As the icon of the pop art movement, Andy Warhol, once said, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” The great success of his art career proves this quote to be true. You developed the fundamentals of the business of art in my previous article and continue building your art career by transforming from not only an artist, but also a marketer.
Marketing may seem like a dark, intimidating field. You have focused your time on mastering paint strokes, musical notes, or graceful dance steps rather than SEO, data collection, and market research. However, as an artist, your creative talent is easily transferred into creating a successful marketing plan.
To begin marketing your art career, you must understand what this business process entails. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutes, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” There are several steps to building and executing your marketing plan, including establishing your client base, drafting your story, creating your value, and executing your plan.
“Making a living off your art is more than creating art; you have to build an audience.” -Umberto Crenca, Visual Artist, Performance Artist, & Musician
In order to start marketing your work, you must establish a target audience. Your efforts should be directly created for one individual person, just as you would create a custom painting. Draw out your ideal customer profile and pretend as if you are speaking only to that person when creating marketing materials. You want to be exclusive to this audience as opposed to trying to please everyone.
“Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.” -Phil Kotlers, Marketing Author, Consultant, & Professor
Each purchase of your work is not about something physical. Your client is not purchasing a canvas or CD, but rather he is purchasing an escape from his daily life or a sense of emotion. The value of your art is the feeling, experience, memory, and feelings it brings to your client. What emotions inspire you and are communicated through your work? Once you have figured that out, communicate those emotions into your marketing materials and oral presentation to clients so they can be inspired too.
“Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell.” -Brian Eisenberg, Online Marketing Pioneer, Public Speaker, & Author
Stories are the most powerful way to capture your audience and build personal connection. They also strengthen the emotions and experiences your work is delivering. Communicate your passion, inspiration, struggles, and successes through your story. Give your audience a glimpse inside your daily life and the steps that go into creating each masterpiece. You want to provide the audience an even deeper connection to your work by weaving these stories in all your marketing – from social media messages to website themes.
“If you are willing to do something that might not work, you are closer to being an artist.” -Seth Godins, Marketing Author, Entrepreneur, and Public Speaker
While marketing takes strategic research and planning, it is ultimately a process of trial and error. The beauty of being an artist is having your niche and being unique. Do not be afraid of pushing the limits; try something different and risky. Leverage your creative talent to constantly brainstorm how you can reach, communicate, and nurture the relationships with your clients in an innovative way.
Marketing is the key to completing your artistic process. It takes you from the idea and execution to building your following and sharing your talent. Art is meant to be shared, so start building your marketing plan and spread your talent.