marketing for artists

Successful Art Marketing Requires Some Sacrifices

How do you define success?

Success by yourdoku - CC

Here's how I define it:

You are successful when you are able to take full control of your life instead of waiting for unseen circumstances to bring success to you.

Marketing yourself as an artist or photographer is about letting go of the notions that luck will bring you money and fame and that you can take charge of your own financial destiny.

Ensure that specific success points will happen in your business because of your actions, your decisions, and your personal abilities.

You have the power to decide TODAY that you will make things happen. You're not going to wait for something to happen someday. You're going to take control of your life and your business now!

Success will come to you when you take full control.

There are sacrifices along the way.

That's just part of making your dreams come true.

You'll sacrifice some of the time you would otherwise be creating your art. Or making photographs.

This time will be spent on marketing your work and selling prints or services.

Of course, it should also be noted, you'll spend more time doing administrative duties tied to your business like accounting, ordering supplies, fulfilling orders, etc.

But those are the marks of success!

It's about choices.

Know what you really want to do.

But make no mistake, you won't be able to spend all of your time creating art. People have to be able to find it. You have to be able to sell it. You have to put time into marketing.

If you really want something you can achieve it. But you have to make sacrifices along the way.


Are You Using Tags, Labels, and Categories to Organize Your Website?

Everyone has a digital camera. Even people who don't consider themselves "photographers".

My mother has one. My father has a nice DSLR (although in his youth he did fancy himself a photographer) he uses it primarily to take pictures of his grandkids.

If you chose photography as a vocation you likely have your digital photos organized through a program like Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture.

If you aren't a "photographer" you may try to utilize iPhoto or maybe Adobe Elements in an effort to keep them orderly. If, however, you fall into the vast majority of people you simply dump them all into a folder on your desktop.

Photographers the world over are shaking their heads in disbelief. They simply cannot fathom that most people just have thousands, or even tens of thousands, of digital photographs sitting in a folder on their desktop. Professional photographers are typically much more organized when it comes to this stuff. They have to be.

I'm cringing as I think about it.

Imagine this very common scenario: You're looking for a picture you took a few months ago of your significant other while you were in Vegas. You took several dozen, or even hundreds, of photos while you were in Vegas. And your common practice of just dumping your photos into that photo folder on your desktop seemed like a good idea at the time.

The images were saved. Good. Done. But now that you're looking for them you have to open the folder, wait for your OS to render all of the image thumbnails for your perusal, and then you start scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling, looking for one image labeled "DSC0235.jpg" even though you don't actually know that's the name of the image you're looking for.

What you are looking for are context clues that help you pinpoint the general time.

Aha. After 20 minutes you've found some images of your trip to Vegas. Now you start looking closer at the thumbnails, even opening up images (one at a time) for closer inspection, as you hunt for this one elusive photo.

This process has taken you way too long. And it only get's longer as more photos are added to that folder. You're frustrated.

You have to get organized if you want to actually want to find things.

You can use a photo organizing software like Lightroom or Aperture to label your photographs as you upload them.

So instead of dumping your photos into a folder you label them as you upload them. The photo in question could have, and probably should have, been labeled as such; Vegas, Nevada, (insert significant other's name), the casino's name or attraction, fun times, gambling,..etc.

Now the next time you look for an image on your computer you can start with keywords.

This isn't a post about which image editing or management software you should be using for your photography.

Life's More Fun When You're Organized by ifindkarma: CC

This is an example, one that you're probably familiar with, about how the web works.

We write blog posts. We upload photos to social networking sites like Flickr and Facebook. We have little points of data that we are using to market our businesses online and we do so with limited time.

But what most successful online marketers don't do is simply dump them online.

They label them. They tag them. They index, sort, and use keywords for everything that goes online when it relates to their inbound marketing.

While tags and categories may have fallen by the wayside from a purely SEO perspective they are still very handy from a user perspective. It's how people find things on your website when they are looking for more information related to a post they just came across.

If your post is about your latest gallery showing and a gallerist or museum curator has stumbled upon that post will they be able to easily find other gallery related posts on your blog? They may want to quickly find what other galleries you've worked with. They'll want to do this easily. Tags and categories can help them do this.

