Today's Post is by Clint Watson, founder of FineArtViews. Follow Clint on Twitter.
Successful art marketing requires that you develop two fundamental character traits: Discipline and Self-Control.
Discipline and self-control separate the proverbial "men" from the "boys."
Creative Types and Discipline
Look, I absolutely love what I do . . . even before my company took off, I loved to write software and "play" with computers. In fact, our current most popular product, I originally created as a side project, for fun. These days, however, when some people I know see what I do, they say, "boy you sure are lucky.....you get to just do what you love and get paid for it." I'm sure, as an artist, you've heard similar comments.
But here's what people who make those comments don't understand: there's a huge difference between a hobby and a business. Hobbyists have the luxury of only doing the "fun stuff", businesspeople don't.
What my friends don't see is me doing all the stuff I don't like: doing paperwork, paying bills, balancing books, finding elusive bugs in the code, and sometimes even forcing myself to do the "fun stuff" when I'm not in the mood. This disciplined work ethic is common among successful artists. The most successful artists I know work on their artwork every single day.
I recall visiting an artist friend a few years back. When my wife and I arrived, he took me aside and said, "Clint, I know you're here on vacation....but I'm not. I'm going to go out to my studio at 8:00 am every morning and work until 5:00pm. Unless it's an emergency, please don't interrupt me. I'm looking forward to spending time with you guys in the evenings after I get my work done. Thank you for understanding." (funny story: on the second day of our visit, my wife and I accidentally locked ourselves out of the house and spent the better part of 30 minutes outside his studio door debating on whether or not our situation constituted an "emergency.")
The point is that it's all fun and games to create artwork when you're in the mood, that's why you became an artist to begin with -- you enjoy it. But the big boys create art even when they're not in the mood.
Discipline and Marketing
Discipline is even more important on the marketing side of your business.
We discuss a lot of art marketing ideas here at FineArtViews. It is, after all, where our experience lies and a major theme of this blog.
Over the past few months we've looked at marketing strategies involving websites, blogs, email newsletter campaigns, social networking, advertising, direct mail and even twitter. The number of tools, places and ways to market your artwork can be overwhelming. Some of them can even be fun . . . . which brings us back to the subject of Twitter.
A couple of months ago, I started using Twitter, just to test it out for "research purposes", of course. Unfortunately, I became hooked. I became a bit of a "Twitter junky." Just as a congressman never met a bailout he didn't like, your editor never met a "tweet" he didn't like.
However, last week my brain decided to remind me that enjoying something is not the same as being successful with it.
So I simply stopped. As I pointed out above, I am a disciplined person. So I mentally outlined my "Twitter strategy" and, for the past week, have simply followed it and remained self-controlled enough to avoid distractions. The strategy seems to be working so far as my number of Twitter followers has almost doubled in about a week. (If things work out, I will be sharing my marketing ideas about Twitter in a future post, and I may have to "eat crow" regarding my previous position of Twitter being a waste of time.)
Twin Pillars of Success: Discipline and Self-Control
Here's what the "Twitter addiction" has taught me -- Success with any marketing channel is going to require discipline in two ways:
1. The discipline to be consistent in your strategy and regular with your communication.
2. The self-control not to get distracted and sucked into time vacuums.
Being disciplined in your marketing requires you to be committed, to "stick with it." If you blog, then you need to blog regularly. If you "tweet" then you need to "tweet regularly. If you advertise, you need to commit to a campaign, not simply a one-off ad. If you send email newsletters, do it on a regular basis. As marketing expert Seth Godin recommends, you have to continually drip, drip, drip your messages out to your followers. Do more of the things that work and make them into habits.
The self-control portion means learning to only check your email twice a day, leaving the television turned off while you're working, avoiding checking Facebook to see "what your friends are up to.". I think you get the idea.
As I said at the start of this post: Successful art marketing requires that you develop two fundamental character traits: Discipline and Self-Control.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Now, if you're in the studio, avoiding the easel, turn off the computer and get back to work! ;-)