Unfortunately the words Artist’s Marketing Plan just don’t roll off the tongue of most artists and creatives that I know.
It’s usually the subject that gets buried deep in the bowels of ‘must do that one day’… However, by following not these strategies you are losing out on building the Art Business of your dreams.
- Yes, it’s going to be confusing to start with. (Did you get in a car and just drive it?).
- Yes, you’ll need to put in some serious hours and effort.
- Yes, you might encounter challenges along the way.
But know this. Once you’ve mastered your own Artists Marketing Plan, you’ll never look back. You can truly build any type of Art Business you can dream up or design. Live the life you have always wanted and be happy and fulfilled every day.
It all starts with having an Artists Business Plan and an Artists Marketing Plan.
Let’s dive in the second one here today.
How To Create Your Own Artists Marketing Plan To Sell More Work:
One: Knowing Your Products and Services
The very first thing you have to establish is exactly what you are selling. This may sound obvious but you’ve no idea how many artists I meet who simply haven’t thought through their products properly. So how on earth can you begin to put together your Artists Marketing Plan?
Do you offer only physical or digital products? Or just services, such as Workshops and Events. Or perhaps you have a mix of both, so you can keep your creativity flowing. (Just be careful not to be a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’).
Ideally, you want to offer a range of items at various different price-points; so that everyone can access your goodies.
What are the features, benefits and higher benefits of what you are selling? You’ll need to define this and get really clear before you can start to market things.
Two: Who Are Your Ideal Target Audience?
This has got to be the NUMBER ONE MISTAKE all artists make when building their Art Business. Not taking the time to research out exactly who will buy their art or attend their workshops.
If you don’t invest in working this piece out, then we had better hope you have a massive Marketing Budget. Or thousands of hours of time. Without this information, you will be ‘throwing darts in the dark’ and doing what I call ‘marketing splatter’ hoping something, somewhere sticks.
With no clear message, no clear audience to direct this too, you will struggle to make any sales yourself.
Get very clear of your audience by profiling them with all the details you can think of. If you are just starting out, then you’ll likely need to make it all up. But once you’ve made some sales you can think about your favourite current customer and start by profiling them.
Three: What’s Your Pricing Strategy?
This is also a section that most artists avoid.
Money…pricing…value…numbers. Is this an area that scares you a little bit? Not to worry, it’s super common and also pretty simple to combat.
You’ll need to be super clear what your prices are if you are going to work out your business numbers; so just start somewhere.
With your Artists Marketing Plan, you’ll need to easily work out how many products or services you need to sell in any one month or quarter (I prefer to work in 4 quarters); so that you have a clear goal or target to move towards.
Here are a couple of example pricing strategies:
Example: Product pricing:
- Cards $5 – $10.00
- Prints $50 – $250
- Small Canvas: $350 – $1,500
- Larger Canvas $1,500 – $3,500
Example: Services pricing:
- Taster workshop $0
- Mini-workshop $97
- Half-day workshop $147
- Full day $247
- Retreat $997
- 1-2-1 work $1,997++
Now a few examples to reach a monthly turnover target of $2,000, you will need to sell:
- 200 x $10 art cards
- 20 x $100 workshop
- 4 x $500 small artwork
- 2 x $1,000 medium artwork
From here you want to work out for example how many people need to find out about you, express an interest, and then buy…THIS is your Magic Sauce folks. (I mostly cover this in detail during my workshops and courses).
Four: What’s Your Business Model?
As an artist, you are more than likely going to fit into one of these main business model categories. So be very clear what you are offering and how you work. Don’t opt to sell your work via Etsy if you hate sitting on a computer or marketing online…
Art Business Model Examples:
- Sell original artwork through a third-party gallery and/or agent.
- Sell your own original artwork via open studio, art fairs and group or solo shows.
- Sell smaller items via physical craft fairs.
- Sell smaller items via online platforms such as Etsy or Social Media.
- Create and run physical workshops either at your own location or outside venues.
- Create your own online training programs, courses, and/or membership.
- Offer your services for public or corporate art projects.
- Create your own items for licensing etc.
- Freelance artist and creative work, such as illustration etc.
I think I’ve covered the majority of you. And yes there will always be businesses that are built on 50/50 or 80/20 of different business models. But as a whole, it will make things simple for you if you choose one and stick to it.
