Art Marketing Boot Camp™: How Art Businesses Die

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April 16, 2017

Comments

Anita Ronning

Thanks for your advice & encouragement. Also thanks for all the advice & great experiences from the PAC in Tucson, the first I attended. 4 of us signed up to again attend this year. All year we have quoted Lee Milteer, as well as you (Eric) and other artists. Also, still following your lead & painted in Glacier National Park last summer. Also attended paint-outs with Montana Professional Artists association & Montana Painter's Alliance. Plus has Exhibit rooms during Russell week in March. Also was accepted into juried show. Yesterday 2of us changed out our exhibit at a local gourmet coffee shop. Need any advocates for being 62 & 72 years young and having art careers? Let us know! See you in San Diego next week.
Yours for another great convention! (Notice all the exclamation marks?)
Anita Ronning, Marcia Ballowe, Sharon Weaver, Charlotte McDavid

Theresa Grillo Laird

What needs to be done to arrive at "right message" and "right list"? I gather names from people who enter my tent at festivals or wherever else I might show. Is right message simply a matter of experimentation to see what works? Thanks!

Theresa Grillo Laird

Great suggestions Eric! I'm already employing some of them, but haven't been re-contacting my best prospects often enough. 6 newsletters a year and some postcards aren't cutting it. I'll be working on that thoughtful strategy.

Eric Rhoads

I'm not suggesting borrowing nor am I suggesting you have to spend any money.

I'm suggesting you can be visible to the extent you can afford to be. An artist who has zero money can still put in the time to make things happen.

For instance their is PAID media and there is FREE or UNPAID media. Press Releases are free media if they get published... local newspapers or tv or radio. Social media can be free media (though they only distribute 7% of your posts and they may not be going to buyers). Yet is doing something.

You can pick up the phone and invite people to a show, an event, even a website.

Mail can be inexpensive. You can print it on your printer and mail to the extent you can afford to. I'd rather see repetition to 10 or 20 prospects 20 times a year than nothing at all. Probably would cost you $50 a mailing. Maybe less, and you can generate a lot of business that way IF your message is right and IF you have developed the right list. You can also work the gallery angle for free in order to get them to pick you up.

It simply requires creativity. Money does not solve all problems. Often people with money lack the creativity needed to promote themselves properly.


Jeffrey L. Neumann

One of your best, Eric. This article has lots of spot-on information on why and how we all need to keep on keepin' on. As a working artist and a gallery owner, your sage words about customer attrition really hit home with me.

Eric Rhoads

Theresa,

Good observation.

You probably won't like the answer. As artists, if we plan to sell art than we are in business. In business, we typically have to find the means to do what is necessary to build our business, including marketing. It's true it takes $ to make $.

But there is a ramp up step. Few people are in a position to do the ultimate marketing from day one. When I was building my business I had to make a sale and keep part of the money from that sale to do the other things I needed to do... like marketing or hiring help... or paying the light bills or rent. I had to do what I could gradually.

The reality we all face is that we can only do what we can do. It requires a thoughtful strategy. Though there is no better way to increase sales than a comprehensive marketing and advertising plan, most of us start out small... maybe with a simple postcard or email campaign to keep costs low. As those things help make sales, next time you add a little more, and a little more... till the point where you have all the sales you can handle or all you need. Then you have to keep it alive (if you're out of sight people tend to forget you quickly).

Time is often a substitute for money. For instance you can put in your time to do your own mailings or notes to clients or newsletter or list-building and can invent ways to be frequently in front of buyers or potential customers.

What you're asking is not unusual. But to make progress you have to do something. Its pretty rare that things just fall into place... usually it's because someone is working very hard at helping things fall in place.

Hope this helps.

Theresa Grillo Laird

This comment is a bit off the point, but reading between the lines I see that keeping your work in front of people and advertising are important. What if you don't have a budget for advertising? If someone has already cut their daily expenses to the bone, borrowing more to advertise, enter shows, go to events, buy courses etc, and hoping it will pay off isn't realistic. I've yet to see a plan for success that starts with little or no financial resources, but I know that plenty of artists face that predicament. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

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