Do you cringe at the thought of promoting your own artwork? Perhaps you feel that marketing your work means marketing yourself? Below is my no-jazz-hands-needed guide to self promotion for all solo creatives and hobbyist artists & it's MUCH, MUCH easier than you think...
Marketing Your Art' For Artists & Solo Creatives That Struggle With Self-Promotion. Part 1.
(5 min video at the bottom of post)
So, you don't feel comfortable promoting your own artwork? Toes curl at the thought of sharing, explaining, showing & inviting others to view your offerings? I understand fully. Sadly, this state of mind rather feeds the 'Starving Artist' scenario that much of society loves to label us with. Paint your pictures, make your shoes, craft your furniture and the money will follow - well yes, hmmm, maybe and no, very probably, it won't. Self Promotion is necessary People, yet it needn't be awful. Read on.
Early Years For me.
Pre Internet. The sole route to my clients for me was making invitations and posters to a show I was either holding or part of. I remember well hand writing over 200 envelopes which held a photocopy or printed out invitation in it. With no budget for advertising or lush colour posters, my option was to invite my clients and send out to the 200 people whose names and addresses I had gathered up. The PRIVATE VIEW was the all important thing then. The PV was essentially my invite to a gathering which involved FREE booze, normally warm and poured into plastic glasses. My route to selling my paintings & drawings was essentially down to that evening's activity - the party. The PV was (and still is) the most important part of any show, way more than the following opening days. I invited my clients - they came, sometimes purchased & we all got tipsy. Very often our private view evenings migrated into huge parties that went on way too much longer than they should have. I would wake the next morning with a thumping headache, all the clearing up to do and considerably richer than 24hr previously. That was marketing for me, right there.
& then came the internet.
Choose your places to show your work and keep them bubbling.
Your own website, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and there more, many more suitable places for you to show your work. The trick is not to get too inundated with finding your places, just pick two and make a start - perhaps use just one platform (facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc,) if that makes you feel more comfortable. I use my own website and facebook as my two main places and try to keep a Tweet or two going daily along with a daily photograph from my studio on instagram. Having chosen my primary spaces (my website and facebook) look at which might be best for you. It's not scary and the main thing is that you learn as you go along, just make a start.
A couple of reasons that I to use my own website:
- that I hope people may be encouraged to have a look around particularly at my own artwork for sale
- I can share all my content from there easily.
- When I see my analytics (number visitors) I feel encouraged to carry on as it's a great feeling to watch them climb.
Choose your two places. Has your own website been languishing in the lost jungle of the Amazon Rainforests for the past couple of years? No problem, it can be picked up, dusted off and shown the love, easy-peasy. Have a Twitter account or Facebook but lost the passwords? No problem. Reactivate and move on. Google is your friend here dear reader - you can google pretty much ANYTHING these days so get in there and type up 'how to set a new password for Twitter', ask and it will appear. Take a couple of minutes out and follow the instructions - this is all learning and part of your own CPD as an artist (Continual Professional Development) Give yourself the time to learn and in no time you will be flying. Keep a notebook handy and find the pause button on the video that you are watching - the beauty of learning from the web is that you can digest at your own speed.
You have your two places - for argument's sake, I'm going to say your own website and Twitter. Keep them bubbling. What I mean is add a little content to them, daily if you can, weekly is fine for your website, but Twitter, try adding a comment or a photo of your work at least once every two days. Remember the 'One Thing A Day' blogpost that I wrote? Posting can absolutely be one of your one-a-day here.
Self Promotion does not have to be about swinging from the rafters topless whilst displaying jazz hands! It's simply about sharing things that interest you. That's it, share the love you have for a particular artist, a piece of music or the photo you took that morning with your dog when the sun was coming up. Your shares will add up and soon people will find you rather than you having to introduce yourself.
I'll be writing more blogposts soon about 'Social Media Sweet Spots for Artists'. Until then, just make a start and ENJOY it. No one will laugh at you or accuse you of being a fraud - you are an artist, be it hobbyist or professional, and your core supporters - your family & friends - will enjoy seeing the things that make you tick.
Lately I've been getting some really great feedback from my comrades on Painters Online, which is a great website for artists, full of support for one another. The comments have been really helpful when writing my posts as I can see where I might be able to help my fellow solo creatives. If you have something that you are struggling with, write me a comment about it. I'm pretty sure that there are hundreds of others out there struggling too. Let me know how you get on and leave any questions in the Comments and I'll do my best to answer.
New work from my drawing board below, 'Sandpiper' Coming soon as an Signed Open Edition Print. Email me here to register your interest.