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On Marketing and Networking

by Sharon Allen on 4/19/2017 10:09:04 AM

This post is by guest author, Sharon Allen.  This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community.  If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 48,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites.  This author's views are entirely her own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.



In the field ... bliss!


I don't know of a single artist who says s/he wants to spend more time dealing with the business end of art and less time at the easel.  There may be some out there, but I don't personally know any of them.  All of the artists with whom I'm acquainted wish that they could hire a  business manager, office assistant, PR manager, inventory assistant, etc so that they could just create their art and not have to deal with business stuff.

Last night I attended a fun and, I think, worthwhile and productive "Arts & Hospitality" event which was created to put artists in direct face-to-face contact with business folks in the hospitality field:  innkeepers, restaurant owners, shop owners.  There were about 20 of each, artists and business owners, and after a delightful treat of gourmet pizzas and pastries the event became a "speed dating" session.  Artists were to sit 1 per table and the business owners were to rotate around the room from table to table, with a 2 minute limit per swap to introduce ourselves and tell why we were there and what we hoped to gain ... that's just 1 minute per person!  Most were prepared with business cards and/or brochures which made it a little easier, but wow does one have to talk fast and concisely to sell one's business/product in just a minute!  It was fun, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

This particular event was not in my area.  Attendance required a drive of 1 hour and 36 minutes each way, so 3 hours out of the day without counting the 2 hours or so of the event itself and another hour or so to shower and get into non-painting clothes to be presentable for the event.  That's a good chunk of time out of home and studio.  And if one plans to actually gain anything from that time invested, one needs to do follow-ups, which takes more time away from the creation of art.

Knowing that I'll be out for a painting mentoring session tomorrow morning and then again on Friday to meet with artists to get paintings for a group exhibit that hangs in a week or so, I decided that I wanted to do those follow-ups this morning.  I don't know if, in common day etiquette, today is TOO soon and makes me look too eager or even desperate, but I didn't want to wait until after the weekend.  My thinking is that follow-up e-mails sent today show that I really am sincere in what I presented last night, and it also allows for half a chance that the business owner can still "put a face to" my e-mail.  At least that's what I'm hoping.

So, in taking care of the business end of art, you can count me out of studio for another 5 or 6 hours.  Yes, I created a basic form "Nice to meet you last night" e-mail to make it easier, but I had to include something personal in each one, and then there was the matter of entering all of those names and emails into my email address book.  I won't take the time to add them to my art software database just yet, I'll enter each one there when I have positive response from them.

Time consuming as it is, this kind of networking and follow-up is essential if you want to expand your painting and photography locations, your exhibit venues, and your client base. And simply attending a networking session like the one last night serves no purpose if YOU do not take the initiative to follow up immediately afterwards and then again in a month or more in the future, depending on circumstance.  If you take your newly acquired stack of business cards and brochures and put them in the basket on your desk, there's no reason for you to think that those folks at the other end aren't doing the same thing. Think in terms of fishing:  you need to show the fish your bait and keep that bait dangling until the fish nibbles!

I still have more address book entries to do, so I have to get back to it!


So much to paint, so little time ... but reserve a chunk for marketing!



You can view Sharon's original post here.



Editor's Note:

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Related Posts:

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Topics: advice for artists | Art Business | art marketing | email newsletters | exposure tips | FineArtViews | Guest Posts | inspiration | Instruction | sell art | social networking 

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Sharon, Thank you for sharing your experience and insight of things. It's wonderful when someone shares the way you do.

Becki Hesedahl
What a great idea. Going to pitch it to our local gallery and see if we can put something together here. We have an active Go Downtown group of businesses, artists, and contacts.

Beth Williams
Thank you for sharing this; our local arts group has been doing something similar, going to meetings of local business groups (Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, etc) but this seems like a good way to jumpstart the process and get more done in a short period of time.

Would you mind if I share your post with other like-minded folks (with attribution of course)?

Thanks again!

Thank you, Monika, Becki, and Beth! I'm glad my blog post inspired you! And, Beth - absolutely please DO share! I believe we should all help each other in any way we can!

Howard Cooperman

Good article and nice job on you attending the meeting. As you know it is very time consuming to take care of the business end of art.

Being an artists coach/mentor I always suggest the you schedule at least an hour per day or every other day for networking. Take advantage of that time to follow up on emails, marketing(posting) artwork on social networking sites etc. In today's world it is a MUST for all artists to keep you name and art in front of peoples faces as much as you can.

When you exchange business cards with people you meet face to face, as them right away if you can add them to your email list. You never know who will eventually purchase something in the future.

Being passionate about helping artists selling more art, I offer a complimentary 15 minute consultation to overcome marketing/promoting/selling obstacles.

Keep up the good work!

Howard Cooperman
Artists Coaching Services

Thank you, Howard! You bring up a good point which I'd forgotten ... get those new contacts into your email/newsletter list! I do a monthly newsletter and I promise subscribers that I will not flood them with emails - it's strictly a monthly announcement of what I'm up to in all things art. My weekly (usually) blog is more of a (hopefully) helpful thought for the week. My newsletter is a statement of artistic or professional development and events. Sending it on a monthly basis is infrequent enough to not be annoying, but frequent enough to remind folks that I'm out there before TOO much time has gone by and they've forgotten my name and face. There are many who don't agree with that schedule, but that's what has been working for me. Yes, yes - add those new contacts to your email - but WITH their permission!