If you're a wedding photographer and you just did a blog post about your latest wedding shoot at the Magnolia Ballroom in Houston, TX did you tag it that way. So that a bride who is considering hiring you knows that you've shot there on several occasions and can easily find more examples of your work at that specific venue. She's much more likely to hire a wedding photographer who knows her venue well.

People who are browsing the Internet are often times finding things serendipitously. One search leads to reminder about one thing that leads to another search that leads to a link that leads to a related link that informs them of more information or guidance in whatever it is they are hunting for.

Help them. Guide them. Organize your blog so that people can find other posts that are related to the article they just found. Use tags. Use categories. Show them how to know you better and you'll be closer to building a relationship with that reader.

Help them find things on your website. Make sure your website is organized with people in mind.



Launching the Social Media Success for Photographers Web Course

Over the weekend I launched the Social Media Success for Photographers web course after months of working on it and I'm very happy with the results. I'm already getting good feedback from some of the students and expect it to be very successful in the long run.

Good Ideas Die Without An Audience

There's a natural resistance for change. It's everywhere. 

We see it when we present ideas that are both good and bad.

Take control of this party


So how can you tell when your idea is good if people will resisit it either way?

There's no magic button you can push. There are ways, however, to test your ideas. You can do studies and focus groups. You can survey and talk to people.

But really, you don't know until you try it.

And during this "trial period" you have to have the guts to stick it out for a while. Longer than most. That's how the best people succeed. They stick it out.

Most of the time you just need an audience. 

If your ideas is good, and you are building a business around it, then all you have to do is allow the people who are looking for that idea to find you.

This is true whether your idea is to be a portrait photographer or a caracuturist. There's an audience for you if your idea is good and you have the talent to pull it off.

Find your audience. Build a platform that enables them to find you. That's what digital marketing is really all about. Letting people find you. Social media strategy is about finding the people that are already looking for you.

Do both and you're bound to succeed.

Older Content Does Not Equal Irrelevant

We don't live in a world of limited shelf space.

And that's a good thing.

In Chris Anderson's book The Long Tail, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More he opens up with a story about an older book, almost out of print, whose sales were suddenly revived by its proximity to a newer book covering the same topic.

Recommendation engines in online bookstores picked up on the buying habits of its customers and began to pair the two together. People bought in this manner and an infinite loop was created. Over time the older book began to outsell the newer book.

green bottle and friends by Damien Franco

It's a great story that illustrates something that most of us are already coming to terms with. We no longer live in a world that shuns older work. Not entirely anyway.

Because of the internet and it's ability to bring older, relevent, content to the masses on a daily basis we have opportunities to sell things beyond their launch date. This is true whether you sell fine art prints through your online gallery or whether you have past client work you want to show off as proof of your work.

When we blog, tag, and push our content out into the Internet we create little bits of information that is waiting for discovery. Take a look back on the work you've done in the past. Is there a way to push it back to the front of people's minds?

If your older work is still relevent, if it's still timely, then you are allowed (encourage really) to tweet about it.

Look through your archives. I'm sure you'll find a goldmine of work that is evergreen. Push it out there. If it needs updating then do so. Then push it out there.

As a photographer I take a look back at some of my older photographs to see if I've missed something meaningful. Especially if it's something I hadn't shared before. When Adobe releases a new version of Lightroom and they've tweaked their processing I like to look into those older photographs and see what the new filters can do with them.

Take one day a month to comb through your archives (whether that's your art archives or your blog archives) and see what can be worked on, improved upon, and pushed back into the streams of your followers.

Why Passion Sells Better Than Sex

Here's something we don't talk about enough in social media marketing: Passion.

Digital marketers will drone on and on about metrics and about community and about strategy and tactics but they don't talk about passion enough.

We don't discuss why we do what we do. The best people in their industry (regardless of the industry) are at the top because they have passion. It can be passion about the product. Passion about the service. It can be passion about the company. For some, it's passion about the process. 

You can't do it without passion.

If you work in the arts you should already know this. You will not make it in this industry if you don't have passion.

Make products you would use. Create services you wish you had when you were starting out. Know that what you are creating is helping someone be better at what they do.

When you can wrap your product or service around a big pretty bow of passion then you can market it with an enthusiasm that will sell it to your clients. 

It's way better than "sex sells".

Artists And Photographers Need To Become Part Of The Organization Of The Web

If you're an artist or a photographer and you aren't participating in the great organization of the web then you miss out on getting found.