Marketing Fundamentals for Artists and Craftspeople
May 14, 2009
How to improve the marketing and visibility of your work? Recently, I had the opportunity to choose a special Gift Guide on Etsy of SNAG members selling work on Etsy. This invitational showcase is a wonderful opportunity for additional exposure for SNAG members. However, the selection process revealed some far too common shortcomings and Marketing 101 mistakes. Below are a few suggestions that artists and makers should follow without exception if they want to promote their work.
1) Use your COMPLETE name - and make it easy for customers to find you. If you have a common first and last name, add initials or use your middle name. Check the Internet for how many other people have the same name. Do you know that there are so many users named "Adam Evans" on Facebook that they formed a club? On Etsy alone, there are 374 sellers named "Kristin". Use your complete name consistently and make all references to your work or related sites the same (or as similar as you can).
2) Always reply to opportunities with complete and comprehensive information. When I put the call out for SNAG members on Etsy, many people sent me incomplete information. VERY FRUSTRATING! Over and over people didn't send enough information for me to find them. It was challenging, and for some people, I just had to give up. When an entry asks for information, make it as complete as possible. Include your name, contact information, email, name of your Etsy shop (for example). Maybe even your website or another portfolio site.
BTW (or by the way), an Etsy shop has a name. This name is much easier to associate with a person than the technical URL address. Can you imagine how difficult it is for normal people to track Etsy sellers when only those funky number URLs are given? Using your name for the Etsy shop also creates an identity for you and your work. It gives your shop a memorable brand name to your customers and colleagues. Apply this brand-name concept to every situation.
3) Use only professional-quality photos. Use the Professional Guidelines Guide to Professional Quality Images. Compare your images to the qualities discussed in the document. Are your photos helping to sell your work or just documentation? Photos should be your best sales tool to reach potential customers - make it work for you, no excuses! I will discuss this topic more in later documents but really look at your photos with a critical eye. They represent your work. Are they as good as they can possibly be?
4) My final suggestion for today is "be polite." Some people were rude - perhaps unintentionally, but that is how I perceived it. There was an opportunity for exposure and some people responded with no more than a single line of information that was often incomplete (as described above) without so much as a "hello". "please" or "thank you". That really doesn't work very well as an introduction, nor does it make a favorable impression in the big competitive world of reality.
So next time you want to improve your marketing, invest some time in developing a unique and consistent name and professional identity, think ahead and have some GREAT PHOTOS, and make all of your correspondence memorable and positive.
Learn more about professional development in the arts community by reading ASK Harriete regularly and checking out the Professional Guidelines.
This post was updated on December 22, 2021, to provide current links.