Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Client Shopping

Today I'm not drawing (as much) because I'm client shopping. Essentially what that means is I'm looking for potential clients, and taking down their contact information so I can try to solicit my services to them later on. It's a necessary task for all illustrators at one point or another. In my case, I haven't been marketing myself, and I haven't been getting work, so I badly need to address the situation. One reason I don't market myself more is that it can be very expensive, and it's a gamble. My past experience hasn't been so good. For a year I had subscribed to a pricey contact list that gave me essentially any email or postal address I could want in the publishing, advertising, or music industry. I sent out lots of email blasts, and one postcard mailer, and after all was said and done I only got one job, which was nice, but the payment for that gig was not nearly enough to cover the costs. Most people would say that I need to do many more mailers, but they cost about $200 every time, mostly because of the postage. Email blasts only have a small percentage of success. If you have a service for mass emails, you actually get some analytics back about how many people opened the email, who they are, and how many clicked through, meaning that they clicked a link to your website. I noticed a spike in visitors to my site every time I sent one out, but still no work. I'm also on Altpick and theispot.com, both of which have not brought me work personally, in spite of other illustrators I know swearing my them. What to make of all of this? Well, I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what it is. Thousands of people see my work every day through the various websites I'm on, and still nothing. The only thing I can think of at this point is that my work must not be very good, and that seems hard to believe considering a lot of other encouraging things that have happened over the course of my career. When I was doing my senior thesis portfolio revue, I remember Shawn Barber told me "All you have to do is get this in front of people." Sadly, that didn't work out, and it's left me pondering what I'm doing that is not appealing to potential clients.

So what's next? Cold calls. The last thing I ever wanted to do, and who would? It's basically focused telemarketing, and I'm not a good salesman. On top of cold calls, I need to try to meet more people in person and show them my work. I might not get any jobs this way, but maybe I can find an art director who will be honest enough to tell me why I'm not getting hired more often.

On that note, I'm available for work of all kinds, and will be happy to talk to anyone who would like to purchase my services. I'm specifically looking for book cover work, posters, and editorial, but I'm open to record covers, tattoos, dog portraits, covering your dish-washing shift, whatever! No graphic novels though, sorry. Send me an email or give me a call if you've got a project for me.

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