There are a lot of things you need to think about when you’re getting ready to market your creative talents on-line or in real life (they do go hand in hand!): logos, websites, business cards, blogs, social media… it can be a long list.
But before you start any of that, you need to think about the identity you want to project to the world. I know sometimes the idea of marketing yourself can make a creative person squirm but… this is how you make your living. It is your business – and you have to treat it as one.
I’ve touched a little on this in a past post on naming your business and if you’re in a position to think about your identity before you name your business, I strongly encourage you to do so. If you’re already underway but haven’t thought too much about it, now’s the time to get ‘er done.
target markets… who are they?
I design websites, take photos and write. Big deal. So do a million other people. Fortunately, there are loads of people out there who need those services. But obviously, I’m not going to be a perfect fit for all of them or them me.
You need to ask yourself who your target market is.
- What do they do?
- How old are they?
- How much money do they make?
- Where do they live?
- What are they willing to spend money on?
- What’s important to them?
What do you offer that would interest them?
This is a very important step – so important that it should be part of your business plan (and yes, you should have a business plan – even a rudimentary, one page summary, if you are going into business for yourself). These are the people you want to buy your wares so you need to think about how you will appeal to them.
who am i?
Determining the image you want to project is equal parts appealing to your target market and insuring that you are being true to yourself.
People are multi-faceted – we all have different sides to our personalities but they don’t all need to come through in your company’s identity. However, don’t be something that you’re not – it’s incredibly hard to sustain over time and you won’t be happy trying to keep up a facade. Make sure that your image reflects some part of your personality. If you produce work that is dark and moody, projecting a bright cheery image may not work very well.
put it all together
So will it be classic? Fresh? Fun? Simple? Modern? Funky? Dark? Remember, you are creative and you’re marketing a creative business – that needs to come through. But make sure that the path you choose meshes with the work you are producing. Obviously if you illustrate children’s books, you will be projecting a different image than somebody who does fine art photography. One may have a fun and bright image while the other may be classic and elegant.
Think about the kinds of work you want to do. If you’re a makeup artist who wants to specialize in fashion and editorial work, you will probably want your business identity to reflect an edgier, more current look than if you target the wedding market. You may even want to specialize in an even narrower field – a makeup artist who only does theme weddings!
Think carefully about all of this – it’s an important step in the birth of your business (or rebirth!). Your future marketing and branding will revolve around the identity you are crafting for yourself and is directly tied to the type of clients you wish to attract.
I hope you’re starting to see how all of this is interconnected and that you do need to have a strategy in place. We’ll be looking at branding next time and you’ll see how it’s all coming together!