Posts Tagged ‘Monday 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!

Samples of Marbled Fabrics

Cleaning out as part of getting into new ventures for the new year – resizing, sharpening, rephotographing fabrics – here are some sample fat quarters we have created over the years. We get tremendous joy out of creating – some look similar, but it seems like endless opportunities available to us to play with fabric and paint. Remember, we can customize for you! Let us know what you think….THESE ARE NOT FOR SALE – just pieces we have photos of from the past!

So many iterations of traditional patterns! All from toothpicks, Popsicle sticks, straight pins, t-pins, small hair pics – lots of balsa and a huge amount of time to make the combs and rakes. It’s the prep that takes so long before you can have hours of fun!!

 

Monday Marketing – OMG

Storage cubbies

Storage cubbies

So the studio has had quite the workout these last few months since I posted. It certainly doesn’t look this neat right now – and probably won’t for another couple of months. Lots to do before knee surgery on October 20th. In a nutshell, we have done more marketing/business/sales/creating in 8 months than in a decade in Tucson. We have been busy.

So far, we are in a small gallery in the Phoenix Book Store in Essex, a fabulous independent bookstore. Haven’t sold anything, be we are getting recognition as fiber artists. On the wall these two months:

leftovers1This is Leftovers 1: Sunrise. This is a new series, made of marbled fabric was was dropped on the paint as we were cleaning the tray at the end of a marbling session. Adding thread tells a story.

We had a solo show at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont, for the month of August. The fiber looked great on the brick walls. We sold a piece, had 30-plus folks come by, and had a great time.

reception_inviteMore to follow on this once I find the pictures…..

We spent the month on the wall at Frog Hollow Art and Craft Gallery, as step two of the jurying process – we are awaiting notification if we have been accepted as members. An invitation from Burlington City Arts for 6 months in their city gallery, the month of November in a small gallery in Williston, Vt, and new revisions to packaging and items for sale, as well as joining ArtizanMade. I just can’t find all my pictures, so that becomes a major item for the to-do list. That….and the seriously overdue newsletter……. You’ll find a bunch of pictures on our Facebook page, facebook.com/MarbleTDesign.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-20-39-amIt’s going to be frustrating catching up on all the marketing….bottom line – get out and do it – it pays off if you are patient and stay with it!

 

The Results of Some Fairly Consistent Marketing……….

Part of the Marbled Deco series

Part of the Marbled Deco series

Since we’ve been back in Vermont I’ve been telling everyone I run into about our work, and we’ve had great response to everything. So much so we realized about 10 days ago nearly all our work either was committed to a show or would be by September, and we needed to get busy making new pieces – which has been an issue for hubby, as he is still recovering from major surgery and can’t stand for very long periods (guess who will be doing all the set-up and clean-up?).

Here’s our schedule – and people laugh when I say I’m always at the ready….

April – June small art show Double Vision at the Jericho Town Hall, Jericho, Vermont. Words and inspiration in art – we’re submitting “Pond.”

March-April Essex Art League at Phoenix Books independent bookstore in Essex, Vermont. “Bloomin’.”

April – June about 15 works of fiber and digital marbling on display at Unsworth Law in Essex Junction, Vermont.

May 27-28 Vermont Open Studios, sharing the home of artist Mary Jo Hill in Underhill, Vermont.

August solo show at Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont of fiber and digital marbling.

Tomorrow we talk to an old friend about a show in the gallery she runs in Jericho, Vermont. We’re ordering cards to mark titles and prices, completing the inventory, researching insurance, getting hanging systems on every piece, getting new quotes on framing, and other loose ends. There are still two places I am waiting to hear back from – the Old Red Mill in Jericho for their gift shop, and Stitched, a quilt store in Shelburne for teaching classes – and more on my list to touch base about show.

Slow and steady definitely pays off – that, and having an area receptive to new and original art work.

 

 

Monday Marketing – BUSY!!!

Coexist

What a beautiful Monday morning! It’s 10 AM and I’ve already accomplished photography of baskets, cutting fabric for the next project, and done all the Christmas cards. Plus – lots of great stuff accomplished over the last two weeks!

