The Lucky Thirteen C’s (Components) for Promoting, Marketing and Selling Your Artwork

One of the best things I have come across to help business owners to understand the differences between promoting, marketing and selling is the following quote from an unknown author.

“If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,” that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.”

In a nutshell that should give you a clear visual description of the important aspects of being in business and making a success of it. To consider promotion, marketing and selling all at once is a tall order. However, I have developed a checklist approach that I call, The Lucky Thirteen C’s (Components) for Promoting, Marketing and Selling Your Artwork.

1) Career Commitment

It is important with any career, but especially crucial for a professional artist, to achieve a level of commitment and purpose that supersedes most all the other aspects of his or her life. Making an all out commitment to having your sole income be derived from producing and selling artwork is a risk, much like any other business. However, it is a risk that you must be willing to take on with eyes wide open and with some minimal financial reserves to see you through the start up phase of your business.

2) Creative Spirit

It should probably go without saying that an artist needs to be a creative, open-minded individual who has a sense of beauty and the stamina to sustain a life of ups and down and good times and bad times. Not all artists can ride the wave of success to the degree they desire. Creative spirits must know themselves well and be in touch with their inner child who delights in the wonderful things life has to offer.

3) Character Development

People perceive a person’s character through the actions and deeds of that person. If a person demonstrates that he or she is honest, forthright, and caring, the vast majority of people will be won over. Most people are in tune with who has integrity in business dealings and who does not. Don’t use deceptive tactics or hidden agendas in the business relationships that you develop, or you will soon find yourself standing alone.

4) Confidence

There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. There can be a fine line between the two. It would be worth your while to have someone be brutally honest with you when you cross that line from confidence to arrogance. Many times a person that is more quiet and shy comes off as arrogant because he or she is not the demonstrative type. People may take that more inward person the wrong way. Work on being able to confidently talk about your work in a professional manner.

5) Communicate

Communication skills are a premium in any business. Being able to address small or large groups of people to tell a story about your art techniques or a specific piece of artwork is a skill that is so valuable. People want to hear about what inspired your creative spirit and what the significance of certain symbols are. They also will know if you are genuine or are just saying things to impress them. Brush up on your skills and be sincere in your dealings with people. Remember that communication is two-way, and you must also be an active, attentive listener.

6) Create a Website

Yes, it is the technology age. A few years ago people were not asking, “Do you have a website? What’s the address?” A web presence is becoming more and more important. You could use some of the basic website builders and do your own. However, a better idea might be to leave it to the professionals, providing you have the resources to make that happen.

7) Community Involvement

Getting involved in your community and local events may not be as applicable to artists who have already achieved a national level, but it is a must for local artists who are looking to expand their following. There are many ways to become involved, and there are many organizations that could use help or donations of any kind. Get your name out there, and at the same time feel good about what you are contributing to your hometown.

8) Collect Contacts

As a person goes through life there are a myriad of ways to meet people. If you are looking to meet people who are potential customers, you must be at events that art buyers attend. This may not be an event where you are able to directly sell something on the spot, but you can certainly meet people who may be potential buyers. Events such as Chamber of Commerce Mixers is an example of one of many opportunities to establish business relationships.

9) Consider Commissions

Many artists are vehemently opposed to doing commissions. Some feel that a commissioned work may have too many strings attached and may stifle the creative spirit. Others welcome working with an individual customer who has specific needs for such things as decorating purposes. It’s one of those things that can be labeled, “Take or Leave It.” But think about the cost in the long run.

10) Charitable

Throughout a community there are numerous fund-raisers always going on that requires solicitations of donations for this cause and that. Most are very deserving and are very needy. One way of contributing to the community and also a good way to get your name out in the public eye is to be an eager contributor to it. If you decide to donate a piece of artwork, don’t give them something that you consider a reject. Offer them a substantial piece that will give you the attention you deserve.

11) Converse with Consultants

Talking with a professional consultant or art agent may be just what you need to help with promotions and public relations. The cost of contracting this kind of assistance could more than pay for itself in the long run. Make sure any relationships you establish with a consultant are based on his past performance and on a like-minded plan on which you can both agree.

12) Consistent Pricing

The kiss of death for any artist might come about if you are not aware of inconsistencies in your pricing structure. Buyers do notice those kinds of things. Everything that you put up for sale should be kept in a log with specific descriptions that can be used for a reference in pricing future pieces. Yes, it is okay if your prices go up, but there should not be significant discrepancies in what appear to be like items that are selling at the same time.

13) Customer Satisfaction

Always follow up on sales. You don’t want an unhappy buyer bad-mouthing your work or your sales pitch. If someone isn’t happy with their purchase, think about the damage that you can cause by digging your heals in. Be liberal with your thinking in terms of returns or trades. You want happy customers because they could be return customers. Never forget that unhappy customers have big mouths.

There are certainly more than “The Lucky Thirteen Components…,” but this will give you some basics for consideration as you think about promotion, marketing and selling. Remember the rule of finding out what your customers want, and you will be on the right track by following that lead.

