If marketing is everything you do to build your reputation and sell your art, there are a lot of areas in which you could improve. In which we could all improve.
I share this list with some hesitation. It’s intended as a checklist to work through, not to tackle at once.
Remember, our businesses and careers are works in progress.
1. Decide on a single professional artist name and use it consistently for your art business – if you want to be remembered. I don’t care what it is and it doesn’t have to be the same name you sign to your art.
It’s critical that people can easily find you by your name and associate your name with your art.
2. Meet more people! The more people you know, the more opportunities you will create.
3. Show other people you care about them. Focus on building trust and relationships rather than selling to everyone who crosses your path. Along similar lines …
4. Keep notes on people on their business cards and add to your database so you can personalize your relationships.
5. Send “It was nice to meet you” cards or emails after connecting with someone (unless it wasn’t nice to meet them and you don’t care if you ever see them again).
Branding & Image
6. Use the same font and colors for all of your marketing material. And please! Stay away from Comic Sans and Papyrus fonts.
7. Keep the focus on your art. Pare down the design and strip out the bright colors. All eyes should be on your art.
8. Market to your best prospects. The World is not your target market, so define your audience as narrowly as possible.
9. If you’re confused about your art, you’ll confuse people with your marketing. Make your brand as cohesive as possible, which means you had better know what your art is about.
Your Mailing List
10. Your mailing list has the potential to be your most valuable asset, so use it! Use it regularly. Your list is no good if you’re not using it.
11. Don’t rely on your current list. Keep adding names (re-read #1 above).
12. Send personal correspondence from time to time rather than relying on email blasts to everyone. People respond better when they know you care about them as individuals.
Address people by name in your correspondence and sign your name.
13. Use 1 business email address and phone number. It’s very confusing when you use multiple email addresses.
14. Use an email delivery system like MailChimp or Vertical Response. Do not send bulk email from your regular email program. Hundreds of messages will look like spam to your Internet Service Provider.
15. Vary your subject lines. All emails look the same when you use the same words every time you send an email.
16. If you have something very important to share, such as an invitation to an event or a sale announcement, don’t bury it in a newsletter with multiple articles. Send a separate email that serves only one purpose: to encourage action.
17. Send email recipients to the specific page on your site that you want them to see rather than the home page. The home page is likely the most boring page on your site.
18. Never apologize for not sending a newsletter. No one noticed. (Sorry.)
19. Never apologize for not posting to your blog. No one noticed. (Sorry.)
20. Add at least one image of your art with every blog post, unless, of course, you aren’t interested in people seeing it.
21. Don’t delay posting because you aim for perfection. Imperfect posts are far better than no posts at all. Besides, there’s no such thing as perfection.
It’s a process and a commitment. You didn’t hop out of the womb knowing how to make the art you do now, so why would you expect to write the perfect blog post out of the starting gate?
22. Make sure your name is at the top of every page on your website.
23. Write a compelling story for your About page. Very few people will look at your résumé.
24. Double check to see that all of your images include a complete credit line. This means ©Your Name, Title of Artwork, media, and dimensions.
25. Add your artwork to every page of your site. The Web is more image-based than ever and you, a visual artist, are in a prime position to capitalize on that. Use all of those pages to show off your art.
26. Vary the images on your site. Show your art in process, in situ, and in exhibition installations. Include photos of you in your studio and with collectors.
27. Embrace video and post a trailer for your art on your site. Putting a voice and face to your art can help you sell more work.
28. Use an image of your art for your Facebook business page, and then comment on other business pages as your page (not your personal profile). Others will see your art and be encouraged to visit and like your public page.
29. Use a desktop platform like HootSuite, Later (Instagram), or Flume (Instagram) to organize and post-date your social media updates.
30. Respond to everything! Don’t just click on Like.
31. There are legitimate reasons for tagging people, but don’t spam people by simply tagging them in order to get them to see your link. This is lazy, annoying self-promotion.
32. Say nice things about people and encourage others.
33. Be proactive and follow people. Don’t wait for them to follow you!
34. If you have a big event or exhibition coming up, make a promotional plan for peace of mind. A plan consists of clearly defined tasks with deadlines.
35. Commit to a marketing mix that includes social media, email, and regular mail. This is a powerful cocktail that will cover more ground than relying on a single platform.
36. Plan something big that challenges you. Big projects get noticed and move the dial in your favor. You don’t have to know how you’re going to make it happen, you only have to begin. You’ll never get anywhere without taking risks and moving beyond your comfort zone.
37. Track your results so that you can plan better next time.
38. Build your confidence by continually moving forward with increasingly challenging projects. We like to buy art from artists who know what they’re doing and where they’re going.
39. Send out only positive energy. Don’t complain, whine, or criticize in public or on social media. People are less likely to buy from you if you exhibit these negative qualities, which are signs of weakness.
40. Accept 100% responsibility for your successes and failures. This will empower you like nothing else. When you blame others, you are relinquishing control.
41. Give people the tools they need so they can help you promote your art. You probably have an army of people willing to help you. Tell them how!
42. Under promise and over deliver in every aspect of your business. People are unhappy when you don’t do what you said, but are delighted when you exceed their expectations.
Remember that you are a work in progress. Improve one aspect of your business at a time and do it well before moving on to your next area of focus.
What’s your first item to improve? Please tell us in a comment below.