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September 2013



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Marketing your art--little things mean a lot

Don’t over look the little stuff!

I know it sounds like a small thing, or perhaps more trouble than it's worth, but if you belong to any email or discussion groups or forums, or if you respond to business emails, use your sig line as consistently as you can when you post.

By that I mean add any pertinent live links–your website, blog, CafePress or Etsy store, etc. below your name. Make it EASY for people to find you.

This is more important than it seems. It’s not too likely prospective buyers or clients will take the time to go searching the archives of a discussion list in the off chance you may have put your website on one of your posts. People are busy–be professional and considerate and make your website or other contact information easily available. If not every time, then often.

I learned that years ago, on both the AJMarketing list I’ve mentioned before, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AJmarketing/, which I've inherited from list founder Aisling d'Art, and from the Botanical Arts list’s founder, Cynthia Padilla.

Cynthia is terrifically generous and helpful–not to mention knowledgeable about marketing. (That list is here, by the way: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/botanicalartYahoo –if you have an interest in botanical art, nature, flowers, gardening, nature photography, whatever, you may want to check it out.)

I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they found me by clicking on one of the links in my sig! It’s led directly to new students, buyers for my paintings, commissions, and commercial work–I was surprised, too, but a little thing like this DOES help build not only an online presence, but credibility.

Most email programs have an easy way to add that signature block–in Outlook Express, which I use, you just go to Tools, then Options, then Signatures, and create what you want to say. It will automatically add it to any NEW posts that you generate, but I usually choose to go in and add it manually if I’m responding to someone else.

To manually add a sig to an email I’m responding to, I hit Insert at the top of the post’s window, then signature, and pick which one I want to use. Bingo!

Actually, you can set your email program to add your sig to ANY email, whether new or one you're responding to, but it puts it at the top of the post. I prefer not to leave what I’m answering dangling at the bottom. ;-)

Unfortunately, if you’re responding from a website, like one of the Yahoo or Google groups, you’ll have to cut and paste your sig lines yourself, but really, it’s worth it. Remember, you're making it easy for people to find you, and if you hope to sell your work or market your art services, you want them to do that!

Keep it professional, and do try to avoid overkill.

I try NOT to have a whole encyclopedia dangling under my name (that can be irritating if people get email in digest form and have to scroll through too much), but I’ll admit I go in so many directions and try so many different things, it’s hard not to!

To attempt to solve that overkill problem, I have several different sigs I use when the occasion demands. When I’m doing my online classes, there are links to those sites. When I’m writing my eBay lists, I have my eBay I.D.s and not a lot more.

What you’ll normally see at the end of one of my posts is this:

Kate (Cathy Johnson) kate@cathyjohnson.info
NEW-Original Art: http://cathyjohnsonart.blogspot.com/
Artists' CDs & More: http://www.cafepress.com/cathy_johnson/
Art & Tutorials: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathy-johnson/
YouTube slideshows: http://au.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube
Artist's Blog: http://katequicksilvr.livejournal.com/

And yes, it IS a lot. But each one of those places offers information, and may appeal to a different need. (I tried to figure out how to do a live link (like just saying "YouTube slideshows") without the whole URL, but it doesn’t seem to be possible, in Outlook Express, anyway...)

No need to take my word for it, of course! Alyson Stanfield stresses this in her terrific Art Biz Coach website at http://artbizcoach.com/index.htm, mentioned here before (catch up with Alyson on Facebook, too!). Constance Smith and Susan F. Greaves encourage using the automatic signatures in their book,
Internet 101 for Artists, Second Edition: With a Special Guide to Selling Art on eBay

The book is not only for eBay sellers, however! (I’ve done fairly well with my eBay gallery at http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/cathyjohnsonart though now I tend to use the new Fine Arts Gallery blog rather than eBay for selling most of my original art.)  There's plenty of good advice for finding your way around the 'net.  You don't have to be a computer genius...most of these tools are easy.  Just take it a step at a time, and pay attention to the small stuff.

Be aware that some sites limit how many lines you can use in your signature block--for those places, you can create a dedicated sig--it takes only a second or two to add it to your post.

Take the time to make your links live, too...people like being able to click on it and go right there.  Again, you're being considerate and recognizing that everyone is busy.  So rather than saying artbizcoach.com, or simply telling the name of your blog--mine is katequicksilvr--give them a way to get there in a flash (even with dial-up, it's quicker than expecting them to add the http:// and so forth...

When Aisling d'Art first told us about adding that sig line, I was a little skeptical...but I'm here to tell you--and her--it works, and thank you!

(And of course, as usual, this applies to more than art--if you're a musician, an actor, a writer, or a plumber, people need to find you quickly and easily--there's a lot of choices out there, make it easy and desirable to choose you!)


The graphic at top is the banner a friend designed for my fine arts gallery on eBay, at stores.ebay.com/Cathy-Johnson-Fine-Art-Galleries--I may change it so it matches my other fine art banners, but I do love it so want to get a little more mileage out of it!


I use a very simple email sig:


I sometimes add " Ford" after my first name. The benefit is that my URL leads to a simple website front page that has most of my other links on it (and I try to keep it up to date) and no sow-loading graphics - so that it is easy to load on mobile phones and other slow computers! ;-p

I also use a program on my macs called TextExpander that I use to save a lot of text clips (like alternate sigs and frequently used HTML) for pasting into emails, LJ and other applications/sites. I am not sure whether there is something similar for Windows but there may be.

Edited at 2008-12-30 11:05 am (UTC)
That's a good idea, Natalie! I do have most of the links on the front page of my website at http://cathyjohnson.info, but I'm afraid you have to dig a bit to find them. Sounds like your solution makes that easy...

I DO want people to know when I'm giving classes and where, and that I now have paintings for sale in the new gallery blog--so I'm walking that tightrope between too much info and not enough! ;-)

Edited at 2008-12-30 03:13 pm (UTC)
Natalie, just clicked on your link! (I know, I should have done that before, but my cold is making my brain not work all that well...) It does the job for you, good for you!