It’s never too early to start promoting your open studio, book launch, event, or exhibition.
Creating anticipation means you are preparing people for something big. You are building expectation, excitement, and suspense!
If you have a major event in the future, don’t wait until a month or two before it begins to tell people about it. Start dripping information about it now.
But, and here’s the clincher, add variety to your missives to ensure the news is never stale. “Come to my exhibit!” gets old real fast.
People follow you because they want to hear from you. There is a strong element of trust between you and them, so they expect to be among the first to know when you have something going on.
You are letting people in on a secret when you share news of your event in the planning stages. People love to know secrets!
TIP: Your earliest mentions should be less promotional and more informative or entertaining.
You don’t want your first messages to pitch something that isn’t ready. Instead, you are opening up, being a little vulnerable.
Use your newsletter, blog, and social media connections to get the job done. Weekly mentions on social media aren’t too frequent.
Here are some thoughts.The Venue
Shoot photos of the venue, preferably with you in them: you pointing to a sign or inside talking with the staff.
Share on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and your blog.The Art
Show photographs of your inspiration on Instagram or Pinterest.
Write about your inspiration on your blog.
Reveal the work in progress on your blog and share on Facebook.The Artists
Write blog or Facebook posts about the other artists included in the event.
Compliment the other artists by posting a comment on their Facebook pages that says you’re looking forward to exhibiting with them.The Temptations
What else might be happening near your event that would pique interest in your followers? Special food? A nearby outdoor concert?
Share this information on all of your platforms (i.e. social media, blog). People are more likely to come from a distance if they know they can make a full day or evening of the effort.
Is there a cohesive theme around your event? A location, a subject, a color, or a season?
Make a pin board on Pinterest to reflect the theme!
Based on advice from Beth Hayden in our audio program about Pinterest, I created a pin board to share information about Golden, Colorado, where my October 11-12 workshop will be held. Check it out! This is my favorite use of Pinterest so far.
How do you create anticipation?See These Posts, Too
Parents are rightly concerned about their children’s future, but with preparation, an art student can excel in life.
In honor of Fathers’ Day week (Can I declare a week for all dads?), I share this query from John G. from my Facebook page. He wrote:
I have 19-year-old daughter who is passionate about art and is pursuing her dream at college. As a father . . . and as the person paying her entire tuition . . . I’m naturally concerned about how she will turn her passion for art into a career.
I’ve done some research and found an interview you gave, so thought I’d reach out as a caring father to seek some much wiser advice on the topic. . . .
My advice to her has been to find a mentor or sponsor that will open the door to real-world experience as it relates to pursuing an art career, but how to go about finding such a mentor or whether it’s the right approach at this point in time…well, quite frankly it’s out of my realm of experience.
What thoughts and advice to you have for daughter and me?
Perhaps some of my thoughts might help other parents of would-be artists.Dear John . . .
John, your daughter is very lucky to have such a caring father and I hope she realizes that. So many artists are without people in their lives to support and understand them.
I would encourage her to stay focused on developing her art. Give her space to be a student – to experiment and to make mistakes.
Too many people start marketing before the work is mature. She needs to build confidence in her abilities.
She will learn a number of things in art school that will serve her well: discipline, accepting criticism, art history, contemporary context, etc. Let her soak in these lessons.
But, as you surmised, school probably won’t teach her how to make a business from her art. Then again, doctors and lawyers never learn how to open their offices while in school.
The cool thing about kids these days is that they are savvier about business and marketing than any previous generation. And they are open to creating new business models for their art without being tied to traditional “rules” of how things should be done properly.
All parents should encourage their kids to break the rules! That’s what the most successful artists do. They find their own paths.
John, I have another idea that might make it easier for you to sleep at night. It’s not too different from your idea of a mentor.
Whenever your daughter is out of classes (summer, holiday breaks) give her real-world assignments.
Help her write letters or emails to set up appointments with people in your community who work in the art arena: curators, working artists, arts writers, arts council personnel, arts festival organizers, and anyone else you can think of.
People in the arts are generous. Have your daughter ask for 30 minutes of their time to talk with her about what they do and how they got to be in their current position. She will learn a lot about how an arts community functions and how she envisions future self.
She will also learn how to ask for what she wants through this process!
