advice Archives - Side Arts

What Do You Use For Calling Cards?

Calling cards, takeaways, handouts, exclusives – no matter what you call them, they help your patrons understand your identity and keep them coming back. It’s all in the important details, the signature things that your supporters find surprising and endearing. Whether you are preparing for a vendor event, exhibition, or an online storefront, try to think about the extras that would make it special for your supporters.

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Ideas for Calling Cards

  • Packaging: Consider how you can elevate your packaging and delivery – customize the box (something patrons can use in case they need to move or ship the item), add a personalized and signed thank you note, emboss, gold leaf, and detail the package.
  • Business cards: If you are going to go the extra mile and spend more on business cards, make sure that the concept aligns with your art. Although typically, a basic card size is all that is needed. Include your name, phone number, email address, and website. Remember to include white space to write additional details.
  • Signage: Banners, flags, and table covers are always important. Consider the height, having things at eye-level can catch the patron’s eyes more frequently. Draw the attention to your art.
  • Postcards: Believe it or not, some folks just don’t use the internet or email, try to make this an option for them. You want to be inclusive in your marketing. Even for those that are digital natives, receiving something of value in the snail mail can be a special occasion.
  • Gift tags: Most art is purchased as a gift for others. Make it easy for them by not having to also have to purchase a gift tag, card, box, or bag.
  • Return address labels: If you are mailing marketing or shipping artwork, you might want to add a unique identifier to the item. That way, the person doesn’t have to guess who or what they have received before needing to open it.
  • Certificates of Authenticity: Your art is special. Share with patrons how special it is with a letter of provenance. It elevates the art and provides another means for patrons to remember you. Remember to include the item’s description and story, your contact information, and personalized signature.

It is especially important to think about things that have value beyond one use items. For example, stamp a business card with a unique qualifier for an online storefront discount. Gift bags and totes can be re-used. Certificates of authenticity can be saved and framed with the artwork.

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Vistaprint

You already have your artwork and know your details. Try incorporating them into your takeaways. Vistaprint has a range of products and services that can help you do just that. Business cards, banners, flyers, and printing services are available. All products have a wide possibility of standard formats to customization. Wizards take you through the process and you can save details for later use and second print runs. Often, there are discounts for return users and special sales throughout the year.

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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Are You Ready For An Online Store?

A majority of art is sold through a variety of online store platforms. You can choose any sales methodology you like. It depends on where and how you best reach your audience. You may have to experiment with several platforms and strategies before landing on the one that works best for you. There are many details and options to consider as well as new opportunities and platforms launching regularly.

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Sales strategies

Email: Sometimes all you need is a large enough dedicated following. Try sending announcements of new works available to your email lists and provide them a means to buy (either by reply to the email or a payment processing form). Inform your audience about upcoming exhibitions, vendor events, and pop-up galleries.

Social: There are many ways to sell art through social network platforms. The challenging part is keeping up with the platforms’ ever changing features and algorithms. What may work today may not work tomorrow. Staying on top of the trends is important and can make a big difference with acquiring new patrons. For example – Try promoting new artwork for sale on Instagram. Provide a rich description including title, process, size, price, and inspiration. Add instructions for buyers – the first to comment with their email address will be sent a payment processing invoice (PayPal / Venmo). They have 24 hours to purchase the art. First come, first served after that. Update the description if the item is sold.

Web: You may want to consider selling through a web platform, using your own website, or integrating a web platform into your website. The benefit of having an online store sales platform that you manage is that patrons can purchase at any time rather than waiting for an email or post from you. This can often make a difference between an acquisition and someone’s lost interest. Keep in mind, just because your art is up on a website or web platform doesn’t mean that it’s the platform’s job to promote it. Promotion is still up to you utilizing your email and social networks.

Things to plan for in advance

Sometimes with an online store, it is best to jump in and learn as you go. Other times, a little bit of preparation goes a long way. You will rarely know everything you need to in advance because situations change from person to person.  Here are a few things to consider:

Photography: A good photo of your work can inspire patrons to purchase. Most mobile devices have above-average photo capability, but stand-alone cameras and photo editing software can make your work stand out. Setting up a dedicated area or having a set process will be helpful.

Pricing: Research can help. Knowing your costs and time associated with creating your work is important. The most important aspect is always valuing your artwork for what it is truly worth.

Description: Each piece of artwork should have a unique and rich description including keywords and hashtags. This takes time to develop. Often, the story behind the artwork is just as important as the artwork itself.

Shipping: Visit your local shipping center (USPS, FedEx, and so on) in advance. Try to determine what materials you should always have on hand and what needs to be purchased on a one-off basis. If you anticipate bulk shipping, explore what discounted pricing is available.

