Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda!

Adobe Spark.jpg

The Lazy Days of summer are coming to an end.

Most of us have our heads wrapped around end of summer activities with the last vacation and getting kids back to school. We're so good at doing the things that are fun or that we absolutely can't avoid and leave the business of our art for another day, week, month or year. It seems like there's never enough time to do all the things that can help us make our art a business.

The holidays are coming up much faster than we can imagine and in a few months you'll be scrambling to get it all done, slapping a quick promotion together or worse, do nothing at all. Another year wasted with promises of doing better in 2018. 

It's hard to not be overwhelmed. If you don't have the time to do it all, I can help. You don't have to tackle all your projects, rather break them down into smaller tasks that will help promote your art. For a little investment, I can assist you with setting up the rest of the year to make sales and get in front of your audience while making it grow. 

 Last Days of Summer Sale

  • Update website - $149 ($50 savings, subject to prior review)

  • New website* - $299 ($100 savings)

  • Customized Newsletter & email campaign template created to market your art $149 ($50 savings)

  • One-on-one coaching 10 hours** - $399 ($100 savings) 

No more Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Summer is slipping away.

Time to take advantage and invest in your business today. Sale ends Friday, Sept. 1st. 


Not sure what you need? I offer a free 15 minute consultation. Email me at kelleyart@gmail.com.

* Squarespace or FASO platforms (client responsible for website and domain charges)
** Hours must be used by December 31, 2017. 


 

Where did my Muse go? Easely-ly Successful 15 Minute Challenge

Lacking inspiration is something that we artists all struggle with. The more you chase it, the more elusive it becomes. Truth is that inspiration comes when we least expect it. Which means that you have to work through it. Painting without an agenda works for me.

Several years ago, I hit a slump. After about a week of frustration, I decided that it was time to shake things up. Using Pinterest, I searched palettes and found one that piqued my interest. My work is impressionistic but this day I decided to throw caution to the wind and went abstract (note: only my second attempt at abstract). After about 10 minutes of putting paint on canvas, I stepped back and realized that I was onto something. The turquoise, blues and yellows remained me of the Caribbean and once I threw in the grays it became a Caribbean Storm. My muse was back with a bonus. After posting my painting on social media, a client contacted me and purchased it with a commission for 3 more to hang as a group which was then published in an interior design magazine. Woohoo. From frustration to success in a morning.

The main take away for me was to do something. Not wallow in the no inspiration zone. I love color and so this exercise taught me where my "go to" place is when I get stuck. Taking a palette and applying it in a different manner than I usually paint. For example, taking a self-described landscape palette and painting a still life or a palette of colors that I would never use and painting the figure. No one needs to see the outcome. This is for you. If you like it share it. If not, then take the pieces that work, try again and see what happens. It's in the doing that your muse will appear.

Palette from Pinterest

Palette from Pinterest

Caribbean Storm, 12x12, oil on linen

Caribbean Storm, 12x12, oil on linen

15 Minute Challenge, Finding your Muse

 

1. Find a palette that intrigues or challenges you (searching Pinterest  is my go to site for palettes)
2. Pick a subject. I choose subjects that I would never paint in my chosen palette. Challenge yourself.  If painting from a photo, I find converting the photo to gray scale is helpful. 
3. Head to the easel and have fun

For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.

15 Minute Challenge..Galleries

Being in the right gallery is wonderful. However, finding the right gallery can take time and effort and once you're in, the work is just getting started. Too many artists believe that once they are accepted into a gallery, they no longer have to do anything. I can't count the amount of times that I hear artists say "that's the gallery job, after all they take 50%". Being in a gallery is a collaborative venture. You can't just drop off your art occasionally and sit back and wait for the checks. Good gallery relationships take work. Do you communicate with your gallery? Do you reach out to them and ask how sales are, what seems to be selling (i.e. small or larger pieces), do they want to rotate work out? They are on the front lines and I find that if you ask, you often receive valuable information. 

