So here is a process that involves using Google Maps to target local businesses within your area. Of course there are no limits to where your clients can come from, but it’s a good idea to build up a local reputation and many artists will use this route alone as it generates a huge volume of repeat and referral clients.
Many people struggle with how to put themselves within the circles of their potential clients, and this is where you need to have your presence known.
So here are some basic steps that you can use to find, follow and interact with local businesses.
Firstly, head over to Google and Type in your area, for this example we will use Manchester. Once you have done that, you will see the location for Manchester appear on the right. Click on that Image to open Google maps.
Once Google maps is open, you will see on the left an area of information about Manchester in general. At the top you can type in your search term, here I’ve used the word ‘dogs’ but you can run this search many times using different search terms – like pets or cats, or anything to do with your subject matter.
Once you’ve hit return an array of local businesses related to the search term dogs will appear in the list below and you will also see a pin on the map for their location. Here I will select Dogs and Divas Grooming because this is potentially a great lead for finding prospective clients.
When you consider the type of owner who might be in the market for a dog portrait, it’s logical to think that these are also owners who like to pamper their pets. So we need to find out who these people are and where we can interact with them online.
So next, we click on Dogs and Divas to see what information comes up and we get info about opening times etc. What we want to see is if they have a website. Now, not everyone has their website in this section, so if one doesn’t appear, don’t disregard it, just do a search in Google for the business and if they have a website it will bring it up there for you.
But here you can see a link to their business site, so click on that.
So now I am at their website, I’m looking to see what social media presence they have and I can see straight away that they have a FB page with over six thousand likes, so they are clearly very popular. I have a few options here, I can like their page, which I would to keep abreast of any news or events they may be holding. Which is a good way to rub shoulders with business cards on hand and I can also see they have a group.
A group is a more interactive way of communicating with potential customers, so a request to join would be a good idea. Now I might not be allowed to join this group as it says it’s for clients. However, it does also mention it’s a place to share news, gossip, things for sale or free and funnies. So perhaps a message to the admin explaining I am a portrait artist that might be of interest could be good. A promotion of a portrait for a client with a % going to Dogs & Divas or The Dogs Trust charity may be even better.
Next I move on to Instagram to see if they have a presence there too. You may find a link to their Instagram on their website, but in this case I will do a search to have a look.
So it seems that they do indeed have an Instagram account, so let’s click on that to bring up their Instagram page and see how that’s looking on there.
Now, at this point, if you don’t have an Instagram account, I’d suggest you open one because you won’t be able to do the rest of this tutorial otherwise. It’s imperative for your business to have one, as it’s an online gallery of your work and a great place to interact with people. OK, so first let’s make sure we ‘follow’ Dogs and Divas by hitting the follow button on their page and next we want to have a look at who is following them, because this is your target market.
At the top of their page you will see a link to their followers, click on this and you will have a drop down menu of their followers. You’ll see straight away that some of these pet owners love their pooches so much, they have opened an Instagram page for them alone. So let’s click on Franklin The Mini Dapple to see his fabulous little page.
So here we have Franklins page and you can see all his lovely pictures if you scroll down, and I note here that the location is Manchester, which gives me a good indication that he is quite possibly a customer of Dogs and Divas and that his owner might (or might not) be interested in a Dog Portrait.
So the next step would be to click on one of his pictures and leave a like and a comment.
Your hope is that the owner may have a look at your Instagram account and see your fabulous work.
And that is it. And when I say that – I really mean that is it, because here is the really important thing to NEVER forget when using these techniques or social media in general:-
Never ever be pushy, fake or annoying because you will not be doing yourself any favours at all.
Putting yourself out there via Social Media is a privilege and not something you should take advantage of or abuse. You don’t want to be sending people direct messages, posting salesy type posts on their groups or generally being a pain in the butt. You won’t get any business or be thanked for it.
If you are all about sales and have no interest in the people you’re interacting with, then this method is not for you. You’ll only build a good rapport within your niche if you are genuine. If there are posts asking for advice – help out if you can, maybe someone is looking for a recommendation, again – get involved. Your role is to give value first. And if that means you get to look at lovely pics and like them with nothing coming of it, then so be it. You’ve made them happy by liking their post, the rest will happen naturally if it’s meant to be!
And if you happen to be in the Manchester area and your pooch needs pampering, go and look up Dogs and Divas, their reviews are amazing and they offer daycare too!
You can find more posts on How to Build an Art Business here