Posts Tagged ‘art marketing’

Organizing for Marketing

This image is from my time with adult coloring books last year – trying out colors, experimenting. I love symmetry, but then I also like something a little unusual….which is where I am right now as I approach a new project. I really need to develop  more sources for passive income. I’m taking a free class right now from Convertkit on Product Creation – great ideas, and after two weeks of reading the information (a daily lesson), I decided to start at the beginning and develop a series of products that are useful to others. Hence, Organizing for Marketing.

The title is going through some revisions – still not catchy enough for me. But I already have all this content – in an iBook that isn’t selling  – and yes, I really haven’t done much to market it in the three years it’s been available (or is it four? Funny how time stretches out when you’re not teaching….).

So this is my first brainstorming at trying to make sense of what I want in this ebook product. I am very good at marketing and creating and organizing, so it makes sense to focus right there. When I reviewed the book last night, there is enough information to make it into three or four smaller ebooks and develop a continuous stream of ideas and techniques for people.

The first key is targeting my market. I work in fiber and textiles – pretty much a niche market when looking at the art world, although we are slowly making progress into mainstream. Thus I want to focus this on those of us who do art that is generally out of the mainstream. What can we do to get our work looked at, sold, appreciated?

Here’s my accountability checklist for this coming week, ending Tuesday, May 16, with my initial thoughts:

  • Determine revised structure of the ebook. I need to break up the information in the original book into smaller segments for action, and increase the information included in each of the segments.
  • Determine my ideal customer for this book. Who is my audience…artists without a lot of money to spend on marketing, artists with unique products, artists who have issues getting organized and accomplishing tasks.
  • Write two additional blogs this week – what questions do you want answered in a marketing book for those of us working in a niche market, and how would this be different from all the other marketing books out there? I need to make sure I start getting feedback from folks to help direct my work.
  • Evaluate ebook publishing sources and ease of use. CreateSpace seems mostly for print; research it more fully. Kindle seems easy and quick to do. IBooks seems too limiting, although I do have experience with that platform.
  • Plan for a “bonus” for people who buy this ebook. Already thinking about many of the blog posts I’ve already done in my Top Ten series. I think these could be manipulated into a bonus, once links are checked, and focus determined. Happened to just think about expanding ideas for Top Ten for other Bonus offerings.
  • Keep playing with title ideas. Suggestions certainly welcome! Organize, marketing, niche products…….
  • Determine launch date for the ebook – probably beginning of August.

Feel free to give me ideas and help keep me accountable to this project! You can be in the book with your website and product for helping out.

ORIGINAL BOOK

Ready, set, go – give me feedback!

Monday Marketing…….Not Really…..

Stones 2

Stones 2

It is Monday, and I sure haven’t been doing much marketing these last few months. Part of it has been illness, part has been writing, part has been making art, and part has been not really caring. I have realized that when I get in the mood for serious marketing, no art gets done. I find that unacceptable these days. There are more art pieces than I will ever have time for. Marketing needs to fit in as it can.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. During our trip we did a lot of talking to artists, sold some fabric, and made some really nice connections. We came home ready to start a new series, Preservation. Both of us are excited about this, and now we need to do some serious planning. But I am still left with a conundrum over marketing. In between being sick and getting physically exhausted (which according to the doctors will continue until maybe the end of September), I finished a seven-piece commission, nearly the rest of my seasons grouping (pattern is next on the list), free-motion quilted a lap quilt for a friend, cleaned the studio (which really was pointless….), and tried to be ambitious. I did write close to 15,000 words on my novel, but I am feeling the need to have art-making take over for a while.

I did partially complete a gallery marketing class, and now I am awaiting to see if I made the first cut to a year’s mentorship with a gallery in Scottsdale. It would require a lot more art-making, and I think we would be good candidates for selection. But what I think and what happens usually are two different things. I am still being positive, and men tally I am feeling good. I still have my lists, and they have every kind of loose end I can think of, including doing some apartment applications for next spring when we move, and organizing all our photos. But each day I look at any “must-do’s” and “want to do’s” and work from there.

And….there’s the marketing book which I haven’t marketed, plus a number of other things I haven’t done. So I need to get off my case, make art, and let other stuff happen when it does.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it………….

