Vary Your Marketing Message

Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send repetitive emails and social media posts for your promotions.

You never know what it is about your work or offering that will be of interest to your audience. Hitting a different angle with each message makes it more likely you’ll pique the interest of followers.

Below are ideas for doing just that. Many of these suggestions lend themselves to emails, while others could easily be adapted for social media. Use your noggin to decide.

Exhibition or Art Event Promotions

There is much more to your art show than the title, dates, times, and location. And you don’t have to dig too deep to unearth a new perspective.

  • Rotate images of your art with short 2- or 3-sentence stories for each. People are more likely to get excited about a show when they know what they’ll see and the stories can help sell the work.
  • Mention other artists who will be in the exhibition and why it’s an honor to show with them. Explain what your art has in common with theirs.
  • Discuss the history of the juried show you’re in and why it’s valuable to be part of it. The purpose should come back to you.
  • Offer suggestions for nearby galleries or places to dine. Add your personal slant on these establishments: “Don’t miss the green curry!” or “The back gallery is showing X, who was featured in last year’s Whitney Biennial.” This is especially helpful for people who are coming from a distance and want to make the most of their trip.
  • Relate a particular piece in the show to
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4 Reasons Your Website Isn’t Generating Sales

Your website is for generating sales and opportunities – even if you don’t sell directly from your site. You’re using your site as a digital portfolio to sell galleries and other venues on the idea of your art.

There are numerous factors as to why some art sells better online than others. Perhaps the work is more “popular” or more affordable. Or maybe the artists use their lists and social media more effectively.

Without taking those things into account, there are four errors you should correct immediately if you would like more sales and opportunities. Each is a step toward making it easier for people to buy.

1. You make people click multiple times to see the art.

If your website hasn’t been updated in years, you might have an old template that makes people click numerous links to see your art. It’s time for a major overhaul.

Can you imagine walking into a gallery and not knowing what they sell? If you’re sending people to your site to see, appreciate and, perhaps, purchase your art, you’d better show it to them on every page.

That’s right: every page. Your website has acres of virtual real estate that needs your art to make it attractive to visitors. Use it!

You never know where people will land on your site, so see that the art is the main feature.

2. You don’t make it clear what you’re selling.

Would you install your art in a space without a label next to it? No!

Would you want anyone else to install your art without acknowledging you as the maker? Absolutely not! You’d probably get miffed (and rightly so) if someone did.

And, yet, many artists are showing their art online without giving themselves proper credit. A credit line looks like this.

©Your Name, Title of Artwork. Medium (be specific), size (H x W x D inches/cm). Photo credit if necessary.

You can see the above format in use under the featured images on this post. Yours doesn’t have to follow this exact configuration. You can vary the sequence and punctuation as long as the credit line includes each of those elements and as long as you are consistent.

Potential buyers more easily imagine the art in their space and lives when they know specifics. You not only need to be clear about medium and size, but also about matting, framing, and anything else that would be included.

Take photos of the art in situ, or installed in an office or home environment to help people

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The Investing Artist: Art, Real Estate, and Legacy with Mary Erickson (Podcast)

I met Mary Erickson in person for the first time at the 2016 Plein Air South in Apalachicola, Florida. We bonded over cocktails and oysters. (Mary is the only person who has ever convinced me to eat oysters.)

I was immediately impressed with Mary’s business savvy, as I know you will be. Her art sales have paid for her lifestyle, which is comfortable and adventurous, but far from extravagant. She is a discerning investor and wise with her finances.

Mary says she paints so that she can buy real estate so that she can collect art–paintings by other artists. You’ll hear all about it in the latest episode of the Art Biz Podcast. You’ll also hear about:

  • How she started selling and why she believes being involved in your community is key to an artist’s success.
  • How she keeps up with the 8 different galleries that represent her.
  • Mary’s legacy project: High Ridge Gardens, a bird sanctuary and artist retreat on her property, which she will leave with a funded endowment.

And you’ll learn the one finance book Mary recommends you read (if you only read one).

I hope you’re inspired by this conversation with Mary Erickson. Click on continue reading to listen in.

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Mastering Subject Lines in 49 Characters or Less

Email messages are the steam engine behind much of your marketing these days. They’re cheap, they’re fast, and . . . they’re completely ineffective unless recipients open them and act on the message.

Recipients are tempted to open messages, in large part, based on what they encounter in the subject line.

Your subject line is almost more important than the content of the email. If the message is never opened, you might as well have not sent it.

To the point: The purpose of your email subject line is to get the recipient to open the email. It’s not a space-filler and should never be an afterthought. You can’t take a subject line for granted. Follow these 7 tips for better subject lines.

1. Make it personal.

Think about your subscribers and readers. Which ones are your strongest prospects? Which are your loyal collectors?

