Promotion essentials for artists

IS A WEBSITE STILL REALLY NECESSARY?

How many marketing tools do we need? There seems to be thousands, maybe millions, of social media outlets, third-party portfolio sites, creative community endeavors and they all seem to be screaming about why they are the ticket to make your online marketing arsenal complete.

We are told that we need a website, a blog, a Facebook account, Twitter, Linkedin and don’t forget the other myriad of sites that add to the mix. We are told we need self branding (a logo and ID), SEO functionality and that we should network, network, network!! Good lord, who has the time? Do we really need all this to sell our product and services? Well, yeah we do. We’re in business and as such it’s expected that we put in more than the pre-requsite 9-5pm work day. So, no more complaining about Facebook or time limitations.  Don’t wanna hear how you’re an artist and all you want to do is make art. Marketing is a part of what needs to be done. It’s like paperwork, administration, taxes and brushing your teeth . . . you need to do it, so let’s figure out the best way to handle all these reigns.

Do you need a website?

Really? Are we still talking about this and asking this question? Just in case you’re still questioning, here’s the answer: YES. A website serves as your home, your foundation, your professional persona for all marketing. Your website is the place where you refer back to again and again, whether you are marketing on facebook, twitter or somewhere else. It’s the place where you store the best of the best of your work. It shows you are professional and serious about your career. It explains who you are and what you do. It contains your portfolio in several different formats. It houses your press clippings, upcoming shows and events, and all the links to all the other social media outlets you participate in. It has your contact information. A website is your #1 priority. Make it good. Don’t have time? Hire it done.

Do you need a blog?

Only if you want one. A blog requires a lot of time. It is a labor of love. It is also a tremendous marketing tool. It pushes out your posts (or info) via RSS so publication is immediate. It will allow you to build a following, make relationship, and establish authority and authenticity.

Another option, which I really like, is to establish a blog as your main website. There are thousands of templates to choose from which offer layouts with flexibility. You can update on the fly by yourself. Updating your site consistently will make Google happy and keep your content fresh.

What’s up with this faceybooky thing?

It’s not about what you had for breakfast. At the very least your marketing toolbox should include a website or blog, a Facebook account and a Twitter account. You can configure your accounts so that whenever you update your status or blog, it automatically updates your other profiles.

Why do you need it? Facebook and Twitter allow you to reach out, in real time, to those PEOPLE who you have targeted as potential clients or interested buyers. Social media makes it possible to make friends and contacts with virtually anyone. Every business, gallery, publication, design firm, organization and news outlet has either (or both) a Facebook or a Twitter account. Social media has become serious and if you are not using it . . . you are simply out of the loop and in danger of selling a lot less of your services than you’d care to think about.

A digital portfolio, of course.

You have to have this. Whether your display your work on your site, blog, social media accounts or wherever  . . . you need a portfolio that you can bundle up (either print or web) and send away to inform and entice people to . . .  contact you!

You will need high resolution photos (at least 300 dpi) for print. This includes interviews that might be done on you, advertisements, press releases, gallery interviews, and materials promotion. You will need 72 dpi for web promotion. Provide contact info within the portfolio. Your portfolio contains only the BEST selections of your work and displays a good variety to showcase your skills.

Hand ‘em a card.

I’d recommend two types of cards. The all essential business card and a postcard or brochure. Having a business card goes without saying but make it professional and a card of quality. It’s your handshake. Your signature. Do not have your nephew’s friend design them for you! Get these done by a professional designer and have them printed on quality paper.

The postcard or brochure serves another purpose. It carries a bit of a bigger bang than a business card, displays some of your work and is a ‘leave behind’. It is portable and you can bring these with you whenever you step out. Coupled with your beautiful business card, these two documents should make a powerful and lasting statement about you and your work.

There you have it. The five essential tools for marketing your work. Remember, these are tools. Use them to your advantage. Make them consistent in look and feel. Think about your style and your brand or online persona. Some of these tools require a bit of participation on your part, but it is your business, right? Updating your site requires your time and effort once a month. Creating business cards and postcards is done annually. Working your online profiles requires time but if structured correctly should take no more than a hour a day and can be done during the time when you check your email (because you check your email everyday, right?)

Marketing is about engagement. It’s about conversation and relationship building and allows you to hook up with not only buyers and potential clients but it provides an opportunity to make friends, explain your process, network with other artists, gallery owners, and organization. Social media is NOT a bulletin board and is not about “mass” marketing. Create a sense of community or go find one where you fit in comfortably. Do the work and good things will come back to you.

Would you like to know more about marketing and PR for the arts? Contact me, I’ll hook you up.

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