Mark Brockman
Sharon, sounds like an interesting event. I like this article as it relates to connecting on a personal one on one basis. You did not meantion Facebook, Pinterest, Instigram or any of the social media (except email, but that's OK :)). Though social media is helpful, nothing like actually talking to a real person. I think we need more of this. Thanks.

Walter Paul Bebirian
interesting - just last might I met up with one of the people who connected with me as a result of my Quintupling Project:

which when he got my business card I was giving my cards out at the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue - a few blocks from where I drop my wife Antonia off for her ballet classes (she is a student of ballet) at the Joffrey -

after connecting with me on Facebook - Kai - the fellow in the following video who had gotten my business card and had come back after walking almost a half a block away from me in the direction of downtown on Sixth Avenue asked me - since he knew that I drive Antonia to the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays - if we could meet up for pizza - I said sure but to make things simpler I asked him to meet me closer the Joffrey Ballet School since I was not sure if I was in the mood for the same pizza and perhaps if we were going to have any decent conversation while eating - it might be interesting to have more of a sit down instead of standing or on the run pizza dinner - so we met and after a while we did a Facebook Live and this was the results - after most of the waiters and a few of the other patrons in the restaurant had gotten by card - :

in addition I somehow gravitated to some of Niall Ferguson's videos and came across this particularly interesting one which may perhaps be of interest to some of my fellow artists here as well:

Thank you, Mark and Walter.
Yes ... I intentionally left out social media this time. This one is more about networking personally, not electronically and I actually only mention email because it's important to solidify that new personal connection right away. Of course, there's also the ancient method of telephoning (!) but I've found that, in this day and age, more often than not you get voicemail and it's just not the same. With email that person can always go back and look for the email - and connect at any time of day as well. I tend to do a lot of my contact work at hours that are too late or too early to be considered "civilized".
Interesting videos, Walter!
Thank you both for your comments!

carolyn lehl
Thanks so much for sharing. I can so relate! I did that for over 20 years. Pretty soon i found I wasn't painting at all and my husband said the business was running me, instead of the other way around.
That was a year ago, now we've downsized and live in a new smaller city and starting I'm all over again. Bur it's such a good reminder of what it takes and to not be resentful if the time in the studio isn't as much as we would like it to be. These things do take time!

Diane Dubreuil
Thanks Sharon! Tonight, I attended a wonderful CultureMIX event in my area and everything you mentioned is right on. It's so easy to say I'll wait a couple days to make contact, etc. Liked that you have a step in your process to not add names who do not get back to you. Makes me think I may want to add a couple list sorting options to keep my contacts current. Thanks again!

Walter Paul Bebirian
well with the first part of my post I was attempting to make the point that - from my perspective the most powerful "social media" is actually people simply talking with each other - perhaps this took place on a regular basis on a day to day basis before the rise of the corporation - and then perhaps around the mid to late 1970's (from my perspective) individuals began joining trade groups meaning I especially remember people in Public Relations forming and joining and being involved in such groups to both share information as well as to network for job connection for when they were interested in getting a new job both when they had been let go from one job and also at different points in time when they might want to improve upon the position that they had already - these people might be employed at large corporations as well as small firms in different fields as well as small and large dedicate PR firms -

and for myself - the most powerful social media has been me in the streets of Manhattan and anywhere else that I happen to find myself on any day or time - since I do not find it advantageous to schedule regular meetings that force me to take time away from when a person or company may want to come to me to do an assignment - but instead to take advantage of the fact that I am exposed to potential connecting with many people from all over the world on any given day - after completing an assignment or after having a meeting on any given day:

or upon entering a specific venue at an point in time during my day:

my point being that I have created and constantly pursue a strategy to meet and connect with as well as to acquire - amass - inform and spread the word about what it is that I do and am willing to share with others on a constant basis in the most powerful way that is the least intrusive to my own schedule of working in my own unique manner on both my photographic assignments as well as and on creating my art - which I do whenever I have a chance to at any given time of the day -

Walter Paul Bebirian
in addition I posted the video of the talk by Niall Ferguson because it is imperative for me to understand what I am doing both in my assignments as well as in my creating of art in the much larger universe of business and human transactions and that perspective along with many of the details indicating transitions and changes going on in society in general can best be extracted from such talks as I can find on that video -

Ann Trainor Domingue
Really helpful writeup Sharon. It is so easy to move past the marketing of our work and get right to the painting part. Somehow we think that painting is the easier part. :) I spend almost 40 percent of my time preparing my artwork, photographing, uploading to website, inventorying available art, communicating with my galleries, shlepping artworks to galleries, etc. I love the artmaking part but I do like being organized about the details and my galleries appreciate it as well. If I am confident I am caught up on the business/marketing side my brain is then released to do the creative things which I love. Continued success to you Sharon, from your infrequent plein air friend. Ann

David McKay
Hello Sharon,
What a great idea and thanks for your article. I am one of those rare artists who enjoy the marketing side of things but maybe not as much as working in my studio ... especially on one of those "wanting to be alone" days.
I am interested in knowing who actually set up this Arts and Hospitality event. Was it an arts organization or somebody from the business side? Perhaps a similar thing might be beneficial for gallery dealers to set up between artists and potential clients.

David, It would absolutely be beneficial to set up something like this for gallery dealers to set up something like this ... but then isn't a reception supposed to be the "meet and greet" for artists and potential clients?
It WAS someone from the business side that got the ball rolling - it was reps from the Tourist and Visitor Council, but a local "Arts Alive" organization was the organizer for this one. Seeds have been planted!


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