Write directly to these people as you’re crafting your message and your subject line by opting for the words You and Your over Me, My and Mine as much as possible. Write to them in a conversational, authentic tone.

The words You and Your are powerful. Did you notice how many times I’ve used them in this article? I’m writing to you, not for or about me. Examples of You-centered subject lines include the following.

  • It won’t be a party if you’re not there
  • Can’t wait to show you the 3rd photo from the left
  • Picture yourself sipping wine and looking at art

2. Be specific.

Don’t use the same subject line for every email to your list. If we see the subject line News from Diane Jenson’s Studio every month in our inboxes, we begin to think it’s the same message over and over again.

You want readers to know that there is unique content in each message. Using the same subject line for every email masks the value of the individual messages.

If you’re promoting a particular event in your email, use the location of the event in the subject line.

  • Just 1 of 82 artists in Breckenridge next weekend
  • Chocolate and art in New Orleans Nov 5

Or use the title of a specific work instead of simply acknowledging “new work” in general. These two examples use titles from real-life artwork.

  • Cake on Cake—the fat-free version
  • Dazed and Confused? There’s a painting for that

3. Use numerals instead of text.

The number 50 has more of a visual impact than the word fifty. Note, however,

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Transform Your Creative Ideas into Multiple Income Streams: Helen Hiebert (Podcast)

Helen Hiebert artist book

My first contact with artist Helen Hiebert was back in 2010 when she took one of my classes after she heard about my book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio. It’s been fun to watch her grow into a successful artist-entrepreneur.

On the heels of my interview with Dianna Fritzler about transitioning to a full-time artist, I thought it was perfect for you to hear about Helen’s journey.

Ten years ago, Helen didn’t think of her art as a business. Her shift of mindset changed everything and she now makes her living as a working artist. Rather than feeling icky about having a “business,” she embraced it and learned to channel some of her creativity into making money from her talents.

She says:

Probably the biggest lesson for me has been learning how to keep myself entertained (I think any creative loves to do new things all the time) but to create a framework that allows for that. I’m thinking of my blog specifically. I now have a rotation of things I do throughout the month that is fun for me to generate and (hopefully) my readers to discover!

See? You can have fun and run a successful art business at the same time. You only need a structure to contain that fun.

In this interview, Helen and I focus on her multiple income streams, which include (rough estimates):

  • Art installations (10%)
  • Artist books (30-35%)
  • Teaching for hire, in her studio and online (30%)
  • Twelve Months of Paper calendar, how-to books and class kits (20%)
  • Sponsorships (5%)

Much of what she has tried and implemented has been learned from watching what other artists and non-artists are doing, and tweaking it to fit her approach.

We also discuss Helen’s process for creating online content, which has its roots in the analog world she started in. Her success comes from networking, interviewing experts, and collaborating. From that evolved both her blog and podcast.

Helen’s blog is The Sunday Paper – a weekly roundup of news from the world of paper, including news from her own studio. Her monthly podcast, Paper Talk, is the happy result of an unsuccessful grant application to document artists working in the field of hand papermaking.

Please enjoy this conversation with Helen Hiebert.

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4 Moves To Ignite The Passion For Your Art Business

Deepa Koshaley painting

Bang! Pop! Pow!

Is that the sound of leftover fireworks I hear? Or is your art business on fire?

I would love to hear that it’s your business on fire – that you are Hot – Hot – Hot for what you have to share with the world.

If you’re only hearing fireworks outside your walls and not inside your body, there are four things you can do, and keep doing, to ignite the passion for your art business.

1. Embrace your role as CEO.

When you decide you want to earn money as an artist, you are no longer just making art. You are building a business.

As soon as you accept your role as CEO of your art business, you will experience a dramatic shift in mindset. You will understand that your talent is bigger than you. It’s the basis for a dialogue you are intended to have with the world.

Along with this comes the responsibility of ensuring that your business is run professionally and profitably.

What’s not to get excited about?

2. Schedule something big – with a deadline.

Every forward-thinking entrepreneur needs something to look forward to, and artists are no different. You want to experience the momentum resulting from snagging a new venue, hosting an open studio, or landing a commission.

Without events and deadlines on your calendar, you risk wasting time on social media and neglecting the hard work in the studio.

Don’t wait for things to happen to you. Create your own

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Transitioning to a Full-Time Artist: Dianna Fritzler (Podcast)

Over the past ten years I’ve watched Dianna Fritzler go from full-time artist to full-time marketing employee and back again. I had the pleasure of helping her a little along the way.

I wanted to share Dianna’s path so you can hear how she set a target and took deliberate and consistent steps to reach that target in a very short timespan.

During her first year back as a full-time artist, Dianna tested a lot of options for income and gained clarity on what she wants moving forward. And she missed her ambitious income goal by just 10%.

