I’m a list-maker, so when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I already have a list at any given time. I’m constantly thinking of things I want to accomplish or improve. My lists get overgrown, they’re illegible, and I use the new year as an opportunity to purge those lists and rewrite them into something slightly more legible. With that said, there are several guidelines that have always helped me reach goals and regardless of your personal plan, can come in handy. So here’s what I’ve picked up over the years from various sources and my own personal experience:
Have a clear vision of what it is you want
Tell people about your goal- it keeps you accountable- you’ll be more willing to accomplish it when everyone is watching
List in detail steps and a strategy for getting what you envisioned
Set deadlines- literally put it on your calendar that you will accomplish something on a certain date and follow through
Have passion for what you are doing- you have to be truly excited about what you are doing or want to accomplish
Be flexible- if something doesn’t work out, alter your plan to make it happen
Be willing to take risks and get out of your comfort zone
Surround yourself with positive people
Prioritize your goals into high priority, medium, and low
Be proactive but maintain balance in other areas of your life
Since we are in the midst of the holiday season and there never seems to be enough time in the day, I was inspired to write about a popular question… How much of your time should you spend in the studio and how much should you spend marketing? I’ve heard everything from spend most of your time creating to spend 80% of your time marketing. I can’t say that any one answer is the correct one, however I personally lean towards the marketing end these days. Unless you are a true beginner with a handful of work to your name, you should be marketing your work. Sure, if you don’t have work to show, you can’t have an exhibit. However, you won’t get any exhibits if you’re not marketing your work. And it’s not just shows you will earn, but publicity on the internet, magazines, tv, radio, etc. So back to the big question- just how much and how do you balance it all?
-It’s best to do a little each day (as far as marketing goes) but if you are the type that won’t be consistent, it would be better to do your marketing all in one day (or 2…) than not at all.
–Gauge your deadlines. If you have a show scheduled, clearly you will need to devote a lot of studio time. Figure out roughly how long it will take you to do the desired amount of work and plan your schedule accordingly. Any remaining time should be spent marketing, especially when you have a show to promote to collectors, the media, etc.
–Set limits. It’s easy to lose track of time if you’re buried in paperwork, doing research, or networking via social media. Set a reasonable time limit for each task and stick to it.
-Prioritize your marketing goals. There are a ton of things you can be doing to promote your work, so much so it’s overwhelming. But you won’t be doing all of these things everyday, nor do you really need to. Decide what is most important and allot a day or days to accomplish those goals. For instance, how many times a week do you want to post on your blog? Pick the days of the week you wish to do so and keep the remaining time free for other marketing efforts throughout the week.
-Marketing is especially important when you have something to crow about. If you go pretty light on marketing, then you should at least devote more time to it when you have a big announcement. If you have a show coming up, won an award or grant, did a big interview, were on tv, spent time in Paris painting for the summer, etc., etc. then you need to up your marketing efforts to announce these accomplishments to your local media as well as your mailing list, email list, etc. These are the things that people want to read about.
-It takes a village (well, sort of…). We rely on galleries, collectors, reporters, etc. to talk about us and get our work “out there.” It’s great having this team of supporters, however, some artists think that this is all they need to market their work. Not so. You have to be a team player. Your mailing list is different from everyone else’s on your team, not to mention, you frequent different places- stores, doctors, salons, gyms, etc. And even if someone is already familiar with your work, reminding them that you’re out there only helps to reinforce your brand.
–Write it down. This is actually the most important tip I can give so I don’t know why I didn’t think of it first. As mentioned before, it can be overwhelming trying to accomplish everything. Make a list of all your goals- sketching, painting, blogging, gallery proposals, etc., etc., etc. Break it down into a smaller list so that you know what you need to do from week to week, or day to day even, depending on your list. Then just cross them off as you get them done. Personally I like to do all the little things first just because it makes me less stressed when my list is suddenly a lot shorter.
As an artist, I’m always learning more about the business side of the art world. I scour the internet constantly, read books and magazines- Art Calendar!, listen to podcasts, etc. Anything I can get my hands on basically. So I’ve compiled a “best of” pertaining to social media. Some of you are using these services already (as am I) but are you using them to their fullest potential? And some of you are not using these at all, which needs to change pronto. So here are the tips I’ve gained:
– Create a Fan Page for your art. This is where you will do all your marketing since Facebook does not allow such on your personal profile.
– Engage your fans with your posts and make sure they are visible (not locked under some privacy setting). When fans “like” your posts, everyone on their profile sees this, thus spreading the word.
– Ask fans questions to get them interacting and interested in your page.
– Join Facebook Groups for artists and post links to your work and introduce yourself. However, do not do this to another artist’s fan page since that is dedicated to their work and would be considered rude.
– Add to discussions, don’t just “like” a post.
– When a gallery invites you to an event on Facebook, never just ignore or decline it, always write a personal note on the event wall—leaving your name there for all to see.
