How do I market myself?
This is a deep and somewhat complex question. There are easily a million books on marketing and honestly what works for one may not work for another! What I will attempt to do for you is list of the top 5 things that I do and have proven to work for me!
The first four will be consider PULL marketing (where you are drawing clients to you and/or having them return) and the last will be PUSH marketing (strategy that involves taking the product directly to the potential client)
#1. YOUR PRODUCT QUALITY! This is often the most overlooked area when an artist is trying to break in to the market. No matter if you are just trying to penetrate the industry or you are a veteran, the quality of your product (in this case your art) is the largest factor that any potential client will use to determine if they want to hire you are not! STOP trying every other marketing tactic RIGHT NOW and focus on producing the highest quality piece (in both technique and idea) that you can possibly create! Your portfolio communicates volumes about not only your talent but work ethic, dedication and ability to execute the idea better than others! The largest determining factor why I get clients is due to the quality of my art! As an artist NEVER lose sight of your ability to create and always push it to new frontiers!
#2. SERVICE! This is the second largest aspect of business in this industry that is left aside for a quick buck. Your level of service leaves a lasting impression on the client and is one of the largest reasons you will have a client return or disappear (never use YOU again) You need to be mindful of the processes you have. How you consult with the client, how clearly you communicate, how well you listen, if you deliver on time (or before the deadline) and most importantly how you treat them. Most artists treat their clients like a paycheck, a transaction. This is the easiest way to communicate that you don’t care about them, their brand or their needs and only care about that payday! Take GOOD care of your clients. Represent their ideas and brands as if it were your own and they will return time and time again!
#3. YOUR WEBSITE (and how well it performs!) Your site needs to look good, that goes without say but more importantly it needs to perform! This all boils down to one factor, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) If you don’t know what this means then I suggest you start studying. When you go to Google (go there now) and type in “CUSTOM LETTERING” then click “IMAGES” you will see MY images (SWEYDA) ranking higher than others and more frequently! This is not by chance but by purposing, by learning and by knowing HOW TO. It’s not my job to explain HOW but yours to study on the best techniques to get your images ranking higher and here’s why:
Art Directors / Creative Directors in most companies (medium to larger) build style guides for their brands next release. They are looking out in the world (through Google searches) to find ideas, styles, market trends etc etc etc all in an effort to direct both an internal art team and freelancers on what they want the next release to steer towards. It stands to reason that when they are doing this you want them to see YOUR images and as many as you can get in their face!
#4. Social Media! I know this seems like a no brainer but the determining factor if you are utilizing it right has little to do with the amount of followers you have and everything to do with your conversion rate (how many followers are converting to clients!) I’m not on Social Media to make friends!!! In all honesty I would take face to face time over social media ANY DAY but... I realize that this is a vehicle to gain clients and support my passion of creating so I play!
First thing I did was decide what platforms I wanted to be on. I chose Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Dribbble and Coroflot. Secondly I gave each of them ten to fifteen minutes a day to “market” and watched for growth, for traction. I decided I would give each five months to gauge whether or not it was worth my time! After five months it was obvious what to drop and what to focus on. Facebook was a waste of my time! My focus is to produce the best quality work and have that work gain me clients and Facebook was just a waste (for me). I closed it immediately! Instagram on the other hand was growing! Not in followers but clients! I took the time I would normally use for Facebook and doubled down on Instagram. In addition Coroflot wasn’t performing so I jumped ship and dropped that time again on Instagram! Each time I focused more time where I could see growth (IG) it grew more. Instagram currently makes up more than 40% of my project requests! My advice is to find where you want to market and then invest in what works for you!
#5. Target Marketing. This is where you determine WHO you want to do business with and TARGET them with a specific marketing angle to land their business. Every year I determine 5 companies I want to work with and build specific marketing pieces to land them. Example: In 2014 I targeted the five companies I wanted to work with and decided the best way to land them was to get in front of the Art Director (decision maker) with a unique piece. I decided to build a custom book for each one. This was a hard cover book with 50 pages of my work. The “unique” aspect of the book was that I took the first 5 pages and tailored them to the specific client! In those five opening pages were an intro lettering to the Art Director, potential (pitched) work and my desire to work with them. The remaining 45 pages were broken down in to what I do best (Custom lettering, custom illustration and merchandise development)
The entire point of the campaign is to showcase my work in a unique way and get that on the decision makers desk so it stands out over all the other mail and potential freelancers who aim to gain their business! Each year I do something different and each year I land half of the clients I seek to gain!
My advise: If you want to learn how to market yourself then become a student of marketing. Read some books or articles (both) watch some videos and start the process. The worst thing that could happen is you gain a few more clients and get to draw / design for a living!