 

 

 

Monday Marketing

 

 Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness…..and I could go on! What an amazing four days of art we just had….and we did quite a bit of marketing along the way. We just returend from Road 2 California – my first large quilt show since Market in 2003, and hubby’s first large quilt show. Two days of amazing quilts (photos to follow this week, after I get myself reoriented to basic life here….), plus a day at the Getty Museum – and coping with I-405….interesting experience there……

One of the best things I did in preparation for the show was bring three really great fat quarters with me, just in case someone was “interested” in seeing marbled fabric. One fat quarter went to the “quilt royalty” that was at the show, and one went to Susan Else, the guest artist – she will definitely have something different to use in her sculptures.

It was really helpful as we were looking at some of the cool tools to pull out the actual fabric and ask questions very specific to its use. This was particularly true at the Pellon booth, as we were talking we began to realize that if we are to take our fiber work to the next level, we need to seriously consider what is used in between the layers. We looked at embroidery machines, as I really would like to include some machine embroidery in the new pieces, and we had a fascinating discussion with the Brother people that could potentially lead to some licensing opportunities.

I collected a lot of business cards, as there was either a really interesting tool or embellishment I want to share. Hardly any book dealers, which is why I may need to consider Market this year or next. Speaking of books….I got home to about 300 emails, one of which was a request for photos to be in a book. That’s definitely a follow-through for this week. Renewed my Quilt Show membership so I can keep up with what’s happening in the field.

Interesting marketing observations. One company with really interesting hand-painted fabric doesn’t have a website. They only sell at shows. They don’t want to photograph fabric so people can see exactly what they are going to buy. I understand that; that’s precisely why there are some online venues that won’t take us, because they feel the need to photograph every piece of fabric. That’s why we sell on eBay and Etsy – what you see is what you get. We have a note on our ordering page on our website about why there aren’t pictures. We don’t get many orders off the website, but that’s okay, because we have other venues. No hand-marbled fabrics at the show, but there was a booth with commercial marbled fabric; nice line of fabric, much more subtle than what has been released by major companies in the last few years. Lots of quilts made up – using a stained glass approach – using the marbled fabric. Interesting to see.

Some booths had absolutely no information, beyond a business card with only an email. I tried making notes, but I figured there’s no way I’d be sharing that information. No web presence, and no pictures allowed to let people know what was available. Hopefully they make enough doing shows to make it worth their while. We couldn’t do that; the press of making fabric for our Seattle trip is enough.

It’s probably the most fun to put names and faces to cyber contacts and to ooh and aah at the gorgeous artwork. We went through the quilts twice, making sure we didn’t miss anything, and trying to find time to just enjoy the quality workmanship. I wouldnt have been able to take this amount of time had I not been retired…..

And after all that, as I was perusing and cleaning out emails, I stumbled across this older email that I hadn’t read, from resident web guru Suzan. I know there are more applications to marketing than meets the eye, but since we artists rely on our hands to make our art, this seems interesting food for thought. A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design.

Stay tuned – lots of pictures in the works!!!

Thoughts on Entering Juried Shows……

I’ve written that one of my goals for this first quarter of the year is to create some new artwork to enter into a few select juried shows. Joanne Mattera had a really interesting blog post on Monday about entering shows: When Do You Stop Entering Shows?

Certainly timely for me. Her checklists of questions to ask yourself are excellent. I had success about 10 years ago with a series of shows I entered, especially Expressions in Textiles, which was more an early art-quilt venue. I would consider this my first prestigious show. I have success entering a show in Alaska each year, which is an art show, and fortunately for me they like fiber entries. I stopped entering a lot of shows from about 2006 on for two reasons: I was teaching full time and had  very little time for creating art, and entry fees were expensive (moderately so nbow, but I must say, being able to do online entries is a blessing). The entry fee was groceries. Then I entered an art quilt show two years ago and was rejected. Aside from being P.O.’d, when I looked at the artists selected, they were the “same ole – same ole” quilt artists whose work is very recognizable. That’s when I figured I wasn’t going to play with the “big girls” any more. I needed to make work for me.

Hence my decision to try for Visions and a SAQA show this year….there, I’ve said it. Big time. If I am selected, these will be two huge pieces for my resume. Which brings me back to Joanne’s article. “But at a certain point—a tipping point, let’s think of it—you want to see your exhibition experience evolve into opportunities in which you are invited to participate.”

