Marketing Your Artwork: Part 1 – Establishing a Brand

Marketing their work is a struggle for some artists.  Many of us are so involved in creating work and the idea of selling it is too detailed, or too frightening, or too far removed from our focus: creation.  However, most of us cannot afford to continue to create unless we sell our work.  There are a few simple things that you can do to help improve your marketing. Marketing isn’t rocket science, anyone can do it and do it well.  It doesn’t matter what type of artwork you create – from handspun yarn to fine painting, the marketing may differ a bit in the focus, but the steps for creating a good base are about the same. I thought it might be helpful to start a discussion about marketing artwork from the beginning, and I’ll keep posting, topic by topic.  I hope you’ll find this information helpful and please jump in and ask questions.

So, let’s start at the beginning.  You have a great product and you want to create a market for it.  First step – choose a name for your business.  There are a couple of steps to choosing a name for your business that, if you follow them, will help you realize the best results.

1) Pick a name that is easy to remember.  Short names are generally easier to remember than long ones.  There are exceptions, of course, for example, if it is a phrase that flows and makes a lot of sense. Jot names that appeal to you down on a list.  You may want to use your own name, that’s fine.   You may want to name your business in such a way that it describes what you do – that’s always a good idea.  Write down a few names that just pop into your head.  Try and get at least 10-25 possibilities.

2) Say each name on the list out loud, ask your friends, family, etc and pick your favorite three, then it’s time to do some homework.  Research those names.  Google them and see how many other businesses have the same or similar names.  Note where they are and how long they’ve been in business.  If there is a business in your state with the same name – I’d steer clear of using it.  If you plan to incorporate you’ll have a problem but even more important – people looking for you will find those other businesses and probably first, as they have been in business longer than you.  This is true even if the business is not in your state. You may think to yourself, well, if they have the same name maybe I’ll get their customers…True, but those customers aren’t looking for you – they are looking for the other business.  You are then in the position of disappointing them on your first encounter.  That is not something you want to do.  Also consider that the other business has spent some time building up their clientele, and those clients feel loyalty to the other business.  My best advice is if someone else is using the same business name, move on and pick another name.  If there are businesses with slightly different names, but close enough to cause confusion, don’t use those names either. The goal is to create something unique and memorable for YOUR business and YOUR future customers. If you are naming your business with your name (ie Carol Cassidy-Fayer) and there is another artist with the same name (not as unusual as you might think), you can still use your name.  However, think of a descriptive word to add to it, for example Carol Cassidy-Fayer Knitwear or Carol Cassidy-Fayer, Fiber Artist.  Or, you can shorten the name to something like Cassidy-Fayer’s Fiber Arts to make it different.

3) Once you’ve chosen your name and done the research to prove that future customers will not confuse you with another business – stick with it.  The very last thing that you should ever do is change the name of your business.  Everything that you do under that name will begin to collect customers for you.  The MOST important thing is that your customers find you! So, in making your final choice of name – be sure.  Give yourself some time if you are not sure.  Ask friends and go out and talk about it – the people you talk to may become your future customers!  In fact, if you have some customers already, ask them, too!

4) Be consistent in using your business name.  I’ve met people who use one version of their name at events (sometimes different versions at different events), or change it on etsy, or use another name on their web site.  DON’T do this.  Customers who find you at events and want to buy more before the next event will not be able to find you on the web/etsy, or at other events!  The most important goal you should have when attending events is exposure to the marketplace at that event.  Yes, sales at the event are great – but it’s the repeat sales that come back throughout the year that make even more money for you and keep your business going.  You want the name on your booth to match the name in the program and any advertisements you do at the event and other events. And – once your web site is established, you’ll want your web customers to be able to find you at events they attend.  So – always list your business name the exact same way.

Your name will become your brand.  Something that identifies you uniquely in your field. It is the first and most important thing that you can do to establish your business and the beginning of the marketing process!  Next up: Creating a Visual

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