So this thing called ‘marketing’.
It’s a bit of a dirty word for many creatives.
After all, you just want to create…so why should you have to sell?! Won’t your fabulous work just sell itself?
If you want to create for a living, the bad news is, marketing is critical. Whether it’s selling physical creative work, or just your ideas, you won’t be able to keep creating if you can’t sell.
And marketing and selling don’t need to be ‘dirty’ or annoying if you do the right thinking early on. It means you’ll be more likely to attract and retain ‘customers’ interested in what you’re selling. Which is really what good marketing is all about.
There are so many different ways and means of marketing – so many things in a marketer’s bag of tricks – and if you’re marketing a novel, versus a piece of fine art, versus teaching a creative skill, your ‘marketing tactics’ will be quite different.
But before you get to tactics, there are some strategic marketing considerations that will be common to any creative work you’re selling. So here are some questions to try and answer to help with marketing for creatives.
1. Who is your (target) market?
That is, who are you hoping will buy your work? What are they looking for? What ‘problem’ are you hoping to solve for them? What do they like? What is their capacity to spend? And are they a market you can actually target and reach?
2. Is your market big enough – or your creative offering unique enough?
This is really addressing whether there is enough people willing to buy what you’re hoping to sell. If there is only five potential customers for what you’re selling, there’s little chance of having an ongoing creative viable business.
Similarly, if what you’re selling is exactly like what others are selling – is there really the chance you’ll cut through? Can you make your offering different – remarkable – in some way.
3. How will you price it?
Cheapest isn’t the only way to go, but it’s what people tend to think matters. It doesn’t, unless what you’re selling is a commodity or exactly like someone else. You will need to be able to justify your pricing too though.
4. Is there a story behind what you’re selling?
And can you communicate it well? Can you summarise it in an ‘elevator pitch‘? Will it translate well to the sort of marketing tactics you think you’ll be using? Can this story entice people, or get them excited in some way? Is it engaging? Basically: Will anyone care?
5. How will you distribute it?
If it’s a physical product, will you be selling online? Through retailers? Via agents? Or if it’s a service, is it just you delivering it? Can you productise it in some way? Do you need to ‘be there’ to deliver the service?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you’ll find you have the basis of a solid marketing strategy – or at least know you’ll have to head back to drawing board to keep refining what you’re hoping to sell.