Spread the word about your art

One trick to trigger emotional response

Got a little instructional for you today.

Yesterday, a reader responded to my call ‘hit reply and tell me where you struggle’.

Always nice to hear back from people – do keep ’em coming.

She told me a bit about her struggles, and ended with ‘this is my site, please have a look’.
so I did, and I liked what I saw.

But there was one important thing missing:

She didn’t have a tagline.

In the header it stated her name, but that was all.

And because of that, she misses out on an enormously powerful emotional effect.

I call it resonance: when someone is exposed to your message, or your website, and something in them ‘clicks’, and goes: “Huh, I like that”.

That short moment right at the start, is powerful, useful and important.

Without it, a visitor might just poke around the site a bit.

With it, they might do the same, but they’ll do so while being in a more engaged, more joyous emotional state.

And while the difference may be slight depending on the person, it does increase the chance of them spending more time, reading more, seeing more of your paintings, or even signing up.

I like to think of the tagline as a 10-word artist’s statement.

A short, pithy message that’s personal, shows your passion, demonstrates your why, and reaches into the viewer’s mind with to see if there’s anything it can connect with.

It’s not that hard to write one.

Here’s how, starting with the don’ts:

First, don’t be strictly factual: “Johnny Johnson, watercolour artist’ says what’s in the tin, but it has no pulling power, it doesn’t push any emotional buttons.

Second, don’t try to be clever. We’re talking about communications here, so no nifty wordsmithery.

Next up, the dos:

Take a sheet of paper, and quickly start writing short descriptive sentences about yourself, your art, your passion or your techniques.

List 100.

Don’t overthink it, do NOT second-guess or judge their usefulness – what we’re looking for at this stage is a brain dump.

Just write as many as you can, as fast as you can.

You probably won’t reach 100 at fist go, but that’s ok.

It can take days or even weeks to get the perfect tagline together, all part of the process.

Carry a notepad or index cards (my fav) with you, and any time during your day that an idea comes up, jot it down to later add to the list.

Once you have 100 of them (you’ll find that parts of some statements will be duplicates, and that’s fine), you’re done with the strictly creative part of the exercise, and you can get more rational about it.

In other words, you put on your editor’s cap.

You’ll quickly see that most of them aren’t all that great or useful, so you just cross those out.

Whittle down until you have some ten or twenty good contenders, and copy those over to a new sheet of paper.

Btw, I think the best way to do this is by writing it in longhand, on paper.

Writing by hand activates different areas in the brain, compared to typing, and that’s useful for the kind of process we’re talking about.

So now you have 10 or 20 an a new sheet, and again, you take an axe to the ones that aren’t ideal or perfect.

Narrow down to the five best ones, and copy those to yet another sheet.

Then you take the best bits of those five, and mix & match the words that have the most emotional appeal, are most relevant and to the point, and you scramble the words, concepts and meanings together until you’re left with one simple, 5 to 10 word sentence that basically says:

Who you are, what you do, why you do it, why it matters.

You stick it in your site header beneath your brand name or your own name, and you’re done.

From that moment on, each time a new visitor lands on your site, they’ll not just see your name, but instantly they’ll also read your micro-artist’s statement.

And if they’re the right kind of person for what you do, something in them will perk up and recognise it.

A useful exercise, not just for your site to be more effective, but very likely for your own mind as well.

Highly recommended.

Also recommended: the LEAP Newsletter. Details here –> http://artonomy.co/leap-to-more-sales/

Cheers,

Martin

 

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The day I got art – and a few thoughts about your moral and ethical duty to sell yours

 CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!

It’s 10PM, I’m 12 years old and I’m in bed. In the studio below my room, my mother is using a staple gun to tack a canvas on a huge, 4 by 6 meter frame. Clack, clack, clack.

It’s going to be another one of those grim and dramatic Norse fjords that everybody is so taken by, but which I can’t make sense of.

Who understands that stuff?

Strokes and streaks, blotches and smears… it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t even look like anything. It’s just… I don’t know… drama.

In a few weeks we’ll be on vacation and once again, half the time will be spent with her – enraptured – dragging me (kicking and screaming) through one museum after another.

How I loathed those holidays.

But, that was long ago.

Over the years I grew to accept art as something with meaning and importance.

However, I never learned to appreciate art.

Even though I learned quite a bit about art history in school, about things like pointillism and expressionism and what have you; even though I had a girlfriend who was a painter, I just never got art.

Even though in my previous work as a fancy travelling tailor I would be surrounded by stunning works when visiting clients, I just didn’t get it.

Maybe it was because of that one exposition in Amsterdam, where I had once again been dragged along.

One of the artists was a fat and greasy punk-rock dude, purple mohawk and all.

He didn’t have any paintings, so I wandered into his booth.

