Written By: Zach Champ,
Connect with me on Instagram!
FROM STARVING ARTISTS, TO LIVING OFF YOUR HOBBY AND PASSION!
The key to success in making money off of being a creative artist is to have a solid grasp of the marketing funnel concept.
A marketing funnel is a template that is used to design marketing campaigns and which integrates the various parts of an individual’s business. Using marketing funnels can allow you to streamline and optimize your creative venture through stimulating growth in your brand and fostering meaningful relationships with existing and potential customers.
At its core, the marketing funnel comprises four unique stages:
- AWARENESS - People know who you are and what you do
- INTEREST - People are interested in a product or service you provide
- DESIRE - People are invested and committed to your brand
- ACTION - Sale / Like / Follow / Subscribe / Shout-Out
You can also interpret funnels by dividing them into three separate parts, each with its own specific role and function:
- Top of Funnel (TOFU)- AWARENESS / CONSIDERATION
- Attract new leads
- Website and Social Media
- Content Marketing - Blogs & Videos
- Middle of Funnel (MOFU)- CONSIDERATION / CONVERSION
- Incentivised Gifts- Stickers/Freebies/Promotional Materials
- Discounts & Coupons in Exchange for Email/Phone Number/Social-Media Information Capture
- Content Marketing - Blogs & Videos
- Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)- CONVERSION / RETENTION
- Excellent Customer Service & Engagement
- Purchase of Product or Sale of Service
- Asks customers to leave Google review, post a photo to social-media with your art or brand, etc
- Asks customers to sign up for a newsletter or subscription list, collect emails or phone numbers, have customers follow social-media accounts or subscribe to YouTube
PROMOTE YOUR ART!
IT’S ALL ABOUT A STRONG SOCIAL-MEDIA PRESENCE!
Social-media is a necessary promotional and marketing tool for creative artists, whether they are beginners or professionals. Not only does social-media allow creative artists a chance to share their creativity and talent with friends and family, but also put it on display for the entire world to enjoy!
As an artist, there are several platforms that you will want to simultaneously create content for.
They include platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook. You may also benefit from participating in special niche art communities such as DeviantArt, joining Discord Servers, following art related sub categories on Reddit, browsing through Tumblr, or creating accounts for websites like ArtStation.
Any of these can help you with expanding your craft through networking with and sharing/learning new tips and tricks with other creators. It will also allow you to expand your audience and build your community.
The hardest part about social-media marketing is creating a reliable and regular posting schedule for your content. You want to post regularly but not excessively. It can also be a time-consuming hassle posting on each different platform.
To facilitate easier workflow there are professional social-media marketing tools such as AgoraPulse, Sprout Social, Loomly, and more which will allow you to create a custom content posting schedule and which can simultaneously post your content on all your desired platforms with the click of one button.
While all these tools will help, another key aspect of social-media marketing that you will need to master is creating video content to show off and promote your art.
If a picture is worth a hundred words, then a video is worth a thousand!
Video marketing on social-media is often underestimated, especially by artists working in traditional and non-digital mediums. The truth is that video marketing is a game-changer for any artist, especially when considering the need to expand your reach and audience size.
One easy and accessible way to create video content for your audience is through live-streaming. You should foster a habit of live-streaming or filming yourself when creating art, as this will allow you to showcase and display your creative process to viewers from all over the World.
BUILD YOUR BRAND BEYOND SOCIAL-MEDIA
As a creative artist, you must brand yourself in order to stand out among the masses.
An easy way to create your own unique brand and business identity is through business cards and stickers!
You will definitely need business cards as you grow in popularity and especially if you plan on tabling or selling at local events and businesses.
There are several easy resources available online for creating business cards and stickers on a fly!
If you are a photographer or a visual artist then you will want to create photo prints of your artwork to sell.
Other forms of traditional marketing materials that you may want to invest in include fliers and items such as lighters, pens/pencils, business card holders, and other similar odds and ends which you can pass out to potential customers to engage with them and hopefully start moving them through your funnel process. Put your logo or brand on EVERYTHING!
SELL YOUR ART!
Turn your Art into Merchandise
It can be surprisingly profitable to take your existing art designs and use them to create merchandise such as clothing, stickers, magnets, coffee cups and drinking ware, and more.