Don't you think that a gallery might promote your work more if you offered them something to tell their customers, i.e. this artist just won an award or was featured in a magazine. Do you promote your artwork in a gallery or do you expect them to do that? Consider sending out an eblast to your customers inviting them to see the new works that you are delivering. If you run an ad in a magazine, consider listing your galleries or writing a press release about your upcoming gallery show. Maybe offer to do a demonstration for their customers one evening...what is better than a captive audience? Even just thanking your gallery on social media for a sale is worth 3 minutes of your time. Consider inviting your followers to see other works available (and always tag the gallery). Everyone likes to feel appreciated. 

While this may seem to be small and insignificant things, they can show your galleries that you are in this relationship as a partner. Wouldn't you work harder for someone who is willing to take the extra steps to be successful? I would. If you aren't currently in a gallery, take this into consideration as you seek gallery representation. 


15 Minute Challenge

1. Call each of your galleries and have a 5 minute conversation. Ask about how your work is being received? Do they have feedback that can help you better determine future work for them. Make sure to add having a conversation with your gallery(ies) a couple times a year. 

2. Do something this week to promote a gallery and your work on social media or to your subscribers. 


For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.

 


Check our September Art Muse Contest.  Artist Mark Lague is our judge this month. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

 

Easel-ly Successful 15 Minute Challenge...Tools

If you saw my To Do List, you would just laugh. I currently have 114 items on 3 To Do Lists with a few being daily, weekly or monthly repeat tasks. How do I stay on top of it all? My tools! I thought I would share my three favorite tools that help keep me sane. 

1. Evernote - This is a note taking, organizing app that keeps me on top of things. It's on my laptop, my iPad and my phone. So it's always with me. I have notebooks for projects, for my Artist BFF clients, for Art Muse Contest, In the Artist Studio and potential marketing ideas, just to mention a few. Each notebook contains numerous notes including To Do Lists that I check and update many times a day. It's the first thing I check in the morning and where I see what lies in the day ahead along with the status of projects/clients. I also use it for making notes for future blog posts, newsletter or marketing ideas. It's the one place where everything in my professional life is listed. It took me a little while to find my groove but I now can't live without it. There are lots options to choose from and I tried many. The key is find one and make it work. Evernote has a free version that will work for most artists. If you don't like Evernote, there are plenty of other apps that can help you stay on task. Trello (a more visual app with boards), Nozbe (for to-do, tasking, projects, goals). These are just 2 options. Is there a perfect app? Nope. You just have to try a few out and then actually use it. Most any app will get you results if you use it consistently. 

2. Dropbox - Another great app to store and share photos, documents, etc. I use it to keep all my painting images, photo painting references, important documents. You can share links to your photos with anyone. A great way to send images to galleries and not have to email large resolution images which can be a pain. You can also use it as an inventory system for your artwork (read more about this here). As with Evernote, it's on my laptop, iPad and phone, so my images are always with me. 

3. Meet Edgar - This wonderful (but not free) app is my lifesaver. Edgar handles all my social media scheduling and frees me up to work on the other 114 tasks on my To Do List. Edgar allows me to build a library of content that can be pulled from and posted without me thinking about it. It will recycle and publish older posts that I choose and ensures that I consistently have content being published daily without worry. While this might not be the solution for you (it costs $49/mo.), it's worth the cost because I juggle 3 businesses. However, there are free apps that can help you with your social media scheduling. Here's a list of 10 of the Best Social Media Apps. There should be one that will fit your needs.


15 Minute Challenge

Take time today to think about the things that you aren't accomplishing that are necessary to your success. What do you need to keep you on track and moving forward with your art career? There are so many tools available today that even just choosing one can make a huge difference in meeting those goals versus just having a running list of incomplete tasks that prevent you from succeeding. 

 


For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.

