Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Everlasting Marketing Marathon

So I've been on this marketing marathon for the past 2 months, trying to get more exposure for all of my businesses. When I worked full time in the banking industry, I didn't have much time to promote my artistic endeavors. Now that I have more time, I have really begun the sprint towards getting my name out there in every way possible. I have done so in small spurts over the years, but I have gone full force recently.

I recently read an article on marketing your art in The Artist Magazine (sorry I couldn't find a link to article on their website or the writer's) Anyway, he says there are 8 things you should be doing to promote your art. Those basics components to marketing success in art are: 1. A website, 2. Link exchanges on your website, 3. ebaY auctions, 4. Participation in online art communities, 5. A blog (which is new to my arsenal of marketing tactics), 6. YouTube posts (this I have yet to post to), 7. Print advertising and finally, 8. A monthly newsletter (this I have not done either). You can view the article in the current magazine (I couldn't find it on their website).

So I have done 6 of 8 of those recommendations and the success has not been equal to the effort or money spent on the effort. I have had wedding gigs and event planning gigs and have sold some art and photography. I've also had my work shown in magazines such as Santa Barbara Magazine, Coastal Woman Magazine and more, so I have had exposure and some success, but I still kept the full time job because #1, it paid very well and #2, I didn't have full time art/photography work.

So this post is to all the people who have struggled and keep on dreaming of being independent in their creative work. And it is also posted for those that are just starting out, to show that you should never give up your dreams. I've had my website since 2000, with availability to buy directly from the website. I need to seriously re-vamp it, but have not had time for that big task of converting from FrontPage to Dreamweaver. I have items on ebaY and have since 2005. I have done art shows from Palm Springs to Goleta, California and have shown on a weekly basis in Santa Barbara & Goleta for 1.5 years ( a few years ago) and had print ads in a few major art magazines, on Craigslist and other local free online websites. I did all this with a full time job in Business Administration. Did I mention I have Fibromyalgia. If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen.

I have had many admirers of my photography, for which I show at art shows. When I am at an art show, I am my happiest. Even when I don't have sales, it is great to hear what people say about my work and it is even better to tell them the stories about the photos and share the World with people who may never see that particular place in person. So even though I was lacking in monetary sales, I still was paid in other ways - happiness, contentment, pride, connecting with other art lovers, etc.

In the past year I have joined art networking sites including LinkedIn, Spraygraphics, ArtFaceOff, The Whole 9, Without A Box, and a few more I don't remember at this late hour. Then I opened my two Etsy shops for baking and art, photography, floral design, jewelry, glass and everything else I like to create. In the past week, I have had small success in my marketing efforts. I seem to get those short little spurts of something coming from my efforts. I have had 2 inquiries on products and many e-mails of fellow artisans. I even had two days in a row of front page listings on Etsy - which is UNBELIEVABLE! That was pretty exciting, as there are hundreds of thousands of listings on their site.

I also recently added a front page listing in the WEDDING section of, offering a wedding photography special for Southern California couples, of which there is a link to on this blog. That add generated 120 views in 5 days. On Tuesday I received a request to submit my baked goods to a well known marketing company. They provide free marketing and in return you provide samples of your product, to be added to a box of other samples from other vendors. Today I added SuperPages listings for my businesses. On Thursday I had a woman call asking for a prom corsage/boutonniere for her daughter. Then on Saturday, we had a community garage sale, for which we only have one per year. Our HOA doesn't allow them otherwise.

So I took full advantage of the opportunity to market all of my businesses. The day before, I made Bailey's and Coffee Brownies and Butter Cookies. They were both dipped or topped with Bailey's and Coffee Chocolate. I made Jalapeno Brownies and Guinness Brownies with a Butter Cream Frosting, and I made Espresso Martini Brownies, also with Espresso Martini Chocolate on top. I created labels and glued them onto paper lunch bags. I was up until 12:30 A.M. finishing everything. I woke up at 6:00 A.M. and prepared the garage sale like it was an art show. I put up the canopy and covered the tables and put up grids to hang the photography. I put out the art, photos, prints, baked goods, jewelry, and a floral arrangement with cards. I drove to the front of the development and put up a sign that art & photos were at the end of the block, so people would come down. I got some "Wow, great set up" comments, "Wonderful" or Amazing" comments on the photos and art and one sale of a baked goods bag. But there just weren't enough people. The HOA didn't market well.

SoI only sold the bag of baked goods, but I did get two inquiries on doing family portraits, which is a good lead. So although I didn't win the marathon, I finished it and that is what counts. So for those that struggle, don't give up. Life is too short to give up on your dreams. Working for the Dream Foundation and the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara really put that long time self motto into a whole new perspective. I'll let you know how the sample box marketing thing goes, of which the results will come in about a month.

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