What do you want to accomplish? Are you ready to build a broader fan base? Do you have a CD or art to sell? Will you give lessons? Are you providing information specifically for employers? Marketing yourself comes down to identifying your ultimate goal—you may have more than one—and determining how best to achieve it. Keep in mind that selling your paintings and attracting students for painting lessons have similarities—of course your ability and vision are key to both—but need distinct approaches. A buyer of your work may not care that you can teach gouache techniques, but a potential student will want that information. As you lay out your marketing strategy, you’ll need to address these basic questions:
- Who is your desired audience?
- Where does that audience gather online?
- What content do you need to attract that audience?
- How do you continue to engage that audience?
- How do you get that audience to help you meet your goal?
As you weigh the benefits of social media sites, entertainment platforms, general employment resources, and personal websites, be selective. You’ll need to offer regular updates, so make sure you can maintain an active presence.
Before building a website, consider what information your identified users need:
- Email address to contact you
- Services or products offered
- Time frames for custom work, workshops, or private lessons
- Résumé as a pdf for easy downloading
- Portfolio in a downloadable form or an online format
- Photos or galleries
- Sound clips
- Artist statement
- Teaching philosophy
- Acknowledgment of grants or honors received for your work
Try these resources for well-designed and easy-to-use web templates:
If you don’t plan to sell your work through your own site, try one of these marketplaces. Read information on fees, commissions, copyright, shipping, taxes, and other terms of buying and selling carefully before entering into any agreement. Also see the business and financial resources and information on legal topics for entrepreneurs.
Consult Google’s starter guide to search engine optimization to help people find you and your work. Then track your marketing efforts. Tools like Google Analytics and Squarespace Analytics and resources from Bitly gather and categorize data so that you can hone your approach.
Complete your plan by posting your résumé details on LinkedIn and joining your department’s Facebook and LinkedIn groups—and make connections with FAA alumni groups after you graduate. Anyone can benefit from these simple marketing opportunities.