There on display was his art, neatly framed and glassed: Empty cardboard fast-food packaging, the mayonnaise and ketchup still on.

That was art? Seriously?

Looking back, I can see how that moment broke my willingness to ever appreciate art. Who knows.

All of that changed yesterday though.

 I fell in love with art – head over heels

I’m in Kilkenny, Ireland. I’m spending a week with an Irish painter named Jimmy Kelly, because in recent months I’ve been helping more and more artists come to terms with the business and marketing side of being an artist.

And Jimmy’s one of those artists who should be seen and sold but like so many others, he’s never been able to come out of his closet and actually get himself in front of people.

Becket Broquy So I said ok, I’ll come over and show you how it’s done.

Jimmy’s shown me his work, he’s introduced me to influential people in the art world, he’s painted my portrait, and he’s talked to me at great length about the meaning within.

And yesterday, he took me up to Dublin, into a number of galleries.

That’s when I saw the painting of Samuel Beckett you see here, and I was stunned, gobsmacked – as enraptured as can be.

After all those years, and after months of dealing with artists, I suddenly, really, deeply, GOT it.

Starting yesterday, art is a part of me, and I’ll never be the same.

I’m in love.

Now that I have gone beyond understanding and I’ve finally experienced the power and impact of art, my life has become so much richer.

I guess I needed the years to get to this point. I’m so grateful it’s happened.

So that’s what I wanted to tell you, quoting Jimmy: Art changes you, whether you want it or not

I’ve lived that experience, and that’s why now I can say: People need you, and your art.

Because with what you make, you effect change.

Change for the better, for beauty, for enrichment of the inner world.

I know it’s difficult to sell, but you can learn it.

I know marketing has a bum rap, but that’s only because car salesmen talk so fast – in itself there’s nothing wrong with marketing.

And if you don’t sell, and don’t market, and don’t promote your work, then guess what:

You’ll be falling short of what I consider your duty.

Because if you change people’s lives, I believe that it’s your moral and ethical duty to show up and make that happen

Hiding behind a shy attitude, a pseudo-ethical marketing-is-dirty stance, then you’re not actually living the artist’s life as it should be lived.

So please, try to come to terms with it, and learn how it’s done.

You with your work, have the power to turn people, like I was turned.

I’ve become happier and more fulfilled.

Don’t withhold that from the next person.

Get out there, show up, be visible.

Sell your art and become good at it.

There are people who truly need you.

 

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How to Have Yourself a Stellar Christmas This Year

With Christmas soon upon us, Martin Stellar shares ways that you can maximise your Christmas art sales, starting RIGHT NOW…

Remember I told you that people need you and your art?

I’ve good news for you: it comes with perks. Notably, we’re upon a time of the year when people REALLY need your art.

How do I know?

Because a work of art makes a fantastic Christmas present. Just you dare disagree.

Alright, I know: it’s only early October, why on earth am I on about the holiday season?

Very true.

But Here’s a Little Secret: Most Christmas Sales Happen in October and November

Now, I’ll be the first to understand if you don’t want to be part of the whole XMAS hoopla.

If you prefer to play it naturally and see what sales you’ll get, come December –that’s fine by me.

But do understand that you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table.

And to put a little sting in it: There will be many people who would have loved to give a piece of your work as a present, but you decided not to make the effort to put it into their hands.

So, if you:

a) want to have more cash at the end of this year and

b) believe that – yes – your art does make a fantastic present…

 

Then put on your learning cap and let’s get rolling.

Fact: Britain Alone Will Spend 20 BILLION or More This Christmas Season

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

I’m not completely sure about the number, but this article shows us that in 2010, the total amount was £16.7 billion. I doubt it will be much less this year – if fact it’s likely to be much more.

Now it doesn’t matter what you make: if a pie is that big, you bet there’s a slice for you.

 

Fact: Over 30% of That is Spent in October and November

You want a slice of Christmas pie?

Then you’ll need to get to selling Christmas presents right this minute.

There is literally no time to waste.

But You Don’t Like the Christmas Hype

And you shouldn’t. Neither do I.

What I do like though, is solving people’s problems, and selling stuff they need is one way to do just that.

When you’re looking for a present, you have an itch to scratch.

Putting a great present in front of people and saying: “The recipient of this might like it a lot. It costs x” is a way to offer a scratch for that itch.

If they like it and they buy, you just solved a problem.

And then they pay you for it: ethical, non-pushy sales in a nutshell.

Now, of course you could argue that it’s only because of aggressive marketing techniques that people spend so much on presents.

But really, people like giving.

It’s something that comes naturally to us, for a number of reasons.

You could also argue that it’s because of the advertising industry, that if marketers would leave people alone, Christmas sales wouldn’t start until December.

