Saturday, May 14, 2016

Third and Last Day of Marketing Boot Camp

Eric painting at Old Tucson
Monday morning was the last day of our Marketing boot camp at 6:30 am! So glad, those long days were killer! This is going to be a long blog post. And I am going to sprinkle it with some of my work, because there were shots of his slides, but I think you need what he said instead of just those "dry" lists!

Eric started with something to the effect of "you've been marketing and maybe had a little success ... now what?

His reply to his own comment was "don't go into coast mode." This is something that happens to many artists... success can lead to some sitting back and then you lose momentum. So, to get back on track he said you need to ask yourself some probing questions such as: "What was making me successful?" But, also, you don't need to just keep on doing the same thing. A good strategy is to keep reinventing yourself. You need to eradicate the concept of the starving artists. Many artists fall into this trap of believing it is true.
"Dunes Tree" Oil 5"x7"

And, sometimes you need to keep the perception of being the "Best" and help others believe it. I took this as a don't make comments that undermine what others think of you or your work. Be positive, and you don't have to share the down side to some of the life of being an artist, or even the parts of your painting you are not so thrilled with.

After this pep talk, he started talking about a new plan he has. It is a 12-Month Marketing Plan in a box which he is selling. I believe you can order this plan, so check out the Plein Air Convention site.

Things an Artist Needs to Do!
Two words he used were "Discover" and "Imagine" as important steps in creating a plan.He wanted to know, are you sick of the income roller coaster? The client is a key element. You can increase their lifetime spending by switching the mind-set from a one-time buyer to a continuous lifetime client. This can create cash windfalls as needed, or a cash surge. The plan is you need to invent something for that cash surge... so his "Imagine" was a key to doing this.

"One and done doesn't work!" He said you should lay it out for the year. And, no negative thinking. He wants you to ask, "how can I make this work for me?"

There are "five reasons for failure." (1) Not really being in touch with customers, not understanding them, (2) no market differentiation - you need to stand out. Don't use the same old photos of just paintings, but think of things that are a little different. Show yourself in your studio painting, or on location painting. Show your tools and discuss them, (3) failure to communicate clearly - make sure terms are understandable, (4) there is a breakdown at the top, in the leadership, and (5) an inability to have a profitable business model with proven revenue streams.

"Cypress Dance" Pastel 24"x20

And, "why do you need this?" So you can have (1) predictable income, (2) freedom and flexibility, and (3) a big advantage. What you would get in this marketing plan in a box: Monthly Components, Weekly Components, Twice a Year Components, and Quarterly Components. This plan is more "what to do vs how to do it." You get guidance, discovery, a marketing calendar, and components of what goes on the calendar, listing every strategy you plan to use (advertising, social media, and notes. You will assign dates, assign duties, monthly and weekly. This really was a sales pitch for the plan, but if you listened closely, there were jewels of ideas on how to do it if you were organized and motivated. Many artists are not! They want someone else to do it for them. This was a compromise.

He did offer many slides of the parts of the "marketing in a box" that were teasers. It did make me think about "do I want to buy this?" I decided I am pretty good most times at marketing, but I am not consistent enough. It just made me want to become more consistent and do it myself. I want to be as he said "market differentiation - stand out" .... be different. I didn't want my plans to be just like the ones that would purchase his plan. I'm sure it is a good one and will work for those artists that follow through and do it just as he has it laid out. And, you do get 4 phone calls, he called them "implementation calls" with Eric and his crew. Here is a shot of the screen that tells all you get in the box.

The list of what is in the box

The system components

Here are some of the points you can do yourself. Eric talked about how to get back to direct mail as it still produces. We don't need to just rely on the internet for email, social media and newsletters. Create something that is different, have a theme, stand out. Even do a "killer offer". Don't forget to have great "killer" Headlines... very important to grab their attention. The mistakes made are (1) not having a "call to action" (2) nothing to differentiate you, and (3) not having a deadline. The offer needs bullet points, a great name, a hot title, to pull them in. Draw them in by using the entertainment factor.

Have something special for your clients, offer a deal that is more social, have a reception or small dinner, a small private cocktail party, give them a small gift such as a print (the $5.00 type). The client needs to receive this offer by direct mail, using a nice oversized post card with good graphics, too. A great headline, bullet points, the offer, and a deadline to respond (the call to action). Show your artwork in small images somewhere. Here is one of my paintings I like to use when putting on a card. It always sparks interest and questions!

