After my post on the above topic gained some measure of engagement on Twitter, Mal was kind enough to ask that I flesh it out into a blog post (and maybe come back on other occasions as a guest blogger). Delighted to have the chance to expand on each of the points, as Twitter character count doesn’t lend itself to lengthy explanations. Original tweets below in italics, with my additional thoughts below.
*Verbose Mode On*
Artists! Posts about how long you have been without a sale hurt your brand! Don’t do it to yourself.
Nothing succeeds like success, so collectors like to buy something popular rather than something no-one else wants. Few buy out of sympathy.
3 point first sale plan below
The post was sparked by seeing one more whining feed about “it’s been a month since I had a sale, someone please help me out…”. These make me cringe for a variety of reasons, but I thought it worth letting artists know that such appeals are not generally effective. Collectors may enjoy supporting upcoming artists, but they might baulk at investing in self-confessed underachievers! Why would you draw people’s attention to this?
I’m one of those few that has bought purely out of sympathy at times, but trying to wean myself off it (for the good of everyone involved in the long run).
1 – Make sure you’re continuing to develop, so that your work eventually makes jaws drop and you can’t be ignored any longer.
This is the most important point. The Better Mousetrap school of marketing, whereby making your product the best available will have the world beating a path to your door. I’ve been guilty of rushing things to market which weren’t ready. All now thankfully burned after my original wallet was hacked. It’s exciting to share your latest production with the world, and even better if there’s a chance you might get paid for it, but artists should heed the sobering words of @thousandbtc (now lost in the Twitterverse) that the majority are just not producing to a professional standard yet!
If you are stagnated in your development or putting out tired copies of what everyone else is doing, then that might be the reason for your month or more without sales. I’m committed to positive vibes in my public feed, but when someone hits me up in DMs touting low-effort silhouettes produced on a mobile phone and listed for 1 ETH on the Poly chain, I’m likely to be a bit more direct.
2 – On the marketing side, show what you’re up to without shilling, or asking for sympathy, on your own feed and in the big art threads.
There’s a fine line between letting people know what you’re up to and shilling. Not sure I don’t sometimes stray over the boundary myself, but I do try
a) not to keep showing the same art pieces. I have plenty of wip to choose from if I don’t have new listings,
b) to show the piece but not necessarily show the price or link – if people like it enough they can follow the breadcrumbs and get a sense of achievement!
c) not to chase people up via DMs. It’s likely that they don’t want to buy or don’t have the funds but are too polite to say so. Don’t put them in that awkward position.
3 – Engage with other people, highlight their talents at least as much as you do your own. People notice altruism and you’ll build a network of supporters that way. And when funds permit, show your support in the most concrete fashion by purchasing from your fellow artists!
Constant self-promotion is counterproductive. Show you’re an engaged member of the ecosystem by giving generous praise where it’s due, making the occasional post that doesn’t have a link or picture attached and thanking those who have supported you. And if artists have bought your work, don’t forget that they might be struggling to sell something too – let’s have a little mutual tangible support when you are able to do so.
Fleshing out complete, but along the way I’ve realised that there’s scope for further blog posts on effective use of Twitter (including DMs) and pricing/platform choices for artists – so maybe I’ll be back!
In the meantime, feel free to follow me and give me a shout in DMs at https://twitter.com/saucebook