Over the past year, my shirt addiction has morphed from a hobby of stalking the daily shirt sites, to successfully designing shirts. One of the best feelings in the world is when someone you don’t know compliments your shirt, and you can say, “Thanks, I made it!” But what happens next? Are you letting that person walk away without giving them some means to follow you?
I’ve learned the hard way that it’s too much of a mouthful to tell people to “go to shirt.woot.com and then click ‘all designs’ and then search for ‘BignellArt’ and then sort by best-selling so you get the good shirts first. Simple!” And unfortunately, it’s illegal to jam a fishing hook through their cheek so you can drag them back later when you have new shirts to buy or derby entries to vote on. ~sigh~ This morbid realization demands you build a digital space where people can follow you.
Build a Digital Space
So entrepreneur, how can you keep and maintain followers? You must have a digital something-or-other to point your audience towards. A website, Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter (I think people still use that, right?). Or better yet, all of the above. I’ve even seen some of my fellow artists using Reddit to showcase their work and build a following.
If you’re wondering which platforms are best, ask your followers. You want to meet them where they are. Even if that makes you the cliche 40-year-old trying to learn the latest platform in order to stay relevant.
IRL Followers Count Too
If your goal is to geek out with your followers on a global scale, and make heaps of money while doing it, you need to figure out how to turn all those randoms you meet in the real world, into followers. And for this, a digital presence alone will simply not cut it. Shouting “follow me at facebook.com/BignellArt! I don’t think capitals matter, but try both ways just in case!” as they walk away, will rarely do the trick. You need something physical. Something simple. You need a business card. That’s right, 2019, I said you need a @#%$& business card ! You’re a small business now. And nothing says “business” like a business card. It’s even in the name!
Getting to the ART of the Matter
When thinking of business cards, or anything else for that matter, don’t make the mistake that I did and rush to put something together using an “easy solution” and neglect to SHOWCASE YOUR ART!!! Seriously. It’s embarrassing. People want to see what you can do. Show them. Make sure your art is always front and center, smiling brilliantly in the spotlight. On your site, on your social, on your business cards, on EVERYTHING.
I recently received a letter of encouragement from a prolific, wal mazing artist (maybe you’ve met him?) that was a perfect illustration of what it looks like when your artwork permeates everything you do. It came with stickers, stationery, and buttons pinned to business cards; all showcasing his phenomenal art. Wow. If I didn’t already follow him, you better believe I would after seeing all that. And that’s exactly the reaction you want when someone meets you. In an increasingly digital world, something physical can have a bigger impact.
Bringing It All Together
I realize that for most of us, this whole “shirt” thing is a hobby; something we do as a side-hustle on top of our regular (aka- ‘ boring’ ) lives. But if you’re anything like me, there are undeniable benefits to be gained by taking a brief pause, maybe skipping a derby or two, and taking stock of your presence, both online and in real life.
What can you do to add to the ranks of your online followers? How can you better connect with the actual flesh-and-blood humans you meet? What promotional materials could you create or refresh to tell a more compelling, cohesive story? These kinds of questions will help all of us find new ways to focus on our followers and add to their ranks.
But enough about me. What about you? I’d love to know what kinds of physical or digital means of outreach you tried that were successful.
-SmallBiz w @BignellArt