Creatives and Business is all about helping you build a successful art or other creative business. I have put together some great resources on this site to help you sell more art and better manage the business side of things. I invite you to check it out and share with your artist friends. Best of Luck! – Neil McKenzie
You need a good business card and I put emphasis on “Good”! I have met many artisans in casual situations and even at art fairs who don’t have a business card. Not only do they miss out on future sales they are not giving their brand a professional image that says, “I mean business!”. Here are some ideas and tips on putting your business card to work for you.
If you have been following the series of articles on the basics of Art Marketing you already know that a traditional way to describe marketing is called the Four P’s. The Four P’s are: Product, Price, Place (Distribution) and Promotion. In this article we will take a look at the Product part of this marketing model and answer the question – “What are you selling?”
My Artrepreneurship students at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver are required to prepare their Product List as one of the first steps in developing their business and marketing plans. At first glance this seems easy, but trust me, it will require some thinking and examination into what products you make, what they are used for and who the end user is. The process usually goes something like this:
There is an old sales adage that says “sell the sizzle not the steak”. For most art and creative products there should be a lot of sizzle to talk about. Have you ever noticed that in some restaurants that the kitchen is out in the open or that the waiters walk by the tables with sizzling platters? They do this because the sights, sounds and smells of a tasty dish evoke emotions and spark interest – in essence they are selling the sizzle not the steak and you can too!
Selling the Steak
Selling the steak is when you talk about the specifications, features and materials that go into your art. While it is important that a piece of art is painted in oil on a certain type or quality of canvas, this is probably not the reason people would buy the art. Look at the “steak” as the “nuts and bolts” of a product and something you would see in a manufacturer’s specification sheet. While specs are important, people are swayed by the sizzle. Many fine art photographers seem more interested in telling their customers about what camera the image was produced on, what kind of printer and paper the image was printed on and how long it will last. While these facts may be important they have little to do with why a particular print is bought. Don’t dwell too much on the specifications, if your prospect likes the image the other facts will help reinforce the sale.
Selling the Sizzle
If you sell your art you are in business! Whether you are just selling your art as a hobby, to make extra income or you are going all out in your art business you need to learn about business. More than likely you went to art school and not business school but don’t worry, the learning about business is not out of your reach. One of the things I have found in teaching business to hundreds of students is that those with an art background did not have a problem “getting it” and in many respects excel because of their creative talents.
Hopefully since you are reading this blog I probably don’t have to convince you that business skills are an important part of any creative career whether you are in business for yourself or you work for someone. The business world has changed and many of the things that have worked in the past may be less effective or not effective at all. Having a good grasp on how business works will help ensure the success of your creative enterprise or make you more valuable to your employer.
How Do Artists Get Business Skills?
In working with artists I have seen some very good artist show cards and some which left a lot to be desired. If you are having a show or exhibition of your art work then make sure you make the most of your efforts. Art show cards or postcards are a direct reflection of your brand and can serve more purposes than having something to hand out at your art show or exhibition.
Some of the uses are:
- Announce an upcoming show or exhibition
- A take-away for visitors to the show or exhibition
- Another piece in your marketing materials portfolio
- Inclusion into a press kit or press release (digital version)
- An addition to your artist portfolio
- Something to show current customers, prospects and others in your network
Remember that your artist show postcards don’t do you any good sitting in a box or stuffed in a drawer. Get them out there so people can see your work and experience your brand – be creative!