As a key principle of business, you want to pay attention to how much each item costs to manufacture at wholesale and understand how much you can realistically retail it for. Being able to obtain twice what you paid for your merchandise is typically a good rule of thumb for profit margins!
For example, if it costs you $5 to create a baseball hat with your logo or art, sell it for $10 or $15 ideally so you can make not only enough money back to order more merchandise to replenish the lost stock, but also have money left over as pure profit.
Keeping this rule of profit margin and doubling up in mind you can easily see returns!
INSPIRE prefers to use local printing companies such as NEW WORLD MANUFACTURING or CREATIVE COLOR when we can to support local business. However, if you are in a pinch and need to order merchandise fast, you can use online print-on-demand companies like Printful or TeeSpring.
Stickers are a great way to put your brand on display, especially if you have eye-catching, colorful, or relatable designs!
Stickers are an excellent promotional and marketing tool as they are relatively cheap to create and if used effectively can be part of your marketing funnel creating brand awareness and desire for other products.
We suggest you sell stickers for 0.50¢ or $1 and earn a small ROI, or use them for promotional purposes and pass them out as an incentive to people who follow you on Instagram (ex. sticker for like/follow campaign)
TABLE AT EVENTS:
As a creative artist, it will be essential to your professional growth and development to find events to participate in as a vendor or merchant…
Even if you are a local artist who just wants to create a modest following, you will need to utilize events as a key mechanism for networking and building your audience.
Events are a great way to meet new people, to network with other creatives, to earn money by selling your art and gaining new commissions, and to get out there and observe what’s going on in the local scene around you.
There are all types of events that you can sell and display your art at from farmer’s markets, to local craft fairs, to music shows and festivals, and local art pop up events.
Pro-Tip: Anytime you are tabling at an event, focus not only on just sales but also on persuading visitors to like/follow your social-media pages, as well as collecting emails for an email newsletter list.
By creating a list of subscribers, you can periodically reach out to these individuals and tell them about upcoming events, discounts, new merchandise, and more!
SELL ON AN ONLINE MARKETPLACE:
To make money with art, it will be necessary for you to sell on an online marketplace.
There are several popular options including:
- Society 6
- FineArt America
- Zazzle or RedBubble
- Getty Images (for Photographers)
One thing to consider when selling art online is to pay attention to the cost of listing & transaction fees on each individual platform. These fees are how these platforms gain revenue, alongside advertising.
Another important factor to consider is the cost of shipping. If the artwork you create is tiny this shouldn’t be too problematic, but large paintings and works of art will be very expensive to ship.
Some of these websites offer dropshipping services, which are a great way for smaller creators to get their merchandise off the ground.
Dropshipping is a business model where a creative brand outsources the manufacturing of merchandise to a third party, who then handles the creation and shipping of the product everytime an order is processed. The creative brand’s job is to handle the cost of marketing and advertising the merchandise, while the third-party handles the expensive cost of manufacturing and shipping the merchandise.
Dropshipping is a useful option for creators who don’t have an initial budget to spend on ordering merchandise up front to build their physical inventory.
CREATE A WEBSITE
Websites serve as a digital portfolio to highlight your creative work and achievements.
Shopify is a fully functioning e-commerce platform that provides in-depth web traffic analytics and an easy-to-use website building tool.
With Shopify, you can truly customize and develop your website to meet your brand’s unique style and needs. Their online app store allows you to download different apps and widgets for use on your website from independent third-party developers to provide additional customization and optimization.
CELEBRATE YOUR ART!
One way to celebrate your art is to become featured on a local blog or in a local newspaper. A published interview or feature in a local newspaper can help you expand your audience and give you a nice accomplishment to include in your resume and portfolio.
The natural next step from being featured in a local blog or newspaper is getting your art on display at a local business or gallery!
Displaying your art in local businesses or galleries will help you build brand awareness and establish connections with business owners and their customers.
If you have merchandise, some local business owners and galleries will even let you consign your merchandise in their stores. (Some will even buy your art up front to sell and flip if it’s really appealing to them!)
We here at INSPIRE hope all of the information in this article is useful and helps propel you towards success in your artistic endeavors and career!
Please take a moment to check out our other BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT blogs to learn more about growing your business!