I propose you to discover marketing basics over one letter every 2 weeks as I publish the first 4 episodes from my newsletter Not Art Fundamentals here.
Fear not young padawans, nothing crazy, it will be an introduction for artists. I'll make it as easy to understand as I can ;). If it’s not, feel free to reply telling me what wasn’t clear.
Here's the plan:
Hope it helps!
For the past few weeks, we discussed the importance of knowing our audience. How it drives our positioning and help us get clarity over the next step in our freelance journey.
All this is good, I said it was simple: just ask to talk with people, interact with them!
Some of us are dealing with mental illnesses, strong social anxieties, and more. I hope to adress this issue this week.
I can tell you how absurdly important knowing our audience is. If fear is in the way, it will be a challenge.
I could tell you “Just do it” but that would be bullshit. I’m struggling to send you this letter. I’ve been delaying my cold emailing to recruiters and customers for 2 weeks now. Even after 20 interviews! I should know how it goes by now!
But fear is still there. So I’ll tell you: it’s ok to feel it. We’re not perfect, we’re human. And those accepting to answer your questions, one thing they will teach you along is: they’re human too. And it might not be easy for them either.
Sure, we can always scrap the information from social medias, comments and forum answers like Quora. But nothing comes close to the raw knowledge you get from interviews. And not only the knowledge but also the connection you create along the way. It takes time, it’s a skill to work on, but it’s one worth practicing in a freelance market.
Plus, the idea of having two awkward people talking makes me laugh. It makes things easier. =)
The goal is the exact same as searching for references before beginning a drawing. You want to draw something believable, not something based on our flawed imagination. Here, it is similar. We want to get enough evidence to support our marketing strategy anchored in reality. Why? Because reality is surprising. It gives way deeper insights than what we might think might work.
An example: Why do people buy your art? Do you know?
Here’s what Siobhan, an art amateur and customer on Etsy and Artsphere, has to say.
“we've recently purchased quite a few things from there is because we have a new home and we need, we want, we don't need, but we want artwork in our home”
“I'm not going to say it’s because it's pretty because most of the artwork I choose is not pretty, but to me it's a unique way to kind of show personality, sometimes even an opinion.”
Market research gives clarity to your selling strategies. It gives you a plan to follow.
To be honest, I get it, it’s super hard to reach out to people. Moreso to ask for 30-45min of their time answering your questions. I can tell you all I know from 1 year of interviews. How kind people are, that those who accept are willing to help, that it gets easier over time.
Truth is, it’s fucking hard to deal with the anxiety beforehand. You might forget what you wanted to say, lose track of the discussion, let your voice shake.
Even after a year I’m still not there and I mess up All. The. Time. Every freaking interview!
But you know what?
Because I know the people who accepted, chose to be here with me. Because I told them by email that I am nervous. Because after 20+ and counting interviews, not a single person was bad to me. Not one. I even had publishers add me to their rosters of artists, some we kept contact after. I found kindness and knowledge in those interviews, way more than I could ever expect. Even when I put them up through 2 minutes of awkward silence.
So here’s my gift to you to overcome the fear you might have reaching out to people:
A 45 min interview of Jonathan Woodruff. Uncut, with all my awkwardness and quirks. It’s far from good and it might scorch your ears, make you cringe, but in the end, we had a great time =).
Jonathan is the new voice behind Captain Cohort. A podcast about cohort based courses I can only recommend. He also bought two personalized gifts on Etsy, and I find his answers fascinating.
I hope this will give you the confidence to take that step in 2022 and go talk to your clients and your audience.
And if you couldn't see how stressed I was behind the mic, you'll learn a lot from this talk and have my own point of view here! Sometimes, our own perception of ourselves makes us believe the worst when it actually went more than fine.
You! (or more precisely, 15 independant artists, board games creators and publishers, Art directors. Thank you so so much for accepting my 45min interview!)
Answer to this post with a DM or send me an email!
Here are 3 more interviews you might enjoy :
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We draw. We can help people connect, make them feel special, help them escape reality. We can help projects get funded, raise awareness on social issues or ease the workload on game productions. Art can decorate a home, be used as investment and tax deductible assets (like the Art market).
Truth is, it’s fucking hard to deal with the anxiety beforehand. You might forget what you wanted to say, lose track of the discussion, let your voice shake. Even after a year I’m still not there and I mess up All. The. Time. Every freaking interview! But you know what? It’s ok.