The #1 Marketing Mistake Artists Make
It happens with every client whose product is their art. Whether I'm advising on a promotional campaign, revising previously written copy, or advertising a new production, the artist's reason to produce is all too often presented as the audience's reason to care.
This is when I put on my Serious Consultant Face and say, "If you only learn one thing from our work together, it is this: (pause, make eye contact) You must explain why it matters to the audience."
B E N E F I T. This is the word to remember when creating any marketing, from promotional emails to event invitations to fundraising appeals to status updates. Explain to me why this product, this piece, this production, is not just special to you, but why it will be special to me.
When you're marketing, it's not about you. Like it or not, especially in the social media/reality TV age, it's about ME. My status, my tweet, my vote, my opinion. Which translates to: my money, my ticket, my butt in your theater's seat and my name on your company's mailing list.
Your marketing is not a mirror, it's a window. Rather than reflecting on you, any pitching of your product or production must explain to the potential patron why their hard-earned money or precious time should be spent here when there are so many other options out there.
In school, it was enough to expect your friends and family to show up for your shows out of pure love and support for your art. But once you're in the professional performance world, you've got to pitch your audience, not just hang a shingle/put on a show/open an Etsy account and wait for the traffic to roll in.
So roll up your sleeves, artist-preneurs! Let's play a little game of devil's advocate with some common non-reasons and turn them into benefit-laden pitches, shall we?
Give Us Your Vote/Money
It's about you: Vote for us to win this contest / donate to our project at this link!
(Potential Audience, Still Skeptical: Why? What will you do with the money? Why is your cause more worthy than all these others? Am I going to end up on some mailing list?)
It's about them: Thanks to our awesome audience, we're up for Best Company in Town! Can you help us win by taking 15 seconds to vote at Direct Voting Link?
(Motivated Action, Semi-Sold: I'm helpful! And awesome! 15 seconds? That's nothing if it means reinforcing my identity as a helpful and awesome person!)
We're #1! (reference unavailable)
It's about you: Amazing Jewelry is the most amazing jewelry.
(PASS: At that price, it better be amazing. Know what I think is amazing? That jewelry I saw at the mall the other day on sale. At least I've heard of that brand before.)
It's about them: Amazing Jewelry is dedicated to creative design for creative people.
(MASS: Dedication, how admirable! I am pretty creative... I'll click on this link and check out their designs, which I will find creative because a creative person like me recognizes creativity, and will value it accordingly.)
Non-Editorial Process Disclosure, aka, Oz Was Behind a Curtain for a Reason
It's about you: After one year of development, we present: Our Show.
(PASS: Why did it take so long? How long is it supposed to take? Man, if I took a year to do something at my job, I wouldn't have a job. Just sayin'.)
It's about them: Be the first to see Our Show in its limited Our City engagement.
(MASS: Oh yeah, I'm an early adopter. Just check out my iPad! I can't wait to tweet this to all my followers while I check in on Foursquare. I hope I can still get tickets.)
No One Puts Baby in a Corner
It's about you: Unsigned Indie Band is completely original, no-genre music!
(PASS: Eh, this clip sounds like something else I heard once but I don't have the available brain space to connect it to anything I already like. Next.)
It's about them: The progressive orchestration of Arcade Fire meets the ethereal vocals of Florence and the Machine - with a beat you can dance to.
(MASS: Who are these guys, my perfect Pandora station? It's about time someone mashed up two bands I've heard of with an activity I'd like the option to take part in.)
Make sense? So next time you're composing copy intended to persuade, write the love letter to your clientele rather than your art. Infuse it with reasons your target audience will want to become loyal customers and you'll make a connection that inspires action.