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New from Tennessee

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New from Tennessee

Postby artzee » Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:55 am

Hello. I own a small art shop/studio in East Tennessee where I teach drawing and acrylics to all ages. I have been teaching kindergarten for the last few years while trying to run my shop part time. I am not going to be teaching at the school anymore so I can be at the studio full time. I would like to grow an on-line business and need advice.

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Postby Singular » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:50 am

Hello there and welcome. I definitely have some advice to share, being an on-line businessman myself. I think the most important thing for you to do, out side of building a website, is to develop good relationships. Since you are already a part of the school system, it might be easy for you to draft a proposal to the school board in your area for a possible after school or weekend art program for kids.

For the online aspect, relationships must carry over. It is important that find a way to market your programs on other websites that get a lot of traffic and are reputable. It is also important, as I am learning, that your website is not only visually nice, but engineered in a way to optimize it's performance with search engines.

Start gathering your contacts and grow an email list for a newsletter of some sort. This is a very effective way to grow your business and your reach.

If you need to advertise to start, use Craigslist. It's free and you can reach the location and specific crowd that you want. If you have money to spend, choose wisely. Make sure that the site that you advertise with reaches your specific targeted audience and don't spend more thinking it's better. But if you can barter, that's always a good way to get what you need.

What exactly is your online business going to entail?

best regards,
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Grassroots all the way

Postby Sylas » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:06 am

There are a lot of other free forums around too, such as Yahoo Groups, here, Tribe.net, and myspace.com
A good principal in any business is to collect names of anyone even remotely interested in what you offer and create either a snail mail or email list from it. Send out mailings once in a while, announce what you are working on, where you are showing, and new things you are teaching. Maybe even put in a promotion (Mention this mailing and receive 20% off the price of tuition.)
Another good way to get some press is when you show your work, offer the gallery a bio that says you teach, or have something of the sort displayed next to your work.
Have an open studio at your place, with cookies, soda, and a boombox, and have your work displayed, do some demostrations, and maybe designate a table to your business card, list of classes and prices, and bio, resume, artist statement and the like. I rented a space and had a show not too long ago. One of the ways I drew people in to the building was I got a live musician. I put an ad on craigslist (I love craigslist!) for musicians in the genre I was looking for to play. I said I could not afford to pay, but I would allow them to sell their cds/merchandise adn display their resume/bios and the like, in exchange for playing for free. I also described all the advertising I did for the show, and am expecting about 300 people to show.
Also offering to give slide talks at local school art classes, and offering demonstrations of painting in a public place (community gallery), on a heavily trafficked street where lots of people can watch. And hey you can get some painting done!
I am always one for grassroots marketing, because its free, cheap, and usually mutually benifical (educational, helps out the art center, or musician). And it's such a personable approach, it doesn't feel like advertising to the audience, and they wind up being genuinely charmed.
Hope this helps.
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