We can thank my dad for this idea.
When I was living at home and finishing up my graduate-school thesis, my dad worried for my future. I worried, too! I thought I was going to grad school to get a Ph.D. and teach, but I left with an M.A. I had no idea what I was going to do after the diploma came in the mail.
My dad helped me connect with arts leaders in the community. Though it’s probably something I should have figured out before I ever went to grad school, I wasn’t confident or outgoing enough to do this on my own. I was grateful he nudged me.
And I’m not sure I’ve ever said that. So, Thanks, Dad!
And thanks to all of the parents out there like you, John.
How about you? Do you have any advice for John or his daughter?See These Posts, Too
It’s really the “Bi-Tweekly,” but that doesn’t sound as good. Here are some of my most useful tweets from the past two weeks.Biz & Social Media Stuff
Are you not paying your interns? Ruling could affect legality ow.ly/m0739
I love this in @DeanKrosecz1 Twitter bio: “aspires to be your favorite person ever”Art Stuff
“The best work is still tomorrow’s, not the past.” – artist Hung Liu
If you have any doubt that art is selling, read these Brags on my FB page ow.ly/lH2oa
Fr one of my Bootcampers who has lots on her plate: “I plan to amaze myself!” That sounds like the perfect mantra to adopt
New pin board for artists who come to my workshop in Golden on Oct 11-12 ow.ly/lOR2TJust Really Cool Stuff
Guest blogger: Gigi Rosenberg
Most artists I know cringe at the thought of doing an artist talk. This is what they tell me:
I’m not a performer!
I’m not a public speaker!
I don’t want to explain what my art is about!
I don’t know what to talk about!
I don’t think it will make sense!
I don’t have anything to wear!
The list of objections goes on and on.
But then they get invited to give an artist talk at a gallery or at the local art school or they realize there might be some benefit to preparing and delivering a formal presentation about their work as an artist.It’s Good For Your Career
After their first talk is over, artists tell me how beneficial it was:
Preparing my talk helped me articulate what I’m doing and it helped me re-write my artist statement.
I had to review all my past work and it made me realize how far I’ve come.
It helped me see that I’m an expert at what I do.
People signed up for my mailing list.
I booked another gig!
Just last week Diane Jacobs, who I coached for her latest artist talk, said in an email, “Writing my talk helped me understand and verbalize my intentions. . . . It feels good to share the background and ideas behind the work.”
When artist Helen Hiebert gave her first talk at a professional conference, she included a request for donations for a short film she wanted to make. So, not only did she leave the conference with her first talk under her belt but she raised $500 for her film.
It may seem like an impossible leap to go from wanting to do a talk to standing in front of the room and claiming your expertise as an artist.
Writing and delivering a kick-ass artist talk is just like anything else you’ve ever learned to do.
Start with small steps that include first thinking about your audience: Who are they? Why are they there? What do you want to invite them to think about, question, or do by the end of your talk?De-Cringe
In Your Artist Talk, I break the process of assembling and delivering an artist talk into do-able steps. I give you ideas for where you can start giving a talk right now. Because the fastest way to perfect your talk is to rehearse it and the biggest motivator for rehearsing is to schedule your first talk.
Please join us on Tuesday, June 18 and learn how to create an artist talk that will get you past the cringe phase, thrill your audience, and propel your career forward. Click here for the details.
As a presentation coach, guest blogger Gigi Rosenberg draws on her background in writing, visual art, theater, and corporate communications to teach creative entrepreneurs how to give stellar public presentations.
She is the author of The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing.See These Posts, Too
Your friends and followers on social media are valuable, but the people who buy from you and entrust you with their email and physical addresses are your VIPs.
My Art Biz Insider subscribers are my VIPs. If you are a subscriber, you know that I like to share gifts periodically as a reminder of how important you are to me. Not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe and see what I’m talking about.
My gifts are mostly worksheets or audio recordings, which wouldn’t be appropriate for your collectors and potential buyers.
So what do you give them? How do you roll out the red carpet for VIPs who offer their support and trust?
Here are some ideas.Share Sneak Peeks
Before you post a new work to your blog or social media site, consider showing your list first.