So….finally updated the Facebook business page with our gift baskets for sale – sold two, and I have another ready to go up. It’s been a lot of fun making the baskets and choosing some of the “ugly” fabric in the stash, as that turns out pretty darn cool. The Etsy store is up and running again, as well as Ebay, so check them out.

Etsy Shop

Etsy Shop

Ebay

Ebay

I’m contemplating a new online platform – just need to do the research. One of the biggies was the first newsletter in just over a year. No sales or offers, just a welcome, we’re still here, and it’s good to be making art again. I have plans for the first of the year to get back to a regular newsletter. Redid framing on a small 9 x 12 piece ready to go on Etsy, and another piece that needs new serging and mounting. Have another show set for three months with two other artists, starting in April – law firm, so will probably do some fiber, and we’ll save the digital work for the solo show in August. Had a great time at the Essex Art League holiday party this past week. We’ll be doing a  demo for them, as well as a class or two, and we’re looking at a couple of open studios within our new apartment complex. We are back to seriously looking at video, so who knows where or when….or who?

The big thing for me has been the decision to self-publish my novel, so Monday Marketing will also include my work there – need to set myself some deadlines. I’ve given agents and publishers seven months – time to move on and get this out there!

Let’s see what the rest of today brings for momentum!

Monday Marketing – Definitely on a Roll!

Neon Leaves

Neon Leaves – Digital Marbling

We received another print of our photos, this of a piece of driftwood taken 4 years ago on Vashon Island, on a gorgeous sunny day on Puget Sound. The quality is superb through Shutterfly, and you can’t beat “free” when it comes to getting prints. Plus, a fantastic craft store in the area – A.C. Moore – loads of sales, great prices on canvases and frames. It’s becoming a regular stop for us!

Went by Phoenix Books, an incredible independent bookstore (of which Vermont is loaded) to see our artwork on display – need to bring by an artist biography for their notebook, which never occurred to us. The work looks good on the wall, and we’ll have another great addition in January.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 3.12.26 PM

I am working on a commissioned quilting for a baby quilt – great way to get back into the swing of things – had a problem with the thread breaking, to discover no more Schmetz needles for me – ONLY my Superior needles will do. Changed the needle and no problems at all!

Hubby is working on his second marbling session – getting new fabric made, looking at projects, thinking about marketing plans. Momentum seems to be picking up. NOt much done on the list from last week, so will keep those goals for this coming week. Want to get the baby quilt done so I can move on to other projects. Next up is two traditional blocks made for us for demo purposes – want to finish machine quilting them so they can do double duty. Maybe pics next week….

Moving Right Along…..

Cactus Fountain, part of Digital Marbling series

Cactus Fountain, part of Digital Marbling series

Oh my, things are beginning to pick up momentum! The studio is finished, ready to go, and I just pin-basted a commissioned baby quilt to machine-quilt by Thanksgiving, starting this afternoon, and I also have a list of projects by the years they are due (13th and 40th birthdays) in 2017.  I even visited the new quilt shop nearby (yay!) and left information about teaching machine quilting classes.Lots of great ideas percolating. Love our morning north light – but I will say I can’t get used to it being dark by 4:30……just too far north now!

When I looked at last week’s goals, I accomplished everything except updating Facebook and other websites. Plus, I need to get the marketing book out again, making the rounds, especially since there is information on a marketing plan for holidays.

Niche Marketing

Niche Marketing

Goals for this coming week:

  • update ebook on price, where to send money, etc.;
  • read about ebooks on other platforms besides iBooks;
  • half-way through the machine quilting on this baby quilt;
  • update Etsy listings with new information;
  • continue listing definite and potential projects (add solo show to the calendar!); and
  • anything else that happens to occur to us!
  • NEWSLETTER! Let people know we are still around!

Monday Marketing – 2 weeks in a row!