"Willeo Park Misty" Plein air pastel, 16"x20"
He did a quick run-through of images showing lists that talked about quarterly components, twice yearly, micro newsletters, refer a friend programs, phone calls, personal visits, deals with your gallery. Talk about your integrity. Having a system to remind them to buy! Have a lost customer reactivation plan.

He said the #1 rule ... the key to crushing it ... don't always make an offer, but when you do, they can't refuse. Identify what's in it for them, describe it clearly, add scarcity, add a bonus, and describe the call to action ... but not in a sleazy sounding way! He commented how do you get this going fast? Spend 2 days thinking, then 2 days creating your theme, create templates you can use, etc. This is designed for local strategy, but may be used nationally. Offer something and get people excited about it. Pick one thing! Make it entertaining and exciting. Stand out!
"My Ride to Work" Pastel 16"x12"

My take-away from this third session ....

Keep a marketing calendar, 12 month one, put dates on it for each thing you are going to do. Have someone you can use as an accountability partner. And then use it! Show your clients you care. Know them, and know what can work for you. Make it as easy as possible to keep going on your plan and don't make it overwhelming.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Marketing Boot Camp - Day Two

Eric and Stuart Johnson

Whew, another very early morning, alarm goes off in enough time to take a quick shower, put on clothes and makeup, make it to food court, and eat something, drink coffee... hurry, hurry! We did get a little better seat, actually the front row!

In our seats before 6:30 am and ready to pay attention to Eric Rhodes second day of Marketing Boot Camp. Today Eric spoke first about being in, or getting in, galleries.
View of cactus, homes, and mountain
from the back side of El Conquistador Resort

Eric had Stuart Johnson, of Settler's West Gallery, on the stage to give advice from the gallery owner’s perspective. We took copious notes, and photos of things he posted on the screen so we didn't have to try to write so fast! Very interesting conversation so that it might help those that were looking to be in a gallery, and how the gallery wanted to be approached and dealt with if you were taken into it.

View the opposite way of the mountains
Art being created of these
views behind the resort!
If someone is referring you to them, he takes into consideration where the information is coming from. When someone mentions you name, same thing, where the information is coming from! 

Important Career Advice

- Know what the market needs, and for advice about
         raising prices (and when).
- They can build a collector base
Saguaro and artists on the golf green!
- They may be observing you unknowingly.
- Establish a relationship before it is needed.
 - Get invited in
- Do your homework.
- Understand who your collector is.
- Are you a good fit for the gallery.
- Do you know any of the artists
      ... They might introduce you!

 What is at the top of his list of most important?

Mr. Johnson said the number one thing they look for is consistency! The body of work is important along with a certain amount of available inventory. But he cautioned about producing “too much material” and thinks it is a detriment to your career! Over 40/50 finished pieces is not good probably. It intrigues collectors as well as the gallery... Scarcity is sometimes the key.

As an artist grows, you start competing only with yourself. ... and this is how you get invited. Be visible! He advised artists to focus, but be broad enough -- fresh -- in your concepts. Staying in the same genre is mostly what is considered acceptable.

He gave advice on pricing ... and about increasing the prices only gradually. Sometimes the prices are too low and can turn off a collector. Lower price points are for people decorating their home.

Prickly pear ... what i wanted to paint.

So now you are new in the gallery
... what now?

- Be open for some criticism. A good critic.
- The gallery introduces the artist to the public, maybe other shows.
- Be ready early – work ahead!

Mr. Johnson said: The Kiss of Death! Sending a painting that has been in another show! Older dated paintings. Missing deadlines more than a day or two.

Palo Verde tree blooms!

Here are some random thoughts, or answers to questions asked at the end of his part:
1. Story of the painting... titles should be better. So what was going on when doing it!
2. Galleries should allow us the name and address of client purchasing a painting so we can send a thank you handwritten note.
3. Out of sight, out of mind
4. On plein air, need to do studio work as well.
5. Size? How important? The larger it gets, the more difficult it is to sell. There should be a variety of sizes in your repertoire.
6. In his gallery, there is a lowest price point of a few under $1,000, and he has a few at the highest price point, with many that are in the middle.

I hope you are enjoying the notes I took during the Boot Camp discussions. Do know there was probably much more that I missed and spoke to someone else at a different place in their career. I will be working on the notes from Day 3 over the next few days!