Are you feeling overwhelmed by everything you hear you should be doing to market your craft? You aren’t alone. Most of us need a map before we start out on a journey we’ve never taken before.
So, take a deep breath and know that if you just start somewhere, take one simple step today, you’re on your way. Don’t decide to start fresh Monday. That works about as well as waiting to join the gym on January 1. Just take one step, right now. Yes, begin a new project on a Friday. Even if you take the weekend off, you’ll be able to relax knowing you’ve taken that first step.
Today’s assignment: choose your very best piece. Something that hasn’t been out in the marketplace yet. Now, photograph it. OK. I know you might consider that two steps. If you’re really feeling ambitious, upload it to your i-photo or other photo program and save it. So, three easy steps. (if you really must be a stickler about the one step a day, choose the piece today, photograph it tomorrow and upload on Sunday. Those are very tiny steps.) On Monday morning it will be so easy to continue knowing you’ve already done the first three steps.
Now, you are ready to take a BIG baby step on your craft marketing plan.
I’m not calling this a BIG step because it’s difficult. It isn’t. It’s simple and just so obvious but it is a big step because it will make a huge difference in getting your sales rolling
Send the digital image of your best piece to your list of past buyers or those who have visited your booth at shows, come to your home open studio, or just expressed interest in your work. (You DO keep a list, don’t you?) If you don’t have a database of past customers, send the image to all your friends and family. You aren’t selling anything. You are simply sharing a photo with them, reminding them that you are a talented crafts person. Say something in your email like “I just wanted to share with you what I’m doing right now.” If you have already made prints or reproductions of your work, mention it. If you are in an exhibition, mention it. If you haven’t ever taken your work out of your home studio, mention it. Be open and honest about your newness and people will want to support you. Ask them to share it with their friends. A great way to get people to notice your work and pass it on is to include a quote or some kind of meaningful sentiment or story. Nothing too long, just something to make them smile or stop and think. Something that makes them nod in agreement and want to pass on to friends.
You’ve now taken your four first steps. Simple steps that will get you rolling on the next steps.
Assuming you’ve followed the baby steps so far, today you are going to make a vital move. If you don’t have a database of your mailing list, or even have a mailing list, today you will start one. This is everyone you know. Everyone. Remember, you aren’t selling to your friends and family. You are sharing your art with them. If you are like the rest of us, you probably have scraps of paper and business cards all over with names of people you’ve met. Most of us toss them because we have forgotten why we picked them up. But, each of those people might know someone who could become your best customer or the connection to many great collectors. Maybe someone’s sister has a gallery or an uncle who is a decorator to the very wealthy. You won’t be imposing by sending them a beautiful image with a brief greeting or sentiment online. Think of it as a gift. Because it is.
Even if your list has only twenty names right now, you should be using a contact management program such as Constant Contact. You can start out with their free trial; it’s simple, user friendly, and you will have your list automated to start. This will help you also to capture and organize your contacts and newsletter list. (Don’t stress about the idea of a newsletter. It doesn’t have to be anything more than saying hello and showing a photo of your new work.) Today, your job is to go online and set up an account with Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. They are both very user-friendly with great customer support.
If you haven’t purchased your domain name, do that now. Go to a site like Bluehost.com and buy your own name. Even if you have a business name and already have a web site, for $10 a year, buy your own name. If you already have a site under a different name, you needn’t change that – just redirect the url with your own name to the site. This takes three minutes and is important because people are more likely to remember and search for you under your own name than a business name.
This should be day seven. Now you have a list, you have an image and a domain name. Today you are going to order some postcards. Use a site like modernpostcards.com to order postcards of your favorite piece that you photographed on day one. You can have the same quote or sentiment that you used for your email printed on the postcards. These are very inexpensive marketing tools which you will use both as mailers and handouts. Include a special offer or invitation to a home exhibit or trunk show. Also have your domain address (url) printed on them.
In the first week, with one small step a day, you have a great start on your art marketing program.
See how much you’ve accomplished in one week with just baby steps? And to think you didn’t know where to begin.
This blog post originally appeared on craftbizblog.com.
Terri Belford has been self-employed for over 30 years in businesses developed out of personal interests in the advertising, home furnishings, fine arts, healing arts and contemporary crafts fields. Terri also enjoys helping aspiring entrepreneurs, artists, crafts people and collectors become their own boss while making a living based on their passions.