Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Marketing your Art Online

It’s no secret that Social Media and online tools are very cost effective for marketing your work. The problem is that everyone’s using it, and there’s way too much clutter online. How do you know the right people are even seeing your message?

Consider the following points when creating your marketing plan online:
1.  Be Aware of your Goals: Online Marketing can be particularly effective if you wish to promote your art to all your online followers. You may even be able to attract a good amount of your friends and supporters to attend your openings and events with just a simple Facebook event invitation. But if your goal is to sell your $5,000 pieces, you may need a more aggressive, creative and tailored approach.  

2.  Be Aware of your Audience: Who are you trying to reach online? If you want all your followers to know about the latest series you created, or about the newest partnership you formed with a local curator, then go ahead and share online. However, if your intent is to reach buyers to buy your expensive art pieces or attend your next opening, they may not be hanging out on Social Media or reading all your perfectly manicured e-newsletters. I always suggest doing research to determine where your clients are.

3.   Be Aware of your Medium: There are so many social media platforms and online tools out there, which one do you choose? Once you know your Goal and Audience, again, research can help you figure out the best strategy. Facebook and Twitter are well-known for engaging with your followers, but have you ever considered LinkedIn to find a certain type of buyer or agent in your area? Perhaps you have a great client email list but you haven’t sent out an e-newsletter in 6 months. Look at what approaches have and haven’t worked in the past. And don’t be afraid to try something new!

Nowadays we move so fast that we often do things too quickly or spontaneously. Whenever possible, try to brainstorm and come up with a plan in advance before implementing it. It will also serve you to do a bit of research to see what is the best strategy given your Goals and Target Audience. You may be surprised or amazed what you find. A week or two of preparation and research could save you a lot of time, energy and money in the long-run!

For additional resources on promoting yourself, check out Ch. 10 of my success e-program Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece(TM). This e-program takes you through the 12 essential strategies for success! Here's to your future!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Traditional Marketing May be the Edge you Need

We've been bombarded over the last decade with talk about how social media and online marketing are useful, practical and affordable! However, many of us are spending more time online and less time building personal relationships with key clients, agents and partners. Since buying art is largely an emotional experience, online tactics may not be as effective. Instead, a more sensorial and customized approach usually works best.

If you've felt that something is missing in your sales approach, you may need to add back the traditional marketing techniques that were employed before the Internet became popular. As humans, we like to feel special. Receiving a mass email does not particularly make us feel special. Receiving personalized, one-on-one attention customized to our needs and wants, does make us feel good!

Some elements you can bring back into your marketing plan can include some of these long forgotten direct marketing strategies:

1. Phone Call - We're so buried behind our email, that we've forgotten what it's like to make a sales pitch on the phone. Your phone is still one of your best tools for getting attendance at your events and ultimately sales.

2. Studio Visit - Although online sales have been increasing over the years, buyers are still largely accustomed to experiencing art with all senses. What better way than through a personal invitation to your studio? While there, you can tell your "story", answer questions and show them your fabulous repertoire.

3. Snail Mail Post Card - Don't worry about your post card getting portrayed as "junk" and thrown away. If you create a professional invitation or post card with a high quality image of one of your best works, it will likely end up on the refrigerator or even framed! Always include your contact information on the card!

4. Newsletter - A real, live newsletter can definitely make you stand out these days! However, a personalized, professional e-newsletter can be effective as well. The goal is to keep your buyers up to date on your events and newest art work so you remain top-of-mind. Remember to add any awards, public commissions and media coverage you've received. 

Ultimately, persistence is key! Sales don't usually happen overnight, so maintaining consistent follow-up with your buyers is crucial. Dust off your old tried-and-true methods and get cracking!

What has and hasn't worked for you? I'd love to hear your comments!

*If you'd like to learn more about traditional marketing, you may be interested in
one of the Training courses or future Workshops Scheduled. Or if you need additional help on your road to success, check out my new book Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece(TM).

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Art of Networking and Making Connections

Have you ever been to a networking event in which you talk to dozens of people but don’t seem to find a connection with anyone? Or worse yet, you find yourself in the corner by yourself?
Many artists and arts professionals I know are shy or simply dread networking events. In order to elevate your success to the next level, you’re going to have to communicate about yourself and your work. By not attending these events, you are forgoing possible opportunities to find new leads and sell your work. 
Recently I participated in a really great tele-seminar “Mastering the Art of Quick Connection was as easy as 1 - 2 – 3!” about networking and making connections. The chat was hosted by Lisa Marie Platske, President & CEO of Upside Thinking, Inc. who was interviewing Bonnie Ross-Parker, CEO & Founder of “The Joy of Connecting®”, two fabulous ladies that help other women and entrepreneurs succeed.

Bonnie's approach takes the “work” out of networking and her three-part connecting system is easy and effective. In order to make a quick connection and increase your success in any networking event, remember to do the following:
1.     Differentiate
2.     Be Memorable
3.     Make a Difference
Differentiate: Always be yourself and feel free to be different. If you’re shy, an easy conversation starter that gets others to approach you is wearing your own personalized name tag with your name, business and logo. Also try going out of your way to make a connection. Rescue that person who’s alone simply by introducing yourself; they’ll be so grateful and more likely to be interested in learning more about your work. You can even connect people you’ve met that have things in common. One time I connected a young designer who needed copyright legal advice with a qualified attorney I had met earlier in the night.     
Be Memorable: This refers to your appearance and behavior. As far as your look, people remember those who stand out. Go ahead and wear your wild jewelry or blue hair if that’s “you.” Even simple things make a big impact. Once I attended a professional networking event where everyone was wearing black or neutral colors while I wore a red outfit. I made a lot of good connections that day. When it comes to behavior, try to leave a positive impression. Be a great listener, invite people to come to your next opening or send articles they would enjoy. And try not to be remembered for the wrong reasons, such as having one too many drinks.
Make a Difference: People see right through those who are too sales-y or self-serving. What are you doing and saying to others? Are you leaving positive imprints in people’s lives? Think of those who have made a difference in your own life and model yourself after them.
Although you should try to stand out and make a good impression, it’s about making real connections and fostering those relationships. It’s better to have a great conversation with one potential lead rather than have superficial chats with 30 people. And if you do make some positive connections, remember to follow up with them with an email, call or personal invitation to your next exhibit.
Lisa Marie Platske is the President & CEO of Upside Thinking, Inc., an international leadership development company which provides coaching/consulting to leaders and business professionals; she can be found at http://www.upsidethinking.com and http://www.DaretoShareEvent.comBonnie Ross-Parker, aka "America's Connection Diva" is CEO & Founder of “The Joy of Connecting®” which helps business women and entrepreneurs create relationships and professional alliances through connections: http://www.thejoyofconnecting.com.

*If you need additional help on your road to success, check out some additional resources: my new book Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece(TM), join me in Individual or Group Coaching, check out the Masterpiece Guild, or one of my DVD Training courses.

I also love reading comments, feel free to leave your thoughts or what has or hasn't worked for you. Please feel free to share this article with others who may benefit from it. Cheers to you!