Yup, that pretty much says what I am aiming for. Joanne goes on to say: “Indeed, most dealers looking at an artist’s resumé want to see that evolution. ‘When I see a string of juried shows on a mid-career artists’s resume, I have to ask, ‘Where’s the progression?’ says a dealer I know.”

I know I’m making progress in creating art, and I want to be mindful of shows that would add value to my resume and future opportunities. Quilt shows aren’t going to do it for me. Some art quilt shows? Visions, SAQA, Tactile Architecture…..probably. I’m not interested in dealing with the “quilt police.” My work is not mainstream quilting, although that’s a skill I use. A number of years ago we had our work in a now-defunct fiber gallery in Scottsdale. At the time I was doing different things with my “bindings.” I was serging or facing the edges of my art quilts because the technique helped enhance the message of the piece. The gallery owner – a fairly traditional quilter who worked with bright fabrics and called them art quilts – was appalled that I didn’t have regular bindings on my quilts, and she wouldn’t take a couple of pieces without regular bindings. Well, to my way of thinking, a binding would have constricted the design in a way I didn’t want.

Those pieces are now all in private collections, and I’m still spreading my wings as an artist, trying all different kinds of techniques.

Some shows I do enter – nonjuried, no-fee art shows, where fiber will be accepted. The Tikkun Olam show was an easy show, a twelve-by-twelve piece dealing with the theme, and it could be any media. I did receive a lot of feedback about the piece and some interesting opportunities – and a lot of interesting lessons (just because you say you’re a curator doesn’t mean you’re especially good at it….). There is another show like that coming up that I plan to create work for.

In retrospect, I am on the right track. My decisions seem based in reality and forward movement for me. We’ll see how everything plays out. I am behind on my piece for the Visions show, but I have a month…..less, when I think about photography, but I’m almost there…..a solid week of sewing (which will have to be next week…) should finish it for me. And then on to the rest of the first quarter list.

Monday Marketing – Cyber Monday

 

   Yeah, I know….Cyber Monday was last week….and therein lies my problem.

Getting ready/surviving/marketing the holiday shopping season.

For the last four years or so, we have hardly had anything on line for  November and December, and thus have totally missed the holiday shopping season. This year we have been consistent all year, with hardly missing a week on Ebay and getting the Etsy store up and functioning. We’ve sold gift baskets so far leading up to Thanksgiving, which more than tripled what we’ve brought in for the shopping season in the past. But we have a long way to go……

I am not a big shopper, but I will confess to seeing a deal on Cyber Monday and buying – a real deal on a couple of ebooks on machine quilting designs, which I’ve been drooling over for a while. But I still can’t get excited about revving up holiday shopping.

Is it the commercialism of the holidays, and I subconsciously don’t want to take part? Probably a good chunk. Is it ’cause I’m getting older and want to spend my time on things I really like to do? Again, probably. I am trying to get pieces of passive income going on the website, so I don’t have to do so much work during certain times of the year.

This year it became Cyber Week, much to my dismay. I feel like I should have had something going, but I haven’t had the time – well, to be honest I didn’t make the time. Perhaps next year when we have consciously worked on the newsletter…..but it still is a  cunundrum an issue. Within it are questions about lack of product/pictures on the website; selling from the blog; hyping in the newsletter. It’s interesting in that I do a weekly blog post on marketing, and here is an area I can’t seem to get my head around.

Oh, well, a full year to be thinking about it…I’ll be happy just to get the newsletter up and going……..and make art.

 

More Monday Marketing – Articles for Your Marketing Work

This Monday there are some great resources for you in various aspects of building your business. Hopefully you’ll find something interesting and useful. I’m starting with a quote from Dale Ann Potter from  her blog:

Affirm the positive, visualize the positive and expect the positive, and your life will change accordingly…. Remez Sasson

Great words, and I gotta tell ya, I am loving being positive and sending good energy out into the universe. It paid off big time yesterday with a couple of connections to some galleries in Santa Fe….

This first article came via a blog from a blog from another blog – and I discovered Harriet Estel Berman and some really great information – professional guidelines.

A Good Holiday Season for Etsy – are you ready? A timely article from the folks at Handmadeology. I intend to read and reread this article several times and really get into the aspects they talk about for being found.

Also from Handmadeology (love the name) comes a timely article on getting those views to conversions and sales.

