So, you have a creative business. You’re confident in your work. You may have a website. You’ve got all the social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) for your business and you feel like you’re all set. BUT. The saying “If you build it, they will come” is turning out to be very untrue for you, and you don’t know why.
This post is all about helping you promote your work. The hard part about working for yourself is that you have to be the artist, social media manager, accountant, project manager and marketer, all in one. It can be so stressful. Whether you’re a designer, photographer, blogger, painter, illustrator, etc., there are ways to promote your business online.
Setup your business website
If you do not have a website for your business, you should set one up as soon as possible! Your website is your home on the web, and central of all your online communications. It is very important. If you are looking to get a website up in a hurry and/or you’re on a tight budget, I recommend setting one up with Blogger, Tumblr or Squarespace, depending on what you need. You can use my tips for purchasing a new domain name. If you do already have a website or if you’re looking for a more professional solution, I recommend WordPress. Your website should also be clean, professional and well-designed. I can help with that! There are also tons of other amazing designers out there, as well as lots of themes online to choose from.
Promote your business, showcase your work, and display your passion through blogging. Not sure what to write about? Well, I’m sure that your creative business is your passion, so start with that. Post about what you’re working on. If you’re not working on anything, then make up your own projects to work on so that you have something to showcase. Share with people the things you’ve learned and the things you want to learn about. Think about ways you can help other people in your industry and try to use your blog to do that. This is your passion! Your dream! You should have lots to say, and if you don’t, try doing some research. Don’t worry so much about what people think. I think consistency is the key here.
Get involved in social media
You have your Facebook and Twitter, but are you taking time to really engage your followers and talk with other bloggers and people in your industry? This has been a BIG help for me. I’ve found that you can have tons of followers, but that means nothing if you haven’t really taken the time to get to know them, and vice versa. Don’t forget Pinterest! Pinterest is really important for those of us in creative business. Try posting more about things that relate to your business, and make sure you use tags. Also, make sure the link to your website is in all of your social media profiles.
Try direct advertising
You can use advertising networks like Google Adwords to target potential customers. But what if you’re on a tighter budget? Advertising online doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. For example, I know of a blog that receives 22,000 monthly page views, yet a small banner ad starts at only $10 a month. That is CHEAP, considering the fact that you are advertising to a more targeted audience on a really awesome and popular blog. I know money can be tight when you are just starting your business, but if you save or try to cut back on something, you can come up with the money to advertise for a few months.
Do some online networking
Try joining a Facebook group or a forum/message board. Try reading blogs from other people in your industry, and engage with them and other readers through commenting. Another thing to try is building a relationship with someone you look up to or that you admire. Reach out to them by email or social media and just talk. Nesha at Betty Red Design wrote a great article about creating a support group. Basically, you create a circle of like-minded people so that you can all talk and relate to each other.
These are just a few things you can do online! There are many more, plus there are lots of things you can do offline. Keep checking back for a follow up post.