Detail of the back of Gracie Mae's quilt

Detail of the back of Gracie Mae’s quilt

Ya, dis ist goot….been a productive week and today started off fabulously with coffee with another artist in fiber who LOVED out work and will pass on a bunch of connections to galleries within the New England area. Joining Surface Design Association, as they seem to be making inroads in getting fiber shown in NE. Plus a new quilt shop in town, so I have already been by to show a sample of free-motion quilting to see about teaching some classes. And….lots to do this week.

Also, and probably most important, the studio is about ready…well, we’ve already started doing work, even though there are still a lot of loose ends and things to get put away. I am almost through ironing the rest of my fabric stash, which is each of our moves has always been our wrapping. But this time, after so long….I was caressing each piece and apologizing for it being in the dark for so long. NO MORE MOVES! They will carry us out of here! Now for this week I need to start a list of fiber projects, with a couple of deadlines coming up this year. Then I can prioritize and get started.

Thanks to Shutterfly I’m been getting prints of our digital work for great prices, and A.C. Moore (our Ben Franklin’s and alternative to Michaels) for frames. Plus, it occurred to us as we were sorting through artwork that we can reuse some of the frames for work we no longer hang on our walls.

Also this past week, two digital marbling pieces hanging in a local bookstore as part of Essex Art League outreach, framing photos for solo show next August, and attended Williston Craft Fair – small but extremely well-attended, and folks were buying. We’re interested in partnering with someone next year and putting in our fabric bowls filled with marbling fabrics and sewing notions. to that end, Hancock Fabrics had a dynamite sale on sewing notions, so we did an order in preparation for next season. Hubby stocked the Etsy store again, so take a look.

A good week all around. Now for this week:

list of projects for sewing, etc.;

finish organizing studio;

check deadlines for quilts for birthdays (Whip, Gavin);

review fiber art calls from Feedly;

start on quilting commissioned baby quilt; and

update the Facebook page, as well as other online sites.

Good to go this week.

Monday Marketing….Uh Huh

AQ6

Alison’s Quilt

This coming Friday it will be six months since we arrived in Vermont. We certainly didn’t expect that long to be staying with friends and traveling, but our living arrangements are worth the wait, esp. since the studio is LARGE! We can both easily work together in the space. Now it means getting all those ideas and projects down on paper and prioritized.

Interesting that I have put off lists for the six months – thinking about what I wanted to do and couldn’t would have made me even more nuts had I been writing everything down. Now I can list things by due dates and so on….lots of juices are flowing again.

One of the toughest things was missing a lot of marketing opportunities, starting with Open Studios the end of May. Lots of good connections and really no way to follow-through – all the art work and samples were packed, and once we found out we would be 5 months  before move-in, we didn’t want to commit to anything.
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten anything done for marketing just recently. This week:

  • reconnected with an artist friend from 20 years ago who runs a small gallery and we exhibited with her in the past and hope to do so again;

  • joined Essex Art League in September and have a solo show scheduled for August 2016 in one of the main libraries;

  • reconnected with another friend and mother of students who also has a gallery and wants to chat;

  • hanging work in the Phoenix Books independent bookstore here in Essex Center from November 5 through beginning of January – just in time for the holidays; going to do a couple of our digital pieces;

  • ordered a bunch of “freebies” from Shutterfly (just paid postage) of some of our other photographic/digital work to see the job they do, and now we will see about getting them framed; and

  • actually updated the FACEBOOK page for Marble-T Design – have nearly 500 followers after no activity this summer – go figure…..

There’s a lot I want to get done this coming week:

  • finish organizing studio;

  • get list of projects with deadlines;

  • make list of “playing around” items;

  • complete cards for artwork hanging this week; and

  • newsletter to MTD customers – mentioning holiday shopping

I am retired, and these six months taught me it’s okay to relax, but oh, did I miss my art! I hugged my machine several times since it has been unpacked. * did accomplish handwork over the months – 7 long crocheted scarves plus3 complete sets of scarf/mittens/hat for a charity in the Ukraine. That felt very good – and I’m looking forward to doing more on the long winter nights to come.

Monday Marketing – fer real…..

