Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Adventures in Advertising: Part I

In the last couple of months, I’ve been involved in the business of promoting my artistic skills. Advertising is new to me, so research was needed in order for this to be a success. One of the ideas mentioned was to find a local business owner, and offer a free portrait in exchange for displaying the completed work. Although I’ve read conflicting thoughts on this marketing strategy, I thought I’d give this interesting idea a try. After all, who turns down a free portrait?

A frame shop was the perfect place to start, and we have a nice one in our small town that boasts of having works done by Louisiana artists. Perfect! My presentation was very important—this was not unlike a job interview. My personal appearance was professional, my business cards were at hand and my portfolio was ready. The image on the right is one of the paintings featured. I speak to the general public on a regular basis, so I was only slightly nervous.

Well, I gave my presentation to the owner and was shot down approximately 5 seconds later! Reason being: The shop has no insurance for that. I explained that the portrait would belong to the owner and therefore did not need to be insured unless desired. I was told “no” again. Reason being: If the shop owner did it for me, they’d have to do it for everyone. WHAT?! That’s ridiculous! If you own a frame shop in a small town, especially if you advertise LA artists, why not support the local artists? I didn’t understand, and frankly, I still don’t. Needless to say, I politely thanked the shop owner for their time, and distraught, discouraged and disappointed, I went home.

Being turned down, especially with such a lame excuse really upset me. I tried not to take it personally, but in reality it was personal. That frame shop lost any potential business I would’ve thrown their way, either by the advertised portrait or if a client asked about framing recommendations—which often happens. You can guess who won't be getting my endorsement. More about what happened the next week later. Currently, I’m extremely reluctant to try that particular advertising tactic again. No one likes rejection. What was I going to do now? How was I going to find clients? Who would be interested in having portraits painted? Craigslist ads made a nice jumpstart. I’ve answered a few inquiries and hope that interest climbs. If you’ve seen my ads or have a few marketing suggestions, drop me a line!