Last weekend I was at a dinner party listening to a man tell me how he was, in his words, a “budget-conscious dog owner.” I was questioning him intensely about what this meant: when did he skimp on the dog? What illness was too expensive for the penny-pinching-poodle owner? And was there ever an awkward moment when he had to shake his head slowly at the vet, denying Fido a $2000 surgery? The scene took another turn away from rich comedy-potential when he began questioning me about how Redbubble works, and more specifically, how profiles and portfolios work. He began asking me what made a Redbubble portfolio “do well.” I thought I would share the relevant bits of this conversation I had with a man that will not be guilted into paying for epilepsy medication for his dog and give you some tips about how to make your portfolio better and more successful.
1. Explain What Makes You Unique
This is one of the hardest and most frequently overlooked jobs as a Redbubbler: asking yourself what is unique, different, or vibrant about your artwork. Who is your audience? What sets you apart from other artists? What niche do you thrive in? What background or area of expertise do you bring to art making?
The great thing about this is that it’s purely subjective so there are no wrong answers. Try and do this alone and reflect on how your artwork is different from everyone else. Once you can identify what you do that is special, or brilliant combination of a number of things that makes you distinctive, then you can begin to apply this idea of what you do to other areas of your Redbubble portfolio.
For more help: Open Discussion: Share Your Signature Artwork for lots of great examples and inspiration.
2. Write a Great Bio
This is a great easy place to start. Whip open your computer and revamp your biography. Here’s what to do to write a good bio:
– Introduce yourself with your name and vague-ish location
– Provide info about you do and what you love
– Do not include your life journey into artistic awakening
– Keep it short
Workshop your bio hard. Email it to friends and other artists. Bubblemail other artists you respect and ask for their feedback. Look around Redbubble at portfolios you are inspired and excited by and see how others use their bios. Often your bio is the first point of contact visitors have to gain any insight into your personal brand. Often they’ve landed on one specific artwork and are seeking out more information about you. Sharing a snappy bio with visitors is crucial on Redbubble.
3. Re-vamp Your Portfolio
Place artworks across the top of your portfolio page that you are most proud of and speak to the work that you make.
This along with a handful of collections make for a welcoming, and engaging portfolio. Self-curating indicates that you care about your work and suggests that your visitors should too. Take the time to select the artworks on the top of your portfolio page and carefully curate your collections. And don’t be afraid to opt-out and hide work from your portfolio. If you have oodles (pages and pages) of similar images that are about similar subjects, try and weed out the strongest couple of works. Less is more and it can really work to your advantage.
4. Dive Into Redbubble
This is the easiest step as you’re probably already doing this if you’re reading the blog. Use collections, link to social media, and read up on self-promotion. Subscribe to the blog and join our Open Discussions. It’s easy to spot artists that are engaged with the Redbubble community in their involvement with groups and a stockpile of favorite artworks.
This is an important step to lay the foundations of your Redbubble-house-portfolio.
5. Speak to Customers
If someone leaves you comments after buying a product, try and learn from their short note of thanks. Do they like your characters or colors? Is it your tees that are more popular than your illustrations? Get customer feedback as much as you can and consider the comments in your portfolio.
Another strategy is when you hear anyone show interest in your work, from compliments to questions, follow up and ask them why they’re interested in your work. Testing out how people respond to your work and following up with why they respond is a way to cut out much of the wondering about what people think of your work.
If you’re after one thing to do that will expedite your turn into further-awesomeness, asking your customers and supporters why they dig your work is a fundamental place to start.
For more help: Self-Promotion for Artists: Recognition for Your Buyers
6. Diversify Your Product Range
Ensure that your designs are available on a range of our RB goods. Make sure your designs are putting their best feet forward by checking their placements on various products and adjusting as needed.
7. Reflect On Your Pricing
Consider your pricing markup. If your pricing has been the same for a number of years, ask yourself why. Does it work for you with consistent sales? Or are you really charging enough, or too much and excluding a part of your audience? If in doubt, our standard markup is a great place to start, but this is an entirely personal decision. Try and consider how much you charge for other similar works or jobs offline and consider your experience carefully.
For more help: Retail & Base prices
8. Have a Social Media Plan
I heard a big literature publisher say recently that they wished authors would only use social media if they could maintain it. This is a good thing to consider — construct a social media plan (always have a plan) that ensures your social media presence is controlled and consistent. Choose a handful of networks you enjoy using and stick to them like glue. Twitter, Behance & FB are more than enough to set up a social media sharing dashboard to pre-plan your posts. Some people might tell you that to be a successful artist you need to be tweeting 2 to 3 times an hour. Those people are the worst. Check in every day or so, or whenever you like, but stay consistent.