Marketing yourself as an artist


“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” – Craig Davis

Experts have suggested that only 50% of marketing actually works and the trick is to discover which half is actually rubbish.

In November, twenty Perth artists, many with considerable experience marketing themselves spent an afternoon with CircuitWest trying to unlock some secrets on how best to market themselves and their work.

The Small Business Development Corporation’s Andrew Maurice lead the group through a detailed workshop full of pearls of wisdom and tips and tricks on developing and executing a great marketing plan.

Some of the big takeaways were these below:

Digital Marketing – an essential of 21st C marketing is a quagmire and many have no idea how to make it pay, which platform to choose, how much effort to expend and even where their revenue is coming from. Artist’s had dumped platforms and transformed effort across every channel possible. Some had huge success, some none. The wash up was – get a digital plan and test each platform to work our where your effort provided the best return. But more importantly, make sure you tell your story in the digital world.

Unique selling proposition – one of the most ubiquitous marketing tools of the last 40 years is not something widely used. The message from the training was; most artists need to be able to explain a unique benefit they or their artform delivers to market better and demonstrate the one feature that most stands out as different from the competition. If you want to test this theory head into a Fringewold venue and take everyone’s leaflets – you’ll know in a glance which are the shows that best tell their story. Know what is special about you or your art – and express that clearly.

B2B or B2C markets – whilst some artists are marketing directly to the public , some are aiming at businesses or intermediaries like venues – and then there are those doing both. It was highlighted that there was a need to consider if the messaging you provide should be the same for both – a presenter will care if you have a good marketing pack for your work, but a fan will just care what the art is like. The big message – treat all your markets the same.

One foot in the past and one in the future – whilst there is a justified huge effort in new media marketing like Instagram there is a need to never forget people live off the world wide web as well. If you don’t believe this, consider why the newspaper advertising revenue remains at more than $1 billion per annum.

Don’t keep your Data in a shoebox – whilst many may choose to maintain their audiences through Facebook or Instagram, there come a time when you may just need to know where they are and how to contact them.Those who are operating without customer relationship management will likely let some important people slip through the cracks.. Many artists can start with using a spreadsheet and there are numerous cheap cloud based CRM solutions can do many jobs for you besides holding your list. Your memory is not as good as you think it is, don’t risk overlooking important stakeholders because you don’t mange data.

Email works or does it? The advent of Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor have seen email become the communication channel of choice for many. But does it work? The reaction was mixed, but the lessons were clear – don’t spam people, use a mail service to manage your lists, and measure how your emails are performing – you can track reactions very easily, if one idea does not work, try a different angle. If you are not used to writing for email marketing, maybe hire someone who it – emarketing success is all in the story telling.

Okay so no one knows what percentage of marketing is actually rubbish – but what we did learn is the importance of developing your plan, your brand (eapecially if that brand is you) , your message and your channels. We also learnt if you are not measuring the impact the things you do are having on the people you want to influence you maybe wasting your precious time, money and effort.

The follow on to this is that the next course, in February 2019, will be on digital marketing. We will annouce on Facebook so make sure you like us so you hear about the next free artist course first.

“In advertising, not to be different is virtually suicidal” – Bill Bernbach