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 on your brand and can serve more purposes than having something to hand out at your art show or exhibition.
Some of the uses are:
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!
As with any effective art marketing tool you use, it require some degree of planning to make sure that the advertising supports your brand and it gets the intended message across. One common mistake is to not allow enough time to design and produce the materials for your show. If have seen it time and time again where the artist had a show with little or no marketing materials to hand out to the guests – don’t let this happen to you! Plan ahead and allow yourself plenty of time.
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. Read more
Like all business people, artists need an effective introduction when they meet people. Some people call it an Elevator Speech, others call it a 60 Second Commercial – I would like you to start thinking about it as “Your Story”. In this short video I will give you some tools and techniques to help you develop and deliver your story. OK, so what is Your Story?
I recently did a radio interview with the Linkedin Rockstars Lori Ruff and Mike O’Neil on social media for artists and creative professionals. Here it is – interview starts about 10 minutes into the show. Be sure to check out Lori and Mike’s other episodes. Here is the link for: Using LinkedIn to Market Your Arts or Creative Business
A creative district is an area where there is a critical mass of creative talent, one that creates a sense of place that is attractive to other businesses including those that might not necessarily be labeled creative. Typically, these districts are found in lesser-developed and many times less desirable areas of a city or town.
Today, many towns and municipalities have efforts to grow their creative areas and in many instances to build them from scratch by attracting creative businesses. The growth of many creative districts has been the result of creative professionals being priced out of other areas and somehow finding themselves in close proximity. This could be a particular part of a town or many times an area a bit further down the road from a larger or more economically viable area.
The process is typically slow and seems to take off when a critical mass is reached. At this point a “sense of place” begins to be noticed and the creative district becomes a place where people want to be – an area that is vibrant and more often than not, socially diverse. Other businesses and residential developments begin to move into the area.
As the growth accelerates, rents and property values begin to rise and eventually many of the artists/creative people who initially transformed the area are priced out. As the area grows, it may or may not keep its sense of place as a creative or artistic hub and becomes what has been characterized as being “gentrified”.
The process of building a creative district is not unlike other experiences in economic development. For example, a car dealer may move to the outskirts of town because the land is more affordable and taxes are lower. Soon other car dealers locate nearby and before you know it you have a street lined with car dealers.
Read the rest of the article at ColoradoBiz Magazine: Putting the “Creative” in Creative Districts…and Keeping it There
I have embarked on a project to visit the State’s many arts and creative districts to see what they are doing to promote the creative economy. The first stop on my tour was the town of Carbondale, a town with a population of about 6,500 located in the Roaring Fork Valley between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.The town of Carbondale was incorporated in 1888 when the economy was largely based on agriculture to supply food to the booming mining town of Aspen – each September for the last 102 years they have hosted the annual Potato Day Parade and Celebration. While the Carbondale economy still has its agricultural and ranching roots, the town now relies heavily on tourism, supporting the valley’s growing population with its small businesses – and the arts.Building the arts
In 2012, Carbondale was awarded the Governor’s Arts Award along with the city of Lafayette.
“The communities being honored by this award have each made a major commitment to the arts and creativity,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “They have invested in arts centers and downtown arts districts. They have made sure their young people continue to have access to the arts in school, and they have encouraged their citizens and their businesses to support local artists and arts organizations.”
Read the rest of the article at ColoradoBiz Magazine – Carbondale’s Creative Secret Sauce
In working with artists and other creative professionals I find that they are in a wide range of phases with regards to their art businesses. Some are just starting to think about starting an art business while others have a more or less fully developed enterprise. Many who are selling their art still need to complete some of the basic steps in forming and running a business. Here is a checklist to help you get some of the basics you will need to move your art business forward and minimize problems down the line.
While these items are necessary for starting your art business they are not a substitute for having a well thought out business and marketing plan. These items will not tell you how to do them or what choices you may need to make. I advise that you dig in deeper to each item and make the right choices and appropriate strategies. A good place to start is The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox by Neil McKenzie. The book is available as a softcover and eBook from major book sellers. There are also many articles on the Creatives and Business LLC website that will help you in starting your art business.
If you just started to sell your art or have a show coming up in the near future here are some things you need to address:
The importance of the creative economy in economic development is a hot topic these days in the governmental, educational, nonprofit and private sectors. The creative sector is usually defined as professions in science, engineering, education, design and the arts to name just a few. The general approach is that a robust creative sector will help accelerate job growth, foster entrepreneurship, make communities more vibrant and position us to compete in the world economy.
There are a lot of efforts being made to build the creative economy from the “top down” by a variety of educational, nonprofit and governmental agencies. Today, many are jumping on the band wagon even as some cut back on these efforts as a result of limited budgets. Examples of the top down approach include creative- and innovation-centered educational programs, arts districts and funding of creative placemaking efforts just to name a few.
A major challenge with this approach is to develop measures that prove that the money was well spent or in business terms “return on investment.” In an era of scarce resources, taxpayers and donors are demanding effective investments that lead to sustainable outcomes. Another challenge major challenge is to insure that these efforts have a positive and long term effect on the people they were designed to help – namely the individual artists and creative enterprises as well as the communities where these efforts are targeted.
It’s just what it says – developing the creative economy by nurturing the individuals and enterprises that make up the creative economy.This could take the form of direct investments into the entrepreneurial sector, incubators, mentoring and education for those involved in the creative sector. One of the advantages of this approach is that the funding and other efforts have a more direct route to those involved in the creative sector with fewer layers of middlemen.
Read the rest of the article at ColoradoBiz Magazine – Building the Creative Economy From the Ground Up
Next to creating your art, the most important function in your art business is marketing. If you are not concerned about marketing then you are more likely just pursuing your passion or engaging in a hobby. If you are looking to grow your brand, expand your markets and make money, then marketing should be on your list of business skills to master.
There are a lot of ways to look at a subject or concept and marketing is no different. People confuse marketing with sales or marketing with advertising. Marketing is a broad concept that encompasses much more.
According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large “ While this is certainly a comprehensive definition what does it really mean?
One way to look at marketing is what has become to be known as the Four P’s. The concept of the Four P’s was developed by E. Jerome McCarthy in his 1960 book, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach as a way to categorize the main elements that go into marketing. As a business owner or marketing manager you have control of how you use these elements in your marketing efforts in what has become known as your “marketing mix”.
Every business needs a plan including businesses in the arts! A plan will help you organize your business and give it a much better chance to succeed and grow. Many successful artists and galleries have told me that when they started their business they now wish that they had spent more time to create a formal plan. They felt that having a plan would have enabled them to grow faster and make fewer mistakes – take their advice!
Whether you are starting a new art business or have an existing one, make sure that the planning process is a part of your business life. A major benefit of the planning process in addition to the plan itself, is developing a way of thinking about your business and the environment it operates in. You will begin to see things differently and uncover opportunities and threats before others see them
Most people spend more time planning their vacations than they do in planning for their businesses – don’t let this happen to you. Set some time aside for planning in your normal course of work – planning should be a normal part of your work!
In keeping with the “planning your vacation or trip” theme, planning for your business is quite similar. The planning process is really quite simple and consists of four basic questions. Finding the answers to these questions is a little more complicated and will require some time and effort on your part. The basic questions in the planning process are: