Red Lemon Club

This is the tumblr blog of Red Lemon Club. Welcome!

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I like nonsense.

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities."

Dr. Seuss

Read more inspiring quotes on RLC here.

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The most important part for me is the art, but to be successful and build a sustainable career you have to put the business first.

Rod Hunt, Chairman Association of Illustrators, taken from Red Lemon Club interview, 2011


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10 Marketing Mistakes That Can Harm You as a Creative Professional

There is a whole host of exciting ways to market the work you have these days, especially on the internet. On the downside, there are many things we do as creatives that are restricting our ability to effectively promote the work we have, which will ultimately lead to greater exposure, more clients and more sales, perhaps even fame.

Here are 10 mistakes you should avoid as a creative freelancer or professional:

1. Not establishing a target market before promoting.

One of the main things that creatives and other freelancers overlook when taking action in attracting new clients and getting their work seen is the importance of knowing who it is that you are producing work for.

If you produce work to please anyone and everyone, with no target market in mind, you will have trouble maintaining high quality, focused work. You will also create too much work for yourself, and you will have difficulties promoting it. If you have no idea who you are promoting to, your strategy of promotion will be aimless, fluffy and ineffective.

You need to decide on a group of people you would be passionate about creating work for. This is the group of people who will come to enjoy and experience your work upon its completion.

2. Ignoring the smaller details on your portfolio sites

A lot of us neglect the smaller details when we go about showcasing what we have produced to share online. This includes providing good high resolution images in your portfolios, having links that work, aligning things properly, avoiding site clutter, and keeping words spelt correctly and sentences grammatically correct.

Attention to these finer details will have an effect on how viewers regard your professionalism and your general care about your own work. This can sometimes be the difference between someone choosing to hire you and someone quickly leaving your portfolio or site.

3. Not being contactable.

I still too often arrive at the personal sites of various creatives and find it hard to find out how to contact those behind the sites. The bare essentials of your online presence are your work being showcased clearly and properly, and a way to be contacted. The latter is often hard to get to, so make it obvious how to be found on the front page of your site/blog.

The best way is to set up a contact form, so that you don’t have to worry about email spammers taking your full email address through your site.

4. Not having a referral policy.

When it comes to attracting referrals as you network and interact with your contacts later on, having an official referral policy in place is one of the best ways you can attract more clients and more work. At least making a point of asking for referrals when dealing with clients is important also.

In the business world, 80% of companies get 70% of their business through word of mouth marketing. This can apply to creative professionals too. You will be surprised how many referrals you can make just by asking, especially when you find referrals for others.

See my previous post on getting referrals for more information on this.

5. Having an unfocused marketing strategy.

It can be easy to lose your way when trying to get the word out about what you do. Sometimes marketing activities don’t happen for weeks and months because there is not strategy in place. It is therefore important to lay out some kind of schedule in a calendar that will help you dedicate some focused marketing time each day or week.

Apart from scheduling a marketing regime in a calendar, there are other ways of creating focus within your marketing strategy. Writing a blog is one way of staying focused and building regular exposure for your own work, for example. Providing updates to a mailing list is another way of staying focused, hugely benefiting your promotional strategy in the process.

6. Not being set up effectively for promotion on social media sites like Facebook.

People’s views on social media appear to be fairly split, with one group seeing the self marketing value of networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and others ignoring it. In either case, it is crucial to get set up effectively on these sites, so that your work and services are promoted in the best ways that they can be. Many people miss out on the opportunity to take advantage.

Sites like Facebook, which attract huge numbers of people every day, come with a range of tools that will help you promote yourself that people are very often unaware of. Many people often overlook the various ways these sites can really help you promote yourself, such as one’s ability to showcase artwork to targeted people, or importing a blog through your wall on Facebook.

7. Not securing the relevant contacts you find.

People visiting your sites and those that you can interact with on social media sites, as well as clients, previous clients, referrals and fans are very valuable to you. For the benefit of your long term marketing success, as well as selling products and selling your services in general, you need to secure these contacts to you so that they are contactable and within your professional network.

This means directing people to your mailing list and making people aware of your social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. With contacts in place in these ways, you are able to maintain visibility in front of them over time, which will help you attract regular work and exposure.

8. Lacking credibility as a professional or expert.

For success as a creative who wants lots of work with great clients, you’ll need to be perceived as credible, likable and trustworthy within your field and within your ever-growing network.

Having a personal brand and giving off the right attitude both contribute to this, but there are a few other important things you need to consider if you want to appear credible and trustworthy, including having a unique domain name for your portfolio site, providing a high quality of service and providing testimonials of your services on your site. Several more ideas are provided in the book.

9. Not maintaining whatever self promotion steps we have already taken.

You might know about and put into action all kinds of successful promotional methods that get your work noticed and contribute to a strong brand. However, without proper maintenance, these efforts will be short lived and you are likely to see success in patches, as opposed to work coming in consistently.

Keeping things automated through delegating tasks is one way of keeping the momentum going and so is keeping a schedule together for posting blog updates, keeping your portfolio fresh and engaging on social networking sites.

Maintenance also includes tweaking, tracking and tuning the various activities you are involved with as part of your promotional strategy. It’s key to get regular feedback from what you are doing so that you know what to work on and improve and so that you know you are on the right track with what you are doing. Google Analytics is an excellent free service for tracking website stats that you can incorporate into your various sites and blogs.

10. Ignoring the importance of appropriate web etiquette on the sites we visit.

Internet etiquette, or ‘netiquette’ in general, is something everyone should be aware of before setting out on a journey of effective self promotion. These are practices used to make the internet experience a pleasant one for everyone you deal with. Often people try to market what they have, and annoy others in the process by being too aggressive and persistent without focusing on developing relationships.

Particularly when you are engaging with social media, where you want to build relationships, you need to communicate with people in a way that is respectful, professional and responsible and appropriate to the site in question.

When promoting a product or service, the old method of directly advertising what you have, has now gone out the window with Web 2.0 (the new phase of collaborative information sharing the internet is now going through). If you forget all else in marketing yourself online, remember this:

Relationship building and rapport come first, promotion comes second.

What does everyone think?

All these issues are addressed in my ebook, ’10 Steps to Powerful Online Self Promotion for Creatives’.

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Simplify Self Promotion by Narrowing Your Target Market

Online self promotion will be a frustrating and overwhelming task if we haven’t already identified a specific target market to direct our focus towards. Many of us try hard to please various markets. The more the better, right, as there are more clients in larger groups? Actually, in doing this, you are likely to lose focus, get confused and get crushed in trying too hard. Make it easier for yourself by focusing on one, single market.

Your target market is the group of people who will come to enjoy and experience your work upon its completion. With a more focused, single group of end-users to think about, you are better able to develop your niche, produce more focused, higher quality work and be aware of who the kinds of people who will hire you are.

Knowing who might hire your services, based on your identified, focused target market will help you a great deal in going about promoting yourself online, because you will be looking for the right people to expose your work to. This might be in building rapport with individuals through social networking, writing online articles for particular audiences, contributing on forums, commenting on blog posts, and so on.

Be aware that the people that hire you (your clients) are not necessarily the same people in your target market. For example, an author (your client) might hire you to produce work aimed at children (your target market). This example demonstrates how having identified a market will point you in the direction of your clients.

Your target market can also be the clients themselves, such as wealthy individuals buying your paintings. In any case, an awareness of a specific group of people to whom you are ultimately directing your creative work towards, is a crucial part of any successful campaign of self promotion.

For the rest of this post, head over to Red Lemon Club.