 


Check our monthly Art Muse Contest.  Artist, Terry Miura is our judge for August. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

15 Minute Challenge...Holiday Sales

While it's hard to even think about the holidays while the temperatures are still soaring, in reality, now is the time. There are many things that you can to do to get ready. Do you offer calendars, notecards, small works or commissions? Taking the time now to plan, can ensure a successful holiday season of sales. In particular, commissions as holiday gifts. They take time to produce and clients usually need extra time to make decisions on what they would like. Right now is ideal to market to your audience, not in November. Create an eblast to send out in September announcing that you are now accepting commissions for the holidays. Offer a few different sizes and prices while sharing ideas of some fun paintings to ensure that personalized gift. You also need to do a little bit of housekeeping on your website to help promote the holiday season. Today's Challenge will help set up you for a successful and profitable season. 


15 Minute Challenge 

1. Decide what you are selling for the holiday season. It could be anything from special sale prices on existing work to commissions, small paintings just for the holidays as well as calendars, notecards, etc. 

2. Decide how you are going to sell your art. Does your website have the ability to accept purchases such as a store or Buy Now buttons. If not, take the time to set that up. You want to offer a way for someone to purchase immediately. 

3. Create a special page on your website where you can place holiday pieces in one place. Make it easy for your audience to find and purchase. Remember, consumers don't have a lot of patience anymore and if you don't make it easy, you might lose sales.

4. Create an email marketing piece to send out announcing your Holiday specials with links to where they make a purchase. If you are promoting commissions, then send it out in September and again October. Also continue to promote on social media throughout the holiday season. 

Planning is the key to success, so grab your calendar and get busy. 


 

For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit mywebsite.


Check our monthly Art Muse Contest.  Artist, Terry Miura is our judge for August. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

 

 

15 Minute Challenge...Graphics

We live in a visual world as well as working in one, yet, I see some of the most boring posts. People just snap a photo and post. If you are trying to promote an event, workshop or even share your own work, take a little time and make it POP.  I try to create a new image (like the hats) every few weeks for my Artist BFF website to give a visual to what I offer. There are so many programs that can help you add interest to your posts. I have used Canva and PicMonkey (just to mention a few) to add text, filters and create collages. You can create Facebook posts, covers, Instagram posts with your own photos or there are many free images that you can choose from. Most of the options are free or very inexpensive (like a $1). They are easy and quick to create and make everything look more professional. 


15 Minute Challenge

 

1. Create a new Facebook cover. Include your art and some text using Canva. It's like getting an instant facelift to your Facebook page. It's fun but a warning...it can be addictive.

2. Play around in Canva and see what else you can create for your blog, Instagram or Facebook posts. 

 

 

 

 

 


For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.


Check our monthly Art Muse Contest. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

15 Minute Challenge...Social Media

Do you have a strategy for your Social Media? Is it just posting to Facebook and Instagram, because everyone else is doing it? If that's your strategy, that isn't probably the best use of your time. Each of us have different priorities. So today's challenge is for you to look at where at your social media presence and determine if it is working for you or just a drain on your time.


15 Minute Challenge

  1. List your social media sites
     
  2. What your goal for posting on each of these sites, i.e. build my brand, market my work, fill workshops/classes or just share your work.
     
  3. Look at your audience. Do you have the right audience that will matches your goals? 

I would like to thank everyone who is following my 15 Challenges and telling me how much you like the information being shared. These 15 Minute Challenges are going to be for a limited time. For more information about these topics, watch for my Easel-ly Successful Guide that will be coming out this fall. These challenges are just the tip of the iceberg of information. 


For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.


Check our monthly Art Muse Contest. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

15 Minute Challenge...Publicity

I would like to thank everyone who is following my 15 Challenges and telling me how much you like the information being shared. These 15 Minute Challenges are going to be for a limited time. For more information about these topics, watch for my Easel-ly Successful Guide that will be coming out this fall. These challenges are just the tip of the iceberg of information. 

Sharing your news with your community and gaining publicity takes more than just posting on Social Media. Ever picked up a local publication to see an announcement of an artist event or an article highlighting an artist and his/her work? How did that happen? I'd hazard a guess that a lot of those started with the publication receiving a press release. 

