To carve out a piece of the art or book market for yourself, you must let your creative mind consider all possibilities. Ultimately, you'll want to grab the attention of the market and set yourself apart from the others.
Here are some tips on how to go about devising a marketing plan that will work for you:
Create a brand that sets you apart
Devise a look for your your business (the paper and online communications) that will remind people of you. For example, if you are an oil painter and you do mainly landscapes, you would do well to include one of your favorite landscapes on your business cards, on post cards that you use to announce your art events, and on newsletters that you send out to tell people what you are doing. Of if you're an author and have a logo, use that to represent you, or use an image of the book cover of your most recent book to represent you. Essentially, you want people to think of you when they see that picture.
Create a presence on the Internet
You might want to have a website, but a blog is a must. Remember to use the painting or logo or book cover you chose for your brand and the predominant colors in that painting or book cover on your website as well. That’s your brand. It goes everywhere.
The power of a blog
In addition to a website, create a blog and publish frequent articles about what you are doing as an artist or writers. Let people get to know you and like you. . This will draw traffic to your website. I know artists who post sketches of artwork-in-progress to draw people to their websites. And writers often post teasers about their next book.
Make sales easy for your customers
Be sure to have an online means to sell your products. For artists, this might be an Etsy.com shop or some other on-line gallery. For writers, that may be a buy button on your website or you may sell your books through amazon.com and other such on-line book stores.
Be active and be generous
Be active on the Internet. Visit blogs and galleries. Submit your work to reputable online galleries or book stores. Also, chat with other artists and writers on line. You can do this by commenting on their blog posts. You never know when they might hear of someone looking for your type of work. Do a good deed and recommend their work as well. Build a network of colleagues on line.
Don’t concentrate only on the Internet. Continue all the traditional ways of creating a presence. For example, join art/writing groups and associations in your area and other areas if they pertain to your type of work. Enter your work into local exhibits or contests. Join the local chamber of commerce to spread the word about your artwork.
Show your work locally and in surrounding areas. Many times libraries will welcome an exhibit of artwork or a book signing.
Update your customers
Keep your customers and potential customers up to date about what you are doing. Learn to write a professional press release. Create a mailing list on the Internet and one for the regular mail. Every time you show your work, send a press release to these two lists. Keep your name and your activities in front of the public by sending short notices to community magazines that publish a monthly calendar of events. Publish a newsletter on at least a quarterly basis to update previous customers and to let potential customers and groups know about what you are doing.
As an artist/writer, you are an asset to the community. Be sure to keep everyone up to date on what you are doing and the artwork you are producing. Your contributions to the world of art/writing around you will be one of your greatest marketing tools.
(I received a question from a new writer on how to get started marketing her book. I thought I'd post the response here.)