When you're a creative in business, it can be tempting to assume your work speaks for itself. Your images are awesome, your products are outstanding, and your words move people. If you build it he will come, right? Not necessarily.
It doesn't matter how amazing your creations are if insufficient people know who you are and what you do, if nobody enters your store or finds your web page and even worse, you don't make any sales.
The more people who know about you and what you do, the greater the number of sales you will make. Yep, we are talking about marketing.
Play Up Your Strengths
The obvious place to start is with your strengths, which probably play to the needs of marketing even if you don't realise it! Social media, in particular, is a visual medium, so if what you create looks beautiful, make sure you use images that showcase what you do. If you are gifted with words, play that skill up too, even if your product or service is in a different vein. If writing comes easily to you and you are not collecting contact details and sending a regular newsletter, you are missing an enormous opportunity. Ask for permission to collect contact details and then follow through but not too often and not just about sales or products. If your pictures do tell a thousand words, make sure you share them too. Social media and e-newsletters are the cheapest and often the most effective tool when used properly, and even more so when you are a naturally creative person.
Let The Networking Begin
Networking and relationship building is also an essential marketing strategy for creatives. You are your brand. You put your heart and soul into what you create, and it shines through in everything you produce. You are passionate, and you do amazing work, but be careful not to be a social media narcissist. Nobody wants a blow by blow of your day, but you need to let your personality shine through. I know this is a fine line to keep, but your audience and their responses, or lack thereof, will help you find the balance. Produce a tutorial about something, share your creative influences or even better, share the work of others you admire and they just might share yours back!
"Creativity is contagious. Pass it on." -- Albert Einstein
Connect With Others Offline
Networking doesn't only happen online of course. Making in-person connections with other creatives can help you stay focused and motivated, open doors to clients and suppliers, enable future collaborations and bring in customers; after all, who do you like to buy from? People like you I bet! Seek out local co-ops or markets, attend, or even better hold workshops, and get out there. You are unlikely to sell much squirreled away in your studio without contact with the outside world.
The simplest strategy is to have fun. If you are doing what comes naturally, and you find your rhythm, marketing can come easily to creatives. Hanging out online with people like you, sharing news about your latest creation; that sounds pretty fun to me. When you know what works for you and your audience, based on how you feel and how well they respond, that's your sweet spot.
"When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity." - Linda Naiman