Direct Marketing Examples, a Polite Way to Use Direct Marketing

What are some direct marketing examples? Sending e-mail off lists, cold calling, or inviting everyone you know to a party to promote a product would be direct marketing examples. Direct marketing is an approach to marketing that is at times controversial. What is direct marketing? Simply put, it is presenting a product directly to the consumer. The reason that this is not the favorite approach to presenting products is because it can often include lists of names being sold and the consumer getting mail that they do not want. No one wants hordes of junk mail, or e-mail, offering products that they are not interested in. But, there is a polite way to execute a direct marketing approach. Lets talk about one example.

Offer People Free Products. People want to know that what your offering is worth their time and money. If you offer them something of value for free they will get a good look at you and your product without feeling like you are trapping them into a quick sale which would equal a quick loss of their money.

What kinds of free products? It depends what your business is and what you are trying to sell. Good things to offer free when internet marketing are e-books or reports with tips on whatever subject you are an expert on. If you have a shop, do a giveaway of something small. The number one thing to do when giving away a free product is to make sure you are giving away something of worth. When You do this, they will trust you and come back to see what else you have to offer. Which bring us to the next point. 

What do you get in return for offering them this free product? In order for them to get your free product they have to give you their name and e-mail. This works especially well when direct marketing online.You now have their e-mail address and they have tried your free product . You can continue to offer them more products and they will come back because you gave them something of value for free! Now you are direct marketing.

Now what you have done is created a list of people who like you, your products, and will open your e-mails. You are no longer a direct marketer who is marketing to a cold market, but you are creating a warm market for yourself, online. 

What Are The Main Problems For Affiliate Marketers?

What’s at stake for affiliate marketers is the ability to work for themselves, quit their jobs and earn, potentially, a huge amount of money. But this all doesn’t come easily. There’s a few problems which present themselves to affiliates who are serious about making a full-time living from the internet.

One of the first of these is knowing who to trust. There’s many so-called get rich quick schemes, which surprisingly enough, don’t get you rich quick. Quite the contrary, they quickly remove your cash. The programs which offer quick riches don’t last long. But they’re a good source of income for their owners!

The next problems you’ll definitely face if you’re starting an internet business using affiliate marketing is that of belief. All your friends and family are likely to discredit it as an impossible dream. There a couple of reasons why they’ll do this. One is that most people shun a new idea like the plague. The other is that, if it’s possible to earn money from the internet, they face the possible repercussions of not having taken any action. Facing the fact that they would also have to do something if it were true, is not so easy.

Most people would rather complain about their own situation, rather than taking action, even if they are not happy. The general consensus is that you need to work in a job in order to be a relevant member of society. Swimming against the tide can be tiring too. If your friends and family aren’t behind you, it’s even more difficult, even if they don’t actually say anything outright, there’s a subtle dissuasion tactic going on and they may secretly hope you’ll fail. Then they can be right in the end!

If all this isn’t enough to dissuade your from building your own internet business, there’s the technical aspect of building a legitimate online business. This requires patience and trust. If you don’t have both of these, you’ll probably give up too early. You can’t expect to suddenly be making money based on a little work. It takes time and effort. You don’t ‘deserve’ anything in terms of results until you’ve actually earned it! So an entitlement attitude can work against you. This is especially true if you’re coming from an employee mindset.

If you’ve been an employee, but not a business owner, it’s difficult to change your focus from that of a ‘worker bee’. Workers in a job role get paid no matter what they accomplish. Owners of a business get nothing unless they can make it work. It’s a performance related pay, rather than a monthly wage.

Shiny object syndrome was another barrier to my success in the early days too. There’s so many courses offering instant results out there, why would you stick with something which takes time? Because it’s more genuine than the shiny new one which promises but never delivers!

I jumped around many times from course to course, following to the letter the instructions to build an income online. Time after time I was disappointed. I got accounts shut down, my results dropped off Google, my products didn’t sell and I wanted to throw my laptop through the window on countless occasions.

These are just a few of the problems you’ll face as an affiliate marketer. Depending on the route you take, you might also be limited by funds too. I found many cheaper courses back when I had huge debt and not a penny to my name. I concentrated on free tactics. They were much slower than paid advertising and I was always frustrated by my results. If I had found a good mentor back then, I would have saved a whole heap of time.

Not knowing which direction to paddle as an affiliate marketer is probably the biggest challenge. I must had paddled in the wrong direction for years. I tried everything. Over time though, and if you stick with it for long enough, you’ll start seeing some results. They won’t be huge, but they are the light at the end of the tunnel.

Watch out for the results. One you see them, you can back track to what you did to achieve them. Then, concentrate on those activities and drop the others which produce nothing.

It’s a long road to affiliate marketing success. I haven’t arrived yet but I’m much further along than I was. Finding the right people and training is probably the best tip I can give. Without the right direction, you are aimless as an affiliate and you’ll probably give up, thinking that ‘it’ doesn’t work.

But with the right attitude, direction and guidance, you can make affiliate marketing work for you and create a full-time income from it. Keep focusing on your “why?”

My “why” kept me going through all the problems I found in my journey as an affiliate marketer. Nowhere else can you earn the kind of money affiliates earn and have a lifestyle which you can choose. But it definitely isn’t easy. If you’re looking for the ‘quick buck’, I wouldn’t bother with affiliate marketing!

But it can work if you do and if you’re prepared to trust the process and keep going for the duration. Good luck!