Marketing Isn’t About You

Making art is all about you and what you have to say to the world.
Marketing your art isn't about you. Marketing is about your audience and potential audience.

When you're actively engaged in promoting your art, the tools you use are less important than the end result. You're aiming to connect with others.

Elaine Kehew, Misty Blue Mangold. Oil on linen
Elaine Kehew, Misty Blue Mangold. Oil on linen, 36 x 30 inches. ©The Artist

It's hard to connect if your marketing is I-centric — when it's all about “I did this” or “I did that.”
Look over the last blog post or newsletter you shared. How much of it is for your reader, and how much of it ignores the reader?
Whether you're sending an email or postcard, writing a newsletter, or posting to your blog, always consider the person at the receiving end.
Whom do you want to read it?
Who is your ideal fan?

Describe this person in detail.
Are they male or female? Do they live in a certain geographical region? What kind of work do they do, and how do they spend their leisure time? What are their values?
Perhaps you can identify your ideal fan by name. I can do that with my business. There are two or three people that I call my perfect clients. I try to keep them foremost in my mind when I'm writing or creating a new product.
Sometimes I falter and forget about them. That's when I struggle. When I need to get back on track, I think about my ideal fans and target my message to those people.

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13 thoughts on “Marketing Isn’t About You”

  1. I write to one person at a time. I write like I would if speaking or emailing a friend. I use my persona to differentiate myself from the rest of the herd. I don’t over use those silly adverbs and often verb a noun or get a little Seuss with my rhythm. I’m concise consistently. And I’m not afraid to take a risk… : )

  2. Thanks for this topic! I started blogging this summer (part of working my way through _I’d Rather Be In The Studio_). Overall, I’m enjoying it. I try to keep an informal tone and keep to my mission which is simply to invite people a glimpse or cyber-visit into my studio, check out my latest projects and process. I would love anyone interested to check it out:
    and let me know what you think!

  3. Alyson,
    Do you have a schedule of online classes set up for next year yet? The Blog Triage sounds great but this is a busy season and I would want to give it the attention it needs.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Sue: Not yet. Probably not until mid November. Sorry!
      I imagine we won’t teach Blog Triage again until March or April at the earliest.

  4. Ask this question of your marketing language:
    What’s in it for them?
    If you read a lot of I, ME, MY and MINE, instead of YOU, YOU, YOU and YOURS, it is clear I was thinking about me instead of thinking about YOU.
    If you want to make an impact for them – you need to keep it about them. Edit out the “all about me” sentences as much as possible.

  5. Thanks for this e-mail today Alyson! You helped me focus on something I was floundering on. Often times I am writing to other artists but wishing art collectors would notice and pay attention. That really makes no sense does it? I guess I thought that art lovers and collectors want to know about the type of creative life we lead. Then I wonder, are there art collectors even reading artists blogs? I hope so. This has definitely woken me up to a better focus. Just what I needed! Thank you!

  6. Ooh, good stuff to think about, Alyson! I think I have been guilty of too much me-me-me. I love the idea of writing to just one person…and I know just the person: a friend who always inspires me and brings out my true “voice”. I’m going to stick her photo on the edge of my monitor!
    Thanks so much for your blog…it is a GIFT!

  7. Thanks Alyson for this post. I read it briefly some weeks ago, and you will be please to know it stayed in my consciousness especially when writing my newsletters.
    Out of everything an artist must do to present themselves I think seeing their art and communications from another’s eyes is nearly impossible. Yet is its necessary if to sell one’s work.
    Recently a collector, world famous fashion designer, talked about what my painting said to her:
    “Everybody should want to have that,you still maintain the integrity of your talent but the painting just speaks for it self w/FIRE,it says: am beautiful, am done by the best artist, am HOT and exciting, you want to have me around bc I have a fire energy which will keeps you going happily!!! I would love to have that painting around me and feel very happy having it around me…”
    What was surprising was the way she gave words as if the painting were speaking to her, and she voiced WHY she would want to live with the painting.
    None of it had to do aesthetics, or how I felt painting it, how many hours, etc. It was an eye opener for me.
    Now, when I am writing to collectors I try to imagine why they want to live with the painting, and the feelings it gives them. Then I try to do everything I can to not kill their enthusiasm.
    Its a hard lesson, and but that perspective has surprised me because it is beginning to feel natural, effortless, and a richer experience. (No pun intended). 🙂

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