In this interview, you’ll hear Dianna reveal:

  • The moment when she decided that her art could no longer play a secondary role in her life.
  • The steps she took immediately that set her on the path to making her dream come true.
  • The income streams she tested and what has worked (and not worked) for her.
  • The vision she and her husband have for his future full-time role in her business.
  • The amount of time she spends on business v. in the studio.
  • How she structures her day to be most productive.

She also confesses just how worthless she is before her morning java and why she unapologetically embraces freeform Internet exploration in the mornings.

As you will learn, Dianna works her ass off. But her work brings her joy and she’s determined to succeed.

Please enjoy this conversation with Dianna Fritzler about transitioning to a full-time artist.

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Good and Bad News: Your Work Is Never Done

Newsflash! You’re just getting started.

Whether you think this is good news or bad news depends on your disposition. Some people feel fulfilled and complete every day. I envy them.

I want more. Not more “stuff,” but more out of life. More experiences, more love, more friends, more cats. (Only kidding about that last one!)

I know it’s not fashionable these days to want more. “They” say I should be content where I am and live in the moment.

Can’t I want more and appreciate the present?

I have come to realize and accept that I will never be complete. I am just getting started.

My work is never done.

I will never feel like I’ve arrived. There will always be something more to look forward to, and new goals and dreams to pursue that are optimistic about the future.

This is different than being unsatisfied. People who are unsatisfied are negative, unhappy, and, often, annoying.

I’m satisfied because for me, satisfaction comes from a job well done: getting some exercise, cleaning out the garden, or ironing napkins for dinner guests (I know … ironing … weird, but true).

There is great satisfaction in taking the steps toward your vision and seeing each project to completion.

But the vision may shift, and the dreams will get bigger, which brings the next set of projects.

This is how I’m wired. I’ve been this way … um … forever.

I have come to embrace this part of my nature, and I’m happy and positive because I’m enjoying the journey. I can’t imagine a different perspective than the one ingrained in me.

This brings me to your life as an artist.

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Overcoming a Major Setback: Annie Salness (Podcast)

Artist Annie Salness suffered a stroke almost 8 years ago. While many artists would have given up when faced with the trials Annie had, she met the challenge and kept moving forward.

It wasn’t the single challenge of learning to make art again with her non-dominant hand. Annie also had to relearn how to walk, speak, write, and drive. She’s one of the bravest and most determined people I know.

This is the story of a true artist – an artist who has something to say and is committed to making sure her voice is heard; her art seen.

In this interview, you will hear Annie talk about:

  • Her rehab and the determination to paint again – even without the use of her dominant hand.
  • The major obstacles she faces on a daily basis and how she overcomes them.
  • How she continually challenges herself (and why laughter is the best remedy to the frustration).
  • Her teaching and “watch me paint” sessions.
  • Why she wouldn’t want to return to her old self before the stroke.

It wasn’t easy for Annie to share her journey – many people in the same situation would have thought this process of being a guest on a podcast would be too taxing. But Annie celebrated it as yet another hurdle that would contribute to her recovery.

I hope you’re as inspired by Annie’s story as I have been over all these years. She is, without a doubt, one of my heroines.

Please enjoy listening to this conversation with Annie Salness.

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Sifting Through Noise that Throws You Off Course

Cecilia Borghi Ceramic Scupture

I’ve taken great pride in the fact that I’ve written a weekly newsletter since March 30, 2002 without ever missing an issue.

It’s a story I’ve recounted repeatedly. Until now. I skipped last week’s (April 26, 2018) edition – on purpose.

I did it because I want to own a better story.

I don’t want to be known as the woman who wrote a weekly newsletter for more than 16 years.

I want to be known as the woman who changed the lives of artists for the better. I had to let go of the old story in order to make room for something better.

It’s a Noisier World

When my newsletter started, there were no other weekly newsletters to help artists with their businesses. There were probably others that were less frequent, but I don’t believe they lasted.

There was no Art Biz Blog, which kicked off on November 30, 2004. I remember spelling b-l-o-g for my workshop attendees before explaining such a foreign concept to them. Can you imagine?

There was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest in 2002. No podcast, webinars or Facebook Live.

I had to describe to my artist-followers (in painstaking detail) how to listen in on a teleseminar by simply dialing on their phones. You would have thought I was giving them directions to Mars.

Remember those days? Man, I’m feeling old right now (but can we agree to refer to me as “seasoned” rather than using the o-word?).

The world is noisier today, and you are more tech savvy than you ever thought you’d have to be (or ever wanted to be). You have loads of information at your fingertips, which presents a different problem.

With so much knowledge available, it’s difficult to discern what’s critical from what is noise that will throw you off your path.

What you need instead of more emails is

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