Taxes and bookkeeping: You may want to consider consulting a certified public accountant to help understand what taxes to account for and how to do so. Determine if you need bookkeeping software to help keep track.

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Shopify Online Store

Check out Shopify as an online store. It has eCommerce and point-0f-sales features including card-readers for when you are online or on the go. Set up your shop as a standalone or integrate it securely with your website. Ready made templates help your store look like it was designed by a professional. Run social media campaigns. Manage orders, shipping, and payments.

Click here for a free 14 day trial.

 

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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Total Marketing

What if you could do all your marketing in one place? Forget all the log ins, passwords, am I forgetting to do things? As an artist, wouldn’t it be ideal to have a total marketing service that does it all? Let’s be honest, perfect solutions rarely exist and one size does not fit all or else we would all be using them. Fortunately, there are a few services out there that bundle together several features that artists use together in convenient and efficient ways.

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What is marketing?

But first and in order to understand what you may need, what is marketing? There is no single definition which applies to all.

One way to think about marketing is how you attract and retain those that might be interested in what you have to offer. This is different from sales where they are already interested and you negotiate a transaction involving a trade of money, products, or services. In both cases, the process is educational and transactional. Although in marketing, the action is suggested, while in sales, the action is explicit.

In marketing, the outcome is engagement or how often someone interacts with you. In sales, the outcome is financial whether direct (a trade of money for products or services) or indirect (a trade of products or services for a relative equally valued products or services).

One goal of marketing is to increase engagement (interactivity) in order to increase sales. Total marketing may be valuated based on the ratio of dollars spent marketing to net profit.

Marketing activities common to artists

You might want to think about marketing as asking for the least to the most amount of effort. Another way of looking at it is the least to the most amount of privacy given.

Most start with social media. Choose a platform or two with which you feel comfortable. Engagement is measured by the relative number of clicks, likes, and shares to your current number of followers.

Depending on your goals, having a website can help build a following. It can be a one-page landing page, a profile page on an eCommerce site, or your own dedicated art website. There are any number of  ways to measure engagement, but a good place to start is the number of pageviews per month and, if there is an eCommerce section, the total sales generated from the website per month.

Social media and web searchability is good, but you are still at the mercy of the platform’s algorithms. Take control of your how and when your content is seen by collecting your followers’ email addresses. A great place to start is by sending a monthly newsletter. Email engagement can be measured by the average percent of your followers open and click through your emails.

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Mailchimp Total Marketing

One total marketing platform that combines social media, websites, and email is Mailchimp. It’s a favorite among artists and crafters because it is relatively easy to set up, has clear tutorials, and they can pick and choose which options work best. It integrates with many other utilities, sales platforms, survey tools, social media ad management. There are so many great features that can be integrated, often in clicks or less.

Mailchimp has reports for measuring engagement and customizable email templates. They have flexible plans for growing your creative practice.

Click here to learn more about Mailchimp

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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Freelancers: A Little Help From A Friend

Sometimes the task ahead seems a bit daunting. There is unfamiliar technology or risk in making changes that might have unintended consequences. That is when hiring professional freelancers with real world experience comes in.

The default is to go find a friend, but even that has risks. What happens if something goes wrong? Often, friendships can be seriously harmed. It’s even worse if the helper is a family member. Just to be on the safe side, it is best to steer clear of friends and family as contracted helpers. Rather, keep them as your personal support network.

Freelancers

Freelancer Strategy

Hiring freelancers is its new undertaking. With careful planning, risk can be averted. There are many qualified online networks that make the process more approachable. The first step is developing a roadmap for the work you want to do. First, define the goal you want to achieve with the work undertaken. Then, define the individual tactics needed to reach that goal. These things can include:

  • Setting up a basic website
  • Adding eCommerce to a website
  • Integrating Google Analytics
  • Setting up business email
  • Designing web and print graphics
  • Updating a resume or CV
  • Photographing your work
  • Creating and editing a video

Working with someone new can be stressful. You are giving them access to your personal work and online credentials. The benefit of using an online platform to hire freelancers is that there are contracts and procedures built in to protect you in the event of anything going wrong. They also provide rating systems so that you can find out how they have worked out with other clients.

When starting out with a new freelancer, another way to mitigate risk is to only give them a small job to do. For example, instead of hiring someone to rebuild an entire website, have them redesign one or two pages first. Instead of an entire re-branding update, start with a postcard or business card. If you like their work and they communicate well, then continue with a larger project.

Freelancers

Freelancer Networks

Get work done faster with Fiverr, and with confidence. Hire graphic and web designers, digital marketing experts, and music and audio professionals. Find any service within minutes and know exactly what you’ll pay. No hourly rates, just a fixed price.Payment is released to the freelancer once you’re pleased and approve the work you get. Fiverr is here for you, anything from answering any questions to resolving any issues, at any time.