I doubt that’s the case though.

I think it’s because in the end, Christmas is important to us.

The act of giving presents is for the most part based on an authentic desire to give.

No proof or research to back it up, just my opinion.

Either way: people worldwide are about to have a real need for presents.

And that’s not my opinion – it’s a fact.

Here’s How to Sell More Art This Autumn Than You Thought Possible – Without Feeling Seedy About it

Fact: Selling Art as a Present Comes Down to One Simple Thing

Placement.

That’s all there is to it.

Placement in this sense means nothing more than presenting your art as a possible present.

All you need to do is make people see your work as a gift.

You could just simply say it – invite people to consider your work as a present – that will already make a difference.

Seriously: If you’re in the habit of emailing your readers a picture of new work (a recommendable strategy, by the way), nobody is going to be upset if tomorrow you include a line such as: “I think this piece will actually make a great Christmas present. Just saying”.

See what I mean? You don’t need to force things on people – just make a suggestion to help them see your work as a gift.

Visually, you can do that by using design elements on your site: Christmas themed banners, figures and adornments are a great way to give a modest tinge of Christmas to your site.

Obviously, you’re not going to launch into a fullscale automatic email sequence replete with bells, whistles and reindeer, starting tomorrow.

We like to play our marketing nice.

You’re also not going to put snow and jingle bells all over your site. (Or music! – more about that further on).

Just start introducing small elements.

A few lines in your blog posts.

Or a blog post about art as a gift. You don’t even have to prominently mention Christmas.

Maybe send an extra email that says: “Hey, listen, soon I’ll be having a few items on special Christmas sale. Keep an eye on your inbox because that’s where I’ll notify you.”

A few small visual elements on your site, which you can add to as the holiday season gets closer.

Simple things, but they work.

One More Thing: NEVER Let Music Play Automatically On Your Site

I understand it’s fun, and that the right kind of music can enhance the atmosphere and the experience of your site.

Especially if you can use it to increase the Christmas theming of your site.

But letting music play automatically when the page loads is an extremely bad idea.

That is, if you want people to stay on your site.

It’s a fact, proven over and over again: Most people find it annoying, and many people will simply close the page.

That’s a pity, because you want people to actually stay around, look at your work, and buy something.

YouTube can use autoplay – sure. But YouTube is a video site, it’s an entirely different story.

I know how tempting it can be, but trust me on this one: Music on autoplay – Christmas or not – WILL cost you sales.

Alright, so let’s get ready to get more presents sold. Send me an email if you have questions or need help.

Good luck.

 

martin-stellar

Martin Stellar is technically a copywriter and marketing consultant, but really he’s one of those people who can’t help trying to motivate and inspire people, given half a chance. He blogs at www.martinstellar.com, where much motivating and inspiring takes place, and he’s usually good fun on twitter.

Image courtesy of Amy_b

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Selling Your Art Is Your Duty! – A Passionate Plea From The Heart…

A few weeks back I received an intriguing email from Martin Stellar. He had a particular {and traumatic} life experience to draw on which had taught him a very important lesson about art marketing. I will leave him to share this vitally important lesson with you in this guest post. Thanks Martin…

If you signed up to Helen’s ebook series (which you totally should), you’ll have read about the elephant in the room: That strange aversion to selling that so many artisans and creatives live with.

I agree with Helen’s teaching: She says that we needn’t feel anything negative when it comes to selling or marketing our art, but I want to make an even stronger point:

As an artist, it’s not enough to just accept sales, selling and marketing as a necessary part of the artist’s life.

You need to understand that selling your art is your moral and ethical duty.

Yep, I really said that.

And I have a good reason for it too:

As an artist, you owe it to the world to get mighty comfortable with marketing and selling, and to get at least moderately good at it.

Because you make a difference. You make the world a more beautiful place.

Your work, your daily toil and your innermost creativity: all of that conspires to bring more beauty to the world, one print; one canvass or one photo at a time.

If you’re an artist, you believe in the art you create (no matter how deep down that may be, hidden by a public mask of insecurity).

If you didn’t believe in your art, you wouldn’t live how you live and make what you make.

And if you believe in your art, you owe it to the world to sell as much of it as you possibly can.

Sidenote: My editor tells me I should talk about sharing your art, instead of selling – she makes a good point, but I believe selling is the single best way to share your art.

Anyway: If your art can improve a house, a room, a face or a street… bring something beautiful or meaningful into the world… Then OF COURSE you should sell it. Tons of it, if you can.

All this is of course a generously grandiloquent way to look at things.

After all, we don’t all create deeply inspired one-off pieces

I can understand that if your business is, say, selling printed t-shirts of your own design, you might not feel that you contribute as much as someone who creates unique life-size sculptures.

