If you’re a hard-nosed professional working in a traditional “business” field, you’re likely fairly comfortable with the idea of marketing your services relentlessly, pursuing KPIs, and doing whatever else you can in order to ensure that you’re rising to the top of the pool, with an ever-increasing likelihood of getting one up over the competition.
But those hard-nosed suited-and-booted professionals aren’t the only kinds of people who need to think about marketing, by any means. Many small businesses are run as passion projects by people of an artistic temperament. And among these people, marketing often seems like a betrayal of artistic integrity, in one sense or another.
Of course, there are real problems with that viewpoint, and it doesn’t by any means free people from the practical fact that some degree of marketing is inevitably necessary for success.
Here are a few suggestions on how to reconcile an artistic business with modern marketing.
Focus on the distilled essential feature of marketing — making potentially-interested parties aware of what you offer
One of the reasons why many people are innately turned off the idea of marketing, is that they always envision the most unscrupulous used-car-salesman stereotype of a marketer. Someone who is absolutely shameless and willing to go to any lengths to sell a worthless product. Someone with no integrity, character, or ethics. A sleazebag.
But, at its core, marketing is only really about one simple thing: making potentially-interested parties aware of the ways in which your product or service can benefit them.
Focus on that definition of marketing, and simply do your best to let people know about the benefits of what you offer. Speak from a position of honesty and enthusiasm. No need to be hyperbolic or disingenuous. In fact, it’s much better not to be.
Let the art speak for itself
If you are really invested in an artistic pursuit or hobby — which is highly likely to be the case if you’ve based a whole business around that thing — it all but goes without saying that you see some immense value and beauty in that thing.
The good thing about art — whether in the form of music, dance, graphic design, or architecture — is that it speaks for itself to a large degree. People experience it directly, and those who are going to be moved by it, are.
One of the best ways of marketing your art-based business is, therefore, to let the art speak for itself. Use things like video and photography heavily to promote your work.
Hire trustworthy professionals to handle some of your key marketing tasks
In all business, but perhaps especially in those which are based around some artistic passion, it’s important to focus on your “core competencies” and be willing and able to outsource other tasks to people who have more expertise in managing them.
A website is likely to prove all but invaluable to your business, for example, and cobbling together your own sub-par site on the basis of absolutely no knowledge of web design, is likely to be a bad idea.
By paying a professional website designer to handle this for you, you ensure that your work is presented in the best possible light. If you’re involved in the theatre, for example, a theatre website specialist can really drive home to the audience the value of attending a live performance, rather than going to the cinema.