As an artist, you are completely in control of what you do. It’s probably why you’re an artist, because you want complete control.

I’m going to call that congruency. It’s a good thing.

As a marketer, I push for brand congruency all the time. Ferrari shouldn’t be posting kitten pictures.

And I would push for congruency in your art. If you stand for community, then hell yeah, stand for community.

But here’s where it hurts. Here’s where it holds you back.

When I say “try this” and you go “hold your horses there John, I just have to check all my feelings about that”.

It’s not a conscious thing, it’s your subconscious. Checking your subconscious takes a while. You’re going to need to sit for a bit and wonder how what I’m suggesting fits with everything you stand for.

The thing is, digital marketing comprises thousands of things, each of which takes probably ten minutes. And we’re never going to get down the list this way.


Let’s take my red dot blog.

Maybe the reason why people don’t buy from your website is not that you don’t have a red dot. Maybe it’s that you don’t have a buy now button and all the ecommerce software to handle payments and calculate shipping.

Maybe your website was built by your cousin in the 1950s and it’s been like that forever and now he’s working as a florist in Tijuana and hasn’t got time because of his eight kids and getting in touch to make a change is going to be A Right Faff.

Maybe you don’t have the money to do anything.

Perhaps you don’t fully understand it.

These are all great reasons not to do this 10 minute improvement.

Here’s another. If you sell £12,000 of art a year, maybe this will make 1% difference and that’s only £120 and it’s not worth it and you don’t want to have to think about it and “leave me alone”.

I totally get it. Honestly, I’m the same.

What to do?

I got thinking about the twelve step programme. I’ve never had cause to go on one, but it interests me. Here it is.

Let’s see if we can apply it here.

If you accept that you don’t actually know digital marketing, and it moves so fast you are basically powerless against it.

If you accept that I can bring some sanity to the situation.

And if you hand over control and let me take the wheel ..

.. cripes, that’s scary isn’t it?

Did I just pull some “I am God” shizzle on you?

No, but kinda. Actually, seriously, I’m the least egotistical person ever. So no. I’m not God in this case. But I am someone you can trust who knows stuff you don’t and I can kinda see your future.

All I’m really saying is .. there’s a lot to do and if we’re going to get somewhere, we have to be in a ‘just do it’ frame of mind.

Remember, I’m not just talking with you. I’m talking to lots of other artists. I know the common issues. Some artists are ahead of you, some are behind where you are at.

And the guidance I’m giving, I’ve been doing conscious, ethical, caring marketing for nigh on 40 years, mixing it with my interest in art and society, and now I’m stirring it all up with intense artist interactions every day.

So yes of course, ask your questions to get clarity. There’s no fighting the subconscious, if it’s unhappy you’re unhappy, it doesn’t matter how much logic you throw at it. And absolutely yes to consent everywhere, everytime and always.

I’m just saying .. you can trust me. Default to yes, trust me and trust the process.

It’s too much

You are used to doing everything yourself. Absolutely. In your art.

So thinking about marketing is a distraction from your art. It’s annoying. And you feel you have to know what’s going on.

But this is an opportunity. Call it a trust game. Let go.

You don’t want to be an expert marketer, you want to be an expert artist.

Digital marketing is all about little things. If I have to explain why we are doing everything, we’ll be here forever and you won’t get the results. Do you ask your car repair shop about the air-petrol mixture? Do you need to know exactly how the cat’s medication works? No, you trust to the experts and get on with your life.

Anyway, if you don’t like something we do, it can probably be undone.

So let’s finish with some light recreational maths.

1% improvement every week. It’s cumulative. That means it adds up to more than 52% improvement over a year. If you sell £10k of art a year, it turns into £16,610 after one year, and £27,867 after two years.

But not if you don’t do it. Not if we procrastinate.

We just have to do this stuff.

Why am I helping?

Honestly, while I do know a lot about digital marketing, this is me learning about how people outside of my world view what I do. You’re making me a better marketer. That’s why I’m digging deep. I really want to know what’s holding you back.

Not so you can be rich .. I mean, unless you want to. Many artists just want enough to live on, and that’s fine.

Isn’t the opposite of war supposed to be creativity? Far from the old idea of the struggling artist, isn’t creativity stifled by stress and worry? To be an artist, you have to be somewhat secure and stable, financially. That’s what I’m thinking .. if we can get you regular and confident, you’ve a shot at being the best artist you can be.

2 Responses

  1. I like it! Couldn’t agree more and as an ex-marketeer turned artist I have experienced both sides. I personally find it easy(ish) to market other people’s work, but not my own, which is a weird, frustrating but probably not unusual dynamic. So any advice is gratefully received particularly as I am so out of the digital loop it’s scary. Also I don’t have a website rn, do I still count?

    1. Sure, there’s a lot can be done without a website with social media accounts, Facebook Pages and even Google My Business pushes you to build a website with them. Ultimately though, a website is the core of the whole content marketing system. It’s where you lead people to, and it’s the place where you get them to do what you want them to do .. sign up to your mailing list, buy something, share something, comment.
      So we can definitely do stuff, we can do the coaching calls and there will be plenty of great things to do, but frequently we’ll be saying “really, you need a website but in the absence of that, this is good (but it’s second best)”.
      How about we work out .. what do they call it .. a minimum viable product? In other words we work out what’s the cheapest/fastest way for me to get you a website you can start using.

Leave a Reply