But think again.

Your t-shirts also add to the total.

People buy them because it gives them pleasure, they enjoy owning and wearing them, they like to be seen wearing them and so on.

I’d say that with each t-shirt sold, you just added a bit of happiness or enjoyment to someone’s life. Right? Right.

It really makes no difference what you make, how many, how big they are, how much they cost.

If you consider yourself an artist that inherently means that you make things that are meant to enhance the world

Now tell me, don’t you think this not only justifies and necessitates, but even obliges you as an artist to find as many people as you can who will buy what you make?

Should it not be your mission to make people’s lives a bit better with your art, as often as you can?

I’d say so.

It’s your duty to sell (read: share) your art.

You make the world better, more meaningful and more beautiful. Each time you create, you do the world a favour.

Each time you sell, doubly so.

What do I know?

Now, you might wonder where I get the nerve to come at you with all this high-faluting pomp and circumstance.

After all, I’m not even an artist myself. I couldn’t draw a stick-figure to save my life.

No, my genetic makeup is similar, but not quite the same: I’m what’s known as an artisan.

Specifically, I’m a bespoke tailor. Or used to be, before I became a marketing writer.

It’s a long story, but the short of it is that I used to have my own tailoring company, in which I myself created high end bespoke suits, fully handmade.

For a while I ran a blog and I ranked nicely on Google, just below Savile Row tailors, and I was getting a decent reputation on several forums.

Prices were also up there with Savile Row, and I was getting some sales.

At some point my father passed away, and I ended up with a sizeable inheritance that I decided to invest in my business.

Things looked like I was set for success.

But all that money, (all 120,000 pounds of it. Ouch.), I lost over the course of five years.

Here’s why my tailoring business tanked, forcing me to change careers:

I refused to really come to terms with the (very high) intrinsic value of what I created with my own two hands

Until the end, when I ran that company into the ground, I always approached the marketing and sales of it all as if it were a necessary evil.

And the only reason for that, I realise now, is that I didn’t value my stuff the way I should have.

The way you should value your stuff. Which I’m guessing you might not really do, just like me, back then.

And you may take all this as literally as you like (hint: the more literally you take it, the more your sales will soar).

You see, aside from the fact that creating a suit is in itself creating a piece of art (provided you do it by hand like bespoke tailors ought to), there is the value to the customer, and in that sense art and artisanry are very similar.

In both situations, the value to the customer sort of has no limits

You would be amazed by what people are willing to pay. Trust me, I’m a marketer (these days), and I know exactly how much the right people are willing to pay for art.

Or for my suits for that matter. Because that was the amazing thing I discovered: You can charge literally anything you want, and you’ll have people buying it.

It gets even better: the higher your prices, the more eager people will be to buy

That’s something I hope Helen will allow me to explain at a later point. Provided of course that she’d like to have me tell more of the story of how a young tailor had a chance and blew it.

For now, I just really want to hope that you see my point, because you so much deserve to live with the confident (and slighty bold) attitude I’ve been describing.

What you do makes a difference. Make it happen more, make a bigger difference.

Even if it’s one printed mug at a time.

You’re an artist
It’s your nature to create beauty
You’re an artist
It’s your duty to sell the beauty you create

Martin Stellar is technically a copywriter and marketing consultant, but really he’s one of those people who can’t help trying to motivate and inspire people, given half a chance. He blogs at www.martinstellar.com, where much motivating and inspiring takes place, and he’s usually good fun on twitter.

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Low Budget Studio – Incredible Photos of Your Art

Chris Garrett, photographer and large format printing expert, shares some ways that you can create professional quality photographs, of your art or subjects, with very little equipment or expense, in your own home.  

I have spent so much time limiting myself to outdoor photography because I didn’t have access to a studio. Without the right lighting and backdrop, it’s difficult to get the high quality photographs I wanted. What I didn’t realize was that it is very simple to create a studio to use either inside or outside and get amazing results. Most of what I needed I already had and what I didn’t was very inexpensive compared to all brand new equipment. Whether you’re looking to move your photography indoors or to capture the nuance and quality of another type of art on film, these tips can help you to achieve professional photographs in your home or workspace.

What you can use:

  • Two ladders
  • An 8 ft. pole works great
  • Clamps
  • Various colors of sheets (make sure your colors are very rich, not faded from washing)
  • Foam boards (for reflecting light)
  • Your choice of lighting (natural light works very well)

Setting up your space.

