Why your Marketing as a Designer or Artist doesn’t work

I know this title sounds as if I'd know all about marketing and could let you know all the ins and outs. Well, I'm very interested in marketing, I've learned a lot about online marketing and I really love it but it seems as if I more know the theory than doing it actually.

Before you now throw in the towel and look for someone else who might know it better let me tell you: We all make mistakes and because we do the main point is identifying these mistakes and fixing them.

I actually work online since 2008. Things were definitely different those days. You wrote a blogpost, you posted a few links to your post here and there (preferably in some Yahoo Groups) and added a freebie and people came. They downloaded the freebie and subscribed to your newsletter and bevor you knew you had 1000 subscribers who loved your designs.
Today there are more offers and things got harder. But it still works exactly like this although there are no Yahoo Groups or many forums anymore. It's still doable though you "just" need to have a plan.
So let me tell you about my mistakes and about how I have fixed them.

A day in the life of the Owner, Admin, Designer and Content Creator at Digidesignresort

No, you won't read here about me getting up at 6 am (although I do), having breakfast and going for a walk with our dog Maxi. I also won't tell you about my morning routine and why this makes me so "successful".
What I wanna talk to you about is why my marketing sucks so often although I should know better. Hopefully this insight will help you identify your marketing problems as well.
I promise that we'll fix them before you've finished reading this post!
But yes, my marketing failures have it a bit to do with my morning routine. I usually wake up much earlier than 6 am and enjoy just lying in bed and thinking about the upcoming day.
And usually there is the one or other marketing task included at this time of the day I should get from my list. I think about the text I should write for the website and where I share it and that I could tell all my newsletter subscribers about it.

Then I arrive at the office. I sit down, I quickly go through my emails, delete what I can delete and then I stumble over "something" which is really urgent. 
Once identified what is - for that moment at least - really (and I mean freaking out really 😉 ) urgent I seem to forget about my marketing plans.
I then think "they are not so important" (bullshit!) and start creating. I create new courses, new graphic sets and new... well, whatever - sometimes I even get a plan of getting out the old stuff and posting that somewhere.
You see, it sucks... but keep reading, we are on earth to learn, don't we?

Finding the right direction truly helps. If you go into too many you don't get results!

What Marketing I should do...

I actually should stick to my plan: creating new content, sharing it on social media and with my community over the newsletter. I should let you know that I'm not "not caring" for Digidesignresort for a few weeks and then somehow crawl out of the hole and send you an email. I should communicate that I'm here every day, that I more often than not think about Digidesignresort and what I can offer and that I love my little corner of the Internet. 

... and what I do instead!

Instead of doing that I start creating new content (good thing, actually, isn't it?). And with new content I mean recording new courses. I plan a new course, go to the studio, record it, things don't turn out that well, I do it again, get it on my computer once it is finished and start editing it. And in best case I add my course to the places I can sell it. I say "in best case" because I had a time where I skipped this essential step and just produced and forgot about the product... (shame on me, I know). But at the end of the day I'm proud that I've created a new digital product - who wouldn't, right?
Yes and no. I just figured that it makes no sense (and I mean absolutely NO sense) to create unlimited new products if I let nobody know about them...

How I learned it the hard way

Since I have a membership site (The Safari Lounge Designer Classes) I'm member of the membership academy*. I love the guys over there. Not just the owners Mike and Callie but also the other members there. Usually when I post a question in the forum I get wonderful answers. And these guys always ask the right questions. It's good to have people like them as a backup because far too often as online marketers we get away from what is really important: Telling others about our products.
So one of those days when I was really frustrated and asked myself "why nothing I do works" one of the people there pointed me to the resource library in the membership academy. 
There you identify your problem (ieeks, really, there are others with the same problem, I thought I'm the only one! 😉 ) and then you download a PDF with the right questions.

That day I identified my problem "sales are slow". And yes, they immediately had an answer in form of a PDF.
I can tell you that, after reading the PDF, I felt ashamed.
Here are some examples:

  • Are you creating new content on a weekly/biweekly/monthly basis? - Ugh, well, no... oh sometimes...Reason sales are slow: It looks like I'm not consistent so who cares if an owner of a business doesn't show up regularly?
  • Are you sharing this content on social media? - Mmm... I sometimes share when I create... Reason sales are slow: I'm not consistent so when I finally post nobody remembers me but rather unfollows ?
  • Are you telling your newsletter subscribers about your new content and why they should dig deeper into it? - Does it count if I tell them that they should read and then, please, join my Safari Lounge? Reason sales are slow: I focus on selling the membership rather than giving my dear subscribers value (although I really want!).
  • How many new followers have you gained on your most active social media platform over the last 30 days? How many have you lost? - Oh well, let's speak about losing people... not gaining! Reason sales are slow: I don't post interesting content...
  • How often have you published new content on your most active social media platform the last 30 days? - Argh... did really so many days pass since I posted last? Reason sales are slow: I do not post regularly

