As a copywriter, I am an introverted, sensitive, creative person, who works with many clients who are also introverted, sensitive and creative.
And folks like us sometimes have a hard time marketing and selling our work. Not everyone fits this profile, but the thing that unites most of the people I’ve worked with over the last few years is that they do not feel entirely comfortable promoting themselves.
I get it, because I feel exactly the same.
But you still need to promote yourself if you want to make sales and create a lasting creative career that pays the bills, right? Marketing and selling is a necessary part of doing business, whether you enjoy doing it or not.
Here’s to the day when we all become so successful we can hire people to do all the stuff we consider unpleasant, so we can stay in our creative caves and make stuff. Until that day, though, we’ve got to recognize that the “build it and they will come” approach usually only works in the land of unicorns and rainbows.
Back in the real world, we have to create our own opportunities.
And what I’ve found is that creating a robust presence online is the best way to build buzz around your work and “promote” yourself without feeling lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut, as we say here in the dirty South.
So with that, I’d like to share four resources I often share with my clients when they tell me how challenging they find it to market themselves as artists.
In these four articles, you should be able to find a slew of great ideas for building buzz around your work in a way that feels authentic and doable.
I figured a good place to start with this would be right here on the Art Storefronts blog.
Check this one out to learn how to avoid thinking like a “caveman” art seller and start building your sales funnel like a “romantic” – the artist that successfully cultivates leads into customers.
Tons of self-promotion tactics you can implement today to start building your audience. A must-read if you’re unsure what to email your audience.
In this article on Smart Blogger, writer Leanne Regalla poses the question, “For today’s artist, building a tribe is non-negotiable. But how?”
She makes a convincing argument about blogging’s effectiveness for selling creative products and services, and shares many inspiring examples of creatives who have done exactly that, from visual artists and illustrators; to musicians, writers, and actors; to music producers, filmmakers and other creatives.
I counted nine artists among her examples, but all 49 of the creatives she mentions found a way to build a robust audience for their work using blogging, lessons that can be applied and tweaked to most any kind of creative endeavor, fine art included.
In this piece, poet, coach and creative entrepreneur Mark McGuinness lays out the built-in advantages creatives have when it comes to marketing online, and he shares several examples of creatives from a variety of fields who are doing so, including several artists.
My favorite quote from the article is scarily similar to something I’ve said to clients on several occasions: “Probably the biggest hurdle for many creative people is the very idea of putting yourself out there and selling things. You might worry that it feels like ‘selling out’. Or that it’s just plain scary. I’m afraid I can’t sugarcoat this bit: if you want to earn a living from your creative work, you need to learn how to sell.”
And that’s the truth. But selling doesn’t have to be scary when you do it the way McGuinness recommends.
I particularly love this article because of its focus on something I talk about a lot on my own blog and in my weekly newsletter, and in my posts here on the ASF blog as well: the necessity of differentiating yourself online if you want to find your ideal clients and customers and achieve success as an artist/creative business builder.
As the authors (successful creative business builders themselves) point out, one very effective and easy-to-implement way to do this is to share your story, and they outline their 5 element formula for sharing a captivating story that engages likely buyers.
And best of all, they include great real world examples of how it’s done.
And there you have it. Within these four articles you’ll find dozens of great ideas for authentically marketing, selling and building an audience for your art business, in a way that doesn’t feel salesy, overly promotional, or uncomfortable.
Kimberly Houston is an AWAI (American Writers & Artists, Inc.) trained copywriter who specializes in helping creative pros rise above the online fray with personality-driven web copy and web marketing.
For more on her services, check out her website.