From Social Media Examiner (a great resource you should definitely subscribe to) comes an article on 20 Ways to Promote Your Facebook Fan Page. Where should you be putting links? And other great information. Then check the sidebar for more great tips.

Also from Social Media is a GREAT article on companies that have created wonderful fan pages, with lots of helpful ideas for you. It goes perfectly with the above article. I tell ya, ya need to sign up for updates from Social Media!

In keeping with the positive quote at the beginning, here’s an article from Dumb Little Man – You Must Resist the Urge to Quit. I so agree with the sentiment – since I’ve retired and have had the time, I am so involved in making art, as well as marketing.  I think of the times when I was tempted to quit, because I just didn’t have the time – but I stayed with it, and now it’s paying off.

From Step 2: “Action creates momentum around a goal. If you’ve been taking action consistently and suddenly quit you’ll notice that it’s going to be hard to get your momentum back. That’s why one of the best things you can do when you’re tempted to quit is to take action. You’ll start noticing that even the smallest action taken on a consistent basis will have a compounding effect. The smallest action can reignite your fire or give you hope that there is a light at end of the tunnel.”

So what have you found on line about marketing that you want to share with others? Leave a comment with the information and we can all check it out. Now get busy!!

 

Monday Marketing….What a Month!

Wow. That’s all I can say….wow wow wow. All the work from June and July really began to pay off at the end of the month. A finished commission, a major fabric order from England, Ebay and Etsy sales, and LOADS of inquires. And…….I got a lot of quilting done, and took two classes in the meantime. I am LOVING every minute!

This time last year I had spend 6 weeks doing a lot of work, and then school started and I lost all momentum – but NOT this year! I don’t have to go back to work next Wednesday. Did I happen to mention I am THRILLED to be retired?!?!?!?

Here’s the plan of attack that seems to be working, after a month of refinement. Each morning I take care of a lot of social media stuff, respond to comments, check out other business pages. Then I try to leave “thinking” time during the day for the long-range goals, and then it’s off to actually create. I feel like the social media piece is no longer controlling the cart – I am, and it’s taking way less time. Each evening I look at my folder – check off what got done for the day, what’s coming up for the next day, and pieces of my various “action lists” for my goals that I want to attempt.

Probably the best thing I did for social media was do my Linked In profile and join a couple of art groups through Linked In. We have been doing round robin on Facebook business pages, and the traffic all around has increased tremendously. Plus – ya gotta admit opening FB comments each morning and seeing what people think of your work is quite the motivator.

I found this morning I had to actually make a list of upcoming shows. deadlines, and commission to be sure I didn’t miss anything. The new newsletter is in the works, and I have actually set up a group for people who are collecting our art – that’s a very cool feeling!

I have over 500 blog entries since I started, as well as over 100 Facebook “Likes,” so it’s time to be thinking about a give-away along with the blog makeover……stay tuned!

Below are a couple of fabric studies done as part of The Artist’s Toolbox class through Quilt University. I am learning a lot about what is working and what isn’t – and why. I recommend these classes – I have now done three, and I learn great stuff each time. In fact, I found myself with the camera out this weekend in Sedona, taking pictures of some incredible textures – 25 pictures of a grouping of sunflowers, because I kept seeing different things!

It’s going to be an AWESOME August! What do you have planned for the month?

 

Places to Sell Your Work On Line

Linked In has been giving me lots of new connections and interesting articles and websites to follow. One of the articles was on ten online sites to sell your work. I’m planning on combing through each of them over the next month or so, but here is the list, with some preliminary thoughts. Also, cost is an issue – at this point almost everything we do is based on free stores, with commissions off sold pieces or listing fees.

Ebay – obviously. For many of us, it’s the first place we started selling. You can see a sample of what we have for sale at the link. We’ve done very well selling remnants and some larger pieces of fabric – but definitely no larger fiber art pieces. I don’t think Ebay is the place to sell fiber and textile artwork. That said, we do have a pretty good following of repeat customers. We’ve been selling since 2004 – the first time we listed two items it took us 2 hours…..there was a steep learning curve at the time, but once Paypal resolved its issues, and we figured out how to title the items, we began to build our base. It does take time.

