If you read my writing blog, you know I’m not always a fan of online classes. Well, scratch that. I’m a little skeptical about “join this,” “sign up for that” programs. That’s because I’ve paid for more than my share of broken promises courses.

And I’m not eating my words with this post either.

Cause I do believe in investing in yourself.

I know that when you find the right program, one that doesn’t promise a join this, get rich scheme, and you do the hard work, it actually works.

So this one is for you.

It’s for the courageous creatives or adventurous entrepreneurs who have finally decided to take that risky leap into the field of your dreams. Big leaps, however, require soft landings. This post written by copywriting genius and social media maven Holly Jackson is to introduce you to her upcoming marketing courses.

Holly Jackson isn’t a name I picked out of a hat. I’ve been following this girl and her website Cottage Copy for awhile. I’m not embarrassed to say that I’ve been stalking reading her blogs for about a year now. She’s even guest posted on my writing blog. It’s because her talent is evident, her non-spammy message is clear and I adore her and her creative copywriting that I finally decided to become an affiliate for her program.

Basically, it means that if you sign-up for her course clicking here , I will receive a small portion of the cost of the course.

In the three or so years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve never done this before and I wouldn’t unless I was passionate about the product. So I hope you will forgive me if I stop gabbing so that you can enjoy what Jackson’s written below. It’ll give you great tips on marketing and a preview into her upcoming marketing class for artists.

 

Why One Marketing Platform Isn’t Enough: A Guide for Artists

by: Holly Jackson

I’ve got a confession. The number one thing I see artists struggle with when trying to sell their stuff is picking the right platform for them. You can have the most fabulous products or the most stylish copywriting or the best marketing plan, but they will all fail if you’re selling using the wrong platform.

We can blame part of this confusion on the Internet. Artist portfolio sites and marketplaces are a dime a dozen now, and figuring out what makes each of them unique can be nearly impossible. Many of them are also hidden behind a pay wall, and many artists don’t have enough capital to try all the options when they’re starting out. By the time you’re established on one, you can’t switch without asking your audience to make the jump with you.

But first, let’s start with the golden rule of marketing.

Your ultimate goal should be to build an audience at your own domain and website.

Translated, this really means you need to build two platforms at the same time. Now, before you flee in terror, this isn’t as bad as it sounds.

 

Step One: Grab your domain name and make a website.

If you’ve done this already, you get a cookie. If not, it’s much easier than it sounds. WordPress is a great platform, and you don’t even have to know anything about tech to make it work. They’ve even got a bunch of free templates if you don’t want to get a custom theme designed. If you want to get a little fancier, there are some great options at places like this.

Congratulations, you’ve got a website.

 

Step Two: Figure out your breadcrumb path.

Ideally you should have a path built in for your customers to get from point A to point B. Lots of people start out by selling lower end things on a third party site, and then help their customers “graduate” to custom ordering and higher end pieces through their own website. One great way to do this can be to connect your store customers to a blog on your own site where you showcase your daily work life, or even your high end commissioned pieces.

 

Step Three: Pick a Third Party Platform.

The biggest platform is Etsy. They’ve got huge amounts of built in traffic, as well as lots of great built in marketing features. The most common complaint I’ve heard about Etsy is that they change the rules fairly often, and demand that you stick to it. For example, they recently changed the way all of the listings are searched, and I know several shop owners who had to redo their stores entirely because of the decision.

The people who run Etsy clearly love artists, but they’re also running a major corporation.

If you want a less corporate marketplace, Artfire has a similar system but is controlled by artists. Society6 is another option that lots of people have been exploring lately.

If you’re looking to get into the service side of things, Hire An Illustrator is a great portfolio site. They have lots of meaningful built in marketing opportunities, and will even email postcards that you send them to art directors all over the world.

Whichever option you pick, the best thing you can do is to do your research thoroughly. Find out what other people in your line of work use, and ask them what they love and hate about it.

 

Step Four: Figure Out Your Missing Link.

The key to making the dual platform work is to spread your content out and create pathways that run through both sites. For instance, you could run sales on your blog that applied to both your website and your third party store. You can leave easter egg links in your store that showcase various aspects of your personality to help your clients get to know you better. You can use social media tools to connect the two, or landing pages to let different audiences view different aspects of your business.

In my experience, you probably won’t hit marketing nirvana right away. Everyone has a different audience, and without some trial and error or hiring an expert, you probably won’t get to know them right away.

What you will have, when all the dust settles, is a system that you can build on no matter how your business gets. That way, when the big wholesale opportunity or gallery show comes along, you’ll be able to prove how solid your platform is.

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