Click here to get started with Fiverr

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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How Email Can Grow Your Creative Practice

Email is an important part of your social media strategy. It is often overlooked or neglected in lieu of the quick responses from social media networks. To keep it simple, think of email as part of your overall strategy:

Social media network > Website > Email

Collecting email addresses is one of the most important things you can do to grow your professional practice. Collect them at every opportunity – prospective buyers at an art fair, visitors to your website, corporate and non-profit contacts with whom you have engaged. It starts out slowly and grows exponentially over time. Here’s how:

First, just get started. That’s usually the hardest part. It can be a dedicated notebook where email addresses are collected or a digital spreadsheet like Google Sheets. It’s okay if there are duplicates or something is spelled incorrectly, that will be addressed later.

Next, pick an email marketing provider. Most offer entry level pricing based on the number of emails saved. Plans scale based on how many more addresses are added.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is a great way to start your email marketing if you are a beginner or your technical skills are more advanced and you’re the type of person that loves tinkering with design, features, and apps. It has robust integration features for all kinds of other services.  Plus, the reporting and analytics will give you a heads up about what is and is not working.

 

How Email Can Grow Your Creative Practice

There are two more aspects for your email strategy: frequency and content. There are no set rules for either and the following are simply suggestions to get you started.

Frequency

Just starting out? If you have under 1000 addresses, once a month is a good start. Up to 5000, twice a month. Hit the 10000 mark, do what you want – weekly, twice a week, or whenever new content is available. The important part is being consistent. Start out by sending on the same day at the same time each month. Over time, you will figure out how to optimize your sending strategy.

Content

Show more than tell and give a clear call to action. Show images of new work for sale and provide a link or method to purchase. Tell a story by showing a series of pictures of a work in progress and describe each step along the way. Inform followers of where your work is being shown or sold including upcoming art fairs, gallery exhibitions, or other retail/wholesale events. Share something about you that informs your artwork – why and how – such as a recent trip or social activism.

How Email Can Grow Your Creative Practice

The more emails that are collected, the more content can be sent. The more reasons there are for followers to click through to your content, the more likely they are to purchase or share your content with others (who may, in turn, become followers).

There is fine tuning in terms of segmenting the list, A/B testing, geo-location, and so on. Advanced users can explore to their heart’s content. It’s a learning curve, most users have an intuitive sense as to when to take it to the next level. First things first… just get started!

Help grow your audience with Constant Contact email marketing

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Disclosure: Side Arts earns a commission from Constant Contact if you use the referral link to make a purchase at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support.

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

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Are You Ready For A Website?

Before getting started on a website, it is usually best to begin with understanding your goals, strategies, and tactics. Here are a few basics.

Start with defining your goal. Why do you need a website? What is it’s purpose? It could be a representation of your creative legacy that you control, a sales portal, or something else.

Once you have a goal in mind, you can start thinking about the strategy. What do you want to convey? Consider showing images of your artwork in a gallery, an artist statement, biography, and contact information.

When you know what you want to show, the next step is figuring out the tactics – how to get it done. There are a variety of website services. Some are do-it-yourself, others may require outside help. If you need help, there are freelancer networks at your disposal.

Check out some of the artist website designs offered by Wix. Their focus is on making website building super user-friendly.

Website

Website wireframe (how it is organized)

Page 1) Homepage: includes hero (main) image, name, navigation links (at top or side of each page)

Page 2) Gallery – includes 10-20 images with brief descriptions for each (title, size, medium, etc)

Page 3) Workshops
Workshop title with 2-3 sentence description each
Teaching service with 2-3 sentence description
Call to action – contact information (email, phone)

Page 4) Events
List of upcoming events
List of past events (keep this limited to the past 2-3 years)
Partner organizations (linked to their websites, if applicable)

Page 5) Contact
Contact information (Email, phone)
Bio
Artist statement

That’s it! Five pages to get you started. Before signing up for a website, editing the copy and images you want to have shown.  You may need one image for the hero image on the homepage to be larger.

How to find help

I’m biased since I’ve been working on websites for a while, so I often think they are “easy and intuitive.” This is not always so. Even then, first hand experience is always helpful, especially when trying to explain something to someone else. Once your content is ready, give it a try. If you find it too confusing, by all means, stop and ask for help. I’ve organized the wireframe above to be the most helpful for a web designer. If you need one, try Fiverr – this freelance service offers web design help.

Click here to see how Wix can help get you started.

Click here for more artist tips and discounted services

Todd Hestand - Side ArtsTodd Hestand, Founder, Side Arts, is an independent artist and business adviser. For over eight years he has served as the Manager of the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy where he works with thousands of artists, crafters, and performers. His role includes individual consulting, teaching courses, and developing programs for entrepreneurially-minded artists. Click here to learn about consulting services.

 

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