The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Why social media? August 24, 2009

Filed under: Business relationships,E-book,Touchpoints — Rebecca Coleman @ 11:42 am
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(the following is an excerpt from my e-book: Guide to Getting Started with Social Media for Artists and Arts Organizations)

Marketing is creating relationships built on trust.

The days of heavy‐handed, high‐pressure sales tactics are gone. The advent of Television, mass print,
and the internet made it easy for advertisers to get their products under our noses. But after many years
of being bombarded with literally thousands of ads per day, we have developed the ability to tune it out.

I see us returning to the day of the door‐to‐door salesman. In the ‘50’s, housewives often bought wares
from a familiar salesman that came around at regular intervals. There was a trust between the buyer
and the seller that was built on personality, and getting to know each other (for the seller, getting to
truly know his housewives’ needs).

While I’m not advocating you start trying to sell your artwork door‐to‐door, I am encouraging you to
jump  into  social  media  because  it  is  a  very  powerful  form  of  relationship  marketing.  Relationship
marketing works because if you get someone on your side, they will bring others to you. Think about
products that you use in your own life. If you really love something, and are finding that it makes your
life easier, won’t you tell others about it? You become, in essence, an ambassador for that product. And
if you tell a friend and convert them, and then they tell someone… well, you get the idea. Social media
makes this process painless, easy, and, immediate.

Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that word‐of‐mouth is always your number one form of
advertising. And the joy of social networking is that you have the ability to reach new, and perhaps
untapped, markets, all from the comfort of your own computer.

I recently came across this great YouTube video, created by the fine folks over at 22 Squared, which illustrates this point perfectly.

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Getting them in the gut, or yet ANOTHER post about Rent February 25, 2009

I took a small business class at BCIT in September of 2007. It was great, because it allowed me the time and space to finally write that business plan I’d been putting off for the last six years or so before. Part of the course included a chunk on marketing, and any basic marketing course will teach you about the basic marketing principles of features and benefits.

Features are the specific things that the product or service that you are selling possesses. For example, if you are selling a painting, you can say that its done in watercolours or oils, how large it is, its primary colour scheme.

Benefits are how the product or service can help you. That same painting, for example, might look perfect hanging above your couch, or perhaps appreciate in value, and make you a bunch of money.

Truthfully, we don’t often buy stuff because of its features. Socks, maybe. Or a juicer. Most people buy based on emotions, and as artists, I think we have an edge. When you’re happy, what kind of music do you listen to? When you’re sad, or depressed? How do you feel when you stand in front of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers? When you watch the final scene of The Princess Bride?

The advertising agencies of the world spend much of their time trying to elicit an emotional relation to their products, because they know that people will buy something that makes them feel a certain way.

Despite the fact that Rent is now closed, it remains, still, one of my favorite musicals. Yes, I’d go so far as to callMe, as a Renthead myself a Renthead, and be proud of that label. Why? Rent got me in the gut. Big time. I remember so clearly hearing those songs for the first time, watching the 1996 Tony Awards, and being totally blown away. I absolutely remember not being able to see most of the second act when I saw it at the Nederlander in New York, because I was crying so hard. I remember how nervous I was  singing Amazing Grace when I auditioned for the local production. I am a rabid fan, because I connected with the show’s message, lyrics and philosophy on a gut level.

What happens when you get people at a gut level is, they become passionate about your cause, passionate about your work. So the more passionate you are, and the more you are able to communicate that in a way that solicits emotions, the better chance you will have that someone will buy your CD, come to your play or film, or buy your painting, sculpture or photograph.

For a more in-depth exploration of this topic, check out this story in Marketing Magazine, written by Edward and Sheree, from a Bowen Island company called Storytellings.

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How many posters should we print? February 9, 2009

I was asked this question in a phone call from one of my clients last week.

“500?” she asked. I nearly choked on my coffee.

There’s a marketing revolution happening, folks. And the news is mostly good, and a little bit bad. Truth is, the tried-and-true, traditional methods of marketing our theatre productions, like posters and postcards, and ads in newspapers, aren’t working anymore. Part of the reason for this is that, we are so constantly inundated with advertising, that is is almost impossible to break through. Granted, an eye-grabbing graphic or title might help, but at the end of the day, what is going to sell tickets more than anything else is relationship selling.

The good news about that is that it is much, much cheaper than traditional forms of advertising. The bad news is, you will have to make a deep investment of time, and that can sometimes be a big challenge for already-overworked non-profit theatre companies. But the payoff can be really, really big.

In this day and age of spam, impersonal form-emails and auto responders, a personal touch is almost rare, and therefore stands out more. It’s like we’re going back to the days of the door-to-door salesman. A thirty-second “elevator pitch” paired with the backup of printed material (like a postcard, business card or flyer) could be the shortest distance between you and a ticket sale.

Online social networking via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs is another way to create relationships and reach your audience.

So… how many posters should you print? If you are a small company, and doing a show that is less than a three week run, in a theatre that seats under 200, only print between 100-200 posters. They are not your greatest form of advertising, another touchpiont, yes, but at the risk of getting torn down, or just not noticed. The return on your investment is not going to be great.

An investment of time and passion, on the other hand, could pay off big time.

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