How to apply big business tactics to your small business
As an artist selling your work, you are a small business owner and entrepreneur as well as an artist. So you’ve tripled down on the uncertainty of any given year. But wait, don’t stop reading… stick with me.
The good news is that the management of an art business falls under the same category as any other product based business with the added bonus of its unique nature. So, you can apply all the tried and tested strategies that have been used by all other small business owners. Of course, you must strategise within the strategy. You can’t just throw a solution at a problem and expect it to work but here are some examples of tools have been applied to products you’re familiar with and how they can work for an art business.
This isn’t just reserved for big corporations like Coca Cola or the trendy coffee shop on the corner, every entity targeting an audience needs a brand that will make it recognisable to consumers. There’s more to it than logos and colours too. Branding is about creating an identity that reflects the values of the business as well as the product.
When it comes to an art business, you are the essence of the brand. Your approach to your work, the voice you use to describe it as well as the way you present it. As an artist, you have an advantage from the beginning as your artwork will set the visual tone. Most other small businesses find this this toughest hurdle to jump without the help of a graphic designer or creative team
Social media is the dominant force when it comes to marketing and that’s not changing any time soon. If you looked around you right now and picked out every company or product related to what you see, every one has a social media account. Having an active profile(s) with a responsive audience is an invaluable tool for connection with potential buyers, developing a network of peers and staying top of mind when it comes time to purchase. There’s a real reason every company is doing it and it’s much more lucrative than TikTok dances and photos of food might make it appear.
That said, devising content is the tricky part for most. A great example is Trinny Woodall’s Zara Shop Ups. They began as clandestine trips with her assistant on her phone where she’d often be asked to stop filming mid way through but Zara realised the potential for sales of their products and they are now a much slicker production through collaboration.
Even the established names have to continuously come up with new content and build on the content that works. As an artist, again, you have an upper hand with a built in, constantly changing source for content, the work itself and every aspect of its creation. The secret is, the more active and engaged you can be the better it will work for you.
The most luxurious brands play this card the hardest. Every design house, even with its ready to wear collections, presents them as exclusive and rare. This makes the products covetable and in demand. The designer handbag is the perfect example of this. Thousands are made so many sales can be made but if you own one, you’re automatically part of an exclusive club. The bags are produced seasonally which gives them the illusion of being once off which in turn sets the buyer up to be on the look out for the next season’s line to get one of those as well. Emphasising the exclusive nature of your collections is a great marketing tactic. Each work is a one off but there will be more so, it’s a similar scenario to the designer bag one.
Being purposeful and strategic with your marketing actions will create a solid foundation for generating enquiries and converting those to sales.
Everything about your practice needs a solid foundation to thrive and reduce uncertainty, starting with the basics. If you want to get your art business off to the best start this year, join my next workshop, Jump Start. In just 1hr you’ll learn the 6 most important steps to take to reduce overwhelm and gain clarity on how to make the most of the busy months ahead. Book your spot on the workshop HERE