Monday, November 17, 2008

"Build It and They Will Come"

In the 1989, the movie "Field of Dreams" staring Kevin Costner was a big hit. I'm sure most of you remember it. The movie was about a struggling farmer named Ray, who while walking through the cornfield, hears a voice whisper, "If you build it, he will come." He imagines a baseball field in his cornfield. Annie, his wife, is skeptical but she encourages him to follow his vision.

Ray works on the field for the next couple of days, hoping the old players will come. Neighbors stop along the road to watch and heckle as he plows under the corn. Ray waits and watches all year to see what happens...and nothing happens, leaving Ray dejected and confused.

For many artists today just venturing into the world of internet are in essence building your own "Field of Dreams". There is much to be learned from Ray's experience.

Just as you, Ray had a dream. He plowed up his cornfield and built a regulation size baseball diamond. You ventured into unknown territory and built a website or perhaps a blog. Now you both are waiting for the people to come!

After waiting a year with no results Ray saw he was going to have to get out there and shake some bushes....let people know his "Field of Dreams" existed. You need to do the same.

You say "how do I do this?"'s the short list.

  • Put your web address on every piece of literature, on the back of each original and reproductions...always carry business cards. Talk about your website.
  • Add "text" with every image you post. You need to understand, Google does not read only reads text. Write about your art, and how you created it.
  • Be sure to title each artwork with a keyword rich, descriptive title. "Old Train Depot in Lincoln, Illinois" is a MUCH better title (for search engines and humans) than "Trains #11."
  • Submit your site to Google
  • Use a "Links" page...Ask other artists to EXCHANGE LINKS with you. When you place another artists link on your site it's a free add for them. Why should you advertise for someone who is not advertising for you? This is not personal, it's business.
  • Submit comments to online Art Forums and Blogs
  • Send a the minimum, once a month
  • Start a Blog...Every artist needs a blog. This is absolutely the best traffic driver out there.
  • Blog don't have to write well, just write. Search engines love fresh new material.

Marketing is difficult for most artists. We would rather be in the studio doing our craft. Some well established artists will succeed through the momentum of their art alone, while others will create websites that are only viewed by a few family members and friends.

Many artists are like Ray, in "The Field of Dreams"....They build their websites or blogs and wait to see what happens becoming frustrated and discouraged because no one comes. It doesn't have to be this way. Incorporating just a few things from the list above can change this pattern.

The Internet is just another Cornfield. It is vast and easy to get lost in. There are over 13 million blogs out there at present and over 75 thousand more being added daily. Whether you have a website, a blog, or both...a clear marketing plan is needed to let people know you exist. Marketing is time spent now that will pay off in the future.

As the Movie ends you see Ray and his father playing catch on the "Field of Dreams" and in the distance we see a long line of cars begin approaching the baseball field...people were coming to watch the game.

It took a while, but marketing my website and blog is now a habit...just part of my weekly to do list, part of my thought process. I realized that if I didn't learn how to market my art I was going to end up with a very large private collection of my own personal work! Not a desirable ending.

The three most valuable things I've done to generate traffic are my two blogs, my links page , and my monthly that order. It took some time to get them set up and going and 6-8 weeks to see consistent results as I waited for Google to re-index my site. I'm now experiencing a monthly increase in traffic...both new and repeat visitors. Do they all buy, no...have I had significant sales, yes.

"Build It and They Will Come"...not even in baseball! Ray had to promote his "Field of Dreams". He had to develop an interest and gather his players. THEN THEY CAME and they came from everywhere to see the game!

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
The Extraordinary Pencil...blogspot
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment


Beth said...


I really enjoy reading your blog! You have so much great information for artists. Thank you!


Want to "exchange links?"

Paul said...

"build it and they will spam" lol... sad but true, when you take the opportunity to create a web presence, you also make yourself vulnerable to the scum of the world. Rule number one, don't type your email into webpages but rather, use an image with text that displays it. The most common way your email address is hijacked is by robots that sniff out email text embedded within web pages. Using an image will thwart the ability of automatic identification of your email.

Janelle Goodwin said...

You're the best! Not only is your art amazing, but so is your marketing advice. Thanks so much for spending time, teaching me how to maintain two blogs. And this latest post is most valuable too.

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