One of the things I've noticed is a real tendency for artists to get obsessed with the latest shiny red ball.
In other words, some new and exciting tactic or strategy takes hold and it's all anyone can talk about.
This fact is nothing new - it's human nature to latch on to "what's new", but often it's the tried-and-tested methods that win out (which is why they're still being used after years and years).
Case in point - everyone is going crazy for Facebook Ads right now.
But there's something of a disconnect between the people who are killing it, and those who aren't.
Example - it usually goes something like this:
- Artist hears Facebook Ads are doing amazing things
- Artist puts $100 into trying it out
- Artist makes $2.70 in sales
- Artist decides Facebook Ads doesn't work
Or, like this:
- Artist hears email newsletter marketing is doing amazing things
- Artist starts building an email list
- Artist does nothing with said email list for 6 months, then sends one short "buy my art" email
- Artist makes $2.70 in sales
- Artist decides email marketing doesn't work
Or, like this:
- Artist hears free lead magnet gets you more visibility
- Artist sets up one free lead magnet (that's it, nothing else)
- Nothing happens
- Artist decides free lead magnet doesn't work
I could go on. Joint promotions, social media, Google Ads advertising, merchandising, tweet-teams (ugh), paid email blasts...
Artist tries each one individually, "dabbles" a little, and sees little to no results.
This is a big problem.
But there is that disconnect I mentioned... in reality, there is no "one strategy". You can't build a sustainable income just from advertising (it just takes one ad platform to change the rules, or costs to skyrocket, and you're sunk).
Or having a free lead magnet or two. Or building an email list and sending out a launch email from time to time. Or getting the occasional joint venture deal, etc.
These things don't work in isolation.
Artists and entrepreneurs who are truly succeeding don't just rely on one thing. They're running ads, growing an email list, developing email marketing plans, networking with people who can get them on the front page, producing top-notch content, publishing consistently and at a high quality, getting reviews, and a ton of other things. There is no single "magic bullet" (sorry).
And those who are seemingly killing it with "one thing" are actually doing a dozen different things, and doing them at a world-class level.
Yes, there are a lot of "tactics"...
But there are just a couple of core principles that drive success.
In essence, you are NOT in the business of selling art. Not really. Sure, on the surface, your artworks are your products. Your assets.
But your main currency is ATTENTION and DESIRE.
You are in the business of getting attention and cultivating desire.
(The same is true of any business, by the way).
Let's explore that a little. Take our advertising example:
What are you paying for? In most cases, either clicks or impressions. You're paying someone for the CHANCE to get someone's attention.
Or free lead magnet. In this case, you're giving up potential sales for the opportunity to get downloaded - and SEEN - more frequently. Again, getting attention.
Same with email. You send an email to get someone's attention.
But what about the second part? Attention is worthless if you're not doing anything with it. Attention is not going to get you anywhere if you can't generate DESIRE.
Desire for your products - your art.
To you, your art launch or promotion is the most important thing you're doing that month. To everyone else, it's 30 seconds of their day.
There are so many artists vying for attention, but so few taking the extra steps to build a relationship that leads to an actual desire to buy.
Meaning, you can buy all the ads you want. If your offer doesn't cultivate desire, you won't get anywhere.
Same with email marketing. Any other tactic you want to mention.
The thing is - all these "individual tactics" are ineffective on their own. They're designed to get attention, but pay little or no regard to the second part. Getting people to actually buy something - then scale up (profitably).
So, what to do?
Growing a sustainable business - any business - means developing repeatable strategies that generate attention and desire.
In specific terms, that means:
- Building a reliable source of web traffic (of the RIGHT people)
- Converting that traffic into buyers at a profit (getting them onto an email list with a proper sales sequence, or sending direct to a high-converting sales page)
- Scaling up sustainably and profitably
A lot of people focus on (1) and totally ignore the other stuff.
- Okay, you're growing an email list - what are you doing with it?
- You're running ads to a sales page - an $8 return on a $4 spend is awesome, but how are you going to scale that up profitably to $100 a day? Or $500 a day?
- You're running ads to an opt-in page to get subscribers - and you've grown your list to 500 people. Great! How much did each lead cost you versus how much revenue they brought in?
- You're launching a new art product or online course next month - where are you going to get reviews and sales from?
- Or maybe you have 20,000 people on your email list - brilliant! What are you doing with them between launches? How do you get them from "mildly curious enough to subscribe" to "desperate for the next art product pitch"?
There are lots of moving pieces to this. And it's so easy to get lost in overwhelm - especially when everything you've tried so far (in isolation) has had disappointing results.
But what if you focus on those 2 core principles - attention and desire - and build a strategy around them? What if you adapt the strategies you've tried already into something cohesive - that works together to lead subscribers from attention, to desire, to ACTION?
That's where I'm heading in the next couple of blog posts. And I hope you're up for the ride.
Let us know in the comments below how you intend to cultivate attention and desire for your next art product launch.