Are you putting your art out there and hoping someone will see it, buy it, or give you a show?
There was a point when I was complacent about my marketing. I would write my blog posts every week and post to Facebook and Twitter. Then I’d sit back and wait for something to happen.
And I relied too much on my existing list without reaching out to new potential audiences.
Fortunately, my coach corrected my ways. (Yes, we all need coaches!) Amazed that I had such good results with such little effort, she pointed out that I could help a lot more people if only I'd become more active with my marketing.
This got me thinking about all of the passive marketing that we do. That you do. How could you approach it more actively in a way that puts you in the driver's seat of your destiny?
Here are a few ideas.
Ensuring You’re Not Wasting Time on Social Media
Passive: Post updates. Like others' updates. Accept friendships.
Activate Your Social Media
- Seek out the people and businesses you really want to connect with. Friend them, like their pages, comment on (don’t just like) their posts, and promote their activities.
- Create a reliable editorial calendar for engaging content.
Using Your Mailing List Effectively
Passive: Update your mailing list. Add a sign-up form to your website. Send a newsletter and hope it doesn’t get caught up in a spam filter.
Activate Your Mailing List
- Ask people you meet in person if they'd like to be on your list. Yes, you can actually ask this!
- Segment your list and target specific messages to each segment as appropriate.
- Make a plan to contact your top customers with a personal message once a quarter.
Benefitting from Exhibitions & Events
Passive: Install your art. Send a postcard and an email blast to your whole list. Create an event on Facebook. Post a photo to Instagram. Hope people show up, buy, and tell others.
Activate Your Exhibitions & Events
- Train the venue staff about your art. Share stories and selling points that they can share with visitors. Visit weekly to check in.
- Host a VIP preview party and invite your top fans and collectors.
- Schedule special private events for specific groups of people who need to see your art.
- Communicate on a personal level. Write notes by hand on the postcards you send. Send private emails to the people you most want to attend and invite them to a private showing. Pick up the phone and dial your VIPs.
Boosting the Relationship with Your Gallery
Passive: Ship or deliver the art to the gallery. Attend the opening. Cross your fingers.
Activate Your Gallery Relations
- Call the gallery every 3 or 4 months and ask them how you can help them sell more of your work.
- Show up for the gallery’s other artists. Gallerists like to see that you’re supportive and engaged.
- Bake cookies for your gallerist. A gallerist in Santa Fe told me they love it when people bring them food because it’s difficult to leave the space during open hours.
Filling Your Classes and Workshops
Passive: Schedule class or event. Rely on venue to fill the registrations.
Activate Your Teaching Opportunities
- Send a personal note (email, direct messages, text, or real mail) to the people you most want to attend.
- Pick up the phone and invite potential students to your class.
- Offer to write a guest blog post to help promote the event.
We need both passive and active marketing, but our businesses slow down when we rely on passive alone.
How are you being too passive with your marketing? How are you activating it?
Originally published in 2014. Updated and republished October 2018 with original comments in place.