Creating a Marketing Plan, Part Four: How To Implement your Marketing Plan

This is the fourth in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan for your arts business.

In our previous posts we discussed Who is Your customer? Where is Your Customer? What Matters to or Bonding with your Customer. In this post we look at some ideas for How to Implement your Marketing Plan.

Now that you know who your customer is, where they hang out and what matters to them, you are ready to start marketing.

The good news?  There’s more than way to accomplish this goal. Here are some tips that have worked for us.

  1. Get a system. Create a calendar to regularly put action into your marketing plan. We recommend a simple spreadsheet using MS Excel or Apple’s Numbers. There are apps you can download to integrate your calendar with other functions. Or use Google Plus where you can use the calendar, store and share documents and more. You can even go low-tech and use a paper calendar. It doesn’t matter. Just have a system. And. Use. It. If you schedule web site updates for 3PM Sunday, keep that promise to yourself or reschedule within 24 hours.
  2. Plot out your plan. Research how often you can message your customers without losing their trust. For some it’s daily, others, weekly. You might get away with sending a weekly blog or newsletter (with four times more info as sales copy), (which is tweeted and shared on Facebook automatically); two additional Facebook posts (which are automatically tweeted) and one presentation at a non-profit luncheon where you get to sell your books/CDs. Your research will dictate your frequency. Follow others in your industry. Are you comfortable with their frequency and messaging?
  3. Pre-fill content, wherever and whenever possible. For example, you can write ten blogs one weekend and schedule them to release once a week over the next two and a half months. Prepare content ahead even if you can’t have it generate automatically. You have a system, remember? You can write all your Facebook messages for the month. Collect your images, links, etc. in a file on your favorite device. They’re ready to copy and paste into your posts as you need them. With some preparation your Facebook chores can take only a few minutes each day. Technology can help. Often you can set it up so that when your blog goes live, it notifies your social media of choice. Linking the channels you use is easier than ever and will save time.
  4. Focus. You can’t do it all. Some say it’s better to NOT be on a social media channel if you aren’t active. Pick the top two or three media your audience uses and wow them. If you’re wildly successful and have more resources, you can expand your channels in the future.  If you’re on Facebook, be there. Answer comments. Share information interesting to your tribe. Be frequent and regular. If YouTube is your main channel, do it well.
  5. Measure and test everything. For example, install analytics in your web site so you can see who visited, how long, which pages they clicked on, how long they stayed on the page (were they reading it or just passing through?); all vital information. Test Facebook posts by posting the same message twice, each time with a different title. Which title garnered more likes/views? These are more clues to what resonates with your customer. Test email subject lines by sending the same message to two different groups using two titles. Measure which title elicited more reaction.

We’ve really only scratched the surface of Creating a Marketing Plan but if you implement a few of these tips you will enjoy exponential growth over doing almost nothing!

If you’re serious about making money from your art business, Create a Marketing Plan. If you need help, let us know.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part One: Who Is Your Customer?

In our past blog, I Have My CD, Now What? we discussed why you need a marketing plan.

And we promised to show you how.

In this four-part series, we’ll look at various steps that are integral to planning, building, and executing a marketing plan for your business.

A few decades ago I participated in a community theatre production. Once we had our parts, our first exercise was to “get to know” our characters. We did that by creating a back story for them. In the script we found clues to why the characters were the way they were and we made up back stories to explain their current state.

At the time I wondered why we were bothering. What we wrote would never be performed or revealed in any way.

Then I realized that none of us could “be” our characters if we didn’t really know them. “Being” a character is far different from “doing” a character, as anyone who has sat through a badly performed play can attest.

It’s the same with customers. We can’t serve them, meet their needs or sell to them if we don’t really know them.

The first step to creating a marketing plan is to get to know your ideal customer.

Who is your ideal customer?

The answer is NOT “everyone”, despite being the most common answer!

In our world of infinite choices and combinations you and your product will never appeal to “everyone” so get over it!

Here are some tips for discovering your customer.

  1. Think about one person who was most excited about you or your product. What does he/she look like? What does she want, need, have, etc.? What does he drive? What makes her heart sing? How many children does she have or does she even have children? Does he cook? Does she travel? Does he play an instrument? What does she read?
  2. Think about what you can do for her. Don’t even think about what she can do for you (buy your product) before you know why she wants/needs your product. You waste your resources and risk alienating a potential future customer when you’re not sure. How will your product improve her life/health/happiness?
  3. Think about why. Why does your ideal customer care about you or your product? (Or, what would it take to get her to care about you and your product?) What values do you share with your customer?

