Creatives don’t get enough credit.
On at least one occasion, every artist has been told that they should look for a “real job.” In the face of such attitudes, it’s easy to grow discouraged. It’s easy to think that no one could possibly be interested in buying what you’re selling.
But that’s far from true. The value of art goes beyond what it can do for a business. And whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur selling their crafts online, or a business-minded creative who wants to start their own studio, you can find success with some hard work, a bit of luck, and (perhaps most importantly) an effective marketing strategy.
Let’s go over a bit of advice to help you get started.
Have a Plan
Think carefully about what you want to do, the audience you want to reach, and where you want to reach them. A Facebook crafting group, for instance, will have different priorities than an Instagram influencer. Each will require a different approach and may be interested in other elements of your portfolio.
Make a List
Especially for a first-timer, marketing can seem overwhelming. By looking at projects not as singular, monolithic entities but collections of smaller tasks, you’re giving yourself some space to breathe. More importantly, you make it easier to justify taking a break since you can actually see measurable progress.
Creating a more substantial presence in your local art community and beyond starts with collaboration. Working with other artists ensures you have people you can bounce ideas off. Someone who’s more entrenched in the community can also offer you valuable advice about getting yourself established while also recommending your work to others.
You can (and should) collaborate with more than just the people who share your craft, too. For example, let’s say you’re an artisan who makes custom ceramics. You might consider approaching a photographer, offering them your services in exchange for theirs.
It’s a win for both creators.
There’s no point putting time or effort into marketing if you’re using improper techniques or cheap materials. No one wants to buy a product that looks terrible or breaks in an instant. You need to make sure you can quickly produce quality work and price it competitively.
To be fair, this one might go without saying. After all, most people who seek a career in a creative field tend to be extreme perfectionists. And almost every creative has a small mountain of unacceptable’ projects that will never again see the light of day.
Create a Unique Brand
Creative markets are now more oversaturated than ever, meaning it’s difficult to set yourself apart. The best advice we can offer here is to look at what others in your market have done and think about how you can do it better. You might consider looking at online reviews for weaknesses in competing products or simply studying how leading professionals do their work.
Products aside, you also need to create a brand for yourself. When someone looks at your products, you want them to think of not just your artwork, but you.
Build a High-Quality Website
Contacting you or purchasing your art should be seamless and secure regardless of the user’s device. Your website is the first impression any customer will have of your artwork. You do not want that impression to be tainted by poor mobile optimization, terrible performance, or bad design.
Above All, Just Be Human
Often, when a creative starts plying their craft professionally, they lose something. They stop putting as much of themselves into their art, instead focusing on what sells. Don’t fall into this trap.
Do not be afraid to add personal work to your portfolio. Passion and a personal touch together can be incredibly magnetic. Never lose sight of that, and never forget what made your art great in the first place.
Finally, when you’re taking your first steps into the world of ecommerce, be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. People are imperfect; it’s part of the beauty of life.
The difference between someone who’s successful and someone who isn’t is not that the former doesn’t make mistakes — it’s that they learn from those mistakes.