As an artist you might think that something as structured as a marketing plan might not be relevant. But it has never been more relevant as the market becomes increasingly saturated with people trying to sell their work. A marketing plan helps to target your marketing efforts. This allows you to free up as much time as possible to do what you really enjoy doing – creating art. Here is a quick introduction to the concept.
Developing an Art Marketing Plan
What is a Marketing Plan?
Put simply, a marketing plan is a document that sets out what actions you are going to take to meet the goals you have set yourself. This doesn’t have to be a big fancy document. It can be (as in my case) a handwritten series of jottings although there are a number of steps to follow to create it. Keep it as simple as possible to make it a document you can work with rather than it being a burden. Having a marketing plan enables you to review your marketing activities and see how effective they have been at helping you achieve your goals.
Know Yourself and Your Market
- What are you good at? Identify the strengths you can build on. Maybe there is something unique to you or your art (your unique selling point or USP). Perhaps you cater to a local market rather than a national or international market or use a specialist technique.
- Is there something you are less good at and might need help with, something you see as a weakness that you need to address perhaps by studying the subject? This could include marketing your art of course.
- Are you aware of the opportunities open to you personally as an artist? Where can you sell or promote your work?
- Do you know what the main threats are to your career as an artist? This could be your competition which you need to have a grasp of. You can learn a lot from what other artists like you are doing to market their work.
All of these things should be reflected in your marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be detailed and may even be mainly in your head or jotted down separately. But if you don’t know the answers to these questions then that should be your starting point before writing your plan.
What Time Period Does the Marketing Plan Cover?
Whatever meets your own personal needs. Using myself as an example here, I have an annual plan that is a working document, totally flexible. This includes some big goals for the year. For example this year I have started to promote my work on Instagram and developed a new website to sell prints of the local area.
I review my plan every month so that I can put new ideas into action and respond to new opportunities as they arise. New opportunities might include being able to enter a competition, the possibility of a guest blog spot or perhaps having some work used to illustrate someone else’s blog. Special events ought to be marked in the annual plan and then focused on in the monthly reviews. These include, for example, Christmas and Mother’s Day which require marketing well in advance.
A Word About Setting Goals
What do I mean by a goal?
A goal is the aim or objective of your effort, what you hope to achieve. Goals are not always what you think!
Taking myself as an example. As an artist you might think that the obvious goal for me would be to sell my art. To some extent that goes without saying, what artist doesn’t want to sell their work? Actually my goals include to establish my brand and build links with the types of people who might buy my art in order to lead to sales.
Examples from my own marketing plan
Here are some examples of the audience I am aiming for in my own marketing plan in relation to my local Italian artwork. Someone redecorating a restaurant who wants pictures of Italy who might think ‘hang on there is that woman on Twitter/YouTube who posts those lovely Italian shots; I will go and have a look at what she has available’.With Mother’s Day approaching, someone might think ‘there was that lovely piece with roses posted on Facebook that I could get for my Mum’. Or maybe someone will see an image and think ‘that would be perfect for my new business cards’. Or someone will see something ideal for a wine or olive oil label.
Staying local, one of my goals is in relation to local tourism. By having a regular presence on social media, particularly with my blog and YouTube, I appear high up in Google. When someone does a search for one of my local towns or villages I am on the first page. That reflects my goal to be high enough in search to be seen which may lead to a sale from a tourist visiting the area.
How will you measure progress towards your goals?
This is part of reviewing or auditing your marketing plan. It is an important step that should not be left out. Unless you conduct a review you can’t be sure your marketing plan is fit for purpose and that your goals are still sensible.
Take, for example, reaching your target audience. Social Media provides a range of analytical information about your posts that you can use. You can see the audience you are reaching and which posts are the most popular. Say your goal is to build up an audience of say, interior designers. An obvious measure of the success of the goal might be how many interior designers start following your social media posts over a given period.
When I reviewed my Twitter activity in January I was shocked to see that I had a very large number of followers who were into marketing or blogging. Not really my intended target audience at that time. That made me adapt my approach so that my blogs (like this one, for example) might appeal to that audience. Coincidentally my blog is illustrated by my art for sale (please imagine a grin). I didn’t ditch that audience that I had built up; I adapted my approach to serve it. Action was also taken to attract the sort of audience I had originally intended!
Where to go for more information
Well if you do a search on the subject of developing a marketing plan you will be spoiled for choice. But there is plenty out there for those of you who want to go into great depth on the subject. Much of the information available is free and there is lots of support for beginners, particularly on Facebook. There are Facebook groups that you might want to consider joining such as Social Media for Success. Just use the search function in Facebook to find the group that is right for you.
Does a marketing plan work?
Well this is the big question isn’t it? For myself, yes it works and gives me a focus for my activities and I am starting to see my goals being realized.
When I first started selling my work, I spent a lot of time throwing out posts saying ‘look at my new art’, ‘new art available’ etc. I didn’t even thinking about who was looking at my social media posts and if they had any interest at all in what I was doing. Having set goals to work towards has streamlined my time, as has using scheduling of posts to target peak times for my selected audience.
It doesn’t stop spontaneity. It just means you can relax some days as your posts are already set up to be issued. And I now feel I am communicating with an audience of potential buyers and people who are interested in what I do, rather than throwing posts out into a black hole!
Why not give it a try and draft a marketing plan for your art?
All images in my blog today are for sale as prints in a variety of sizes and formats. Just click on any image to be taken directly to the sales page.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!