If you are working indoors, you just need the room to set up. Moving furniture temporarily works, using the garage is great, but you should try to position it to where you have access to some natural light. When using the white foam board as a light reflecting tool, you can manipulate it to do pretty much anything you want.

photography for artistsSo place the ladders on each end of the set. Use the pole to rest between them on the tallest rung. Clamp your sheets to the pole and lay one on the ground if you want a solid backdrop. Your set should be in the prime lighting location if you are doing them outdoors, so basically you don’t want to have your subject facing the sun or you will get squinting or watering of the eyes. Use the foam board to reflect and manipulate the light in your favor. If you are in a dark area, making your own soft boxes will give you some great results, many use a flood lamp that can be moved around or even use a flashlight behind your props for some backlighting.

You can also try substituting a silver car shade for the white foam board, but they will produce a much harsher light and may cause shadows. The white board makes the light softer and more diffused. The best way to get great at this is to practice. You should be able to take amazing photos with hardly any Photoshop time.

photography for artistsSo, it is easy to say that you don’t have to have a dedicated space in your home to use a studio set up. You may need an assistant until you figure out your own way of doing things. But this is a great alternative to spending a fortune that you may not have on equipment that works in the same way. Play around with it and create photos that people will want to hang on their wall or use for customized wallpaper as a mural. No one will know you haven’t been doing this forever!

For me, this is a set up that works and is portable if I need it to be. Feel free to make your own modifications, but just don’t be afraid of studio photography. It does get really hard to do pictures in the middle of winter when your client wants family portraits and there is a foot of snow outside. Get away from being a seasonal photographer and be ready to shoot anytime on any day!

 

Chris Garrett is a large format printing expert and freelance writer for the custom printed wallpaper expert Megaprint.com. He frequently blogs on the topics of design and printing.

Photo credit Alexis Godschalk @ photo.net & Tackorama

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3 Great Local Networking Ideas for Artists {Plus A Common Mistake You MUST Avoid}

Guest writer Edward Stuart has some useful ideas to help artists market their work locally. 

Let’s talk about how to sell your work.

While we definitely want to encourage people to market themselves over the web and build networks that take advantage of its global nature, the advent of long-distance internet marketing has left many of the newer, non-established entrants into the art world behind. That is not, of course, because younger artists don’t know how to work on the internet, quite the contrary, rather it’s because they’ve left behind and forgotten traditional, yet very effective, marketing methods that secure a more steady (though generally drearier) income locally. Local, in-person communication is vital for building a steady flow of commissions.

Let’s take a look at a few important strategies…

For Graphic Designers: The Phone Book

No, you’re not going to try your hand at telemarketing. Go into the Yellow Pages and find your local screen printing and embroidery shops. Call them up and ask them if they’d be willing to refer clients in need of an artist to you in exchange for a referral fee. These people talk to small business owners, school clubs, and private people in need of graphic design work every single day.

Ideally you’ll get the shops to display some of your best portfolio pieces to inspire their customers to make use of you. Once you’re working with someone on a t-shirt design you have a foot in the door and can work with them to redesign their logo, website, or other tasks in your realm of expertise like designing fliers for their marketing efforts.

For Fine Artists: Cafes and Bars

If your expertise lies more in the fine-art realm you’ll need to get your art out in front of an audience, and preferably in a setting in which they’re inclined to spend money. Conveniently supporting local businesses and artists is a surging trend all over the country, meaning that bars and cafes in your area are most likely looking for good local artwork to put on their walls as cheaply as possible.

Simply call them up and offer to hang your work on their walls (with price tags!). If a patron wants to buy a piece they can pay the business and the business pays you. To generate more interest you can also visit the various establishments regularly, make friends with the regulars, and sketch out concepts in full view of the other patrons. The crowd you’ll automatically draw (heh, get it?) will help to generate interest, and any friends you make will enthusiastically point out that they know the artist who drew that thing on the wall over there to everyone else that comes in.

For Illustrators: The Local Writing Community

What if you’re an illustrator? Your art isn’t fancy enough to hang on the wall, and you don’t go around designing logos or webpages. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Think about all the people who’ve ever told you that they’re “writing a novel”, “writing a children’s book”, or “writing a screen play”. There are many more people who are going to attempt to get their written work published (or will self-publish!) than there are good artists to make quality illustrations for their work. Obviously not everyone needs, wants, or can afford illustrations, but if you can find where writers hang out you’ll inevitably find work.

Get on the internet, and instead of just checking how your own social media marketing is going, go and spend some time googling for writing clubs in your area. Contact their members, attend their meetings, make friends with them, and show them why you looked them up.

IMPORTANT  – Don’t make this common mistake ~ When working with individuals rather than businesses remember not to work for free. It’s easy to slip into idealism when an aspiring writer promises you a cut of future profits, but at the end of the day their work is not guaranteed to succeed, and you’ll have put the work in for pure idealism’s sake, which won’t put food on your table.

Edward Stuart is an art and decoration enthusiast as well as an online publisher for Canvas Art. He frequently blogs on the topics of art, art history, design, and home decor.

