6 Questions to Help You Master Your Art Marketing Messages

By Aletta de Wal in Art Business Advice > A-Z Art Marketing Guide

Welcome back to “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z. In today’s article I’ll be focusing on the letter “M,” and talking about taking your art marketing messages to the next level.

As we’ve discussed before, marketing your art involves a series of conversations designed to build a bridge between you, your art and your audience.

Each conversation has the potential to make or break a relationship, gain or lose an opportunity, and build up or tear down your reputation. It can take years to grow a trusted relationship and seconds to destroy one. Your relationships are the source of your credibility, visibility, and desirability. Consider them at least as important as your art to you success.

In many situations you won’t have a second chance to make a first impression. Don’t you agree that it’s worth at least a few cursory thoughts before you engage?

Take a few minutes to plan your conversations—the exact same way pilots plan for takeoff—with a checklist of key points for the message you’d like to deliver.

1. Why do you want to communicate this message?

Be clear about the desired outcome of your marketing message. If that sounds too simple, ask yourself what don’t you want to happen? And how can you prepare for (and avoid) those unwanted results?

Decide up front if you want to offer information, ask for information, inspire action, build trust, or something else – the more specific you can be with yourself about WHY you’re communicating, the easier it will be to have a conversation that leads towards your goals.

2. Who will get your message?

You’ll have many conversations about your art and your accomplishments with many different audiences, for example: artists, bloggers, collectors, galleries, media press, museums, students, and viewers. They each have a different interest in you and your art, and that means tailoring your message for each one.

Review what you know about the people with whom you are communicating. How might they respond to your messages? How can you influence a positive outcome for everyone?

3. What main message do you want to communicate?

For the sake of clarity, it’s best to tackle one message at a time. You may break that down into three sub-messages but more than that and you risk overload or delays.

4. When is the best time to deliver the message?

By this I mean, when is the best time for your recipients? With Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks, this detail matters more than ever. Just because you get your best thoughts at midnight in your time zone does not mean that the recipient is awake and ready for your message.

5. How will each recipient interpret the message?

The individuals you talk to may share some common characteristics (ideally they’re all interested in your art) but don’t mistake them all for the same person. Cover the basics, if necessary. Are they all familiar with you and your art? Will they benefit from your message “as-is” or do you need to refine it more?

Perhaps most importantly, is there any chance of unpleasantness, or misunderstandings, from your message? Look at it from their point of view, and adapt your conversations whenever necessary.

6. How should the message be crafted and delivered?

Aim for quality over quantity; make it simple rather than complex; unique, not formulaic; compelling, never boring; convincing instead of apathetic; and memorable vs. forgettable.

As an artist, you must be willing to have conversations in person, by telephone, on the internet and via snail mail. With so many communication devices available it may be tempting to just dash off an email (or whatever’s easiest) even if it sacrifices some effectiveness. My advice, though? Don’t rely on just one mode of communication, especially if you want great things to happen.

After all, in a written exchange your words may be ignored or misinterpreted. In a live conversation where you can see and hear the other person in the conversation, you have extra cues, like gestures, tone, pace of voice, and body language. Plus, just by showing up in person you communicate that you care and value that individual as someone of importance.

Here’s one final tip

Whenever you do this exercise, write down each of your answers to the questions above on paper. Seeing them written out is a good way to remove yourself from the equation just a bit, and analyze them from a different perspective.

Your answers to these questions may change over time (your audience may even change!) but one thing’s for sure. . . learning how to craft better messages will always help your marketing efforts, and that’s something every artist can appreciate.

Follow the links below to read more articles in “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z:

A – Appreciating your Audience

B – Building your Business Base

C – Communicating Clearly, Consistently and Cleverly

D – Diversifying Your Delivery

E – Educate, Entertain, Engage, Enrich, and Evolve

F – Fostering Friendly Familiarity

G – Give to Gain

H – Hiring Help

I – The 5 “I’s” of Art Marketing

J – Joining Juried Shows

K – Creating Good Karma

L – Listening and Learning

M – Mastering your Marketing Messages (current article)

N – Negotiating 101

O – Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

P – Procrastination & Perfection

Q – Quality & Quantity: Creating Art that Sells

R – 8 Rules to Improve Your Artist/Collector Relationships

S – S is for Sales

T – 30 Ways to Say “Thank You”

U – Switching from “I” to “Us”

V – Volunteering in the Art World

W – Write, Write, Write!

Y – Just Say Yes

Z – Zen, Zoom, ZigZag & Zowie


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