If you are just starting your Islamic art career or maybe even started a bit ago, and business is slow, here is what I would do to find my first client.
Depending on what you want to do, there are different ways to sign your first deal and start your artistic career.
During these years, I’ve been able to find students for my courses, companies for brand collaborations and even commissions. So, I’ve decided to divide this post into three parts so that, depending on what is your vocation, you can easily steal my strategy and finally find your first client.
Let’s dive straight in.
If you want to teach Islamic art you have two options:
- Online teaching
- In-person teaching
Both ways heavily rely on email marketing and social media, but one more than the other.
Let me be more specific.
As an Islamic art educator, one of the few effective ways to show up on social media is by sharing your students’ work. To have student’s work to showcase, you need students. Foster the relationship with your future clients with freebies and constant sharing of knowledge.
Don’t be afraid to give them something valuable. That will make them think “If this is free, I can’t imagine what I could learn if I pay for the course”.
Freebies have multiple superpowers:
- You will be able to collect the emails from the people downloading your freebie so that every time you have a new workshop, you can send them an email.
- You will be able to use the images from the people using your freebies and have content to use on your social media (ask for permission first, though) way before you actually have your first student.
- You create trustworthiness and brand awareness.
So, constantly showing up on social media and fostering relationships through emails will make your followers your biggest fans, always ready to enrol in your online courses.
Also, don’t be afraid to show the behind-the-scenes of your course, sneak peeks and anything that can trigger the curiosity of your followers.
When teaching in-person, social media and email marketing strategies are the same, but this time, you need to get more creative to obtain content for your social media platforms.
Start by offering one or two free workshops at your local library or art organization. It will help you gain experience and trustworthiness as an educator.
Don’t forget to take pictures and always 1) collect students’ emails and 2) ask students if they would be interested in participating in other workshops of that type (possible customers, helloooo).
After that, start pitching to potential collaborators (libraries, bookshops, and art supplies shops that may organize workshops for their customers). Do market research, and don’t be afraid to send those emails.
This is by far my favourite part of my job. Collaborating with companies makes me feel soooo fulfilled because it helps me create Islamic geometric art, network and get my expertise to the next level.
The things that companies look for when collaborating with an artist are:
- Previous collaborations
- The way to present yourself (i.e. what makes you unique)
A very well-done brand book is essential. If you don’t have previous collaborations to showcase (of course not, otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading my tips on how to get the first client, right?), then show them mockups of products with your art on them.
Usually, big companies look at your social media following as well, but the sea is full of small fishes that will help you get to the big one, one day.
So this is how it works:
- You either have such a social media following that companies contact you on their own or
- You pitch them directly.
Yes, I said it. Pitch emails are the ones that helped my business sign brand deals.
From all the pitch emails you will send, many of them will not reply, some of them will say no, but there will be a few of them that will say yes. And that’s what we want.
Don’t be afraid to send pitch emails, OK? The worst thing that could happen is they say no.
*** steal my pitch email template here ***
Ok, this part is the trickiest one to find your first client.
It’s not really that you can send pitch emails to random people asking if they want to commission you a piece or purchase one of your artworks, right?
What I would say is that, in this case, it’s very important to be mindful of the people you are attracting both in life and on your social media. What I mean with this is try not to fall into the trap of showing how to draw/paint what you do otherwise, you will just attract people interested in the process and not in the artwork.
Make it a daily habit to show yourself painting, post reels on how to style your art on a wall and again, foster the connection with your followers. Go to networking events such as Islamic art exhibitions and other art events and collaborate with other artists to make the most out of each other followers.
Do a couple of free commissions from family and friends and post it as a real commission on your social. Last but not least, create an online portfolio and teach yourself SEO so that people can find you on Google.
Sometimes it’s hard to find your first client, and it might take time to build the foundation, but once it’s done, you can maintain the structure and enjoy your art.
If you like this post and find it helpful, I remind you that this is just one part of the coaching I offer artists. If you want to know more, you can book a discovery call here.
How to find your first client
October 2, 2023