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Secret of Marketing

The secret of marketing,  Are you an expert? It’s really about marketing and promoting yourself to get the sales. Grab some of these  ideas people have shared.

This is a continuum from my question of  What’s the Secret of Marketing? I found more people who really liked to hear from people who have tried out various tactics or spokes as I call them.

Linda S. Posey – Thanks for the great discussion.

Try  permission marketing, i.e., you’re marketing to people whose permission you have because they signed up for your mailing list, came to your show, etc.

I recommend “I’d Rather Be in the Studio” by Alison Stanfield, Art Biz Coach Her approach is straightforward and practical. Beware — she’ll make you confront the things you’re avoiding doing to market your art! She also has a free online newsletter.

Create your own arts group,  dedicated to creating an abundance attitude among artists. We show our work regularly (about 4 times a year) in major local office buildings. This gets our work before a bigger audience and one we wouldn’t reach through traditional art fairs or gallery exhibits. None of our members are rich yet, but we usually have several sales per show.

Victoria Ryan – Ten years ago the discussion was whether or not a website was a necessity. Today, if you do not have a web presence your business is considered to be suspect. In the past few years the discussion is about whether social networking is a relevant tool. Two years ago I would not have thought that Facebook would end up being the most utilized but it is playing out that way. There is plenty to cultivate there and utilize for advertising and promoting your business. Just in the past 6 months I’ve noticed an exponential rise in participation there.

Dianne Koningen – My husband is a full time abstract painter and I work with him as the back up marketing person. He went fulltime to painting over 15 years ago with no template on how or what to do. Galleries were not the way to go for us. The work was too big for galleries in our immediate area and they didn’t sell abstract at the time.

We opened a studio gallery, did some advertising, went to the local market where we encourage interested buyers to come back to the studio. Fortunately the market attracted many interstate business people which really helped us get immediate feedback on the art and opened up a huge market. This worked for 5 years with our only income being the sale of paintings.

Many academics say to aspiring artists not to go to the markets but is does give you so much more than we expected. We met the most amazing art buyers who have become avid collectors and also good friends. It is a great place to start a mailing list – an invaluable marketing tool.

The comments are about how they are helping each other by sharing their experiences, by doing this they are learning from each other. We all can do this to help ourselves and someone else.

Marie Kazalia After listening to several podcasts at Art Heros Radio in which some very good points have been made about how putting info about your art/self out online can have positive results. Also some good ideas there for promoting and getting results with physical efforts too.

 Anthony is right about understanding others and that’s usually my approach. I encountered a woman artist online a few months ago who tried to force everyone into her expectations as she attempted to have an art career. Then she complained and complained that nothing had happened for her after ten years because her expectations were never met.

There are just people like that, they are blocked in some way. She did not seem to be intuitive, practical or logical, and her enthusiasm was for complaining about how her work was ignored because of this and that reason!

There is a description for that: “Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.”

Joy Roy ChoudhuryLets start by saying that there is no secret to marketing. So, where is the gap? Marketing lapses, lack of PR and promotion, possibly these are true. And the remedy? There is no straight solution to this, but one that comes near is PATIENCE.

Ann Brauer
I have been supporting myself making contemporary art quilts for almost 29 years. If you think supporting yourself as an artist is hard, try making art quilts. Everyone–or almost everyone–assumes that they can make something similar to what you are doing. My secrets–well I am not sure I have any –the market is always changing but let me start.

My work over the years has become distinctive–it is easy to recognize an Ann Brauer original. I try to maintain a good reputation of quality, honest work.

Second – I suggest listening to people–I do a number of fine art and craft shows–if you listen to those who don’t buy as well as those who do–there is a lot to learn. For instance, at one point browser would complain that their seams were straighter than my seams. Obviously, I quit making straight seams.

Third -I think it can be useful to have a smaller item that sells–for a long time I made potholders–still make a few. This meant that I have something for almost anyone who wants to purchase from me.

Fourth – I have learned to be alert for when opportunity knocks and to take advantage of those chances–for instance I got a call a couple years ago from a Museum–they were hunting for a show. Now I had other commitments but to pass up a museum show–no way. That led to a lovely commission for the new Federal District Courthouse in Springfield, MA.

Fifth – My latest adventure is to learn as much about social media as I can.

Richard Eaves Woods • My hat’s off to you all: here’s a compilation of your comments so far. The bullet list below is condensed from your comments. 
I did a little internet research, Googled ‘How to make a living as an artist’, and expanded the bullets with some additional items. Toss me a note and I’ll send you the complete list.

  • Make distinctive work – develop your brand
  • Determine your audience, your target market
  • The work you like might not be what sells.
  • Satisfy your customers.
  • Get a sense of who likes what and why 
Listen to customers, both buyers and browsers, learn how to present and market your work, practice presenting and marketing your work at art fairs
  • Create big and small items, something that appeals to everyone
  • Galleries and agents only show art they think they can sell.
  • Consider all opportunities, even if inconvenient
  • Use social media, coupled with a website blog, Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Copyright work before posting online
  • Send out a newsletter
  • Find an art writer to work with you on PR and promotion 
30% – 50% time spent on marketing,
  • Go with an agent and pay extra fees
  • Persistence – rejection is part of the game
  • Patience
  • Find the right market for your work, what sells in one venue, may gather dust somewhere else.
  • Think outside the box – look for new applications and markets for your art, such as corporate sales.
  • Start and maintain a permissive marketing list.
  • Always get a name, contact information, and notes on what they liked from those who take an interest in your work.
  • Work in groups, collaborate with other artists, writers, poets, musicians. film directors, photographers, philosophers.
  • The interaction can get the creative juices flowing.

There are hundreds of ideas to this discussion. The secret of marketing is ACTION – it is not a passive word. These people just gave you a few ideas. The best ideas are the ones are the ones you swipe from other niches. You will never know what will work sometimes until you try it. TEST, TEST, & TEST.

I thank all these people sharing their experiences, we can all learn to do something from someone else, the Secret of marketing If you enjoyed this article join the marketing tips newsletter.


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