Powerful Tools for Arts Entrepreneurs

Today’s arts entrepreneurs now have the potential to develop and communicate with an audience that is pieced together, representing cultures across the globe. One may develop a pocket of interest in Canada, while at the same time having a loyal audience in Kenya, while having one’s base in the U.S. And so it goes, the arts entrepreneur pieces their audience together from many places of the globe.

When the arts entrepreneur has a monetary component to their website (selling products, signed prints, whatever else the arts entrepreneur is able to offer as value for cash), they have the potential to garner funds from across the globe. www.etsy.com enables crafty individuals to feature their hand-crafted creations to an audience that is interested in unique design.

An international audience now serves as one’s potential support base or customers. We see the phenomenon clearly represented on www.ebay.com. When my family and I were living in Norway, developing TITAN Teaterakademi, we very often purchased goods from abroad, due to local lack of availability or because we had the interest. The fact that it originated from abroad, was often a bonus. Many people around the world hunger for goods, services, art and information, regardless of where it is from. As long as their are open shipping channels and the product can legally pass through customs, one has the potential to sell, distribute, share and communicate with a world-wide audience. This is evidenced in the case of blogging as well, a process costing not more than your time and effort. However unique, bizarre or specially tailored one’s artistic creations may be, I guarantee there is an audience on our planet, which at the time of this writing has a rough population of around 7 billion people.

This post assumes that every artist knows they need their own website today. There are a ton of online site-building platforms that are either free or low cost, while simultaneously offering a range of powerful tools for professional looking sites. Check out www.wix.com and www.wordpress.com for two examples of countless such services that are popping up on the web.

Here are some tools that will enable you, as an arts entrepreneur, to begin communicating with and building your audience.

  1. www.mailchimp.com  This is a more or less free Newsletter service. Mailchimp.com enables one to organize and send out Newsletters to their audience, to keep them informed. One of the cool features of this product is its extensive and detailed tracking capabilities. See who is and is not interested in your Newsletter. Who clicks once and who clicks seven times? What are they specifically clicking on? This is valuable information, as one can see where their true fans are and what they are most interested in about what you are offering or doing.
  2. www.wordpress.com Though there are many free blogging platforms available on the web, WordPress is robust, does well in Google search rankings and has become an industry standard. Communicate your specific thoughts, develop tags to be found, organize your thoughts into categories. With a simple plugin, understand where your audience is located and what they are interested in most on your blog. Give them content for free and update often so that they return and eventually share your content. This interaction and communication can help lead an artist towards discovering their voice.
  3. www.bluehost.com is one of a large number of services that offer cost-effective web hosting. Bluehost, at the time of this writing, offers a wide range of bonus features and special offers for their low cost membership.
  4. www.godaddy.com offers cost-effective domain registration, enabling you to grab that domain address which will help communicate your brand.
  5. www.facebook.com is a seemingly obvious platform. However, it is extremely powerful as a communication tool. This, combined with www.twitter.com, one has the potential to attract like-minds from around the globe and interact directly with them. Remember to always create content of value. Communicate with those who interact with you and update content often, always for free and with the hope that it will be shared. As an example of the power of Facebook and Twitter, consider their roles in the Arab Spring and the bringing down regimes of oppression. Ex. Egypt.
  6. www.youtube.com offers the possibility of creating a youtube channel. Create a lot of video content? Youtube enables one to organize that content into a “TV channel”, enabling people to subscribe to your channel, then receiving updated content in their inbox. Remember to update content often and maintain quality content, always.
  7. Podcasting through common platforms such as Garageband, which is offered as standard installed software on all new Macs and have been for some time, offer one the potential to create podcasts. Podcasts, typically short-ish, have the potential to be subscribed to through platforms such as iTunes, enabling an audience to take your message or program on the go and listen to it while…say…jogging or while doing dishes. What is podcasting? Typically created either as stand alone audio or through video, podcasts can be created in any number of ways. Still images can be used in sync with voiceover. Podcasts give the creator the potential to create all sorts of audio recordings, lectures, radio broadcasts or an online TV channel. Only limited by your imagination and your access to tools like Garageband and iWeb (technology not at all exclusive to Apple) and other free online applications, podcasting offers creative people a powerful tool of communication that is sometimes difficult to achieve on the platform of youtube alone. Create quality content and then submit this content to iTunes to enable a vast audience the possibility of hearing/viewing your podcast and then subscribing.
  8. Into Self Publishing? Check out www.lulu.com. This handy online service enables an author to print on demand. This means that an author who chooses to self publish no longer needs to have a basement full of books, which is risky, as they may not sell. With Lulu, as your book is purchased, it is printed and shipped. Even cooler, the author controls the lion’s share of profits and receives a book code, enabling the author’s books to appear through vehicles such as www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. Books can be updated over time, enabling new releases to launch. Once your book is ready to print, your audience will be the first group you contact, perhaps after family.
  9. Need an online gallery to distribute your work? Submit your work to www.saatchionline.com.
  10. Collect data and understand your business better by encouraging your audience to submit information on forms. Through popular websites such as www.wufoo.com, an arts entrepreneur can gather unique information about their customers, including detailed contact information, questionnaires and a wide array of other potential uses.
  11. I’ve said that every artist needs their own website. www.wix.com offers an easy to use and attractive website building tool, which enables the user to choose from templates and to drag and drop. Want to do domain transferring so that your wix site will not have “wix” in the title, spend the small fee to have your own domain listed and have your hosting provider assist with domain transferring. This will enable you to have your personal domain address on your wix-generated (or other similar vehicle) website. Other remarkable platforms include iWeb and WordPress, just to name a couple of tons.
  12. Apple Computers. I want to feature iWeb for a moment, as Apple has done a remarkable job of designing a robust series of tools, which work well together. iTunes, iWeb, iPhoto, Garageband, iMovie. These standard tools are each remarkable in their own right, but when used together in the process of creating content for the applications mentioned above, the creative suite on Apple computers is remarkable. It is no wonder Apple has now become the wealthiest company in the world. It is because their product is so valuable.
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