How One Artist Reached her Market through Extreme Networking

By Carolyn Edlund

How many ways can you connect with your audience?

 

Vicki Boatwright

Vicki Boatright, a Canton, Ohio artist who paints delightful portraits of pets, has mastered the art of communicating and promoting her work through social networking and in person. She presents a wonderful case study of how an artist can get in front of the public, create a buzz and sell to collectors and new friends everywhere.

Her customer base is made up of pet lovers, who purchase prints and originals, or commission portraits of their own pets. In a recent email newsletter, Vicki, who goes under the pseudonym “BZTAT” (Bee-zee-tat), offers readers no less than four opportunities to buy art – custom pet portraits, giclee prints, existing originals of her contemporary pop pet art, or custom murals – in the sidebar alone!

Her colorful images abound in the newsletter, but the main message to subscribers is a very serious one. Vicki is using her artwork to fund a worthy cause. Okey’s Promise is a public art project which brings awareness to the fact that in homes where pets are abused, children are often abused as well. Her Kickstarter campaign is raising funds to paint a mural in several parts which will become a traveling exhibit and produce six highly visible public artworks addressing this issue.

 

Some other ways Vicki is connecting with new purchasers, collectors, and commissions:

– Her image-laden website contains her story, inspirations, videos, paintings for sale, opportunities to buy customer murals, and products featuring images of her work from Zazzle, complete with “buy” button.

– She offers a “referral incentive program,” sending an ACEO to those who refer new customers

Gift certificates are available on her site for easy gift-giving

– She is a motivational speaker and makes a point to attend events to get in front of a live audience, such as BlogPaws.

– Vicki started connecting with followers on Twitter by posting “in-progress” images of her work at #BZTATPTG and on Facebook

– She auctions her paintings on her blog and promotes them on Facebook and Twitter – bids are placed as comments.

– Her feline pets Okey and Brewskie Butt have been personified and have their own facebook pages and twitter accounts, which link back to the BZTAT website

– Brewskie Butt is featured on many of her blog posts, with a story of his world travels. Each post is accompanied by a small drawing of the cat character in a different setting, and is auctioned. Brewskie Butt even has his own blog!

– She has publicized her charity work, and garnered articles on pet sites, such as Catster and Bocci’s Beefs.

– BZTAT maintains a very active Google+ page, focusing on animal welfare and charitable causes.

– She has participated in paint-a-thons for charity as well, and created “interactive” murals with participants at events.

– BZTAT has a YouTube channel with an extensive collection of videos.

How are you making the connection with your fans, your collectors, and your prospective customers? Can you think of more ways to make yourself and your art memorable?

Comments

  1. cute and charming
    my only question is *What is an ACEO?* as you mentioned?

    • Good question! Here is the definition: ACEO stands for “Art Cards, Editions and Originals”. These cards have one main rule – they are 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches – the size of a trading card.
      So Vicki is sending the referrer a small original as a thank you.

  2. I think what Vicki is doing and achieving through her art, reaching young people through charities is amazing, totally inspiring![img]http://www.juleswhitfield.com[/img]

    • I agree – she can be a model for other artists whose work can be publicized the same way . . . interestingly, when speaking with her, she indicated that she has other plans, such as getting a publicist at some point. The ideas are endless!

  3. However, using a difficult to remember pseudonym kind of defeats the purpose of all the PR work.

    Plus – For all the efforts, how much art (in $$$) does she sell in a year? She does a lot of extra PR work, but I do not see any numbers to judge all the effort.

  4. Charles,

    My followers seem to enjoy the pseudonym, and although some mispronounce it, I have found it to be more easily remembered than my real, boring name.

    I don’t share my financial numbers, but I can say that I have sold well over 100 pieces of wall art this year. I am not raking in the dough, but then few start-up entrepreneurs are. I can say that I am selling more artwork than most artists that I know.

    Most art/business coaches will tell you that you need to put 50% of your time into business and marketing and 50% into creating. That balance seems to work for me. Although social media and blogging does have a learning curve, you eventually get to a point where it just gets blended into the other things that you do in your day. It becomes second nature and not really work.

    For me, the effort is worth it. Were I not doing it, no one would know me or my work, and I would be drawing for an audience of one.

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