Marketing is a businessman’s game. Concepts such as ad spend, buyer personas, and ROI are for people with the word “guru” in their Twitter bio. Artists prefer to live in the land of creation, where expression reigns supreme. The shift to creating for profit can often feel like selling out. Below are a few tips to ease the pain of marketing for artists:
Find Your People
Artists tend to see the world through a unique lens. As a result, finding a space for their particular brand of awesome can take years. If just finding a path is a struggle, finding buyers is a nightmare. The easiest place to start is with your peers. Find out what they like about your work, what they don’t and most importantly, why. Research successful artists in your genre. Review what they have done right and where you think you could improve. Learn about trends and how your work fits with these trends (or doesn’t). Use this information to find the people you should target. The more niche, the better. Your work is not one size fits all. Speak to those who will appreciate what you do the most.
Listen To Your Inner Voice
Creatives are notoriously tough critics when it comes to their work. While this can foster some phenomenal results, artists are warned to ignore that little voice. However, when it comes to marketing and selling art, this voice is crucial. Pay attention when it questions an opportunity that seems great but feels wrong. Listen when it tells you a particular marketing strategy is unethical. Once you start compromising your integrity, it is hard to get it back. Remember it is okay to turn down a gig that simply does not feel right. That voice has been with you for years. Let it be useful for once.
Keep Your Authenticity
One of the most troubling aspects of selling your work for profit is losing your authenticity. This is particularly crippling for artists who often pour their heart and soul into their work. To be given a tidy checklist on how to be more palpable to the masses is more than a bit insulting. How do you maintain your integrity as an artist if you are focused on what gets you the most profit? Here’s the thing-while learning how to package yourself is important, it should still be you. The goal is not to appeal to as many people as possible. It is to appeal to the right kind of people who love you and your work. The world is full of trendy brands trying to make a quick buck. People are over that, exhausted with it. The more authentic individuals twho embrace their inner weird. So be that weirdo the world needs.
Know Your Worth
Most creatives LOVE what they do. They get excited by a new set of paints or a fresh font set. And while this passion is what drives them to create, it cannot feed, house or clothe them. And as industries search for ways to stand out in an over-saturated world, creativity is a sought-after commodity. So if industries need that artsy brain of yours, why undercharge for your services just because you love what you do? Plenty of people love what they do, but when it comes to artistic pursuits, getting paid suddenly becomes optional. Do not fall for this trap. Sure, some people will low ball you, attempting to exchange “experience” for your hard work. Those are not the people who deserve your work. Save your blood, sweat, and tears for those who know the value of good creativity. You truly are worth it.
Marketing for artists can be difficult. With so many different theories and strategies, identifying what is best is often overwhelming. First, accept there are hundreds of ways to produce the same result. Then, get comfortable with testing, failing, and testing again. Similar to your art, your marketing plan is a work in progress. A strategy that compliments virtually any plan is using promotional products. Check out our $3 or Less collection for low-cost swag begging for your creativity.