Etsy – slow going here, but part of it is learning how to build up the shop. Three years ago I started a shop and it had maybe five things in it….and I did nothing to promote the shop. A year ago I revisited the shop, had ten things in it, and still had no idea what was going on. With still teaching full time, I wasn’t able to get the marketing going to get it known. Along come the Textiles and Fiber Arts List with an emphasis on getting publicity for our Etsy shops. I started looking around, and besides art pieces, I am stocking more pieces of marbled art cloth, at a higher price than what goes on Ebay. That seems to be working, as our sales have started to pick up, and pieces from each week’s marbling sessions are finding their way into the store.

TAFA – The Textiles and Fiber Arts List just completed their fund raising for a new marketplace site for all things fiber and textile. The goal is “markets for members,” and the group is aiming to become a major hub on the web in this area. What I particularly like about TAFA is that all artists are juried in and pay  a membership fee (extremely reasonable). This keeps the quality high and the artwork definitely unusual. This site is also all about networking for artists, so there is definite community being built at this site. I joined nearly a year ago, and now that I have some time, I am becoming active in the site. If you are an artist working in fiber and/or some form of textiles, you need to be a member. Another plus – you don’t lose anything in “commissions” – all dealings are between you and the buyer.

1000 Markets – looks like it has become Bonanza. Under the Art category was “art from the artist,” which I should browse more. There are some possibilities under the Crafts section, but I don’t like listing my work in a craft section (me, I guess….). Searching “fiber art” brought up mostly ATC’s and fiber magazines…..at first glance doesn’t look like something I will spend a lot of time on now.

Fine Art America – I have been really impressed with this site so far, even though it seems “too good to be true.” I want a site to sell my digital work, and this looks to be it – print on demand, with framing and shipping included. I have been hearing some good things from folks in my increasing business network, so I will definitely pursue this one.

Three Sisters Marketplace – I’ve heard a couple of good things about this group, and it will be one I investigate further later this fall. It sounds much more like a community, and artists are juried into this site also. I think for me personally that is a plus to the sites I decide to join.

Artfire – I’m thinking this is in competition with Etsy, as it advertises “handmade,” but for some reason I just can’t get into the site – the home page just seems extremely jumbled, and it looks like a lot of work….

Made It Myself – looks like a lot of other sites, and this says it’s geared to the hobbyist whose friends say “you can sell that.” Don’t think I’ll pursue that further.

Cafe Press – slowly in the works – this is one where I need to have my artwork settled before I seriously work on marketing my (again) free store.

Now – let’s hear from you as to your experiences. This is just a snapshot, I’m sure, of what’s available to sell your work on line. But let’s get some dialogue going with ideas, feedback, more sites – just leave a comment!

What’s Available This Week

We are getting quite active around the web and I thought it’s time to spotlight some of the things available on line this week – you can only find them this week.

First up is Ebay this week – lots of great fabric pieces available – assorted colors and marbling patterns, perfect for piecing, applique – and don’t forget – sometimes you can just make a small quiltlet with quilting the marbled pattern line. Two pieces of denim – really intriguing designs and effects.

On Etsy this week is a piece of art cloth again with lots of possibilities. We were trying for a starburst effect, and I think we achieved it. I have a smaller piece that I’m going to quilt for a small hanging.

On Cafe Press, one of our most favorite digital prints from our Botanicals Series:

And also from Cafe Press, a cool totebag with a digital manipulation of a Southwest gecko:

So enjoy exploring this week – we’ll have some new goodies next week!

Monday Marketing…Revisions…….

So…..I did pretty well last week and then faded at the end of the week. Plus, I am taking two online classes, and I needed to leave myself time to work on activities. Pretty much I got the goals for the week done, and I’m ready to set the goals for this next week, but I know I need to make some adjustments.

Major problems with Tweetdeck, so I wasn’t able to schedule the tweets that I wanted. I can only afford to take the time to read through the Twitter feed once a day, so I should probably change the time each day that I read it. I will keep to the schedule of reading tweets each day, with Sunday the day I schedule for the week.

One of the things I found was that I was busy trying to keep up with things and I didn’t really accomplish much for my own personal business. I need to change that, especially in the light of the marketing class I am taking. I need to be sure I am accomplishing what I want for Marble-T Design. I was able to work on the weekly goals of sewing, marbling, and adding to the Etsy shop.

Weekly Goals for this coming week July 18 – 24:

* Finish the Sedona commission

* Marble fabric for Etsy and Ebay

* Finish Lessons 2 and 3 of The Artist’s Toolbox with Lyric Kinard

* Do some goal-setting per the marketing class, primarily with Facebook and Cafe Press

* Get ready for gallery visit (inventory, etc) for Saturday

* Some work to do on the blog: more pages? widgets? other affiliates? blog giveaway? update current pages?