There are so many opportunities to get your work in front of the public. It doesn't have to be about a show or a 1st place prize. Here are a few ideas that you could generate a press release. Example: Doing a demo at local art organization or event, painting a series about a historic or conservation area (highlighting the how that impacts the area) or inviting the public to come watch your monthly, local plein air group. You have a lot to share but takes some thought, so get busy.

 Providing topics for writers is a gift to them. So wrap it up and sent it out.

15 Minute Challenge

  1. Click here for a basic press release template and customize it. I find it much easier to write one when all I have to do it simply add the specifics.
     
  2. Make a list of local and national publications and find out if there is a specific person who should receive them
     
  3. Make a list of potential events or ideas 

 

For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.

 


Check our monthly Art Muse Contest. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

15 Minute Challenge and More Email Marketing

Create your own Art Tribe

Building your own personal art tribe is work but in the end it's your tribe and yours exclusively. This is an ongoing process that can and will need to be repeated in various ways. This week I want to challenge you to think of ways to get in front of an audience that is suited for you. Building a mailing list is about having the right audience., it's not about having a list of 1000 but rather having a list that it targeted. Yes, you can grab some people from social media but are they really the ones who will buy your work? Possibly but it shouldn't be your main or only way to build your list. It's probably the easiest way but in the end, will they be the right ones? A list of more than 1000 would be great but if they are only slightly engaged, they really aren't worth their emails. You need to do more than just put your subscribe button on a website or Facebook. Think about actually getting in front of an audience and engaging with them. They will be ones who will most likely support you over the years. Sitting on the couch and waiting for the subscribe button to be pushed won't get you very far.

So where to begin? Do you have an idea of who should be in your audience? Let's say, for example, that you paint florals, who do you think might be interested in your work? How about a garden club? There are certainly lots of those around looking for a guest speaker and I bet you offered to do a demo that you would be welcomed. Think of all those garden lovers watching you paint flowers! Wouldn't want them on your mailing list, would you? Plus the added bonus of them being engaged in the process and meeting you in person. I'd say that is a win/win situation. Just remember to gather the emails. 

15 Minute Challenge

1. Start a list of who you think should be in your art tribe (this will be an ongoing and evolving list as you grow and change as an artist). 

2. Once you have you potential audience, list as many avenues that you can think of to engage those groups. Don't rush through this...it's where you build YOUR ART TRIBE

I see too many artists who think that their tribe will just show up. It won't. The time you put into this will be worth it. No one else can do it. Remember it's your career and no one cares that you succeed as much as you do. 

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For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.

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Check our monthly Art Muse Contest. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

Less is More and 15 Minute Challenge, Part 2

kelleyart@gmail.com

Happy 4th of July. With the upcoming weekend, I'm going to keep this post short. Last week I asked you a series of questions about your website. I'm going to choose 5 questions from the challenge and let's make your website shine.

 

 

Here's the 15 Minute Challenge:

  1. Home Page - Place a new image on your home page. If you have nothing new, then just switch out a painting currently on your site. A large percentage of returning visitors won't remember that it's not new and if they're a new visitor then it's all new to them. However, if they visit your site often enough, they will get tired to seeing the same old thing on the landing page and might assume that you have no new works and quickly leave. So change it up at least every month or more. Also rearrange the order of paintings from time to time. Let some from the bottom move to the top. 
     
  2. Navigation Bar - if you navigation bar is more than one line, time to consolidate or eliminate some categories. Consider using drop down tabs instead of every category being it's own tab. Example: a main tab like Paintings or Art Work with individual drop down categories like Landscape, Still, and Available. Even more than 4 or 5 drop down categories seems cluttered. Keep it simple and not cluttered. 
     
  3. Email - if you do not have your email listed on your website and include a contact page. Place your email on your home page at the bottom as well as the contact page. Click to see the example on my home page and contact page. Don't make your visitors search for a way to contact you. 
     
  4. Subscribe - does your website include a way for you to capture visitor emails? If you use FASO (Fineartstudioonline) they have a built in system, not my favorite but something is better than nothing. If you are using a different platform, do you use an email marketing service such as MailChimp? If not, sign up today. MailChimp is free up to 2000 emails and has excellent directions for adding this to your site. I will be doing a 15 Minute Challenge in July about email marketing services.
     
