Activate Your Marketing for a Bigger Audience

Carol MacConnell painting

Are you putting your art out there and hoping someone will see it, buy it, or give you a show?

There was a point when I was complacent about my marketing. I would write my blog posts every week and post to Facebook and Twitter. Then I’d sit back and wait for something to happen.

And I relied too much on my existing list without reaching out to new potential audiences.

Fortunately, my coach corrected my ways. (Yes, we all benefit from coaching!) Amazed that I had such good results with such little effort, she pointed out that I could help a lot more people if only I’d become more active with my marketing.

This got me thinking about all of the passive marketing that we do. That you do. How could you approach it more actively in a way that puts you in the driver’s seat of your destiny?

Here are a few ideas.

Ensuring You’re Not Wasting Time on Social Media

Passive: Post updates. Like others’ updates. Accept friendships.

Activate Your Social Media

  1. Seek out the people and businesses you really want to connect with. Friend them, like their pages, comment on (don’t just like) their posts, and promote their activities.
  2. Create a reliable editorial calendar for engaging content.

Using Your Mailing List Effectively

Passive: Update your mailing list. Add a sign-up form to your website. Send a newsletter and hope it doesn’t get caught up in a spam filter.

Activate Your Mailing List

  1. Ask people you meet in person if
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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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Capture Attention with a Whisper

©Dianna Frtizler, Merrymaking. Acrylic, pastel, and charcoal on gallery wrapped canvas, 24 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

Steve Cranford is the creative chairman of the New York agency WHISPER. When I asked him why in the world a marketing firm would be called WHISPER instead of SHOUT, he replied: “The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.”

That’s profound. So simple and so true.

The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.

Think about it.

When you take out an ad or post to your blog and social media sites, you are broadcasting to the world. You’re talking to hundreds or (hopefully) thousands of people who might see your message.

Because of this public forum, the language is less personal than you would use in a private conversation. Everyone knows you’re talking to everyone else.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but when you want results, I encourage you to whisper – to communicate with a single person.

Anatomy of a Whisper

A client told me she was getting great results for her special sale by

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How to Decide What Marketing Tasks to Invest In

Your marketing mix is a blend of actions you take – both online and offline – to promote your art.

Your ideal mix is your ideal mix and nobody else’s.

You have to figure out what works best for you. At the same time, all of the options for where to spend time and energy could drive a person batty.

Should you be on Twitter?

Should you purchase an ad?

Should you send another email?

I suggest considering 3 criteria for deciding whether or not to make a task part of your marketing mix.

1. You are seeing results.

After you have implemented a marketing task consistently over time, are you benefiting from it?

Notice the words “consistently” and “over time.” You can’t try something once or twice and say it didn’t work. You have to have made a commitment to doing it on a regular basis. Perhaps you do it monthly for a year or weekly for 6 months.

Sporadic action doesn’t result in a good test sample.

The benefits you seek from your marketing might include any combination of the following:

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7 Ways to Segment Your Mailing List and Make It More Useful

Ever worry about bothering people with your emails or postcards?

You’re not alone. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do right by your trusted fans. You know what it’s like to receive tons of email and don’t want to contribute to the overwhelm.

Even though everyone on your list has opted in to hear from you, it still doesn’t feel right to email so many people so frequently. I get it. And …

There’s a solution to this dilemma: Send emails only to whom they are appropriate.

In other words, target your messages to the people who want and need to hear from you rather than sending every email to every person on your list.

Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Emma have the capability to segment an email list. Depending on your platform, you might find these features under Groups, Segments, and/or Tags. Some platforms use multiple names.

If you haven’t used this feature, the first step is to research how to segment a list inside of your email platform of choice. It’s worth it even if you have to pay a little for it.

After you’ve done that, you can make your list more useful by segmenting it in multiple ways.

7 Ways to Slice and Dice Your List

Your list segments will vary based on the messages you are sending, but these are the 7 types of segmenting that I suggest frequently to my Art Biz Coach clients.

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11 Tips for Pricing Your Art

I wish I could pull a number out of the hat and tell you how to price your art.

It’s not that easy, as you’ve surely discovered. Every artist’s path to their sweet spot for pricing is different.

I’ve come to know that there isn’t a single art market that you can look to as an exact model. There are many art markets – each with its own pricing structure.

Here are a few guidelines to begin with.

Art-Pricing Guidelines

1. Your first step is to research your market. Look for artists who do similar work using similar materials and who are at a comparable point in their careers.

