For the past few weeks, I have been working on my marketing plan, trying to figure out who I want to market my art to, and how I want to do it. It’s a slow process, and a task I have been putting off for many months. Part of my problem is that I am easily distracted by cool marketing ideas. I fascinated by all the wid new ways people are exploring to sell art online. Creating a fan base via Facebook or Twitter. Photo-a-day blogs. Selling art on eBay. They are all so intriguing, I can’t help but wonder if one of them might be a ticket to success.
This fascination comes from my days as the creative director for Yahoo!. This was back in the early days of the internet, when our survival was based on coming up with the next big thing. There were no rules back then, so we’d try everything and anything… and it was a blast. But unfortunately, that dynamic doesn’t work as well when you are a one-person business. I don’t have the time or the energy to try every cool new idea. Not only do I have to market my art, I need to make it, produce it, sell it…. everything. I can’t dedicate all my time to coming up with innovative marketing ideas or pursuing every interesting new tactic. Instead, I need to come up with a marketing plan that is focused and achievable, even if it is (shudder) boring.
As usual, Seth Godin read my mind and wrote this in his blog today:
…do your best to pick a direction (hopefully an unusual one, hopefully one you have resources to complete, hopefully one you can do authentically and hopefully one you enjoy) and then do it. Loudly. With patience and passion. (Loud doesn’t mean boorish. Loud means proud and joyful and with confidence.) No flitting, no waiting for proof. Just consistent, overwhelming performance in pursuit of a vision you believe in.
The problem about trying every new marketing fad is that it doesn’t give you the time or energy to do any of them well. So the first task of my marketing plan is to focus. To put aside all the fascinating ideas that I love exploring, and just finding a path that I can realistically do. Then to follow that path as best as I can, as authentically as I can, as loudly as I can. Success comes from how you do something, not what you do.
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Well put, both by you and by Seth. I have currently gone through a similar epiphany, and realized that I needed to re-focus my energies as well. Marketing haphazardly may be exciting, but it certainly doesn’t leave much time for what should be the true center of it all: the work.
Thank you, Daniel — as always, your thoughts-turned-writing give me something to consider. And then, reading Seth’s blogs regarding Loud Marketing underscores what all artists (and writers) go through once people see their work. “What are you doing with it?” I hate that question… I can talk about what I write and paint, but marketing puts my tummy in a tizzy. I don’t like that part! So I’m happy to read any ideas that work and maybe — when I feel so inspired — try one or two of them. I’m happiest when I’m just painting — or writing. Does that make me lazy?
At the moment I’m designing a store-front window to display 5 of my paintings for September, and working to “ready” 5 digital paintings to submit to a digital show the first of October. Again, tummy-tizzies — not the fun part!
Here’s some concrete to hold the theories together:
Go to the Yellow Pages.
Look under “Designers”, “Decorators”, etc.
Make a list of 10-20
Call them and ask to speak with the person who chooses artwork.
Request a meeting to show a portfolio.
If your work is suitable for decor, your prices reasonable, and you are easy to deal with, this can be a good source of repeat business. Try to find companies that do corporate, as opposed to residential, decorating.
Excellent post Daniel. There are so many different options out there to market our work. I agree that narrowing focus is the only way to make head way.
Well said, Dan! You’re reading my mind. I’ve spent so much time on the marketing aspect, that I’m forgetting you have to make something to market,
Marketing is like finding the niche you work in. You have to match your niche to your marketing (or in your case, your marketing to your niche)
But here is the big question; what is your marketing going to cost you? Like you have pointed out, you don’t have the time or the energy for many of the marketing ideas. Which leaves you with either finding marketing resource that you do have the time for or paying someone to fill in the gap of time and energy to make a different marketing resource work.
ps I like reading your blog…it’s a bit like group therapy for photographers/artists, you have an ability to catalyze a discussion about something we all feel but few put to words.