Are you overwhelmed when you think about how to market your work as an artist? Have you looked into marketing courses and found an endless abyss of information that seems to go on for days about how to include your website, every social media platform, Google ad words, lead magnets, content, video series and something called a marketing funnel, which requires a six-week course alone to learn how to set up?
All of this can become absolutely maddening, especially when each course promises to bring you the best results and grow your business in a record amount of time, and every coach promises to help you stay “motivated” enough to keep on going! Before you know it, you’ve invested a TON of your hard-earned money into courses, programs and coaching only to find you’re armed with knowledge you don’t know what to do with, and feel more confused than you did when you started.
The truth is none of what you learn in those courses matters if you don’t have the one core element in place that makes any marketing plan result in profits.
I learned this lesson the hard way. When I started my first business selling t-shirts created by artists in the name of different charities, I knew I didn’t know how to market my product, specifically online. I began to research the best courses and ended up purchasing one that promised to lay out everything I needed to know about marketing my product online. I invested thousands of dollars into it, thinking I would make it all back once I applied the principles taught in the course.
Once it was said and done, I knew a heck of a lot about social media, marketing online with a blog, how to create a YouTube video series with a Facebook ad campaign and what it takes to create a marketing “funnel” with an incredible amount of content behind it in order to find clients online. But I had NO idea where to start! Which approach would help me bring in sales the quickest? Which was the best one for my audience? I began to panic and went into overwhelm. I didn’t know what to do.
So I did all of them.
I worked from morning till night putting together the right blog, writing all kinds of content, testing out different ads on Google and Facebook, creating several “funnels” and tweeting all day long! I worked on all the messaging I could until I couldn’t see straight, and at the end of it all, several months later, I still saw almost zero results.
That was when I was about to turn in my company keys and say, “this is not for me!” I didn’t know who could sustain such a crazy amount of work for random results. How did those companies who made it do it? I knew I must be missing something.
Then I met the artist whose marketing plan set me straight once and for all.
I went for a walk on a Sunday afternoon in Soho- my only day to take a break from the marketing madness I had ensued- and found a new gallery I hadn’t seen before. I walked in and was greeted by a man who gave me a beautiful smile and a warm handshake. He was clearly an artist; I could feel it in his presence. “I’m Jamali,” he said. I looked up at the four huge walls of exquisite paintings. “All mine,” he said. I was astonished he had so many pieces- some floor to ceiling, others small enough for a bedside table- displayed all at once. The gallery must be showcasing his work, I thought.
We spoke for a few minutes as he told me about his inspiration and told to look around, take my time and let him or anyone there know if I had any questions.
I saw a piece I liked but it was too big for my wall, so I asked one of the associates to see something similar. He took me immediately downstairs to their storage space and pulled out a number of pieces better suited to my needs.
I asked him who owned the gallery itself, thinking Jamali’s work was not the only work they showed. “Jamali owns this gallery. He has always owned his own space, as he believes no one can sell his art better than he can. And over the years, he has certainly proven that to be true.”
“How does he do that??” I asked, genuinely in awe of such a level of success for a fine artist.
“He knows his clients and connects directly with them. That’s pretty much his philosophy. He just constantly connects with people who want to buy his work.”
I stood there, as my mind was blown- EUREKA!
Connect directly to my ideal client: that was my marketing plan.
I literally walked out of the gallery that day and cleared my computer of all the marketing tools I was currently using. I went directly to my list of contacts I had built of people I knew were interested in what I had to offer and started to connect with them.
Within six months I had grown my business to six figures.
I have since gone back to visit Jamali’s gallery several times as a source of inspiration when I begin to feel overwhelmed with all the “noise” and “shiny objects” that can look so enticing for a new marketing plan. It reminds me instantly that the best results happen when I come back to that one, simple plan that matters most: connect with my ideal client.
While there are certainly some incredible marketing courses that offer genuinely useful tools and marketing strategies, there is really only ONE strategy you need to focus on that is guaranteed to bring you results time and time again. It is the one you can use for one offer and then repeat it for every other offer you have and see the same results: connecting directly with your ideal client. If a course does not promise to help you do this in the way you need in that moment, for the level of business you are currently in, then it’s not the right course for you, regardless of how beautiful it is put together or how promising the material looks.
There is a marked difference between your art alone and your art as a business, and you can’t afford to get the two confused. When you decide to begin building your business with your art, you need to build it like a successful business owner would approach building a business: selling enough product to enable the business to stand on its own.
Without these sales to create a place for your business in the marketplace and give your business the momentum it needs to stand on its own two feet, all the marketing courses in the world will only distract you, eat up your time and energy and not give you the profitable results you so need.
If you’d like to learn more about how to put together a marketing plan that helps you put together a plan tailored first and foremost to getting you in front of your ideal clients and bringing the initial profit you need to you now, then post your name and website in the comments below this post to request a strategy session with me. I’m holding a limited number of sessions over the next couple of weeks, so hurry and put your request in for one now!