First, I must point out that this is my own personal account regarding my efforts to market my art, so bear in mind that some things may work better for others. That said, I’ve done a lot of research over the years regarding the business side of art. All of these accounts are from others’ own personal dealings as well, so I like to rely on a broad spectrum of sources. So enough blabbing, here’s the gist of it:
I’ve been tracking my website (www.AmyGuidry.com) stats for years, which is the only way I can know (other than someone telling me personally) that someone has been checking out my work. I’ve noticed that some sources that once were good generators of publicity, have fallen by the wayside a bit. I’m almost certain that this (yes, I hate to say it) is because as soon as the economy took a dive, many people were dropping their subscriptions and I think some were just less interested in purchasing artwork, therefore not looking it up on the internet so much, either. For instance, when I would have a feature article about my work in a magazine, I’d see a huge spike in my website stats. Now, not so much.
So what does this mean? Well, for starters, now is the time for artists to up their efforts (if you haven’t already) when it comes to marketing your work. Studies have shown that those who keep marketing despite an economic depression, thrive later on because they have maintained their brand status while those that didn’t tend to lose customers in the long run. They appear less successful because they couldn’t “afford” (though you can market your work for free thanks to the internet) to advertise their product or services. And they were more likely to be forgotten because their name/brand was not being repeated. Also good to note here that it takes an estimated seven times for an ad to sink in to its viewers. So a one-time ad is most certainly not enough.
Back to my personal findings- what has worked according to my stats is #1 Direct traffic. Which is great and should be your main effort because it means people are directly going to your site. You stand out to them, you are the authority to refer to, your art is memorable, etc. So this means that handing out those business cards is working. #2 is Google. Yes, it is “the” search engine according to my stats. I know that this is due to my web ranking. If you look up my name, my website is at the top. Not Facebook. This is good because you want your site to be the place people go to find you. Those social media sites are great, but again, you have to stay ahead of them in your rankings. That said, the rest of my referrals come from a mix of social media sites, blogs, websites, and emails (which may be direct traffic, basically, since I like to put my website at the bottom of my emails). I can’t say one is better than the other since they vary from month to month and even day to day. However, the good news is they are all free advertising. So there’s no cost to you (other than your studio time- so be careful) to “advertise” through all of them.
Before I forget, I should clarify that this doesn’t mean I think you should abandon other marketing sources such as magazines, radio, newspapers, etc. I would advise using that time and money (if you are buying ads) wisely and pick and choose the ones that best suit your work and reach your target audience.