 

 

Image courtesy of Tack-O-Rama

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The Silent Beauty of Business Cards For Artists

Guest blogger Agnese Aljena writes about the power of business cards and how they work for her in promoting her beautiful photographic work.

A Business card is a simple but very powerful tool if used wisely. You can call it a “visit” or “personal” card if you don’t like “business”.

Historically visiting cards were used to announce an arrival of an aristocratic or wealthy person. Now the status for business card is much lower but still – you and your profession are taken more seriously if you announce it by printed card. As in the 17th century, a business card is still part of your first impression. Especially if your card arrives first and you as a person just follow it. So, it is an important attribute in your image building.

Here are some tips and angles you can use when thinking about your business cards.

Representation of your brand.

A business card is an essential part of your brand and should be designed according to your overall branding strategy. A business card is like summary of your brand, personality, professional and artistic abilities. It means that before you can design a powerful card your personal brand should be in place.

Information.

Your business card’s main mission is to give information in a handy way. Usually it is name, profession, your home page, email, phone, maybe postal address. Now QR codes have become quite popular for faster information flow.

I use the other side of business cards for my portfolio presentation. In my card set I have about 20 different designs with pictures of my portfolio (and that is not as costly as might sound). Whenever I am ready to give a card, I hand a bunch of them so the other person can choose which one he or she likes. Usually it turns into emotional and lively part of otherwise maybe quite businesslike conversation. People like to choose, and, what is more important, they are watching my portfolio without pressure and we both are happy about it. Sometimes they involve people around and often I find myself giving away my cards even if I wasn’t intended to.

Accessibility.

Every piece of information in your business card should mean that you are accessible via given channel. Even if I have a skype name, I prefer not to put it on my cards since I don’t log in to skype every morning. I just have different habits. That is also a reason why people don’t put postal address – we are moving much more than several decades ago and we don’t send letters to postal address any more (although it is nice and romantic). It also means that your home page should be up and running and should be as an extended version of business card – giving more and deeper up-to-date information.

Design.

Since your business card is an essence of your brand, you should use your brand elements – both design and emotion-wise. You can use different size, emboss logo or your name, use scent, add some other dimension if you wish. Just be sure that it fits within standard business card holder – otherwise your card will be lost. Or you can stick to classics – black letters on white background – just as you feel your personality requires.

 

I am using smaller size cards (half of normal business cards) to encourage people to take more different designs. Psychologically smaller cards mean “I am not causing big financial loss if I take two or three”. When giving my cards to choose I try to carry with me quite a lot – to give an impression it is not the last one. I use also postcard size cards when I want to impress somebody (like when visiting corporate customers) and to send a hidden message “I am expensive – look, I can afford big business cards”. In those cases I give them together with small cards anyway – to fit into business card holder.

Usage

is the most important element in business card philosophy. When you have your cards and you are proud about them (and you should be), use them. It is not only when introducing yourself to others. I use them also every time I give away my finished work. I include several in packaging and there has been countless times when people are calling me and start conversation with a phrase – my friend gave me your business card… Those are real buyers. And it is much easier to give to somebody a business card not to spell your name and number. The secret here is also the design – it should be so attractive that people just don’t dare to throw them away as soon as open the package.

Another simple tip is – take your business cards with you. There have been so many times I have missed them. And that might be a missed opportunity to establish a good contact.

If you are a Rennaisance (wo)man with several occupations, print a card for each and every of them. Then opening a card wallet, you can silently sort them out and even without speaking send a message that you have other interesting angles of your personality. Of course, if you feel like cross-selling is a good idea. I use this strategy because every time I use my PhD story it raises my price as an artist – I choose to be an artist, not in academia where I could earn good money as well.

People may not always translate these messages into words, but they definitely receive them. In most cases strategy of many different cards encourages healthy and natural discussion. I even have cards with my kids – just in case being mom of two ginger girls is the angle I might find myself in conversation.

So far I can say – business cards has been one of the most powerful tools in my word-of-mouth marketing. It is a nice silent (and visual artists love to live without words) way of sending a clear message and good card is a beginning of natural friendly and human conversation that some day might lead to selling your art.

 

Agnese AljenaAgnese Aljena is children fashion and lifestyle photographer, business blog for artists owner and on her way to PhD in business models for fine arts.



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Selling Art Online with Instagram {5 top tips + more}

Over the last few months you have probably noticed more and more images being shared across Facebook and other social networks. These photos often have an arty quality to them and retro style image frames around them. These images are originating from the smartphone app Instagram.

Instagram is an app that you use on your iPhone, iPad or Android based device. It allows you to shoot a photo and then process it in app to add a variety of filters and frames. However, the magic is then that Instagram allows you to share that photo across a variety of social media sites with one click of the button.

