(Brought to you by our friends at Art Business Advice)
For artists and art galleries, a recession is often a scary time. But economic downturns can still provide great opportunities. The trick is to focus on your marketing and business goals, now, while you have extra time. On the business side of things, you can update your website, create postcards, photograph images, update your resume, produce an online portfolio, re-organize your studio, etc. And, when it comes to marketing, you may actually find it easier to get your message across than before. Everyone has the money (and bravery) to seek out clients in good times—which often creates an atmosphere of extreme competition. Now is the time to reach out to your customers and secure your success for the future.
Here are some easy and cost effective ways to market your art now:
1) Build Your Client Database
I can’t express how important it is to build a powerful email and mail database. Get all of those business cards you have in a pile on to your computer—especially those with email addresses—and spend one day each week adding new contacts to your database. Treat that database like gold and back it up often. Email is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to market a visual medium like art—so use it!!!
2) Submit Articles Online
Everyone knows about the internet, but not everyone knows the free ways to get exposure on the internet. You can write an article about your art, your process, your niche—anything interesting or newsworthy about your art—and submit it to one of the many sites that accept them. At the end of every article include one succinct paragraph about yourself, your art business and a link to your website.
Each site has its own guidelines on how the articles are to be written and submitted, so make sure to follow them. Submitting articles online will help establish you as a leader in your industry, as long as the information you share is helpful and not self-promoting
3) Take Care of Your Best Asset—Previous Collectors
Client retention is the best form of marketing there is. In my experience, finding a new art buyer is 100 times harder than selling your work to existing clients. Treat anyone who has bought art from you like they are a cherished relative. Send them a Christmas card which features your art. Host a “Client Appreciation Night” in your studio or home. Stay in touch with them and build your relationship into a solid friendship. Their referrals and future purchases are your very best asset.
4) Utilize Social Media
Set up accounts on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social networking sites give you the opportunity to share information about your art, connect with other artists and market your work online.
5) Start A Blog
But don’t just start one—update it often with new work and thoughts about your process of creating. Remember our suggestion from last week, “Content Is King.”.
6) Create A Newsletter
Whereas a blog enables your clients and followers to connect with your daily and weekly thoughts and creations, a newsletter enables them to read about new series and directions your work is taking, stay in touch with your upcoming exhibition schedule and connect with you on a deeper level.
7) Consider Licensing Your Art
Not all artists will want to go this route, but doing so will get you exposure and possibly a small, but steady income.
8) Send Out Press Releases
Press releases can be a very effective way to bring attention to your art. If you’re doing something that impacts the community then write a press release about it. If you hire someone to do it for you, make sure they know how to write and distribute it. Always keep your topic community oriented. Nobody wants to read a self-serving piece that just promotes your business. Personally, I like www.fineartamerica.com for press releases. It is free and fairly easy and art related. It also gets picked up readily by Google.
Here are five other PR websites you could use, although there are many more as well:
There are also a few paid services that will submit your press release to specific regions or trade publications. It is worth the cost if it is an important release, and in my opinion, PRNEWSWIRE and BUSINESS WIRE are the best if you are going to pay:
9) Consider New Avenues for Selling Your Art
Artist Co-Ops, Cultural Centers, Local Libraries…even Etsy are just a few of the great exhibition and marketing opportunities artists typically overlook. We can get so focused on what we have done in the past, that we lose sight completely of new opportunities that are right before us.
10) Create A New Body of Work
If your current body of work isn’t selling, take this time to open yourself up to new ideas and let the creative juices flow. Keep marketing your current body of work, but play around with new ideas, as well.