Kevin Williams Art

Kevin Williams Artist

Creating a Brand Through Audience Identification & Engagement

Services employed:

►  Marketing Plan

►  New Website & Social Media Management

►  Organisation of Art Exhibitions

►  Affiliate Partnerships

►  Project Management 

Introduction

Kevin Williams is an artist and a good friend of mine who turned professional in 2019. His background was in graphic design, photography and commercial print management. Having worked more than 10 years as Services Manager of the Walsall Council Print & Design Department, he decided that he wanted to return to his passion for art and made the bold step to quite his job.

Creating Interest

From his experience in the commercial world, Kevin was well aware of the financial risks involved in such a move and wanted to ensure that he had a business plan that included a strong digital marketing presence. Having made such an important move in his life, it was imperative that he created interest around his art so that it would convert into paying customers.

Making a Quick Impression

For many artists, painting and drawing is a vocation and they don’t necessarily have the business skills to succeed as a business. It can take years to grow a reputation that is needed to place a true worth on their talent and charge a fair price for their work. If Kevin was to hit the road running, he would need to network, create interest, and build a reputation quickly by building an audience to engage with.

 

Objectives

Kevin first approached me to devise a marketing plan which would incorporate a multi-faceted strategy to create a profile and awareness. The project was something I was eager to get my teeth into, as I enjoy nothing better than to take a blank canvas and methodically piece together a plan that would gain traction quickly.  The challenge would be, to use a limited budget to stimulate interest into an acceptable early return, which would grow over the middle to longer term.

In discussion with Kevin, we broke the project down into several key areas which would see some of the plan stages work in parallel. They would be:

1.  Fagins Art Gallery

2.  Exhibitions

3.  New Website

4.  Social Media

Art Gallery within Fagins

The Collaboration with Fagins

There are very few opportunities for artists to show their work to the general public. The few galleries that operate, offer limited opportunities to show artist’s work and demand up to 40% commission for selling. Just prior to working with Kevin, I had been working with a pub called Fagins in Taff’s Well on a re-brand and social media engagement project, and I could see a good fit for both parties. The pub had converted to craft beer, installed café facilities, employed a chef, and was looking to push itself as a function and event venue with a much higher turnover of people.

Kevin Williams Art Exhibition, Fagins

Strategic Partnership

After discussions with Simon & Anne who ran Fagins, it was agreed that Kevin would have permanent exhibition space in the back room of the building. This area was part of the open plan of the building and be home to over 40 pieces of Kevin’s work. It was a great demonstration of two local business entities working together for mutual benefit. Fagins would have a unique art backdrop to enhance itself as a high-quality event and function venue – and Kevin would have the opportunity to exhibit his art to a wide cross-section of society.

Exhibitions

Kevin Williams Art, Fagins Exhibition

Fagins Art Exhibition

As much of Kevin’s art centres around the local areas of Taff’s Well, Gwaelod-y-Garth & Nantgarw, and he now had a permanent home for his art; I felt that it should be announced to the world. The obvious solution would be to hold an opening exhibition evening for invited guests on a Friday evening, and an opening event for the general public the following day. I have huge experience in organising business, community and sports events so this was something I could really get my teeth into. To attain the necessary gravitas, I approached former royal harpist, Katrin Finch to open the Friday event, and Pontypridd MP Owain Smith for the Saturday. It was a perfect fit as Katrin was a local resident and Owain was an art lover whose father once chaired the Arts Council for Wales.

The Invites

The invite list would include family, friends, artists, art galleries, local councillors, local teachers and local businesses, who numbered 120 in total. The gallery would be well-publicised in advance of the event, with marketing surrounding a two-week period called the ‘Both Sides of the River’ Art Exhibition which would point to the river Taff dividing the villages of Taff’s Well and Gwaelod y Garth.