  5. Calendar - add a reminder to your calendar for at least once a month to go to your website and make sure it's refreshed with at least a new image on the home page and that you delete any outdated information (i.e.past event). If you haven't touched your website in 9 months or more, consider changing to a more updated template. Like a fresh coat of paint for a room. Who doesn't love that?  No one wants to come back to a website that looks neglected. 

 

Special 4th of July offer. If you are the first person to share this post on your Facebook timeline, you will receive a free 15 minute website evaluation. Just go to my Facebook page and hit the share button at the bottom of the post. 

Next week, I will share my favorite website platforms and some pros and cons. Enjoy the fireworks. 


Check our monthly Art Muse Contest. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

Up your Instagram Game with a 15 Minute Challenge

Instagram is a powerful tool for artists but only if you manage it properly. Here are some tips to kick your Instagram into shape. 

  •  Be Social: Don't set your Instagram account to private. This a social network, so be SOCIAL. How can you share your art if someone wants to follow you but has to ask permission? Instant Gratification. If they have to wait for your permission, you've probably lost an opportunity. 
     

  •  Help People Find You: Make sure your website is added to your profile. Add your email at the end of your bio which can easily been seen. Don't make a potential collector have to search for a way to see your work or contact you.
     

  •  It's not all about the picture: Don't overlook the captions. The image may be the star, hashtags offer context but the caption helps to tell the story. 
     

  •  Hashtag, baby: Be selective with your hashtags. Google common hashtags for artists and then add a few personal ones like a specific location #lagunaart, #saintlouisartclasses, #eiffeltowerart or #arkansaslandscapepaintings. You get the idea. 
     

  • Make your bio memorable: It shouldn't be long. My bio is Kelley is a southern contemporary painter living in California with less humidity. Make it clear that you are a painter/scupltor/photograhper, etc. 
     

  • Art Dominate: People generally see the first 3 to 6 posts, so always have artwork included in those first posts. Remember you are trying to showcase your art, not what you had for dinner. 
     

  •  Build your following: Don't just follow fellow artists. If you are looking for potential buyers, you need to think outside the box. Ask yourself "who are collectors"? Most likely people who like to travel, drink wine, go to the theater, love interior design, have second homes, etc. Also Interior Designers or Art Licensing companies. 
     

  •  Timing is Everything: Don't just post whenever. Think about your audience's time zone and what time they most often check their Instagram (first thing in the morning, before going to bed, lunch break, etc.)  Most posts have a "shelf life" of 4 hours before getting buried in followers' feeds.
     

  • Facebook it: Make sure to connect your Instagram account to post to Facebook. The fewer number of times you have to go to Facebook to post it great because we all know once you're on Facebook, you just lost 20 minutes that you can't get back. :)

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15 Minute Challenge #1

  • Make sure your Instagram account is set to public...not private
  • Add your website and email address to your profile
  • Follow and engage with 5 people that are not artists or friends (see clues above). Start to expand your audience.

Additional Challenge - Try to find 5 - 10 new followers every week. Choose one morning a week over a cup of coffee and watch your Instagram followers expand. Think of it as playtime. 

Make sure to sign up for my weekly
tips to help you achieve success. 

Easel-ly Successful

Watch for my new blog, Easel-ly Successful, Marketing Tips and Practical Advice for the Busy Artist.

What? Another blog with tips that no one uses? Lots of great advice, but who has time to follow through? Precisely why this blog will be different. I work with artists every week struggling to create and market their work. I find that it's must easier to break things down into smaller bits. Each week I will post one 15 Minute Challenge for you as well offer practical advice, marketing tips and updates on the latest trends in social media. 

So, are you going to join me and take the 15 Minute weekly challenge? These 15 minute challenges can help cross off lots of items on your To Do list. Remember at the end of day, it's your business and no one will work harder for your success than you!