I could go on with these questions and my answers. It's embarrassing but it identifies the problem I have as an artist, designer and teacher: I create and let nobody know about it. Even worse: I'm not consistent so it might look for people as I am working on Digidesignresort "from time to time" and not every single day of my life... It's a shame especially because it looks like that and really is not true.

How to fix the Artist's Marketing Problem

Once identified I figured that I need a marketing plan. Some kind of plan which tells me what to do each day of the week. Just as I go through my emails every morning and answering those I need a plan what to do before I dig into content creation...

Because, let's face it: Creating new courses is pointless until I let people know about them, right? If I don't I'd sit at Digidesignresort on a silent island instead of a blooming resort (which I have on my mind) making people happy and giving them a reason to (a) come back and (b) stick around and (c) join me in the Safari Lounge! (Btw thanks to anyone who did in spite of everything).

Marketing works if you do the same, right thing over and over again.

Do you also have an "Artist Marketing Problem"?

If you agree to what I wrote above and you find yourself doing similar things we are in the same boat! We love creating but forget about marketing. Although we might not really hate marketing as many people do, we simply forget about it because, after all, we are artists, illustrators or designers and... create.
Since I've been there and done that I can promise you: It won't get you anywhere. If you refuse marketing you won't make sales. And at this point your job gets pointless. After all we need to make money as well. It might be not what we are called to do but if we don't make money with what we do we can no longer do it because we need to pay the bills.

So if you agree with me and marketing is your only problem let's fix it.
Let me ask now the right questions to get your marketing plan up and running.

The Artist's Marketing Plan

I pretend that you have already picked your perfect passive income stream. Maybe you have a website and create amazing graphic sets. And you sell those graphic sets on CreativeMarket. But things are slow because you compete with many designers and products just on that platform, don't you?
Therefore you need to let people know about your new creations, especially those peeps who have already bought from you!

Here are the "right" questions:

  • Do you have a website?
  • Do you have a newsletter?
  • Are you active on at least one social media platform? For artists and designers Instagram is usually a great place.

If you can say "yes!" to these three questions you already have the foundation in place. That's a great thing but no all you need.

Here is what you actually have to do over and over again:

First of all: Commit to a schedule. Create a new blogpost (for example about a new product) once per week. Once done send an email to your newsletter subscribers and let them know what you have written. At this point it doesn't really matter if you write about a new product you have just released, if you let them know about your production process or show them what they can do with your product. The main point is that it has value for them.
Also, post pieces about your new post on social media. Give people value and then ask them to come over to your blog. In best case they subscribe to your newsletter and get into your orbit.

That's it.

Yeah, it's that easy. It's not fancy, it's not sexy and it's hard to commit to it week after week. Sure you can post on social media about your blogpost more than one time. Put together some pieces from your post and post it. Again, give value - day in and day out. This way you are seen and noticed and people start seeing you as the expert you are. Entertain. That's why we come to social media after all: We want to be entertained, right?
Once you are used to your new schedule maybe add another platform. How about posting on Pinterest? The great thing about Pinterest is that your posts get found after years and they link to your piece of content. So even if your post doesn't get tons of attention right away it might after a few weeks or months so it's well worth it to post there.
Again, you can create different Pins about one piece of content - after all the one person is interested in this and the other one in that.
For example: If we look at this post I could create a Pin about my marketing failures, then one about the membership academy and how they helped me and last but not least about a marketing plan for artists. And each could link to this blogpost...

Have you found yourself doing these mistakes as an Artist?

If you can relate to these mistakes you see there is an easy fix! The main problem is not knowing about these mistakes. And once identified it's hard to stick to the schedule.

Still, if you don't wanna just create and hardly sell you need a plan. And, even more important: Stick to it. I know that's the actual hard work. We all make plans but sticking to them is what makes people successful.

If you have any questions please let me know, I get back to you!

Passive Income Streams for Artists

How Creatives can make a sustainable Income in
a Panic Proof Business

Learn about six different income streams creatives can use to build their business and which are suitable for your needs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}