Overcoming Objectives to Promoting Your Work
"Build it and they will come" sounds great, doesn't it? Put your artwork in a gallery and boom! Sold! It's a lovely fantasy. If only life were that easy.
It's pretty safe to make this generalization: artists hate to do marketing. Here's what we say:
"I'd rather be in the studio." Who wouldn't?
"I don't have time." Yes, you do.
"I am not technically inclined." Not necessary.
"Marketing is expensive." It can be, or it doesn't have to be.
Let's address each of these impediments to doing marketing.
"I'd rather be in the studio."
If you're an artist, you probably would rather be in the studio than pretty much anything else. But you have a life. In fact, you probably have another job, because you don't sell enough art to pay all the bills. If you sold more, you might be able to be a full-time artist and, sure enough, that is HARD. But even if you only make enough from your art to pay for a fancy trip every year, or a new car now and again, wouldn't that be great? Selling more art pays for your hobby/supplemental income/art job and, to sell more, you need some marketing. Stuff doesn't sell itself.
"I don't have time."
Can you carve out 10 minutes a day for marketing your art? 30 minutes? An hour once a week? Maybe the time you spend on Facebook, looking at funny cat videos (guilty here) or reading political rants could be redirected to promoting your art. How much time marketing takes depends on what types of marketing you choose to do, and how labor-intensive each marketing method is.
"I'm not technically inclined."
Let's face it, much of life takes place in the digital world today, advertising most especially. You don't have to be Bill Gates to do online marketing (social media, a decent website, etc.) but you should have at least a comfortable acquaintance with your computer, tablet, and/or smart phone. With the ability to work a little bit with images (sizing, cropping and so on) and knowing how to upload those images to your website, Facebook, and Instagram, you're already pretty far down the pike (and farther than artists who don't promote themselves).
"Marketing is expensive."
First ask yourself, what is the cost of not marketing? Lost opportunities are incalculable, but it's a no-brainer that no investment in marketing means fewer sales. There are many ways of marketing that carry no out-of-pocket cost but do cost in terms of time. There are other ways of marketing that cost something; how much you can afford to spend depends on what you can expect to receive in return.
We will cover some of the more cost-efficient ways of marketing your artwork in the next installment of this blog. In the meantime, be thinking of how much you want to sell your artwork, and why.
Happy (and successful) creating!
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