Like all social media sites or apps, Instagram has it’s fair share of brain sucking rubbish to wade through. This is mostly comprised of young girls taking photos of their hair and what they are eating [usually cupcakes].  However, used carefully and intelligently, the visual nature of Instagram is brilliant for artists. Its a great way of showing your work to the world and finding new fans for what you do.

One of the great things about Instagram is that it allows you to publish your images to other social media sites too therefore making your life easier in one fell swoop. Whenever you post an image you can also share it with Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and via Email. One good picture of your work can go a long way with very little effort {always good where time sucking social media is concerned}

So how can Instagram help you grow your work, brand and visibility as an artist? Where do you start? I have put together a 5 tips below to help you get to grips with ways to use Instagram to help you sell art online…

 

1 What images should I post on Instagram?

Use Instagram to introduce people to your work. Therefore show them what you do, photographing your work and process, tools you use, places you visit, inspiration and things you like. Aim to use the app to give people a little glimpse into your art, ideas and life as an artist.

2 Keep it local

I have found the best success by using Instagram to find potential local fans and customers. By using this method I have developed a new relationship with a lovely local art gallery and found several new local customers for my work with very little effort.

My method is to search within the app for the hashtag of my local town {ie #London, #NewYork or wherever you live} Then comment on images by local people and start up a conversation. In this way I have grown my followers and made some great local connections who now see my work every time they check Instagram. If I were to hold an exhibition or local event I could easily use Instagram to help with publicity towards it. I intend to do this in the future.

It’s also a great idea to search for and follow local artists too to bring you local connections and networking opportunities that can help grow your work.

3 The secret is in the hashtags.

Post a picture alone onto Instagram and chances are you wont get much attention. However, the secret is to tag your picture correctly with the right hashtags. That way, people searching for the subject of your image can find your work.

So, for example, if you paint watercolour landscapes of New England you may want to use the hashtags #landscapepainting #NewEngland #watercolour #art #drawing or similar. A little bit of research using the hashtag search facility in the app will help you know which hashtags to use. Hashtags are definitely the key when it comes to using Instagram well and you can add many different ones to each image.

4 Can I sell my art directly through Instagram?

Instagram does not have a way to allow you to sell art directly through the app. I see it more as a way of creating or finding an audience for your work and spreading the word about what you do, leading people back to your main site or shop. However, I have seen popular artists with many followers release images of work for sale on Instagram along with a direct paypal address for payment and sell out their editions so it can definitely be done.

5 Can I use Instagram to promote my shop or sale?

Once you have an audience on Instagram you can promote items on your website or shop site. You can’t create a direct link in Instagram but I have seen people use an image very successfully to flag up sales and promotions on their site or Etsy shop. Simply prepare a nice image with the relevant information and then post to Instagram.

You can use apps like PhotoCollage, InstaCollage, PicFrame and InstaEffects or similar to create a nice promotional image for your sale.

 

But don’t Instagram want to steal all my images?

Instagram has recently come in for a lot of criticism for rewriting its terms and conditions in a way which gave them far too much legal access to users images, being able to use them for advertising. Users left in droves and the repercussions echoed around the social media sphere. Instagram was forced to look again into it’s policies and back down somewhat.

However, as with all Social Media sites it’s well to treat it with some caution as you never know what direction they will take in the future. Don’t post any clear images of work you want to fully control. Teaser images only.

 

Instagram Do’s and Dont’s

DO

  • Watermark your image – PhotoMarkr is just one app which can do this. Watermark with your website address so that wherever your image ends up people can find out who you are.
  • Follow artists you love. Then any time you log on to Instagram you have a ready stream of inspiration to look at.
  • Make every image count – don’t just post photos of cups of coffee and your new hairstyle. Post only one or two really great images a day. Quality over quantity definitely works on Instagram.
  • Link Instagram to your Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts and use it to feed them with content. You don’t even need to spend any time on them. It’s a good way to get your work seen.
  • As always, try and lead people back to your main website with an offer or other enticement. Try and get them to sign up to your mailing list.

DON’T

  • Post easily steal-able nice straight on usable images of your work. Instagram images seem particularly prone to being ripped off by unscrupulous copyright ignoring trolls. Therefore, use Instagram images as a “tease” to interest people in your work. Post photos of your work shot at a strange angle, a small part of the whole image, or blur out some of the image {you can do this in the Instagram app} The idea is to lead people back to your main content elsewhere and raise your profile.
  • Release any image that you want to keep control over. Instagram images have a life of their own. Once you have set them free you have to just let them go.

 

So give Instagram a go. Its fun, inspirational [if you follow the right people] and doesn’t take up much time. Post your instagram profile address below so we can all look at your photos. Happy snapping.

