Prepare your sales material
By Sofie Haag
In this section we will cover what kind of sales material you need to promote your artistic work. Before you start, it´s important to have identified your vision, mission, passion, purpose, core values and target audience/customers. This is all part of your brand, who you are and what you stand for. If you don´t know the answers to those questions, go back to the branding video and workbook which will help you get clarity around that.
The next thing is to create marketing material which reflects your brand and presents you and your work in the best light possible. This will make it easier to make sales and for others to support you and promote your work. It will also help attract sponsors and partners when you are ready for it.
With the entry of online communities, social media, digital products and platforms the middle man is cut out and you as an artist can connect directly with your audiences and customers. To do this successfully however it is important to know how to package and sell your artistic work in such a way that it resonates with the person on the receiving end and supports your artistic vision, development and growth. It is also equally important to be sensitive to the needs of the promoter that is presenting your work, so that your own marketing efforts runs alongside and supports your work with the promoter.
So, with this in mind, what do you need to get started?
Electronic Press kit (EPK)
A great way to start is to first of all create an electronic press kit (EPK), where you gather all the information about you and what you do. This should include your biography, your story, photos, audio, video, reviews, testimonials, press information and also list your upcoming performances, projects and tours. Then, when you have got new, exciting things coming up that you want to promote, you use the EPK as a foundation and add information relevant to that specific occasion. Create a place on your website where people can access this info.
Website and social media
After that, take a closer look at your website and social media to make sure they reflect the overall look and feel of your brand as an artist. The key here is to use these platforms as a way to convert your visitors to followers and buyers. Your sites should have a call-to-action for people to either find out more about your upcoming performances, sign up to your newsletter, join your community and/or buy from you. The call-to-action should be visible within the first seconds of entering your sites. This is really important. Otherwise you risk people browsing but not engaging.
Think of it as creating a customer pathway for your artistic sales process, where you have identified all the steps from the moment your ideal audience/customer comes in contact with you for the first time to where you want them to go in the end.
Digital communication might be very popular these days but having promotional materials that you can hand out in person can be just as powerful, if not more sometimes. It all depends on your target market and what your marketing strategy is. Some people prefer printed material and would really appreciate something more bespoke for them. It could be leaflets (A5-size), booklets, postcards or A4-sheets with information about your production or even something more cutting edge in virtual reality to show off your work. Think about who the receiver is, what they might appreciate and also need to know in order to make a buying decision. This could include information about what the production is all about, the relevance of it being performed now and how it relates to them, the length of the performance, who the performers and creative team are, technical and financial aspects, potential reviews if the production has been performed before etc. It should also reflect and magnify your brand.
There are many great ways to create promotional material for free or at a very low cost (see resources in the workbook). Even the printing can be done via sites such as Vistaprint.com and Moo.com to keep the costs down. Print materials can also be made into digital versions, for people to download and share online (also as a way to save money).
As with anything within promotion, it´s all about how you combine your efforts and what the end game is. In this case, the end game is to promote your work internationally. And the best way to do that is to know what you are selling, the price of that and who your target audience/customer is for that specific product. Let´s say your perfect customer is an international festival organiser looking for acts to fill their event. The clearer you are about what acts you can offer, the easier it will be for them to know if you are a fit for each other. The biggest mistake is to be vague about your work and try and be a jack-of-all-trades.
People in general don´t like to be sold to. If you present a solution to their problem however, creating an opportunity for the both of you, the energy is completely different.
Digital platforms for increased sales
If you want to scale up your artistic business online you can build your website on platforms such as NewKajabi.com which allows you to create entire sales funnels, online products, courses and landing pages where people can sign up to join your community. As a performing artist this means you can create master classes, online tutorials, training sessions and much more leading up to your performances which can dramatically increase your income and still support all the things you do on stage.
Another great platform is Patreon.com which is a subscription model platform where you upload your content and people can pay different fees to support you, as part of a membership subscription.
Whether audience/customers, journalists or others – a mailing list allows you to connect directly with the people who have signed up. In NewKajabi, Mailchimp and others platforms you can prepare email sequences to make this part easier. The key is consistency, so if you decide to have a newsletter, decide how often you are going to send it out and stick to it.
FUTURE TRENDS – AR, VR and AI
Technology is changing fast, and the arrival of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are game changers of which we have only seen the beginning. Thanks to AR/VR you can perform in someone´s living room, invite your audience to participate with you on stage or travel with you around the world. These new tools can be used in the creative process on stage but think about how you can use them as part of your sales strategy as well. You can for instance attend industry networking conferences abroad without having to travel. Use instant translation tools to pitch your project to someone who speaks another language. Or invite that festival promoter we mentioned earlier to attend one of your shows via Hololens.
The bottom line is this. Tools and platforms will come and go, what´s trendy today doesn’t work tomorrow. And the other way around. The best results come when your brand is consistent across all channels, the information is fresh and newsworthy and it´s integrated in all your promotional activities.
The sales side of an artistic business can sometimes feel quite overwhelming. Just ask yourself what the best next step is and start with something small and build on that. Rome wasn´t built in a day, and neither is a strong artistic brand.
Use the workbook in this toolbox as a checklist and choose what resonates the most with you. It is better to do fewer things but in a consistent manner. Just see to it that you have something in place for when the opportunity presents itself and grow organically from there.
Best of luck!