A Peek Inside My Marketing Brain
Today, I am inviting you to hang out in my head as I get my ducks in a row for the official launch of my new guidebook. Yes, I just published a new guidebook. It is for artists who sell their work in face-to-face venues. HOWEVER: Whether you are in the arts community or not, you will want to pay attention. This is my marketing brain at work and I have decided to bear my marketing soul, show you my thinking process, and even ask for your help.
Welcome to my personal “case-study”
First off: Yes, it is a printed publication. You can hold it in your hands. You can write in the margins. You can highlight stuff that matters to you. It is spiral bound and has two back covers, so you can flip a blank one to the front so there is no title visible. This is useful if you bring it to an outdoor show or keep it in an art gallery.
This was the first part of the “marketing” puzzle. Do I make this a downloadable purchase only or do I go through the big hassle and upfront expense to get something printed? Did I want “inventory” plus have the added responsibility of shipping? Yikes! Quite a commitment.
In fact, over the years, I had quit printing out hand-outs for my seminar attendees. It was so much easier to just email them PDF files and have them print out the worksheets and other information.
But recently, I had a big change of heart and creating a fully functioning “system” made more sense. It’s been a long and winding road so I thought it would be interesting to follow my journey; a real life “case study” that’s still being created!
Here’s some of the thought processes I have been going through:
- As stated, for years I have dutifully sent everyone an email with embedded PDF file links after the 90 minute seminar. However, after studying my click-through rates via my Constant Contact reports, it was clear that many attendees were not opening the files so they were not downloading the post-seminar “Worksheets”.
- I was crushed to see this lack of follow-through. These worksheets are really important!
- The worksheets are designed to “cement” the knowledge from the seminar and give artists the ability to put the knowledge into their own voices and personalities.
- They are key elements to long-term success and increasing sales. They make a big difference.
- I want artists to thrive and help them get their art into good homes and therefore make collectors lives better, too. It’s a win-win that I have loved being a part of for years!
For all of the above reasons and many more, I felt an increasing responsibility to do whatever it takes to get the best results possible for seminar attendees. Then one day, a much bigger picture developed and my marketing brain exploded!
My lightbulb moment
In late 2015, I came to the final conclusion that I had to print the worksheets going forward. I was planning my second visit to the artist communities in Scottsdale Arizona for February 2016. I would be teaching my 90-minute “E’s of Selling Art Seminar” again and I knew I had to hand out the worksheets this time. I realized this was the least I could do to insure they had the complete set of tools and would more likely “do the work” needed for total absorption of the seminar’s principles.
However, part of that second visit to the area included invitations to be guest speaker at two large art organization’s gatherings. I was asked to present my 30 minute motivational talk about the E’s of Selling Art to the general meeting at the Sonoran Arts League and later to a morning meeting with artists who were juried participants in the Arizona Fine Arts Expo.
AHA! I realized that the vast majority of the artists I would be speaking to at both meetings were involved in top notch art festivals. In fact, the group at the Arizona Fine Arts Expo were in the midst of selling directly to the public in one of two huge art festivals that go on for ten weeks – seven days a week! Yes there are two shows in Scottsdale that bring in the best of the best artists from around the nation and Arizona to sell every day for 70 days!
Identifying the market:
These artists needed more than just a set of worksheets. I realized the “hand-out” for these two private speaking engagements needed to be something that would speak to the needs of someone who is set up and selling for 70 days. What could that be?
I concluded that the full seminar needed to be in book form and the worksheets would be part of that book. I could create a downloadable version to sell to the rest of the world, but have printed versions to hand out at in-person events.
Then I saw my old set of index cards that I created to bring to my own shows and…Voila! The E’s of Selling Art “System” was born.
I needed a set of “flashcards” like my index cards. I created a deck of 24 inspirational and “slap on the side of the head” flashcards sized as business cards.
- I needed to create something small, portable, and discreet.
- Business card sized meant the messages would be short and sweet, too!
