Is your art marketing a hot mess?

Mothering Chaos by EBSQ Artist Kelli Ann Dubay
Mothering Chaos by EBSQ Artist Kelli Ann Dubay

So. You’ve been reading up on how to market your art, gathering advice and tips from a smathering of friends, colleagues, and online experts.  You believe in your art. You’ve got the requisite accounts at EBSQ (obviously), Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  You have a blog. (You even occasionally update your blog.)  So, why isn’t it all coming together?

Sometimes it takes an outside eye to see what you’re missing. To that end, we’re looking for up to three artists to review, critique, and case study.  Totally on us.

Interested? Leave us a comment with your name, EBSQ Artist url, and let us know why you want our help. If you’re chosen, you’ll get to work with us for 90 days, totally for free, to see if we can help jump start your marketing efforts and find you some greater success.  We’ll be profiling our selected artists during the case study via the EBSQ blog. Even if you aren’t one of the lucky artists selected, we hope our case studies will be able to help you as well!

Ready? Let’s get started!

PS Not yet an EBSQ Artist member? Why not join today?

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7 Art Portfolio Best Practices to Start 2013 with a Bang!

Day of the Dead New Year by EBSQ Artist Susan Brack
Day of the Dead New Year by EBSQ Artist Susan Brack

Ok, I admit it: this is a repost from last year. But the advice is just as timely.  Get ready for 2013 with these 7 readiness tips.

Is your contact information up-to-date? Make sure we have your current private email address for lost password retrieval and public contact information for people who want to learn more about your art. We’ve often seen members post that they do commissions but don’t offer a contact method for potential buyers. If they can’t connect, you’ve lost a sale.

Are your website and blog addresses still correct? How about your eBay and Etsy IDs? Again, if we don’t have the right information, people aren’t going to be able to find you or your work at your preferred sales venues.

An addendum to the above: Have you linked to all of your current venues? And have you unlinked venues you no longer use? If you’re primarily selling at FineArtAmerica, but you only have a link to an abandoned eBay account, you’re squandering an opportunity to direct interested parties to work that’s currently available. We suggest you consider removing venues you aren’t actively using or maintaining. This includes placeholder websites and blogs that haven’t been updated in over a year.

When is the last time you took a serious look at your artist’s statement? Do you have a “Hi, I’m new,” message that you posted back in 2007 and simply forgot about? Or notes about your Spring cleaning sales from last year? Are you talking about your photography or sculpture when you’re now showing a portfolio full of abstract expressionism? Have you done any new shows or changed galleries? Don’t forget to add this new information to your CV.

Have your commission prices changed? If so, don’t forget to make these edits if you have pricing listed on your commissions page. Or maybe you don’t do commissioned work at all anymore–you can always turn off this feature by unchecking the “commissions available” box in your profile tools.

Are you showing your newest work? While we do have members that update their portfolio as soon as they have something new, others simply upload a handful of work when they join and forgeddaboutit, letting their portfolios collect cyber dust. When was the last time you added something new? Every time you add new art to your portfolio, that piece shows up on the front page of EBSQ, which in turn brings more people back to your portfolio.  For best success, we strongly suggest you upload new work monthly, or even weekly. “Post and Pray” does not work.

Is it for sale? If so, you can add in a PayPal “buy it now” button directly in your artist statement. You’re also welcome to link directly to other venues where a specific piece might be available. (Just make sure you update your information if it’s already been sold!)

Have another great tip for getting your portfolio into shape? Please share it in the comments below!

 

PS Not yet a member? Grab a great deal on EBSQ Artist Memberships through 31 December 2012!

Ring in the New Year Right with These 7 Portfolio Readiness Tips

Have a Steampunk New Year by EBSQ Artist Susan Brack
Have a Steampunk New Year by EBSQ Artist Susan Brack

The new year is fast approaching. We thought now might be a good time to offer some concrete ideas on how to get your portfolio ready to rock for 2012:

Is your contact information up-to-date? Make sure we have your current private email address for lost password retrieval and public contact information for people who want to learn more about your art. We’ve often seen members post that they do commissions but don’t offer a contact method for potential buyers. If they can’t connect, you’ve lost a sale.

Are your website and blog addresses still correct? How about your eBay and Etsy IDs? Again, if we don’t have the right information, people aren’t going to be able to find you or your work at your preferred sales venues.

