If you're like most creative individuals you really don't have much interest in marketing and sales -- but you should IF you hope to realize the greatest profits for your creative efforts.
Whether we like it or not, our work makes the most sense when it gets into the hands of people who need and appreciate it. To accomplish that we need to market ourselves and our work.
Even if we choose to hire others to broker our services (publishers and agents) we need to understand the basic concepts of marketing. We need to understand the work of the people we hire to promote us and we need to understand the market place well enough to focus our creative energies to satisfying the needs and wants of the buying public. How else can we produce the kinds of artistic products that the buying public will purchase...how else can earn the money we need to keep body and soul together and continue to create?
There's even more urgency for those of us who are actively working to create web sites and other marketing materials to understand the market.
In an effort to stay abreast of today's incredibly complex market, let's consider the basics of marketing.
Why do people buy anything? Contrary to popular belief, we generally don't buy what we need and what is good for us ... rather we buy what we cannot live without. We buy to satisfy some inner drive that needs to be filled. That's why when we're hungry, we don't just purchase any food that will fill our bellies. Think about it, when you get hungry, you could just grab the first thing you find in the refrigerator ... anything that will satisfy the hunger pangs. But, no. Most likely, you stop to think ... Do I want sweet? salty? crunchy? exotic? Maybe, I want to go out to eat and (hopefully) meet someone? Or, maybe, I want something that will help me curb my appetite while allowing me to watch my spreading waistline? Ultimately we look for that one item (or combination) that will satisfy underlying needs above and beyond just satisfying our hunger.
So, when we expend our energy and resources to create a new product -- whether it be a book, painting, music or whatever -- we need to stop and think. What underlying need or craving will this product satisfy for someone. What can I infuse this product with that will be so compelling that a buyer won't be able to pass it up?
Once we've identified the need and have defined the product or service we're offering to fill that need we need to define just how we're going to get our product or service into the hands of the people who need it...our chosen market. This is where Promotion comes in. There's all sorts of programs, theories and marketing formulas out there that we can follow. Some are better than others. If you're pretty much an introvert or if you just can't - or won't - take the time needed to do this step, you're going to have a difficult time of developing your business. But this process, while time consuming, doesn't have to be difficult.
It can be as easy as:
There's just no end to promotional things you can do. Some will be marketing or sales activities, like placing ads but your best bet is to focus on public relations -- the things you do to build relationships. These are the activities where you give first, work on developing credibility and recognition and let the buying public discover that you're the expert that they want to work with.
You don't need to make it complicated. In fact, it's much better to do many small things to remind your customers that you are interested in them than to plan one gala expensive shindig a year and avoid the phone the rest of the year. Two of the very easiest, least time consuming tools today include Autoresponders and electronic postcards / greeting cards. Just remember it's the little things done consistently that count.