With the popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, I’ve found that many artists rely upon these as tools to promote their art. While this is great, there are also many other ways to get the word out. In addition, many are tangible items that are especially valued given today’s internet-crazed society. Turns out, if it’s a card or a handwritten note, people tend to pay more attention as opposed to something that can go away with the push of a delete button. So here is a list of materials that I rely upon as well as others:
Business cards: These are the tried-and-true promotional tool for artists. You can get cards printed up quickly and rather cheaply thanks to the multitude of online printing companies. I feature my logo in addition to my contact information, including my website. You may also want to include social media links where people can find your work.
Brochures: Great concise way to present a sample of your portfolio as well as your biography or even parts of your resume. According to some surveys, galleries and collectors respond well to these due to the quick introduction to you and your work.
Postcards: Basically a combination of the business card and brochure in that you can put an image or images or one side and your information on the other. Or even put images on both sides, depending on how much you would like to spend. There are many options for these. I like to send one out every quarter to announce new work or an upcoming exhibit. Added benefit: they can be handed out without the worry of being lost in one’s wallet or purse as would a business card.
Websites: Many artists still don’t have a website and some even feel that they don’t need one since they are on Facebook, etc. Not true. While social media sites do help, you want your website to rank high on the web, not Facebook. When your name stands out, it will direct traffic to your site, your available works, your shopping cart, etc. Still not convinced? According to The Internet & Marketing Report, your Facebook Fan Page is not enough because of EdgeRank, Facebook’s algorithm for determining which updates show up in a user’s news feed. It filters out about 99% of content from friends/businesses. Yikes.
Portfolios: Just the word portfolio makes me think of the days when I was in school, lugging around one of those giant black portfolios full of my work. However, there are some better options. For a digital version, you can put all of your images on CD. This is great to hand out to anyone and everyone. Be sure to get the printable kind so that you can put your info on the front just as you would on your business card. Don’t use the sticker labels.
For a more traditional approach, you can make high-quality printouts of your work on photo paper and include them in a nice presentation book with clear sleeves for inserting photos. Also include your resume in the front as well as your contact information. I recommend featuring 8-12 of your best images. You can get a standard 8″ x 11″ book or even make a small postcard sized book to carry with you at all times.
Note Cards: Whether it’s a thank you card or a handwritten message, cards are a great way to stay in touch with those that buy your work or put on an exhibit for you. The ultimate purpose of these is to show gratitude, but having your work or name on the front is a nice reminder.
Everyday items: Some artists put their work on useful items which they sell for some additional income. Although, there would be nothing wrong with giving these items away as well in order to promote one’s work. You could create an item with one or several images of your work, as well as including your name and website. Examples include stickers, bumper stickers, magnets, pens, mugs, calendars, t-shirts, hats, and bookmarks.
No one idea is better than the other, so I would not say that you should rely upon some promotional tools more so than others. Each serves a purpose and reach people in different ways, which is exactly what you need to broaden your audience. Therefore, I strongly advise anyone to adopt all of these strategies mentioned. That can be tough if you are on a limited budget, but as mentioned earlier, there are many competitive printing companies online that can help for very little cost. Also look into graphic designers (or recent design grads) in your area that can work out a fair deal. Even trading art may be an option to fund your business. Just be sure to check out their portfolio to see if they are a good fit for your needs.
For more information on my upcoming exhibitions, interviews, etc. sign up for my newsletter (or that postcard I mentioned above!) at http://www.amyguidry.com/contact.html