This is not a comprehensive list of questions because all our customers are different. The important part is to ask questions. Make no assumptions.

You might find it helps you to draw a picture of your ideal customer or create a collage of everything your ideal customer cherishes.

Caution: if you do not complete this painting-the-picture-of-your-ideal-customer step all future steps are at your peril! It is imperative that you know the wherefores and the whys of your customers’ buying decisions if you ever hope to sell them anything. You can only accomplish this if you know them intimately.

Once you’ve arrived at honest accurate answers to this question, “Who is your ideal customer?” you’re ready for Part Two of Creating a Marketing Plan, Finding Your Ideal Customer.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

What is Your YouTube Strategy?

If you choose to do only one thing for your business in 2018, having a YouTube strategy could result in your best Return on Investment (ROI).

ROI is all about inputs (what you invest) versus outcomes (what you get back).

If I invest $10 and get back $100, that’s excellent ROI. If I invest $100 and get back $10, I’m losing money like a sieve.

If I invest 200 hours to create a painting that I can sell for $50, I’ll starve.

But if I can duplicate and sell that painting for $50 to 100 customers, that’s $5000 and I’m making a living wage ($5000 made divided by 200 hours to create equals $25 per hour).

In today’s world, there are many places to invest your time and money. The emergence of video as an important marketing tool can’t be ignored.

Well, it can, but you won’t be as happy with your ROI.

Here are some interesting facts about YouTube:

  • YouTube gets over 30 million visitors… per day.
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!
  • Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.

See more YouTube statistics.

Depending on your audience, it’s very likely you’ll find them on YouTube. That’s why you need a YouTube strategy.

The Plan

Your plan begins with creating your own YouTube channel if you don’t already have one. Even if you do, you might want to create a new one specifically for your business.

Here is a good basic YouTube video on how to create a YouTube channel.

Here’s a more thorough explanation with screen shots in a blog for creating a YouTube channel.

Once you have a channel you need to add content.

But where do you get video content?

You can share other people’s content or you can create your own. Mostly you’ll create your own. After all, promoting you and your art is why you have a YouTube channel!

How do you create video content?

Here are seven tips to help you create good content.

  1. Most of our devices come with video cameras that are far better quality than we’ve ever had. They’re simple to use.  Editing software is widely available and easy to use.
  2. Remember to pull your devices out of your pockets and capture the moments of your life.
  3. Ask friends and family to record you at your craft, perhaps a piece of one of your music performances or you teaching a child to paint.
  4. You can make videos on how to do certain techniques that make you a better artist. If you have a trick that makes a beautiful creation, produce a video and share it with the world.
  5. Create a slide with your contact information to attach to the front and back of your video.
  6. Edit. Edit. Edit. Attention spans are shrinking daily so it’s wise to get to the point and keep it short with no unnecessary footage.  If you don’t grab your audience in the first five seconds, they’re gone. If you bore them along the way, they’re gone. We recommend one to two minute videos, and up to five minutes if they’re VERY interesting.
  7. You can even hire professionals to help you create content. (We can recommend videographers. Contact us.)

Post your videos to YouTube.

Then remember to tell people about your video using other media like your web site, Twitter, Facebook, and email.

Why do you need video content in your marketing mix?

There are at least five good reasons to use video content:

  1. Consumers want it. Remember those statistics? There is an appetite to learn using video.
  2. Connection. Arguably, video allows us to get better connected. When customers can see you, hear you and see your work, they’re more apt to trust you. And if they trust you and like you, they buy from you.
  3. Choice. That’s the new consumer desire. They want to choose how they consume their media. Some want written words, some want to hear them. Some want pictures, many want video.  By going to where your customers are, you are adding to their choice and increasing the chances they’ll choose you.
  4. Video is a unique way to promote your business. While customers are online, the majority of businesses have yet to discover the power of video. You can lead by pioneering video marketing in your category.
  5. Video is an ideal way to promote visual and performing arts, simply because… it’s visual! Event planners want to see you before they hire you. Having a presence on YouTube is vital for getting those gigs.

At S2 Seminars we are a “practice what you preach” company. We recently fired up our own YouTube channel. See our first video here.

We produced a half dozen “spots” which we will use to promote ourselves, our seminars and our other products. We plan to release them one at a time, strategically.

