Powerful Tools for Arts Entrepreneurs

Today’s arts entrepreneurs can now build audiences from all across the globe. You can develop a pocket of interest in Canada and a loyal audience in Kenya, while maintaining a base in the United States.

Below are tools that can help you build your global audiences.

1.  Mailchimp This is a more or less free email newsletter service. Mailchimp.com lets you organize and send out newsletters and updates to your audiences, and you can create different mailing lists. Another cool features of this product is the extensive and detailed tracking capabilities. You can see who is and is not interested in your newsletter. Who clicks once and who clicks seven times? What are they specifically clicking on? This is valuable information: You can see where your true fans are and which offerings, programs and activities they are most interested in.

2. Wordpress Though there are many free blogging platforms available on the web, WordPress is robust, does well in Google search rankings and has become an industry standard. Communicate your specific thoughts, develop tags and organize your information into categories. With a simple plugin, you can better understand where your audience is located and what part of your blog content they are most interested in. Give them content for free and update often so that they return and eventually share your content. By delivering content on a regular basis, you’ll learn what content works best for you.  This kind of interaction and communication will help you discover and develop your voice.

3. Bluehost is one of a large number of services offering cost-effective web hosting. At the time of this writing Bluehost provides a range of bonus features and special offers as well as low-cost membership.

4. Godaddy offers cost-effective domain registration, enabling you to grab your unique domain address and establish your brand.

5. Facebook is an extremely powerful communication tool. Combined with Twitter, you have the potential to attract and interact directly with like-minded people from around the globe. Remember to always create content of value. Communicate with those who interact with you and update your content often, always for free and with the hope that it will be shared. As an example of the power of Facebook and Twitter, consider their roles in the Arab Spring; Egypt’s revolution was dubbed the “Facebook Revolution.”

6. Youtube You can create your own YouTube channel that people can subscribe to and receive updated content in their inbox. Remember to update content often and keep up quality content, always.

7. Into self-publishing? Check out Lulu. This handy online service enables an author to print on demand. This means that an author who chooses to self-publish no longer need to have a basement full of books that may or may not sell. With Lulu, when your book is purchased, it prints and is then shipped, saving you the risk of purchasing numerous copies upfront. Even cooler, the author controls the lion’s share of profits and receives a book code (ISBN number), enabling the author’s books to appear through vehicles such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Books can be updated over time, enabling authors to re-release books with updated editions. Once your book is ready to print, your audience will be the first group you contact, perhaps after family.

8.  Need an online gallery to distribute your work? Submit your work to Saatchi.

9.  Collect data and understand your business better by encouraging your audience to submit information on forms. Through popular websites such as Wufoo, arts entrepreneurs can gather unique information about their customers, including detailed contact information, answers to questionnaires and a wide array of other useful data.

10.  For website creation, there are many online platforms available. Wix offers an easy-to-use and attractive website building tool, which enables you to choose from templates and to drag and drop content. Want to do domain transferring so that your Wix site will not have “wix” in the title? Spend a small fee to get your own domain name listed and have your hosting provider assist with domain transferring. This will enable you to have your personal domain address on your Wix-generated (or other similar vehicle) website. Other remarkable platforms include iWeb and WordPress, just to name a couple. One of the great advantages to designing your website via an online platform is that your site can be updated from any Internet connection. Adjust and update on the go!

These are just a few of the many tools available online. See more on the SMU Arts Entrepreneurship Tool Box site.