– Retweet and @reply other artists to spark conversations and build your network.
– Follow people (even if you don’t know them- that’s the great thing about Twitter) to get on their radar. Follow artists, galleries, curators, etc.
– When tweeting about a popular subject, put a number sign (#) in front of it. These are known as hashtags and make it easy for others to find your tweet through Twitter searches so they may want to follow you. Example: #art, #gallery
– Do not to use more than 2-3 hashtags or you might be considered a spammer to your followers.
– One of Twitter’s most popular personalities, @GuyKawasaki states, “I find it’s worth repeating important tweets up to 4 times in about 18 hours. Typically, that would be evening, late evening, next morning and then the afternoon. Hopefully, that will catch the different audiences. But that’s enough; I don’t want to turn anyone off.”
– Make a “List” on Twitter to group people of interest- such as galleries or dealers, curators, and collectors. This will help you keep track of different groups and stay in touch.
– Join groups that are related to your style of artwork as well as more general art groups. Ask questions and contribute to other discussions.
– Connect with galleries, artists, curators, and collectors that you know (you can get booted out for spamming people you don’t know). Also connect with other professionals- your dentist, doctor, real estate agent, etc.
People who are popular in the social media world inform, entertain, and educate – sometimes all at once. If you’re a successful self-employed artist, it’s about the inspiration and the example you provide for other artists. So it’s really about them. Post videos, tutorials, news, artwork, interesting articles, music, movies that you think people will appreciate. Posts should be of substance, not how you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or that it’s Monday or Friday (we know the days of the week). Think of it this way: if you were in their position, what would you find interesting?
This will be a short post today, but a fun one. With Thanksgiving on my mind, I started thinking of things to give thanks to and wanted to share them with you. In the spirit of this blog, I will keep them art related. Okay, so let’s start:
Alyson Stanfield’s advice: Though I am sad that her podcast is ending, I am thankful for her newsletters. She has inspired, enlightened, and informed me (as well as countless other artists)- Art Biz Coach
Art Calendar Magazine: I’ve been reading this magazine for art business professionals since I first became a professional artist. It has truly shaped my career- Art Calendar
Sales Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips podcasts: The name says it all- I can’t find a more concise resource to listen to weekly- Quick and Dirty Tips
Michaels art supplies stores: When I need a synthetic 00 round paintbrush (for those who don’t know- they are SUPER tiny brushes) and let’s face it, I go through one of those in a matter of days, it’s nice to be able to show up at 8:50pm and get a paintbrush (and they offer coupons!)- Michaels
I’m thankful to everyone that has been/is so supportive and encouraging of my art career. I’m thankful to everyone that is a “fan” (or “like”- Facebook keeps changing it) on my Facebook Fanpage. Your support has kept me going over the years and continues to do so. THANK YOU!!
Okay, that may be misleading since this is not the second edition, but a second time around for this class. For those of you who are not familiar with my Art Marketing class from last fall, this is your opportunity to to take part. As part of Frederick l’Ecole des Arts in Arnaudville, LA, I will be teaching another Art Marketing and Self-Promotion course. The first class was quite a success and a great, interactive opportunity to get together with aritists and gallery owners. In addition to my course outline, we had a group session covering individual questions and sharing ideas.
So if you missed out the first time, or are new to this blog and will be in the area, please sign up for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. The class will be May 2nd (a Saturday) from 10AM-12Noon. Of course we did stay late last time because people had lots of questions and ideas to share, but if you need to leave at noon, feel free to do so.
To give you an idea of what the class is about, here is a general course outline. Overview: Risk assessment; getting out of your comfort zone. Changing your mindset. Goal-setting. Portfolio Development. Gallery submissions and approaching galleries. Alternative exhibition opportunities and juried shows. Marketing Materials. Pricing. Sales. Some of the additional topics discussed included shipping work, Ebay, vanity galleries (just stay away- that’s a free tip you can get from me right now!), and what else, but blogging, of course.
Some of these are very basic principles, and some of it boils down to good old-fashioned common sense, but for many artists, their expertise is in their medium and not in marketing. Unfortunately marketing is not a course requirement when getting your art degree, and quite frankly, it’s just plain scary to people (not just artists!). In addition, to succeed at ANYthing requires goals, planning, and organization. All skills that most people don’t think of or skip when trying to succeed at anything. How many people do you know who blame things on bad luck or lack of luck? Or think the only way they can do what they truly love is if they “win the lottery?” I can think of many.
Okay, ready to sign up yet? Go to http://frederickarts.homestead.com/Classes.html to register for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. Sign up early to ensure your spot in the class. And it doesn’t matter if you are in high school and planning on your future career as an artist or if you’ve been an artist all your life. If you want to improve your marketing skills, ask questions, or take your career to the next level, this is your opportunity. And meet some great people, too!