Daily:

* Read Twitter feed at a different time each day

* Google Reader – comment on at least three blogs

* AT LEAST 5 blog posts this week (only fot the three last week)

* Read newsletters from Linked in groups twice a week

* Facebook fan page each day…..

* At least one art activity each day

So I need to get back in gear, get back to being positive and feeling that anything is possible……..How many of you have found your energy levels with drop without any warning? And what do you do to get back to work? Inquiring minds…..

 

Monday Marketing – Creating a Schedule

It’s Monday again….and it seems like all I did was read, look at emails, and set up buttons and the like. This is the “time-sucker.” So my goal for this blog post is to try and identify what needs to be done each week for marketing and set up a kind of calendar to work with.

This is what I’m dealing with: Ebay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Cafe Press, Zazzle, newsletters, a website, lynda.com, flickr, and a blog. I am trying to avoid doing all of this every day, because nothing else seems to get done. I’m brainstorming as I write, with the hope that by the time this post is done, I will have a plan.

Ebay: hubby handles almost all of this, including postal trips. But…if we are going to increase sales, we need more product, and I would like to help with the actual marbling. So…..marbling weekly. I do need to update the About Me page…..

Etsy: the bulk of the organization is done. But…I need to be adding product on a regular basis, which means I need to keep making things. It would be nice to have one new product up each week, if not more often. One of the goals this week is to add some of the major artwork (even though I don’t expect to sell it on Etsy, it is more exposure) on the site, as the pictures are redone. I want to continue with the circles marketing, which, if I have enough products, could be done every day – 15 minutes for this. Plus, I need to keep working…….

LinkedIn: profile is done, and I have registered for several groups for business. I have found already difficulty in keeping up with reading emails each day from the groups and have already deleted one group. This week I will determine which groups look to be the most advantageous. I also need to complete the setting up of a profile of artwork.

Facebook: I read this several times a day. I have a fan page which needs serious work, as well as Art From The Heart, which is to support healing art after the Tucson shootings in January. I have added FB buttons to my blog and this week to my website. I have read the Terms and looked at all the privacy settings. I also went through the photo stream stuff for FB and fixed photos for both the personal and fan page. I need to really think through what is going to happen with the Fan Page.

Twitter: I am finishing a class from lynda.com on using Facebook and Twitter for business, and I highly recommend the site. For #25 you can choose different trainings all available for a month at your schedule. I picked up all kinds of little tips, most of which have already been implemented. But….and this is a BIG but….the time for tweets and what to tweet. By syncing a lot of the programs, my blog appears on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, my tweets appear in a couple of places. I don’t think I can go further with this – the tweet button is on the blog and soon to be on the website. This is one area that needs some serious scheduling. Since I use TweetDeck (which is free…), I can schedule and keep track of who’s following and what is getting retweeted. So…I’m going to use Sundays for scheduling business tweets for the week, and I will look through the twitter feed once a day to see if there’s some good stuff to retweet.

Cafe Press: I have a site, a free one, so I am limited as to the number of products I can put up. I haven’t looked at this in several months and it needs serious work. To have a store isn’t much money each month, and I could have a lot more products available, but the issue is marketing and driving people to the site. I have some great digital stuff already to go, and I need to start planning around the holidays, reading about marketing through Cafe Press, and so on.

Zazzle: Ditto for Cafe Press……both are not a high priority right now.

Newsletters: oy, it’s been months since a newsletter went out, and I have all these contacts where nothing is happening. I used Constant Contact last year for a few months, until I couldn’t keep up with the demands and school at the same time. I was happy with it, but disappointed that not many people actually read it. I need to go back to a newsletter and offerings at least once every three weeks, and more during the holiday seasons. I need to check out Mail Chimp, which is free, and I have heard people have good luck with it. I’ll try and make this a priority this week.

Website: Most of the changes to the website have been made by my wonderful web lady Suzan. I need to get a couple of buttons set up, and then do something about newsletters and contacts. I also have some pages to add on Digital Marbling (TN), and I need to evaluate “print on demand” for artwork. This is a “need to think about” topic…..

lynda.com: I have until Friday to finish my month of training. I still need to finish Twitter, and I want to get the html newsletter course done. I am not going to continue with Dreamweaver because it isn’t a priority.