Five: What’s Your 12-Month Turnover Goal?
Ok so I’ve covered some of the core things you will need for your Artists Marketing Plan and it all starts with setting your annual Turnover Goal. That’s not your profit (the bit that’s left after all expenses etc…), that’s the total amount you want to generate in sales this year.
This may start with the amount you need to cover your living costs. Take this monthly figure and double it, then times by 12 and this is a great start.
I like to make sure my annual Turnover Goal is a stretch enough that I’m excited about it; mixed with a sense that it’s also achievable, even if I don’t know HOW right now.
Six: What’s Your List Building Strategy?
I think since the rise of Social Media, people have focussed on how many followers they have, rather than building a solid business. I built my original art business by growing a good-sized mailing list and loved doing the ‘mail merge’ on Word; printing and stuffing envelopes with my Private Viewing invitations…
You must realise that you don’t own or control Social Media. If Facebook closed its’ doors tomorrow, it’s irrelevant how many Page Fans you have. You’ll be left with nothing. So, instead you need to direct your focus on taking your followers off Social Media and onto a ‘permission-based’ list.
The size of your Mailing List = the size of your Art Sales = The size of your Art Business.
Imagine for a moment if you have 1,000 interested people on your list. You have a show or workshop coming up, and you let these people know via email. Versus posting your event out on Social Media where there is a mixture of people who may or may not be interested.
Do you see the difference?
Then you will want to encourage your followers to join your VIP Mailing List, or to Opt-in to receive your Free Guide etc
Seven: Your Key On-Going Marketing Strategies
These are the core strategies you use every day, or a week, to attract your ideal customers, via your Artists Marketing Plan.
This is pretty simple; just choose the 1 – 3 strategies that work best for your business.
- Free Events
- Social Media
- Live Video
Then here’s your simple 4-step action plan:
WHAT: List out your chosen strategies in your plan.
WHEN: Diarise how often you will do these.
WHY: Be clear of your purpose and your core marketing message.
WHO: Decide on who will do all this; will it be you as you are starting out, or can you Outsource.
What’s the most important thing with this? CONSISTENCY.
Make sure you are doing what you said, and when you committed to doing it. For example: Daily posts on Instagram; weekly email to your list, monthly networking events…
Eight: Campaign Marketing Strategies To Sell Your Work
This is where you actually plan out when and how you will sell your products and/or services. Let’s be clear, this is different from your On-going Marketing.
Let’s start with the Big Picture:
Working in quarters is by far the easiest way to do things as an artist, so then I recommend buying or making a Year Planner and fully filling this out.
Next, take a blank piece of paper and fold into 4. Yes, it’s that simple. Write out the 4 quarters, and even the months roughly at the top.
Then decide what will be your main SALES FOCUS for that quarter.
- Group or Solo Show.
- Art Workshop or Course.
- Online Shop/Product launch.
Then highlight these on your planner. Marking 6-8 weeks before the date of each event. This is your Campaign Marketing window; where you are allowed to be ‘salesy’ as you are leading up to something people can buy. Whereas with your regular on-going marketing, I prefer to focus on adding value and not offering things for sale.
TIP: You may well choose DIFFERENT strategies for this section of your Artists Marketing Plan.
Nine: Pulling It Together With Great Content
So now you have most of your plan mapped out; you know where you are going and have a path to take you there.
The things that hold all of this together is your Content. What will you be sharing; what images, what words, and how does this all impact the results that you will get?
This is an enormous topic, so I want to share just one piece of it to help you when you are focused on your Campaign Marketing and are creating a Poster, Flyer, Ad etc…
This is a solid marketing basic: The A.I.D.A. Principle, and it goes like this:
A – Attention (Grab their Attention with a Headline)
I – Interest (Spark their interest with a sub-headline or image)
D – Desire (Use bullets to high-light the hot items)
A – Action (Always have an EASY Call To Action, like an email/text/easy url).
One big mistake that artists make during this Campaign Marketing phase is: Not having a clear Call To Action. ‘Asking for the sale’.
Why is this? I hope I have covered most of the reasons above; from pricing to distinguishing between on-going marketing (where you are adding value not selling), and campaign marketing (where it’s perfectly ok and necessary to do this), to having a clear FOCUS for your year. Follow my steps and you will have a simple working Artists Marketing Plan that you can take action on every day.