Make it exclusive to them for 5 days and make it clear that this preview is just for them.Offer Discounts
Discounts are often frowned upon by art-advice-givers, but I am all for discounts when you sell directly to buyers.
Why not?! Galleries offer discounts to their customers all of the time!
If you share a sneak peek (described above) in your newsletter or email blast, extend a discount for a limited time to subscribers only.
Likewise, if you raise your prices, give your collectors first dibs on your work at the old prices.Schedule Collector Events
Host a private viewing at your studio or gallery before an exhibition. See how Janice Mason Steeves does this.
Or schedule a collector appreciation night at your studio. This isn’t about sales. To take the pressure off, you could set a rule that nothing is for sale.
An appreciation night is about recognizing and honoring those who have supported you.
How do you roll out the red carpet for your VIPs?See These Posts, Too
Summer is for light reading by the pool or on the deck, but you can still enjoy lots of books while maintaining a tie to your art business.
Here is a list of novels that have artists as their main character.My Favorites
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Spending by Mary Gordon
An Object of Beauty by Steve MartinOthers I’ve Read In Past Few Years
The Only True Genius in the Family by Jeannie Nash
Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
A weird romp (as only Christopher Moore can do) with van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and others.
I read these many many years ago, but enjoyed them enough to keep them around.
Masterpiece by former Metropolitan director Thomas Hoving
World-class museum directors vie for the acquisition of a famed painting by Velazquez.
Masterclass by Morris West
Murder mystery in the art world.
The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
This novel is built around the real-life 1990 theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Two or more people on my Facebook page have recommended these books.
Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The Thomas Crown Affair by Evan Lee Heyman
You can read all of the other novels that were mentioned in the comments on this Facebook post.
What books of fiction about art, artists, the artist-life have you enjoyed?See These Posts, Too
We entrepreneurs are slaves to our inboxes. Yes? And we seem to be okay with it because the email just keeps piling up.
We could spend all day answering email! But let’s not. There’s a smarter way to manage this.
While the elusive Inbox Zero may not be your main goal, holding on to unanswered or unprocessed email is a drain on your mental energy.
A couple of months ago, I achieved Inbox Zero and maintained it for three weeks – until I went away for a week. The messages piled up! I couldn’t seem to get my inbox down to fewer than 30 or 40 messages.
Now, two weeks after that trip, I have again mastered my inbox. I paid close attention to my steps so that I could share them with you.
Use this process when your inbox is more than you can handle and you see no way out. It may take you a couple of hours, but you only have to do it once and then maintain the discipline on a daily basis.STEP 1: Delete Freely
Yes, you might miss something when you delete freely, but this is a necessary step when you’re overloaded with email messages. You simply can’t give new stuff the attention it deserves until you clear out the detritus.
Be ruthless deleting the four types of messages in this step! Be okay with the fact that you might miss something, but understand that something newer and better awaits your attention.
1. Delete subscription messages.
You subscribe to my newsletter and others to gain more knowledge. But when they’re just sitting in your inbox, they’re not doing you any good.
If you haven’t read them by now . . . Delete!
2. Delete anything you can find online.
If you can find something on Google when you most need it, there’s no reason to hang onto an email about the same subject. Delete!
3. Delete anything more than 3 months old.
Email is pretty immediate. If it’s 2 weeks old, it might be out of date. But 3 months is beyond the limit.
4. Delete the jokes that Uncle Harvey sends you or the dire warnings that Aunt Ann thinks will save your life.
We all have Uncle Harveys and Aunt Anns in our family. Bless their hearts. They pass along every little thing they think is funny or could save your life.
You know that if Aunt Ann would only look it up on SNOPES she would discover she is passing on misleading information. Still, you don’t have time to educate her. You have an inbox to empty. Delete!STEP 2: Process Remaining Email
Set aside a block of time to process your email, meaning that you concentrate on taking care of each message as you read it. No more “checking” email now and dealing with it later.
First, sort your email with the oldest message on top. Start there and work your way down to the present.
Then, with each message, you have 5 choices of action. You can:
- Respond to the email.
- Turn it into a task for your to-do list.
- Delete it.
- Flag it for action later in the day. (Don’t let the flags pile up!)
- Archive it.
To maintain an empty inbox, process your email like this at least once a day.