Flickr: I have photos up, not all of them with copyrights, and there is a class on lynda.com if I have time. I’m not really sure what I want to do here….

And finally, my blog, Marbled Musings. I went a bunch of months with no new writing, and I’m at maybe three times a week. I need to get back to at least four times a week, and eventually every day. I have plenty to write about…and I need to stay up with my Google reader – as well as comment more on some of the posts. This is probably the biggest area for marketing that I have to schedule.

Weekly:

* Marbling fabric

* Work on Etsy products

* Sewing and other design

Mondays:

* Add Etsy product

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Monday Marketing

* Google reader and at least three comments

Tuesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Top Ten Tuesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Wednesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Work in progress Wednesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Thursday:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog – Thursday Thoughts

* Google reader and at least three comments

Fridays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Photoshop Friday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Saturdays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog posting on Specials

* Google reader and at least three comments

Sundays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Schedule Tweets for the week (i.e. Etsy, Ebay…)

* Blog Sunday Stories

* Google reader and at least three comments

Goals for next week:

* FINISH LYNDA.COM

*Update “About Me” page on Ebay

* Update Etsy products, especially note cards

* Evaluate how calendar is working

* See if buttons are added to the website

* Decisions on what will happen with the Facebook Fan page

* Long-term thoughts – what to do with CafePress and Zazzle

* Read and decide about Mail Chimp for a newsletter

* Spend some time thinking about what the website still needs….

Okay, I think I have a handle on this…we’ll see next week as I evaluate how the week goes. And…I’m taking some online classes!

Thoughts??

Top Ten Tuesday

Lots of great stuff on line this week – some very cool eye candy to enjoy!

From Cool Hunting, a site with some unusual items and projects… some original artwork “Field Recordings” by Bryan Graf

Also from Cool Hunting, one of the most unique book displays I’ve ever seen, as part of an art installation. The best pics are on the site, so check them out.

Vicki Welsh does some really gorgeous hand-dyes…here’s her latest batch for this month’s challenge. I could spend all my spare money to her weksite!

From Kate Harper’s blog – Legal Tips for the Starving Artist, and a very good review for all of us.

And even more from Kate – lots of articles on copyright and protecting our designs….I know for me this will be some serious reading this month – need to do it!

How will the price of cotton affect art licensing from Joan Beiriger’s blog – very interesting. I know that we have had to raise our prices for our marbled fabrics significantly.

If you are where I am in looking for gallery representation, then Joanne Mattera’s Art blog is for you. She has an article on gallery red flags that is very valuable….I’ve seen a couple of these flags in the past.

Also from Joanne is this article on Rethinking Artist’s Statements, again very timely for me as I redo a lot of things on the website.

Rayela’s Art (AKA Rachel Biel) is spearheading the fund raising campaign for the Textile and Fiber Art List. This is rapidly becoming THE place to find any type of textile art on line. If you are interested in becoming part of an outstanding collection of fiber and textile art, then visit and donate, even just $10. The eye candy alone is worth the donation!

Again from The Best Article Every Day comes Dear Photograph – a really cool idea to superimpose a past photograph with the current location. Clever!

Enjoy your week – send me cool stuff you find on line!!

Monday Marketing – Restarting the Engines

It’s Monday, week four into retirement, and I’ve been getting lots of loose ends accomplished on the home front. But the biggest is starting to attack what I want to do in marketing the business. It’s probably a good thing I have been thinking on this, as I need to answer a very big question first – just what do I want to accomplish for Marble-T Design, as well as my personal art goals? I can’t really start marketing successfully and fruitfully until I make some of these decisions.

I have started a list of some potential galleries and shows I would like to enter, but I find myself asking “is that really the route I want to go?” I probably should have looked seriously at this a long time ago, but, hey, school got in the way. And since Marble-T Design is 17 years old and in a new phase, I should probably also consider what we’ve done in the past and what was successful.

We’ve actually been on line with our website since 1997. We were some of the earliest in e-commerce, without even realizing it. I went through a bunch of computer programs to get the original site up, starting with Pagemill. Eventually I realized I needed to turn the design over to a professional, and Saltwater Systems has handled that beautifully over the last seven years. And we had a much wider line of products available – close to 12 sampler packages. we did a lot more marbling in our large tray, as well as a lot more custom work.

