want to buy.
Take your business seriously
The process of creating and following a marketing plan is an ongoing reminder to you that this is a business that you’re running, not just a hobby. As an artist, you are a small business owner and should always consider yourself as such—at least if you want to make a living as an artist. When you create plans around your work and your business, you’re signaling to yourself and the universe that this is a serious endeavor. This mindset is critical for your success.
If you want some help in creating a marketing plan for your art business, join the waitlist for my Create a Marketing Plan for Your Thriving Art Business course.