1. Refusing to Do It: You are missing out on a world of opportunity and potential projects/clients by refusing to market yourself and/or become more active on social media. Although many artists claim that they don’t have time, they don’t understand the technology, or it’s just not for them, it is definitely worth putting in just 30 minutes a day to strengthening your brand.
Solution: Recruit some help. There are full-time jobs devoted to marketing and social media and if this is not where you would like to spend your hours, it may be worth the investment to hire some additional help. I’ve seen many young, aspiring artists work with seasoned artist to learn the craft in return for social media and marketing help.
2. Relying on Your Portfolio: Your online portfolio is undoubtedly a crucial aspect of your website. However, it can’t be the only thing on there. You need to give viewers a reason to come back.
Solution: Make sure you are uploading content regularly to your website. A blog is a great way to engage viewers and keep them coming back. Showcase additional work (or works in progress) and allow your audience to get to know your voice as well as your work.
3. Making it All About You: It’s amazing how many artists I’ve work with who insist that all social media posts should be about them: their work, their projects, who they working with, etc. Believe me, this is a sure way to turn people off to you and to stop following you.
Solution: Yes, keep your followers up-to-date on current work, but PLEASE add some variety to your posts. Promote other artists, offer support and advice to aspiring artists, and post relevant current news stories. Keep the content varied, interesting, and (for the love of God) not only about you.
4. People Can’t Get in Touch: Many artists’ webpages make it very difficult to get in touch or to purchase their product or artwork. Contacting/hiring you or purchasing your work should be the main goal of your website. So make it easy for people.
Solution: If you are selling your work on another platform (amazon.com, artcapitol.com, or through a gallery) make sure there are very clear and easy to find links directing to this information and to your work. Don’t make your potential buyers have to sort through numerous webpages to find out how to purchase something. Also, a link to contact you via email should be visible on every page of your website.
5. Refusing to Stay in the Know: Yes, social media is constantly changing, opinions on SEO are never ending, and Googling “social media trends” is overwhelming. But it’s important that you at least know and understand the basics and what works best for you and your business.
Solution: The best way to understand social media is to use it. Plain and simple. If you don’t have a Facebook page, get one. If you don’t have a Twitter account, open one. Learn by doing and asking questions. There is a plethora of 20-somethings who live and breathe social media and could actually teach you a few things.
6. Not Building a Mailing List: Getting organized and developing a clean mailing list including past client, fans, business partners, etc. is a great way to pool your resources and stay in touch with potential clients.
Solution: Developing a mailing list is simple, but how you use it is most important. Newsletters are a great way to keep your business on people’s minds and update them on your current projects. MailChimp is a quick and easy may to manage large mailing lists and develop simple, effective newsletters.
7. Not Staying in Touch: Once a client leaves your studio or a project is over, this is when the marketing opportunities open back up. For every person you come in contact with, there are a dozen potential connections and future partnerships just waiting to happen.
Solution: Ask for referrals, take their detailed information, add their email to your database for future newsletters, get their social media information to connect, give them extra business cards to give to friends. Don’t let the relationship end there, make sure you are looking toward the future and creating new potential partnerships.
8. Not Offering Promotions: Maybe you think it sounds tacky, or it’s just not for you. Fine. But offering referral incentives, discounts, and/or promotions is an excellent way to grow new business.
Solution: You are running a business and you are promoting a brand. Think of some great promotions you’ve seen in the past and what made them good enough for you to pay attention. Discounts are not a plea of desperation, but a smart marketing initiative that can certainly drive new business.
9. Not Networking: It is hard to make it in any business on your own. For some people, networking is extremely difficult be it their discomfort in social situations or their distaste for talking about themselves and their work. However, it’s important to build your resources and your network.
Solution: Start out small. Networking events don’t have to be 300 strangers trying to make connections. Bring together a close group of friends and have them extend the invitation to their network. An amazing connection can be made with one person in just moments.
10. Not Thinking as a Brand: If your goal as an artist is to sell your work or product, then you need to start thinking of yourself as a brand. Your image, your work, your audience all help to define the brand that you are creating for yourself.
Solution: For more tips on how to brand your photography business, check out our previous post here.
Use the comments section below to let us know if there is anything we missed. We’d love to hear from you!