Marketing! Yes that is what I am all about - online marketing to be specific, online marketing of art, craft and photography if I am being even more specific! In March Meet The Maker Day 1 - Story I gave you a little introduction to my background. In a nutshell it is heavily IT over many years of self employment but I kind of fell into an online marketing roll meeting my partner Lucy Gell a few years back. I have 'lived the life of a struggling artist' on the road with her and then got heavily involved in creating building blocks to help her market better online - redesigning her website, Etsy shop, mailing list and helping with social media. With my knowledge of IT from my previous background it has been easy for me to pick up new skills and help her before being approached by several other artists and makers to help them too. Now several years on I have changed tack on my business to make this central to what I do.
So what can I say about marketing? Well its just essential to any small business but for many it is out of the comfort zone. We love to concentrate on our own craft whatever that craft is. We have done it for a long time, hopefully enjoy it and are good at it but marketing? How many times have you told yourself 'I just need to finish this piece' or 'I just need to launch this range' and you hope things will turn around? They might change a little or you might be lucky and be in the right place at the right time and experience that big opportunity but for most of us successful comes through hard work that involves a lot of marketing not just making.
So how much time on marketing? Ideas vary on how to split that time and a lot depends on how much help you are getting. If you are doing everything yourself you should be looking at around a 50/50 split. If you have people helping you with your website, are in lots of galleries, have a big mailing list and so on you might reduce to 60% making and 40% marketing. Involve agencies and staff and you might reduce it more but the point is you need to invest heavily in it and not avoid it because it is out of your comfort zone.
So where do you put your marketing effort? The simple answer is EVERYWHERE! You might see someone doing really well right now on Instagram or maybe Etsy or in galleries but we have seen so many things change so quickly recently. Not so long ago Facebook changed their algorithm and all of a sudden I see customers with 15000 followers or more post things and only a couple of hundred followers might see the post unless they invest in Facebook ads. I think similar changes are happening on Instagram but more subtly. The current virus situation has literally shut down trade opportunities and exhibition opportunities in such a small space of time. You need to market in lots of channels and spread your risk. Creating a central website and mailing list both of which you own and nobody can change the algorithm on. It should be at the centre of everything but then have a presence in Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media. Use Etsy, Folksy and other online selling platforms and so on. Learn the art of online marketing, how to design a good website, how to do SEO, how to blog, how to make social media work for you. It won't all be in your comfort zone but you cannot afford to be complacent. There is so much help out there which others are accessing. Don't be left behind and don't dwell on the negatives, focus on the positives at this time and embrace the opportunity to up your game online and survive this and be ready for what the future is ready to throw at you!
Follow my tips on SEO over the coming weeks, what are your online marketing priorities right now?