Whenever you compare your prices to those of other artists, make sure you know that the work you’re looking at is actually selling. It doesn’t do you any good to look at prices from an artist whose work isn’t moving.

Many artists have adopted a formula for square-inch pricing. This is fine, but it must be based on something. You can’t pull a number out of the air. Follow all of the tips here and your formula will be well grounded.

2. Start lower. It’s easier to start on the low end of the scale and raise your prices than it is to lower your prices later.

However . . .

3. Never undervalue your work. Selling your art too cheaply means you’re probably not getting paid what it’s worth.

When you devalue your art, you devalue the art of every other artist who is trying make a living – many of whom genuinely need the money.

The dangers in pricing your artwork too low are:

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How to Offer Upgrades for Your Teaching

When you offer services, such as teaching, mentoring, or coaching, seize the opportunity to enhance the experience for your students and clients. This may also be a chance to create extra income for yourself.

I’m talking about offering upgrades to your services.

An upgrade is an offer that adds value to the service for an additional fee.

The most important reason to offer an upgrade is that it improves the experience for your students. The additional income is a bonus for you.

Upgrade Options

Your upgrade offer is limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas to help get you started:

  • An additional, but different, workshop or class
  • Printed and bound copy of your notes
  • Audio recording of your notes
  • Video lessons
  • “Club” membership
  • A lifetime Facebook group that includes club-only email tips
  • A package of programs and bonuses, like the Art Career Success System
  • Personal coaching, mentoring, or critique sessions (live or via video conference)

If you are hosting a multi-day workshop, consider adding:

  • Private tours
  • 30-minute coaching/critique sessions before or after instruction for the day or an additional coaching-only day at the end
  • Meals

What can you offer to a large number of people at a reasonable price?

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The Only Gift You Need to Build Your Mailing List

What I love most about the holidays isn’t receiving gifts. It’s giving them.

I love everything about the process: from trying to find the perfect gift for a special person on my list, to wrapping it and watching them open it.

I throw parties and give “lovely parting gifts” to our guests (as if the party wasn’t enough). I decorate envelopes to delight recipients.

The thrill of gift giving is sacred in my book.

Unfortunately, when building a business, giving gifts can be tarnished by the giver wanting or expecting something in return. It’s part of the list-building process.

In return for your email address, I offered 6 free video lessons or perhaps a checklist, special report, or webinar at some point.

These presents are easy for me to deliver because I offer a service. I have loads of content that will help you gain recognition and sell more art.

It’s harder for artists to offer gifts in return for email addresses.

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Why You Should Raise the Prices of Your Art and How to Do It

Two things are certain when it comes to pricing your art.

First, it’s a struggle for most artists.

The difficulty with pricing art is legendary. You’re not the only one who doesn’t have it all figured out. Even if you’re confident in your prices today, it’s almost guaranteed that you will question them again within a few weeks or months. You heard it here first.

Second, there’s a good chance that your prices are too low.

Many artists – especially those who are just starting out – undervalue their art. Their work isn’t priced correctly to be able to split 50% of the sale with a gallerist or art consultant.

Artists who price their work too low are making things difficult for other artists who are pricing their work appropriately for the market and who need to make a living from sales.

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you would be happier getting higher prices for your art. Yes?

But you don’t know if your art warrants it or if this is the right time. Right? You’re scared to make the wrong move.

Fear not! Here are 5 reasons to raise your prices and how to do it.

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Test Your Email Marketing and Track Your Results

Megan Carty, Cundy's Harbor

In marketing your art, there are no absolutes. Everything is a test.

Is it better to send your newsletter on a Tuesday or on a Friday?

Will you get better engagement from posting to Facebook at 7:00 a.m. or noon?

Are your Instagram followers more likely to engage with you once or twice a day?

In this article I’m going to focus on email testing. Next week we’ll look at social media testing.

You’ll get a host of different answers if you Google “best time to send an email.” Test them! Track them!

In order for you to understand what works best for you, you have to track your results.

I’ve been testing foods lately to see what is right (and wrong) for my body. I track my weight, basal body temperature, sleep, water intake, and more to see what causes inflammation for me.

Yep, it’s a lot of work to track all of this, but the payoff of optimal physical and mental health will be worth it.

Likewise, your email marketing goal is optimal results for your efforts. You’re looking for more sales, sign-ups, registrations, click-throughs, or engagement. You might also be seeking a higher open rate.

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