AQ3

Marketing is taking on a different feel, what with the big move coming up the end of April. We are planning a large tray marbling session the end of February, for specific orders and also to load the Etsy shop for a bit. So I need to get a newsletter done and out. I am beginning to research guilds and shops in New England and the mid-Atlantic for marbled presentations – would love to work out one a quarter. That said, I need to look at marketing materials. I have a couple of places I’ve used, but I like to have a wide variety, especially since many of the online resources do good sales.

As a side note – I finished my NOVEL! Now it’s time to activate the site for the novel and all things related to it. So this becomes a priority, as well as  my digital work initially for art, and to that end I am looking at some new ways to market. What’s nice is I am planning that whatever print materials I need, I will need them for both the book and the artwork. So I’ve been searching the web looking for sites that offer printing. I stumbled on this one today, and I want to put it out there for you to check out. Sometimes it just helps to have back-ups and new sites to use. Printing Peach(http://printingpeach.ca/flyer-printing/) is both in the US and Canada, so that is nice, given we will be two hours from the Canadian border! Check it out and let me know what you think, especially if you’ve used them! Here’s a sample of what they’ll do:Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 2.19.38 PM

Concerning the digital work, one of the “must-do’s” before we completely pack up is get a new external hard drive to back up this computer, especially since the hard drive program I had for the old computer (3 years ago….) won’t work with this one. So along with have the Apple Store wipe the hard drive tomorrow, I’m picking up 1 terabyte of memory….who knew? I/m going that large because of all the digital work I’ve done so far, and all the photos, and all the many layers of work – you get the idea. The digital piece is going to become important, so I don’t want to lose anything.

It is a glorious day today in the desert Southwest, much like June in Vermont. We are prepared for the snow and cold of January, but there are so many advantages to moving back to a more rational state. The politics of Arizona – and the dwindling water supplies – do not make this a sustainable state. Plus, we’re both New Englanders at heart, and I really want to walk the Atlantic coast again. So let the packing begin!!

Monday Marketing (yeah, I know, I’m late……)

Last week I received a post card as a thank you from Alyson Stanfield – who runs the ArtBizBlog – an essential for your marketing information. This was a hand-written thank-you as a result of an article I wrote for Handmadeology that mentioned Alyson as a source for goal-setting information. I felt like I was appreciated.

This is what we have to do for our customers. Make them feel appreciated. I have a postcard that gets included with every order. The front is a piece of artwork, and the back is all the information about Marble-T Design: website, blog, Facebook, and an invitation to sign up for the newsletter, plus, a hand-written “thank you” for their business.

 This particular article by Alyson looks at a greeting card business – which I think many artists do, as a way of getting more mileage out of their art. But Alyson has a really neat idea: offer to send a card for a new subscriber to someone. You use one of your cards, the new subscriber provides the recipient’s name, address, and a brief greeting, and you do the rest. Love the idea. I also want you to read the comments on this post, because they mention a couple of caveats if you are going to do this….time limit, etc.

What ideas do you have for a type of give-away for new subscribers to your newsletter? We offer a drawing each month to receive free marbled fabric, but I’m not sure it’s enough to get new subscribers. I’m thinking of combining all my organizing posts into an ebook and offer that free to new subscribers, but I would REALLY like to hear from others as to what you do.

 

Monday Marketing

Artist’s date with hubby for a couple of days up in glorious Sedona. Taking pictures of texture in the land and rock, visiting our favorite galleries throughout the area, and enjoying being chilly for a change! Will report on new things when we return in time for Thanksgiving with our second family. In the meantime, pics of beautiful Sedona (all taken from Google Images for Sedona):

(Love the Serpinski Triangle in he lower right!)

Monday Marketing

 

 It’s been a busy month of completing a lot of loose ends, especially in getting ready for the holiday season. But I am always on the outlook for great ideas for and about marketing. Ask Harriete has had an interesting series on displays for windows and booths – lots of great ideas to enjoy – as well as think about what could work for your own purposes. Window Dressing for Booth Display – fascinating ideas for setting up displays.  Made with pencils, and there is a video to go along with the photo as to how the booth was constructed. Who knew hangars could look so cool?