An addendum to the above: Have you linked to all of your current venues? And have you unlinked venues you no longer use? If you’re primarily selling at FineArtAmerica, but you only have a link to an abandoned eBay account, you’re squandering an opportunity to direct interested parties to work that’s currently available. We suggest you consider removing venues you aren’t actively using or maintaining. This includes placeholder websites and blogs that haven’t been updated in over a year.

When is the last time you took a serious look at your artist’s statement? Do you have a “Hi, I’m new,” message that you posted back in 2007 and simply forgot about? Or notes about your Spring cleaning sales from last year? Are you talking about your photography or sculpture when you’re now showing a portfolio full of abstract expressionism? Have you done any new shows or changed galleries? Don’t forget to add this new information to your CV.

Have your commission prices changed? If so, don’t forget to make these edits if you have pricing listed on your commissions page. Or maybe you don’t do commissioned work at all anymore–you can always turn off this feature by unchecking the “commissions available” box in your profile tools.

Are you showing your newest work? While we do have members that update their portfolio as soon as they have something new, others simply upload a handful of work when they join and forgeddaboutit, letting their portfolios collect cyber dust. When was the last time you added something new? Every time you add new art to your portfolio, that piece shows up on the front page of EBSQ, which in turn brings more people back to your portfolio.  For best success, we strongly suggest you upload new work monthly, or even weekly. “Post and Pray” does not work.

Is it for sale? If so, you can add in a PayPal “buy it now” button directly in your artist statement. You’re also welcome to link directly to other venues where a specific piece might be available. (Just make sure you update your information if it’s already been sold!)

Have another great tip for getting your portfolio into shape? Please share it in the comments below!

How can we help you today?

A Little Help From My Friends by EBSQ Artist Julie Cady Ryan
A Little Help From My Friends by EBSQ Artist Julie Cady Ryan

EBSQ is putting together a series of how-tos, both videos and blog posts, to help our members get the most out of the EBSQ Art website as well as best-practices for marketing your work online.  Is there something you’d like to know how to do better? A topic we haven’t explored yet?

What specific topics  would YOU like to see us cover?

So much better than the post and pray method

Look Mom No Hands by Veronique Perron
Look Mom No Hands by Veronique Perron

When artists join EBSQ (or other online artist communities), it’s usually because they’re interested in marketing their work. For many, our site is their first foray into presenting their art online. They eagerly add their work to their new portfolios and wait for something to happen. But success as a self-representing artist requires the artist to be much more active, and dare I say, aggressive in their approach than “post and pray.”

I’d personally like to share a few best practices for our site to help you get the both out of your membership. And even if you’re not a member, you may find some of the below is still applicable:

  • Introduce yourself. EBSQ is more than a place to park your art; we have a very active community that’s great for networking and sharing experiences, discussing media, materials, and techniques, and in general sharing the daily grind of life as a self-representing artist with all of its unique challenges. If you’re registered for this site, you’re already registered for our forums, and with a the exception of a few goodies that are for paid-members only, the bulk of our forum content is free and open to the public.
  • Enter an exhibit. Our monthly exhibits give members a great opportunity to challenge themselves as well as get their work in front of a whole new set of eyeballs. I remember rather famously a few years ago, a member wrote to me, wanting to remove her show entry because she didn’t want her patrons to see that she didn’t win. But entering shows is actually one of THE best ways to be seen on our site. Take a risk and put yourself out there!
  • Talk about your art. So many artists on our site list a title, maybe a date or media, and that’s it. And then wonder why they aren’t being noticed for Art of the Day or getting a lot of hits to their portfolios. Simply put, you need to feed Google. Talk about your pieces with the same passion with which you created them. Give the search engines something relavent to find so that patron of a lifetime can actually find you.
  • Link link link. Have you used your EBSQ marketing tools? Add a link to your website or your blog! If you offer commissions, give people a way to contact you by making your public email address available. Yes, spam can happen this way, too. One option is to use a separate email address, whether it be another alias at your personal domain, or a free account like hotmail, yahoo, or gmail. Just make sure you actually watch this accounts for legitimate contacts! (We have a section in our forums to report suspicious contacts, yet another reason to stop in to say hello!) Also, you have the option to add a marketing blurb that personalizes the title of your page in the search engines. If you’re the world’s greatest tromphe l’oeil pickle artist, say so!

We’d love to know what’s missing on this list: how do YOU get the most from EBSQ?

July 2008: How to keep being an Artist without losing your soul…or your shirt.


