Ever heard of Kentucky Crafted? Man it seems you can’t throw a rock without hitting a jewelry maker, a scarf master, a painter, a wood craftsman, a metal sculptor and more around here. All you need to do is visit Louisville, KY’s Trolley Hop or visit Mellwood Art Center to get a tiny taste of how talented and diverse our city’s talent runs.
Many artists around Kentuckiana are trying to turn their passion from ‘expensive hobby’ into a full time profitable business. Like all business starters, while we’re good at one thing (perhaps making beautiful silver rings) we’re not necessarily good at other things like figuring out how to best present our artwork and get sales, let alone orders, in the door.
Ever since I helped brand and design Pamela Mattei’s DyeSigns by Pamela line of scarves, photographs and other color fabric art, I’ve run into many artists looking for help. Everyone is in a different place with different needs. If you’d like a short consultation to see if I can help you move to the next level, call me at (502) 718-3438 or send me an email!
For now, here are some basic ideas to help get things moving in the right direction:
1) Everything you do must have a Call to Action. That means your business cards, website, brochure, booth, everything needs to have a goal and you need to make that goal extremely prevalent and easy for the viewer to accomplish.
- Your business card might want people to sign up for a free newsletter so they can see you new art lines when they come out. Make it big and bold – put it as the only thing on one side of your card!
- Your website might want people to make a request for a custom necklace or bracelet – make the contact form short and simple and put “GET A FREE ESTIMATE ON YOUR OWN UNIQUE ART” big and bold front and center of your website.
- Etc etc, so on and so forth
2) Make sure you have a way of taking in orders outside of art shows. Art shows are great for gaining exposure and contacts, but they’re also expensive and time consuming. Your goal should be to build a loyal customer and fan base who will help spread the word about your work – sharing newsletters with their friends and family, liking your Facebook page or linking your website on their social media. All that is useless if you don’t have a way for people to order from you, even if it’s just a contact page for a free quote on your custom work.
3) Gain exposure with peer groups, news sources, awards etc. Keep copies of everything you get produced in, ask what you can use for your own promotional purposes, etc. Even if you don’t have the capability to use this now – it will be a gold mine of stuff to give any marketer when you’re ready to build up your sales even more.
4) Photos. Lots and lots of photos. Either learn how to take your own beautiful product shots (It’s not expensive to set up photo booths these days!) or get someone to do it for you. With our digital world you need to stimulate the senses and since they can’t touch your artwork, the best you can do is have good resolution photos of your work from multiple angles. Don’t just show it alone either. Show it in everyday use. Heck, have a photo contest with your face base where they send in pictures wearing/using your art!
5) Promote for holidays at least three months in advance. Have specials, put out realistic deadlines for holiday orders, etc. Worried about getting bogged down? Have an even earlier special discount for Christmas orders made extra early.
6) Collect testimonials, make things personal. Your work is unique, let that humanity shine!
7) Slow day at a booth? Give a discount card to all your Booth Buddies! Make friends. You never know when either of you might end up referring business to each other. Plus it’s amazing what you can barter for in the art community.
8) Write a true marketing plan of action for the year with realistic goals. Evaluate once a month and see how things are going. What has worked like you hoped? What’s working better? Where should your time be focused?