Replies to a recent survey sent out to my Facebook followers suggests that the top three problems for artists trying to grow their business are:
The good news is that of those top three responses two are completely under your control to improve. The issue of gallery representation may no longer be an issue once the other two are conquered. And you can conquer they them!
How to market your art is firstly a question of business. Do you have a business? You have to learn the basics of running a business that can turn a profit. If this fundamental step is not in place then no amount of marketing will help. So read a few books, do a course online and get a business sense before you spend time and money on marketing. I can suggest Start Your Own Business 6th Edition by the Staff of Entrepreneur Media as a fun introduction to the start up process.
Once the business issues are squared away the issue of marketing and technology will make a lot more sense. The truth is that there has never been a better time to start and market a small business. Never! The problem lies in those old myths that undermine your confidence. Particularly creatives. You are told that you need a publisher, gallery representation or whatever other gatekeeper to choose you. To give you permission to succeed. Well, like the author James Altucher says - it is time to Choose Yourself!
To be a success as an artist you need to make your own way. If that means taking on a learning curve then do so. The abundance of information out there is enormous. Some free, others paid for, but all within your grasp. Does this mean never use a gallery to sell your paintings? No, but it does mean you need to take responsibility for your career. You have a choice. No matter how modest you want your business to be you will benefit from marketing your art. Galleries and publishers also benefit by having artists market themselves. They are not going to do it all for you!
How to take on the challenge of growing your creative business? There is no better long term strategy for consistent growth than content marketing. And when I say strategy I do not mean social media only. It does mean:
Does all of that sound terribly boring for an artist? It does not have to be. The great part is that as a creative person you have a head start on all the corporations who are struggling with marketing. You have the creative ability to crush marketing. It does not have to cost you much either.
Think about how you create beautiful works, the process and the joy that it brings you. There are thousands of people who are fascinated with art and the creative process. Instead of thinking about the hurdles think about what you already know. What can you show others? What is your journey as an artist? Share that and build your business at the same time.
Once you get started you will put the self-defeating thoughts behind you. The challenge I would like to set for you is to do one thing right now that will help you start your business. Take the first step to light the creative fire! Maybe get out a notebook and write down ideas, purchase a book, research online - whatever. Start now.
If you would like to learn more about content marketing for creatives then visit The Art of Content Marketing. You can join my Book Launch Team and hopefully get plenty of inspiration to grow your marketing system. Go for it!