That’s it! If you process each message as you have it on your screen, you will achieve (and maintain) Inbox Zero in no time.See These Posts, Too
Last week I posted this question on the Art Biz Coach Facebook page:
Some people were glib:
- “An exorcism”
- “An application for a job”
But most of my fans took the question seriously.
Several offered advice in lieu of a gift. They said the recent high-school graduate needs encouragement and support. They stressed, “Don’t get influenced by the party crowd. There will be enough time for that later on.”
Other fans said the best gift would be mentoring.
MANY people said the kid needed businesses classes and a copy of my book (thank you!).
I question this. Does a kid straight out of high school really need business classes when he should be focusing on developing a studio discipline?
I’m still not sure, although I wouldn’t mind the topic being introduced in year 2 of school. Too many schools offer business classes during the final semester only, which seems far too late for anything to stick.The Top 6 Gifts for Artists
The graduation gifts for budding artists that seemed to attract the most votes were, in no particular order:
- Art supplies
- Books, especially Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
- Gift certificate for art supplies and restaurants
- URL/Domain name
- Museum membership
One person observed that most of these would make good gifts for any artist.
What are your favorite gifts to give and receive?See These Posts, Too
It’s my list of carefully curated tweets from the past two weeks. Enjoy!Be Inspired
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.-Ralph Waldo Emerson #entrepreneurs
But whatever an artist goes through to make his art is really irrelevant. The main thing is the art.-Nadeem Aslem via @NPRI’d Like To Know
Do you have or know any #artists who have an app for their art? Please share a link if you know of one.She’d Like To Know
Truth: Many people don’t read. No matter how clear you are.
Have u noticed trend in larger text in newsletters and on websites and blogs?
You will never see me purposely promoting an “art contest” where artists are NOT remunerated. EVER [corrected tweet]
There’s a lot to be said for focusing on your business rather than ignoring the hard stuff.
1 of smartest things I did in the last year is to ask friends/family to use a personal email so that my biz email has its own spaceI Have Awesome Clients!
One of my Silver members (@janetvanderhoof) followed press release info in my book and got a feature article 3 hours after sending!
Thrilled that client @KellyMedfordArt has already matched her income from last year. Happy dance!
One of my Bootcampers said module 4 helped her have her best art sales week ever. Love this!Heads Up
Checking my “Other” messages on FB I found many that needed a response. Have you checked yours lately?The Art Biz
Art Marketing Book How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Art Career ht.ly/lje37
via @lisacall What it cost me to exhibit at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore: blog.lisacall.com/2013/05/cost/ a LOT!
Consider buying a separate URL for a big #art project. You’d hate for someone else to own the name of your project online.
Zimoun’s New Sound Art Installation In An Abandoned Chemical Tank zite.to/12kjR1p beautiful!
Vintage 1953 Volkswagen Beetle Sculpted Into A Perfect Sphere zite.to/12kl2Ow cool!For Fun
Follow @abstanfield on Twitter for the most timely news for your art business.
See These Posts, Too
Artists are amazingly generous with their time and talents. You are among the first to respond to a disaster and to help out those in need. You give full out with our heart.
Here are a few recent philanthropy feats from artists that I’d like to acknowledge.Something To Smile About
Photographer Larry Lourcey raised money to pay for 16 surgeries for kids to correct cleft palates and other facial deformities.
Larry offered “mini” photo-shoots (portraits) for a small donation of $24 per shoot and set aside one day for the event.
Ten scheduled mini-shoots could pay for one surgery (just $240!).
If my math is right, this means Larry took at least 160 photos that day!Honoring Sandy Hook Victims
Moved by the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut last December, Angeli Petrocco-Coover made 26 mixed-media pieces to give to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims.
She took special care to see that each one reflected the individual personality of the child or school administrator.
Angeli is now selling greeting cards based on those collages to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise.
You can see each work read about the life of the person it honors on this page.Relief for Moore, Oklahoma
As a native Okie, this one really hits home and I tear up every time I think about all of the good people in the Sooner State.
Oklahomans for the Arts, Inc. has assembled a page for arts fundraisers to support the victims of the May 20 tornado in Moore. Here are a few on the list.
Bella Vita Jewelry has designed a special necklace with all profits going to relief funds.