- Part instructional, part inspirational, these would hold the key to success!
- Now I have a “system” but now it meant it had to be printed to be effective.
Or? Could it be downloadable? I was still grasping at straws and wanting to avoid printing except for my in-person events, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back:
- I didn’t want to take the chance that someone wouldn’t download the template for the business sized flashcards.
- Not everyone has the materials needed to create business cards.
- Buying business card template stock for just 24 cards is really not cost effective.
- And again, what if they don’t get around to printing anything?
- I even toyed with just giving them the 24 statements and they could (they’re artist afterall!) design there own set of flashcards.
As I compiled the simple flashcard messages and did a prototype printing and felt the impact behind each one, I knew I had to actually print them for distribution. If I wanted people to get the FULL benefit, this had to be a physically printed system. The idea that I could have a “downloadable” product was now a distant memory.
Aside from those two unique 70-day selling situations in Scottsdale, I also realized that I could serve the needs of the “week-end warriors” who go from festival to festival for months at a time each year. I also thought about the artist who only does a few events a year or only sells around the holiday season. Every artist who presents their fine arts or crafts could benefit! I was elated!
Start Spreading the News
The marketing strategy for the Arizona appearances was simple: If any artist starts to gain sales and correlates increased success with any part of my system – even just the flashcards – while sitting in their booth at any show going forward, there could be referrals. Therefore:
- I decided to offer the E’s of Selling Art System for free to my Scottsdale seminar attendees.
- Then I offered it at a discount at the two speaking events I did. I sold out of my first printing!
- Making this available at an attractive price was just plain good PR for my new product.
The Next Phase: the To Do List
Home from Arizona with another box full of “E’s of Selling System” sets to sell, I now start the real work. This is from my mind mapping app, but not everything here is set in stone yet. (In fact, the next group I print will have a different title page and cover since I have evolved this to be the “E’s of Selling Art System”). Here’s a partial list:
- Hire a consultant to brainstorm my project launch.
- Grow or segment Email Lists for Target groups
- Maybe open a separate Email Account with Constant Contact
- Determine Advertising Budget
- Start Targeting the Audiences
- Creating Marketing Copy for each Audience
- Creating Landing Pages per audience
- Create print collateral to send to American Fine Craft store owners currently working with my jewelry line.
- Create print collateral to send to art guilds, coops, schools, and other centers
- Contact art industry bloggers with guest post ideas about the E’s of Selling Art
- Create an print ad for Art Publications
- Get testimonials from the artists who have bought the system
- Revise and update my E’s of Selling Art Seminar. There are really special parts that I developed for the guide that need to be in the seminar now.
- Blog about this whole process on my own blog and encourage ideas from readers
And so I have!
I really hope you will comment below. I need your thoughts! What ideas do you have so I can spread the word about this valuable tool for artists? Show me some LOVE!
Below I have two questions and I would love your marketing minds to get involved. Give me your pros and cons:
- Should I create a separate Facebook Business Page and other Social Media accounts?
- Should I create a separate website or keep this as part of my general business consulting site – this site? (I own several variations of the URL already.)
This is really up for debate!
If I keep it all under one roof, I might give quick updates on my progress in this blog space. Or, I might devote an every other week approach and blog an E’s of Selling Art Hints & Tips. This will mean I will blog every week. I think I can handle it – or at least try, right?
TO BE CLEAR: My non-artist blog followers will have no interruptions going forward. I will stay on my course to keep my small business sales and marketing blog on it’s regular schedule. So stay tuned for my business as usual blog in two weeks.
OH and by the way: Artists or people who know, love, and want to support artists are welcome to buy the “E’s of Selling Art System! Here’s the link:
BIG THANKS for taking time to read this extra long post! I hope you will take a few minutes to comment and give me your pros and cons and other thoughts about this product launch. If you are feeling shy, just email me directly. I really want to get lots of ideas percolating and circulating!