A fascinating TED talk on Collaborative Consumption – lots of food for thought……Would love to open a dialogue with folks about some of these ideas.

In the meantime, getting the Etsy shop loaded with fabrics in preparation for a 50 percent off sale on Cyber Monday. Promotesy (from the folks at Handmadeology) is a great tool for scheduling and marketing posts and items. And you really can’t beat $5 a month. The biggest marketing task has been a total makeover of the website, which has kind of sat idle for a couple of years, as the blog and Facebook page moved to the forefront. Lots of major changes on the site: new pages: Testimonials, Snapshots, Patterns, Digital Marbling, Classes and Workshops. Plus, new work is finally up, and the gallery has been seriously updated. Some pages still need writing and pictures, and the order form is getting a makeover, but the site is so much more comprehensive. And….two new domain names….

The domain name has been an interesting issue. We’ve had “marbledfab” since the late 1990s, since “marbledfabrics” was already taken. Hence a play on the words, but we always have to spell it for people. When we got our domain name, e-commerce was still very much in its infancy. It would be several years before domains became the critical component they are now. So we now have two new domains that point to the website (and I actually learned how to do that…): deanandlindamoran.com and MarbleTDesign.com. It’s all about branding and making it easy for folks to find us. We’ll see how it works…and the new business cards will have the new domains on them.

I decided to also add more examples of fabrics and patterns to our fabric page. These are pieces from our “we’ll never sell anything in this folder because it’s so gorgeous” file. These are just a few…..

Ideas to share? Pas them along!

Monday Marketing

So it is the end of Monday, and I am slowly getting things done in marketing. The last two weeks haven’t been incredibly productive – things have gotten done if they have had definite deadlines. Otherwise I have been plodding along, thinking about things to do, but that’s as far as it went. Which is why this article from Dumb Little Man hit home. Sometimes it just seems like there is a huge roadblock in your way – in this case, an icebereg.

“Icebergs can be deceiving, because what you see above water level is only the visible part of it. However, in some cases the iceberg could be a huge ice mountain, where the majority of its size is hidden underwater. Do you now see the connection between a iceberg and those certain types of tasks on your to do list? The task may look insignificant outside, but there is so much more to it than you think. It’s the hidden part that fools us into underestimating a task and promises an unrealistic optimistic timetable for finishing it.”

I think making my lists sometimes turns into an iceberg….I am still playing catch-up with to-do’s from four weeks ago.

To balance this article is another one from Dumb Little Man about balance.

4. Give yourself mini-breaks whenever you can.

8. Allow yourself the freedom to say “no.”

So I’m considering the last two weeks a mini-break….that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Monday Marketing

  A definitely busy week! I’ve been list-making for four weeks now, trying to keep track of everything that HAS to be done, NEEDS to be done, and WANTS to get done! I finally had to admit that I can’t take the Craftsy class with Cindy Needham I want until after the first of the year, because there are too many things going on that need to be finished up by the beginning of December.

Etsy has been selling well, and we need to get a LOT more fat quarters done and in the shop. The website should undergo some major revisions this week, and I’ll finish all the little cosmetic things I still need to do….pictures, descriptions, order form…..I get REALLY picky when it comes to having every possible loose end covered. EBay has also finally picked up, after a nonexistent summer. And we need more remnants for that site.

Craft Gossip ran our tutorial, and the number of newsletter subscriptions jumped. The newsletter will be going out on Sunday this month – trying a new delivery date to see if the “open ratio” is better. We have a guest post with C&T Publishing on Friday, full of pictures using marbled fabrics in quilts, both contemporary and traditional. Still have a few things to finish up on that post. We had an inquiry from a major magazine about fabric, so we worked on samples over the weekend and will get them in the mail tomorrow, along with notes about the fabrics.

Finally got a thread order done, and I should have a bunch of new threads for a couple of new projects by Friday. I need to put the binding on my bed stand runner, as the quilting is done for this month’s free motion challenge. I need to do another blog post for Handmadeology, this time on the importance of having product available whenever you do a demo. Might seem like basic knowledge, but we did a lot of years of demos without bringing anything to sell!

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