I’ve been hearing from so many artists who say they wish they could keep painting (or sculpting or crafting) but this economy is killing their business. We’ve seen some members have to close their accounts, vowing to return when times get better. There’s no question that things are tough when what you create is a luxury, not a necessity. It doesn’t just hurt your pocketbook. It also kills your soul just a little. And then a little more.

I believe there will always be a desire for beautiful things, for art and handmade items, even when times are bad. Perhaps, especially when times are bad. We want to offer some strategies for keeping your dream alive while also keeping a roof over your head. Some may seem silly. Some may be things you’re already doing. And if you have other ideas, we’d love to hear from you.

  • Work smaller. This may be a no-brainer. But if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s worth doing. Smaller art often takes less time to create. Less materials go into it, generally. Smaller art is cheaper to ship. And you might be able to offer this work at a much lower price point. ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards) and OSWOA’s (original small works of art, a 4 x 6 format) are quite popular with both artists and buyers right now. This could be a great way for a new collector to jump in and get an original from you now, which could lead to a larger purchase in the future.
  • Offer reproductions. Even if you don’t have the leisure time to crank out new work the way you used to, you can still make a fair living selling quality reproductions of your work. Imagekind does fantastic museum-quality prints at reasonable prices. You can order your own to resell at your leisure or have customers order directly through their website. It’s a great way to keep your work out there in circulation, and again, a print purchase now could lead to the purchase of an original at a later date.
  • Make your art into something useful. Along the lines of making reproductions available, why not also make your work available as a t-shirt via Spreadshirt? Or as a mug through sites like cafe press and zazzle? And again, this is a way to keep your previous work earning you some extra income even if you’re not able to create new work right now.
  • Try a less expensive media Now, we’re not talking about downgrading to canvas board and student-grade paint. But if you work in metal, perhaps you might want to try a less-expensive alloy and use it in a creative way so it doesn’t feel like a compromise. Or maybe move to a series of drawings on gessoed paper instead of your large oils on gallery-wrapped canvas. Or take up photography. Try working with found/recycled materials. Anything to keep you creating.

What are your strategies for coping with this economy without sacrificing your art–and yourself–in the process?

Amie Gillingham
1 July 2008
Get out of the vacuum and express yourself!

In this issue:

Amie Gillingham How to keep being an Artist without losing your soul…or your shirt.
Melissa Morton EBSQ Live: July 2008: EBSQ Portfolio Best Practices
Harlan Live Studio: Needle Felting Basics: Sheep Pincushion
Amie Gillingham Featured Artist: Fabio Napoleoni
Amie Gillingham Featured Artist: Stephen Pitts

June 2008: The Future is Here.

The Arrival by Alexis Covato
Alexis Covato

In the 21st century, being good at painting (or sculpting or photography or making altered books or …) is not enough. The internet has changed the face of art and art marketing irrecovably. Now you must be also be good at talking about your art, not just as part of an artist statement, but also in your blog, which you must update at least several times a week to gain any traction. You have to be better than average at photographing your work, or cough up the funds to find someone to photograph it for you. You have to master a slew of image editing tools to correct the mistakes you made with your photos before you put your art online. Because in this day and age, your jpeg is your proxy for your art. It’s often the only thing someone will see when they decide to buy your art or not. Or show your work in their gallery or juried show or not. And even that is starting to change, because with the advent of webcams, YouTube, and all number of video embedding (and editing) programs, artists are putting out non-traditional versions of their art. You can watch some artists paint live. Or sped up. Or super sexy slideshows set to Creative Commons licensed music. And artists are having to learn a whole new skill set. Again.

In the coming months, EBSQ will be looking in greater depth at how the art market is changing to embrace all things Web 2.0. To get things jump started, we’d like to showcase a few blog posts from our resident new media expert, Natasha Wescoat:

 

For further inspiration, we’ll also take a look at some of the staff’s favourite EBSQ artist-made videos currently on YouTube.

The future of art is here. Are you ready?
 
Amie Gillingham
1 June 2008
Get out of the vacuum and express yourself! 

 

In this issue:

Amie Gillingham   The Future is Here
Melissa Morton   EBSQ Live: Intro to Needlefelting
EBSQ   EBSQ Artists get into YouTubery
Amie Gillingham   Featured Artist: Jenny Doss
Amie Gillingham   Featured Artist: Tracey Allyn Greene
Amie Gillingham   Featured Artist: Ingrid