So that’s part of the “thinking” I need to do. More large trays? More shows? More product? Classes and workshops again? Just where are we taking this business? I need to be honest in my thinking about the future. Marbling in the large tray is very tiring as we have gotten older, and with the price of cotton and carrageenan going up, prices will have to go up.

Whew…..that’s a lot of questions to answer. Once again, starting to write is helping me focus on the bigger picture. So I need to start….

What do I really want to do with my art and my business? I want to make art, no question about it. I would like to sell my art, whether it be on line or actually in some galleries. I think  I am realizing I don’t want to do a lot of shows. I do have enough on my resume to show the work has been accepted, but I will probably only look at two or three a year. As for the actual business, I want to be able to bring in a certain amount of money each month to help with traveling during retirement. I’m starting with the idea of $500 additional a month, and moving from there.

That means looking seriously at outlets. Ebay has been steady, but I would like it to do more. So we need to marble more pieces and packages. I have sold a few pieces of fabric on Etsy, but this needs to be seriously marketed. We’ve been selling on Ebay for probably 7 years and we have a good steady family of customers, but I want it to generate more sales.

I haven’t really looked seriously at marketing my work on Etsy, and I think with the TAFA List, I can make a good start. So I think at this point a goal for this week is to list potential products for Etsy and read everything I can about Etsy and The Textile and Fiber Arts List.

The other big thing is we are a sponsor for The Sketchbook Challenge for July, and probably for a few months after that. This will drive more traffic to our website, The Art of Fabric. This means getting the site updated and ready for additional traffic in July. So also this week is spending time learning Dreamweaver to take care of a lot of small changes that will update the site.

THIS WEEK:

Finish Dreamweaver class for making changes to my website

Make the changes to the website

Etsy products, increased Ebay ideas

Reading about Etsy selling and developing strategies

Reading through everything on The Textile and Fiber Arts List and developing concrete plans

I’m interested in the thoughts of those of you selling on line – favorite sites? Suggestions? Pitfalls?

Monday Marketing….So Many Outlets, So Little Time

This has been my latest project. Rachel of Rayela Art does an amazing job, having only started this in February. Members include working artists, textile businesses, galleries, suppliers and other fiber/textile people. All have an established web presence. Our common connection weaves us together: a love for textiles and fiber art. Getting this together was not an easy task…biographies, store links – there is a LOT of thought put into developing this, and the site is getting a lot of viewers.

I’ve been analyzing all the various areas where I have a presence – some stronger than others. There will be an Etsy group on the Textile and Fiber Art list, and I am looking forward to being mentored, as I need assistance in creating a good Etsy shop. My current shop has a dozen items (as of tomorrow night), and part of what I was stressing over was creating new work just for my Etsy store. Well, duh – it occurred to me that I could list some of the work from our website that gets admired, but no one thinks to buy. So we shall see……

Now along with this was getting the connections to Twitter and Facebook and the Facebook fan page…all of which require time. It’s a good thing I have some basic computer knowledge and can find my way around the web and individual sites. Some just aren’t as intuitive as they could be……But I think Facebook is now linked to my blog, my networked blog, my Etsy…..

I’ve just begun to look at ArtFire as another outlet, but I need to read about that more. I can’t add widgets for Cafe Press and Ebay because I am still using just the free listings for Cafe Press (limited items) and weekly auctions for Ebay. I know you have to spend money to make money, but a store on Cafe Press and Ebay costs additional….need to make good use of marketing dollars, as we still need to buy supplies to continue to make art to sell in these various outlets.

I did enjoy yesterday – spent the majority of the day at the computer, working with Photoshop on some new images, writing bios, and looking for a pic of hubby and moi for the TAFA site. Those of you who know me know it’s not really a current picture, but it is a good one!

Had a great time doing all this yesterday, and then it’s always coming down to reality when Monday morning hits and it’s back into the classroom. I also got the new newsletter out – special on Sampler Package 1 – 20% off….check it out – perfect for collage, mixed media, small quilt projects….

Didn’t get to read my blogs this weekend, and I miss knowing what people are up to. But I do have some good stuff for tomorrow’s post on the Top Ten on the web this week. Stay tuned for Wednesday with unveiling of two pieces that are either home from shows or aren’t traveling to any at this point.

Make art this week! Tell me what you’re working on!

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