Marketing As You Go

Marketing isn’t something you do when you are done with the work.

You can’t afford to wait until everything else is in its place to promote your art. You must be marketing consistently.

Not again! I forgot to market my art!

Marketing is more than taking out an ad or sending an email. Marketing is a combination of everything you do to sell or to gain recognition for your art. Everything.

There will be times when you must focus on the work in the studio, which means there is no room in your life for marketing tasks. But something is amiss if this drags on for weeks without attention to your business.

Don’t wait until you’re finished with a body of work before you start marketing it. Think about marketing daily. Actually, do more than think. DO your marketing daily – as you go.

You don’t want to wake up one day with the realization, Not again! I forgot to market my art!
By this point, it’s probably too late to get the results you want.

Don’t think of marketing as separate from your art. Marketing is the final step of making: sharing your art with others. [Tweet this]

But it’s more than that.

Things You Might Not Think Of As Marketing, But Are

You might not consider the following to be part of your marketing, but they’re of enormous importance.

1. Handle business phone calls and emails in a professional manner.

I had someone recently reach out to inquire about a “mutually beneficial relationship” that we might consider. When I called him (at the time he selected for the call) he said he was busy and acted like I was interrupting him. After several sighs when he seemed “put out,” we hung up. He said he’d be in touch.

I have zero interest in doing business with anyone this inconsiderate. I wouldn’t even take them on as a client.

2. Meet deadlines and exceed expectations.

The old business directive, under-promise and over-deliver, applies here. If you’re given a tight deadline and don’t know if you can make it, don’t agree to it! Add 30 days to the deadline and then delight your client by delivering 1-2 weeks early.

3. Follow up with leads.

When someone says they are interested in talking to you about your art … or when someone gives you the name of a person that would be a good fit for your art … follow up quickly.

This differentiates you from all of the artists who wait anywhere from six months to, um, never before they look into an opportunity.

The Stuff We Think of When We Think of Marketing

These are all things we think of when we think of marketing. They’re also things you can be doing even when you don’t have a lot of exhibitions or events on the calendar.

Maintain a mailing list.

You’ve probably heard me say it 100 times: Your mailing list is your #1 asset. But it’s worthless if you aren’t using it.

==> Building and using your mailing list are key lessons in my Art Biz Bootcamp that begins September 9. <==

Print and distribute postcards, brochures, and flyers.

You don’t need to wait for a special exhibition to get the word out. Send people to your website when you don’t have anything else to share with them.

Maintain your website and blog.

Is your latest work front and center on your site? If I visited you online, would I “get” what you’re all about at this moment?

Interact through social media sites.

This is free and let’s you connect to a large number of people whenever you like.

Write articles.

If you teach art, there is no easier way to build your credibility than to write how-to articles for your own site and for related blogs and publications.

Look for your next exhibition.

ABLFTNV: Always be looking for the next venue. Here’s what exhibiting your art does for you.

Network.

The more people you meet, the more people there are to buy your art. Of course you can network online, through social media, but nothing can replace the face-to-face experience.

Speak to audiences.

If you’re an art instructor, speaking is a fast way to build a list and reputation. It’s not as easy to get speaking gigs as it is to write articles for your own site, but it is valuable.

If you don’t teach, speaking about your art to small or even large groups gives you practice.

Your Turn

What’s your daily marketing routine like?

Marketing is made easy in my step-by-step program, Art Career Success System. See what it’s all about.
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3 comments to Marketing As You Go

  • I share some kind of art on social media every day. When I talk to people locally, I say I’m an artist when they mention occupation. I’m creating some hand-painted business cards to leave in selected books at the library.

    What I haven’t been able to figure out yet is the right place for me to market my art. If I was painting horses, I’d hang around horse interested people.

  • I’m guilty of this. I struggle with the confidence to put myself out there. Just having booked an exhibition and put the work together is pretty overwhelming and so I have sometimes forgotten to push the marketing thing. But I’m determined to change that in the future.

    I have been using Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance so that when I have something to promote, I set it up to post to my social media channels and then I don’t have to feel nervous about it when they appear in feeds. Plus I can do them weeks in advance and not have to stress about them in the weeks and days leading up to the exhibition.

    For me this can be a bit of a challenge though, as I make painted installations and the work isn’t finished usually until a day or two before the exhibition opening, so I don’t always have a lot of images to share (except for work in progress shots), but they can still do the job.

  • Alyson,

    I love this blog post! Marketing is so important for getting people interested in your work. The old manta “if you build it they will come” doesn’t work like the movies would have you think.

    I love all the free ideas you can do to market your work. The truth is, marketing doesn’t have to be a budget breaker! Instead, marketing can be almost free, especially with social media these days.

    I just read this post and your one on “The Truth About Why Nobody Came to Your Art Show.” Both had a lot to do with marketing your art and both were fantastic suggestions and straightforward truths. Thanks for that!

    Just as a helpful suggestion, the company I work for helps do free promotion for art shows. We have art shows and gallery strolls on our event calendar all the time! It’s another good option for free marketing whenever you have an art show! You can check it out at http://www.spingo.com Hopefully that can help you and other artists in the future!

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