Rule #11

27 10 2011

Never stop marketing yourself

Marketing isn’t a part-time effort. If you have read any entrepreneurial books lately, this should come as no surprise. It’s probably the number one thing that stops people from opening up their own business. You have to market yourself—all the time.

Oh, did I hear you say that’s what you want an agent for?  I hear this comment very often. The problem is that if you don’t think you are not cut out for marketing, think again about being an entrepreneur of any kind. I mean, how will you get an agent if you don’t market yourself to them? How will you stay on top of your agent, once you have one, if you don’t understand how your agent does their job? How will you know the agent is doing the best job possible, if you don’t understand the industry and how marketing your art to manufacturers actually works? How will you sell the agent on your latest collection?

Agent or not, you need to educate yourself on the ways to market yourself to your primary and secondary target audiences; that’s marketing talk for manufacturers (#1 audience) and consumers (#2 audience).

Definitely put a plan together on how you’re going to market yourself. You need to allocate time regularly to marketing your fabulous art and product designs. Think about tradeshows; your website; manufacturers; retailers; art submissions; presentations; sales calls; social networking; publicity. These are all things you need to be thinking about, and integrating into your marketing plan.

As a guide, sales need to represent at least 60% of your time. This may be one of those deciding factors, which will help you choose whether you want an agent, or you want to do-it-yourself. If you’ve got marketing skill sets, and you can definitely divide your time between creating and marketing, then it’s much more lucrative to do it yourself. The number of artists who are choosing self-representation is really increasing. But it’s certainly not for everyoneWhether you have an agent or not…you STILL need to market yourself!

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Rule #10

24 10 2011

Invest in a dynamic Art Licensing web site.

You need an Art Licensing web site that is designed to clearly communicate what you do for potential manufacturing and licensing partners. Here me clearly—your fine art or crafter website won’t work for your licensing business.

It is critical for your business to have a web site that focuses on your target audience.  In Art Licensing, that audience is your prospective licensees, the manufacturers who will license your art. The consumers who purchase your art in stores are a secondary audience.  Of course, your fans and consumers are very important, but you can create a very cluttered web site trying to appeal to more than one target audience.

Creating your web site is as important as those large four-color brochures of the past. It is truly the most crucial business communication tool you have or will create. So make sure your web site is ready for business when you are.

The overall objective is to target manufacturers in the various industries that you want to reach. Think about that and how your website can reflect that audience. Talk to them in their language and make sure you are addressing their needs. Keep it simple, easy to navigate, very functional and up to date. If you want to generate business, I can’t stress all of these points enough.

Start by showing your art in collections, and enough collections that a manufacturer can really get a sense of who you are and what you do. Manufacturers can quickly review your art and determine if they like your style, and if your designs may be a match for their company.

But think about this…it may be what you say (OR DON’T SAY) on your site that will help you win new business, or lose it on the spot. Specifically, a manufacturer is going to want to know what you can do for them.  So, you need to include specifics about your experience level and capabilities. Never include your resume and artist statement—they’re too lengthy and totally inappropriate for this type of audience.





Rule #9

20 10 2011

Create art that sells products.

The way to create income in the art licensing business is to create art that sells products. Remember that manufacturers have a business to run. They have products they are producing, and not everyone wants it in one size, shape, design, or color. Oh, we are so lucky to have the beauty and diversity of art in our world!

For manufacturers, your art can be the key to reaching a new audience, capturing a trend, expressing a sentiment and much more. They depend on you; and you depend on them. So however you create art is fine. It’s great!

What manufacturers want from you, however, has nothing to do with the passion, skills and creative process that it took to design your latest art collection. They are busy analyzing past sales and the newest production processes, while trying to predict the future.

Try to get into the manufacturer’s head. Think about your prospective business partner, the licensee, and give them something to seriously consider. Make sure you offer them a variety of artwork that can be produced with their production process, as well as themes that work for their key sales periods, giving-occasions—such as Christmas and other holidays—and collections that enhance their products’ design. My Manufacturer’s Mindset Class (now available as audio file+full presentation) is a great resource for this, and I taught it with a stationery industry, manufacturing veteran.

Just remember that the number one objective for your art licensing business is to create art that sells products. That is absolutely the only thing that will create income, assuming that making money is part of your definition of a successful business. Now since we all know there are many layers to the feeling of success, creating art that sells also needs to fit with who you are and what you’re all about. And if isn’t in sync on that level, it probably won’t have much appeal to consumers and won’t sell. In that case, it certainly won’t be worth it in the long run. Making money and not being true to yourself is never ultimately successful.








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