Mistakes. I’ve made a lot. I’ve witnessed even more.
I own two businesses and work with hundreds of others so I’m familiar with many species of mistake. The trickiest are ones artists don’t even know they’re making.
They’re like invisible porcupines.
They spike you and trip you up but when you turn around to see what’s causing it, there’s only the faint scent of pine needles.
Here are five easily fixable wholesale mistakes you can fix right away.
1. Don’t be on more than one social media platform.
Unless you have the time and money to ace them all, choose one and do it well.
Not having to post on multiple platforms every day will lead to a happier you, trust me. It’ll get quieter inside your head and you’ll have less to do each week.
Customers don’t care how many platforms you’re on. If they buy your work, it’s not because of your 93 followers on Twitter, 161 followers on Instagram and Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since the Obama administration.
Pick the one you like best and make a good job of it.
(If you really feel the need to be on more than one, don’t try to be great at them both. Maintain a basic presence on the platform you least enjoy and prioritise the other.)
2. Don’t have dates on your blog.
Customers shouldn’t be able to tell that you last posted a year ago. It makes your business look like a ghost town.
If you’re not posting regularly, consider ditching your blog altogether and going all in on something else, like creating a really good newsletter.
If there’s good stuff on there, spruce up the evergreen material and prune out everything else. Then hide the dates on your articles.
(This usually involves ticking or unticking a box in your website admin. So fast and easy!)
3. Don’t have a terrible website.
We spend a crazy amount of time on the internet. One side effect is that potential customers can spot an out-of-date website in microseconds.
If yours contains pixellated pictures, ancient fonts or it’s not optimised for mobile, they’re going to instantly click away.
4. Don’t send out business emails from a @gmail address.
Customers of all kinds want to feel safe before they buy.
But we can’t just say “Look, if I give you money, will I end up feeling like particularly dim newt who shouldn’t have been allowed a debit card?”
A professional email address is a small sign of your larger professionalism. And professionalism is a way of saying “It’s okay to trust me. I won’t let you down.”
Shelling out a small amount every year for a custom email address isn’t much to pay for that kind of statement.
5. Don’t expect to get customers for free.
We don’t use the word that rhymes with schmarketing at Indie Retail Academy. When artists hear that word, their souls tend to hunker down behind the nearest item of furniture.
Nevertheless, you must have ways of inviting potential customers to amble in your direction, and you must know what to say when they arrive.
If you’re not reinvesting your earnings into making this happen every year, you’re doing it wrong. Because the new customers you need won’t just magically turn up.
That’s why we have plarketing.
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