We will combine our YouTube strategy with our other marketing and promotions, like this blog, which is sent to Facebook and Twitter when we post. And we’re tracking it all in our marketing plan.

If you would like some help planning your YouTube strategy, contact us or attend one of our courses.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, attend our workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget.

Left – Brain, Right – Brain

The creative side of the human being is housed in the right side of the brain. Logic and reason live on the left-side.

We all have both sides (at least in theory! Some people do leave one to question this!) but we each use the two sides in varying degrees.

Most people tend to favour one side over the other. An accountant will use the left side for most of his thinking. A dancer uses mostly the right.

The accountant might be stumped when asked to come up with new ideas to promote his business. That activity requires the imagination of the right-brain.

The dancer’s eyes might glaze over at the mere whiff of a spreadsheet, which is the domain of the left brain. That doesn’t mean the dancer can do without spreadsheets. (The dancer needs a good accountant!)

Most of us require both left and right-brained thinking in our businesses. The logical thinkers tend to chirp, “I’m not creative!” when right-brain tasks are suggested. The creative thinkers will declare, “I can’t do math!” when tasked with analyzing data.

But we CAN expand our brains. The lefties can learn to let go and loosen up. Their imaginations can be ignited. The righties can be taught to focus on numbers that matter in their businesses and learn skills to make those numbers work for them.

The partners in S2 Seminars know the importance of using both sides of their brains. Shelley has decades of marketing and business experience, which has caused her to exercise both her creative and business senses. As a project management professional (left-brain tasks) and artist (over on the right), Susan knows the challenges of balancing business with creativity.

These right/left brain challenges are why S2 Seminars was born. Shelley and Susan saw a need to teach business skills to artists to help them stop suffering from “starving artist syndrome”.

Join us for one of our workshops.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, attend our workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget.

 

What is My Art Worth, Anyway?

That’s the million dollar question!

Plato was right: beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

There are Picassos, that in certain parts of the world, wouldn’t fetch five bucks, yet the experts agree they’re worth millions.

Because somebody, somewhere, is willing to pay that. They want it badly enough.

THAT is the worth of art.

And that’s what makes it so darn hard to price.

At S2 Seminars, we’ve noticed artists either charge nothing or next to nothing. Or they think too much of their own work, price it in the Picasso-range and wonder why they starve!

Finding the sweet spot is the trick.

Here are five basic art pricing tips:

1: Determine your art. What is your art? Define it. How do you categorize it? Is it similar to other art?  (Of course, you’re unique, but find some similarities.) Does it have a genre?

2: Find and follow your peers. Who makes similar art? Who is in their market? Is that your market? Where do they sell their art? Do they sell locally, regionally, nationally or internationally?

3: What do they charge? These similar artists’ prices will be good launching pads for calculating what you should charge for your art. Do you have similar education, years of experience, style, customer, etc? Examine each similarity and difference to find your price.

4: Pick a Price. How much do you need? Let’s say you want to make $40,000 per year to cover your costs, expenses and have a meal out once a month (slightly over the poverty line!) You determine you can charge $2000 for each piece of your art. Therefore, you need to sell 20 pieces per year. That’s just over 1.5 per month. Now you need a plan. How will you sell two pieces per month?

5. Test. Test. Test.  Once you’ve found a price that feels right, test it with your customers. If nothing sells, it’s too high. Think of it like putting your house on the market. The real value of an agent is in pricing your house so you get the most money in as little time possible.

Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, writer, musician or singer, knowing the value of your art is key to making a living from your art business.

Pricing your product is just one of the business skills you’ll learn from S2 Seminars. To check out our latest workshop visit our Events page.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

 

Shelley Goldbeck, DTM is a partner with Susan Cramer in S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills. 

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

S2 Seminars partners, Shelley and Susan wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

We’ll be spending time with family, eating copious amounts of delicious food and contemplating the New Year.

Our wish for you is that you’ll recharge your batteries during this traditional and much-needed winter break.

As you reflect on the past year and look towards 2018, a good resolution is getting serious about your business.

We’re serious about our goal of eradicating poverty in artists.

If you’re serious about eradicating YOUR poverty, consider enrolling in our first class of 2018, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoestring Budget.

Procrastination is the enemy of New Year’s resolutions so we suggest you jump right in.

We’re covering the basics: business cards, Facebook, and web sites. When the workshop is done you’ll have three tools that will make an immediate difference in your business.

What a way to start the New Year!

S2 Partners,

Shelley and Susan

S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, attend our workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget.