Why Didn't I Get an Invite to Your Facebook Page?

This site launched on September 7th, 2018. At the time of this writing, roughly two weeks later, the site has had 83 unique visitors and the Facebook page has two followers. I am one of those two followers.

I am very okay with this.

One of my more lofty targets in this endeavor is to help other artists. Many of the blog posts I have scheduled focus on the process of creating art and managing the business of marketing that art. There is simply not enough information out there about strategies and processes for marketing your own art. Our modern communication methods provide a myriad of opportunities, yet many artists struggle to make something happen with their work.

So, 83 unique visitors in two weeks. The most interesting aspect of that number is that 76% of those folks came to the site by typing “https://artmonsteratx.com” into their address bar. They came directly. They did not click on a link in Facebook or anywhere else. While it doesn’t take a good deal of effort to copy-and-paste a link or type it in beyond simply clicking a link, the extra effort means something in our click-bate driven world.

That 76% didn’t just want to follow a link casually. They were interested enough in seeing the site to take a few extra steps.

That is what I am going for here. My last site I heavily promoted online. I opened page-after-page on various forums, often duplicating my entire portfolio in multiple venues in the hopes that people would go to my site. The facebook page for that site had several hundred followers, many of whom received a direct invite from myself. The numbers looked good, but they were artificial.

I had friends following me as a courtesy. They may have checked out the site once and then never again. That contributed to my reasons for walking away from having my own website in the first place; it seemed to make more sense to bring my art to the forums they were in rather than try to get them to come to me.

The question is, am I try to accumulate likes or sell art? Obviously, it is the latter. That being the case, bringing my art to a social media site and getting a like is counterproductive. 300 likes are not worth nearly as much as that one person who leaves the venue they saw me at and seeks out my site.

That one Facebook follower I have didn’t get an invite. He followed my page because he is interested in my work. He wants to know when to go to this site to see new work. That is precisely what I need.

As I mentioned, in my efforts to promote my last site, I duplicated my portfolio in other forums. That is not the case with Art Monster. My new rule-of-thumb is to post no more than five related images in any particular forum. If you want to see more work, new work, you have to come here.

The Art Monster Facebook page doesn’t even have pieces posted, just notifications that new stuff can be found here, because here is where I need your attention. The people that find this website are the ones truly interested in my work, possibly interested enough to buy a sticker, t-shirt, or commission an original piece.

The strategy I am employing here is to achieve natural, organic, meaningful numbers, not hollow stats that look good but are ultimately meaningless because they were artificial. To those who have found there way here, thank you. I am going to be doing some special things for you in the near future to reward your interest and support.

Stay tuned.

The Weird Road to this Website

This is my second website as an artist. A few years back, I made the decision to chuck my old site and wander the internet using various social media (Facebook, Patreon) and market (Etsy, Redbubble) sites to share my work. For years, I had written and maintained my own site from the code-up. I wrote in HTML and Java every page of what became a massive, sprawling site. Adding a new piece to the site could often take hours depending on what I was doing with it, and I simply was not seeing a return on my investment. One day, I found myself asking “why?”

Why have a website to display my work if I could accomplish that goal on Facebook? Why try to sell my work on my site when more people were buying direct from one of the market page? Why have a website at all? When I could not answer these questions, I decided it was time to shit down the old site. I had that site for almost a decade, and while letting it go was tough, it ended up being a huge weight off my shoulders.

It also provided time for me to discover why I needed a site.

In the interim between the old site and the new, I learned some things. Social media is useful, and in marketing necessary, but ultimately I am just a voice in the wilderness on Facebook, or a blip on someone’s daily news-feed. I got a bunch of people to follow my artist pages, but my theory is that the did so because they know me, and not so much because they are interested in my work. Many were, but just as many I believe followed my primary artist page as a courtesy. I have since seen more organic growth on a couple of other pages by not inviting people to follow. Instead, those followers I have discovered my page through some other site; a blog or a shop. These are people who are interested in my work on some level.

Art Monster has a Facebook page, but no invites are going out. There is a Facebook link on the bottom of every page on this site, and I am hoping the followers I get there come from here.

I was using every shop site I could find. My art on merchandise was at places like Cafe Press, Zazzle, and others. With the old site, I would offer the best products from these venues, reselling the pay-to-print item direct. It was, again, a lot of effort for little return. Being out of having a site for a while taught me that it made more sense to just point people interested in my work to the shop sites themselves. I also learned the value of using bulk printers like Sticker Mule and investing in the product. I found a shop were my work seems to do well (Redbubble), but prefer the venues that require that I am closer to the means of production (Etsy).

I found myself doing art-shows without a website. My business cards and promotional stickers pointed people to my Patreon site (another tool I had to learn the purpose of). I was not offering commissions as I am now, and I knew I was missing out. Each show was an opportunity to get the word out about my Redbubble and Etsy shops, my Facebook and Instagram accounts, but to avoid bogging people down in a half-dozen URLs I needed to point people to a central source. That was something I did not have anymore, a single online location where you could find it all.

That became the primary drive to creating a new website. I needed a central landing point for those interested in my work. In addition, I needed to offer my services for commission. I could do that through other venues, but a website would tie things together. Getting here required one other thing, changing my business philosophy and creating a new brand.

The last site was created with the idea that I would not be the whole show. I have friends who were artists also trying to figure things out like I was. I believed that a collaborative effort would be best; we would work together, market our common venues, and build on our mutual efforts. Sounds good in theory, but it proved to be impractical. This new site is all me, no additional “studios” involved, just my own creative output. This change in direction required a new brand and new logo.

“Art Monster” was inspired by a design I did years ago for an event at a tattoo shop I worked at. The design featured a hulking beast with tentacles coming out of its head. The creature was also the power-supply for his tattoo machine, which plugged into his temple. “Art Monster” is descriptive of the work I do; no kittens and bouquets here, no rustic and charming images of dilapidated barns, no concerns at all about being accepted in some fashion by mainstream art. My work is intentionally graphic, lowbrow, and prurient.

Odds are your will not find my paintings in a dentist’s office anytime soon.

The logo further reflects this, my spider-demon. I am spinning a web of creative works. There is some aggression in these efforts, some open defiance of what is considered acceptable or “normal”. I am inspired by tattoo art, comic book art, skateboard graphics, rock-and-roll and metal art from the 80s, horror films, pinup art from the 50s and 60s. You know, the good stuff. I believe that you, my friends who appreciate that kind of work, are a rarefied breed. I am honored that you are here, and delighted to create things for you.