 

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Seasons Greetings – Peace Be With You

Christmas is nearly upon us and I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has visited, read and contributed to Artonomy over the past year.

Sometimes it is hard to find the true spirit of Christmas. Recent tragic events in America have made it difficult to see through negativity to a place of peace, love and hope. The commerciality of Christmas can seem like a shallow façade at times like this.

But my Christmas wish for you all is that you manage to find and capture a little of the magical true spirit of Christmas this year. The love and peace we can find if we look hard enough beyond the glitz. It is still there…

Wishing you a beautiful, magical and peaceful Christmas wherever you are…

Image from The Earth Story

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Did You Know Facebook Is Hiding Your Posts? Important – What You Need To Know About Promoted Posts

Facebook has become an important part of social media promotion for artists over the past few years. Many artists have come to rely on Facebook for the majority of their promotion, using it as their main web presence. However, big changes at Facebook recently will impact on the usefulness of Facebook for your art business now and into the future.

The worrying thing is that these changes have been introduced “under the radar” and so many artists will not be aware that anything is amiss. This is a quick overview post to explain what is going on and to offer some suggestions.

What is happening?

Over the past few months, the amount of people a Facebook post will reach has been being “turned down”. Messages are now seen by a smaller proportion of your Facebook page fans. According to various sources, messages now only reach around 15-20% of people who signed up to your Facebook page. But coincidentally, Facebook have a solution to help you reach those fans…

Head of advertising at Facebook, Gokul Rajaram, explains:

“Organically, you get anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent of your fans, that you reach organically. In order to reach the remaining 80 to 85 percent, sponsoring posts is important.” 

So, if you want to reach all the people who signed up to your page, as you did previously, you now need to pay Facebook to promote the post or the large majority of your fans will never see it.

Or as Richard Metzger writing on the Dangerous Minds blog puts it…

“In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.”

What are Sponsored Stories?

If you run a Facebook page you may have started to notice a little drop down “promote” menu appearing under some stories you post. Basically if you want to promote the post to be seen by everyone you are charged a fee depending on how many fans you have. This can vary between around $7 to $200 for a large fan base. This is PER POST so if you post a few times a day it will soon add up.

Why are Facebook doing this?

Facebook have hit hard times recently. After their much trumpeted launch on the stock market, shares plummeted in value as people began to realise that Facebook, for all it’s billions of users is hard to monetize. It’s advertising platform doesn’t work as well as Google ads because people primarily aren’t on Facebook to search for things to buy. Therefore Facebook now has to come up with a new way to make money and this is made all the more urgent by the fact that it now has a panicky set of shareholders at it’s back demanding it make them some money and fast! It has to work out new ways to make that money and it’s biggest commodity is YOU…

What does this mean for me and the future?

I think that the fact that Facebook has now changed it’s direction away from an advertising based monetizing model and turned its focus on ways to get money from it’s users is a significant development and sea change. We have all come to rely on Facebook as a FREE platform but it probably isn’t going to stay that way, at least for business users.  There may be other ways that Facebook will be able to charge for full access in the future. Its fair enough that Facebook should want to charge for their services but as artists we often dont have the money to pay what they demand.

What should I do?

I think this is a definite warning sign to reduce your dependency on Facebook.

If you read these posts below you will know that I advocate having your own website.

10 Crucial Reasons why every artist needs their own hub website

The Best Website to Sell Art Online – The Truth

That way YOU are in control and no one can suddenly start to charge you for reaching the fans you spent your own time collecting. If you own your own domain name and website you are in control.

The steps you need to take in the future

We all love using Facebook for keeping up with our friends and you can still use it but it pays to have a plan B “just in case” for your art business. I think that Facebook’s recent changes mean that it is time to ensure that you are not left being solely reliant on Facebook for promoting your work. That way you are not left in a situation where you are forced to pay and have more control over how you interact with the people who like your art.

These steps will help you regain some control.

Step 1

{nb – this workaround may not be the best solution – see comments below. If anyone knows of a good way around this please add to comments – thanks}

Alert your fans to the issue and help them to see more of your posts. Ask them to do the following.

  • Go to your page.
  • Hover your mouse over where it says “LIKED” and click on “ADD TO INTERESTS LISTS”
  • This will help your fans to be alerted to more of your posts without you having to pay to promote them.

 Step 2

Move away from Facebook as your main promotional platform. Still use it but just don’t be solely reliant on it.

Have you paid Facebook to promote your work via a sponsored post? Would you do so? What do you think of these changes? Share with us in the comments.

 

External sources

Facebook – I want my friends back – Dangerous Minds

Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right – New York Observer

Facebook: Pay to promote your posts for garage sales, parties – CNET

 

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