Liz Cooke is selling a screen-printed, hand-drawn map of Oklahoma for a suggested donation of $10. Benefits go to American Red Cross.
Tony Grider donated all proceeds from 1-week sale of fine photography prints.
Contemporary Art Gallery artists Kim Pagonis, Carol Shanahan, Kay Wall and Verna Fuller are offering 50% of art sales towards the relief effort/organization of their choice.
Tree & Leaf and The Okay See have collaborated to design a special t-shirt with all proceeds going to tornado relief. As I was checking up on it, they have sold out and raised $20,000 to donate to the Regional Food Bank.
Shop Good/Blue Seven/STASH offers the Benefit Tee for Moore Tornado Relief. As of this writing, they have raised over $10,000 for the American Red Cross.
Laura Reese is making disaster relief letterpress postcards for a $10 donation to Red Cross.
Spencer Tracy is donating 50% of all sales to the Red Cross.
Katelynn Knick is donating all proceeds from prints sold to support the Moore community.
Give them a hand! And, if you feel moved, tell us about your fundraising and giving in a comment below.See These Posts, Too
I am lucky to interview people who have plenty of knowledge to help artists grow their businesses. Coincidentally, the three most recent interviews I’ve conducted have been related to social media.
While my clients might have focused on one part of the interviews, I had my own takeaways. Here are my big insights from each of these.Facebook
Artist Col Mitchell designed a 3-month experiment to test engagement and reach on her Facebook page.
Since Col is a member of the Art Biz Incubator, she agreed to share her findings with members.
I love that Col was deliberate about measuring results.
>>> Big Insight from the interview: I am inspired to try Facebook’s “Boost Post” option for select posts on my business page.
This seemed to make a difference for Col and I’ve been hearing good things about this option from others.
I want to be strategic about it, though. I don’t want to pay for just any post to be promoted. It has to have a lot of value for my page members and potential fans.
So here’s a bonus Big Insight that will become my first action: It would be beyond valuable to create a strategy for my Facebook business page.
A strategy would not only keep me sane when trying to decide what/how/when to update, but it would also help me track what works and what doesn’t.Instagram
When I asked arts advocate and social media expert Rebecca Coleman what she was most excited about these days, she said, “Instagram.” So that’s what we talked about in an interview for the Art Biz Incubator.
>>> Big Insight: Pinterest is for images that already exist on the Web, while Instagram is for putting new photos out there.
That sounds like a “Duh” moment, but it was a way that I hadn’t considered to distinguish two visual sites. Rebecca inspired me to get my account moving again.
Since our conversation I have posted about 25 more images to Instagram – sometimes simultaneously to Twitter or Facebook. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s big progress considering there were 2 photos on my Instagram profile before we talked!Pinterest
Beth Hayden did a smashing job in last week’s teleseminar about using Pinterest for your art business. I took a ton of notes!
Above all, I was inspired by Beth’s enthusiasm about Pinterest and some of the statistics she shared with us.
Click here for the rest of the article and to share your big social media insights
>>> Big Insight: Pins with price tags get 36% more clicks than those without. That’s significant and surprising! People know you’re selling something, but they still click on it.
This is an excellent reason to make sure you pin images of your art with prices included and the complete credit line in the description.
The audio recording and transcript of this seminar are available here.And You?
What insights have you had about social media these days? What is working for you? What isn’t?See These Posts, Too
It’s fun to pin to Pinterest! It’s fun to post images of your art to Facebook and get instant likes and comments.
But, STOP! As a smart art businessperson, you understand that immediate gratification isn’t as important as long-term benefits.
Before you post your images anywhere else, they should be on your website or blog.
I’m not talking about “in progress” images. Those are fine to go ahead and share on social media. I’m talking about the images you want everyone to see and remember you by.Why not post to social media first?
The primary reason you use social media for your art business is to drive traffic back to you.
If you’re leaving all of your goodies on the social media sites, you’re giving them the traffic rather than benefiting from all of your hard work.
Use this simple, 2-step process that will pay off in the long run:
- Post images to your site.
- Link to images on your site from various social media platforms.
It’s really that simple.
Be strong! Take a little extra time to get this marketing step right and your traffic will skyrocket.See These Posts, Too