Working with Local Schools

The presence of the three headmistresses of the three schools in the area – Ffynnon Taf Primary School, Gwaelod y Garth Primary School and Tongwynlais Primary School was particularly significant. We had set up a project whereby Kevin would attend the schools to give art lessons with the resulting work being exhibited as part of the Fagins exhibition. This was another great way of widening the audience to his work.

The Results!

The success of the exhibition surpassed all expectations with 28 paintings and drawings sold, something unheard of in art circles. The new brand of Kevin Williams Art was brought to the attention of the 1000’s of people who would never have heard of him. A new and growing audience had been formed thanks to the mixture of door-to-door leaflet dropping and an intensive social media campaign that worked in tandem with the new website. Many art circle connections had been made with a further exhibition as part of the Tongwynlais Festival undertaken six months later.

Website Development

New Kevin Williams Art Website

As with all new enterprises, you need to have a look at what your competitors are doing to sell their products or services. In this case, artists and creatives. Most artists will have a website, although very few will have an idea of how to market it. Kevin commissioned me to build a modern looking website which would have an eCommerce capability. I used the Shopify platform as I thought the layout and templates suited both the remit and the subject matter best. The website would have a ‘clean’ layout that would be easy on the eye and simple to navigate with the eCommerce capability making purchasing products an easy process.

Kevin Williams Art Website

The Website Stats

The site has received more than 5.5k visitors to date with over 30k pages viewed which is a really strong showing for such a localised and niche field. It has been optimised for local search engine queries and occupies the number one position for all things art in the area. As Kevin’s portfolio has increased, so has the type of products he offers on the website. He has extended his online shop to include mounted/framed prints and printed mugs widening subject matter to include Welsh Castles and other Welsh topics.

Additional Projects

Kevin has used the blog facility to talk of other projects he has worked on in order to gain further interest form the local area. These have included photographing, videoing and documenting the closure of the Forgemasters site; Nantgarw China Works Museum and of course, his art classes. The website has been designed to be scalable so it can flex with the growth of Kevin Williams Art and add new sections or areas.

Social Media

Kevin Williams Social Media

Setting up & Running the Social Media Accounts

In such a small space of time, we had been able to put so much into motion, but it would be to no avail unless we could create an audience. Having a good website is not enough, it must be visible. It needs to figure strongly in Google searches, plus traffic must be driven to it. Social media is the perfect channel for driving traffic and we agreed that I should set up a Facebook page, Twitter profile and a Pinterest board. Social media has to create news, something which is interesting and engaging – consistently. We certainly had plenty to say which helped to provide the content.

Using Social Media

In such a small space of time, we had been able to put so much into motion, but it would be to no avail unless we could create an audience. Having a good website is not enough, it must be visible. It needs to figure strongly in Google searches, plus traffic must be driven to it. Social media is the perfect channel for driving traffic and we agreed that I should set up a Facebook page, Twitter profile and a Pinterest board. Social media has to create news, something which is interesting and engaging – consistently. We certainly had plenty to say which helped to provide the content.

•  Facebook provided the means to use local Facebook pages to advertise the exhibitions using quality images to show off the art. It also allows the opportunity to show demonstration videos which have had up to 3k views individually, posts which have had 1000’s of views and also new projects, products and artworks as they were produced. The page is now a very active one and continues to push traffic towards the website.

•  Twitter is a tougher nut to crack. It enables you to focus on target audiences, but you have to seek them out. If you follow someone and they follow you, you can make yourself visible to their followers. Tweets are very transient, so timing and frequency are important, it needs time to develop. You need to be creative, not Tweet aimlessly; search out like minds, target audiences so you can develop both your brand and show your personality.

•  Pinterest is a very visual social media marketing tool and ideal for artists. It acts like an online scrapbook so people can easily collect and organise ‘pins’ of interest. All the pins are linked back to the product as it appears on the website so it immediately turns from a source of interest into a selling opportunity. As Kevin Williams Art has gained visibility, Pinterest clicks and impressions are approaching 50k which is a really positive indication going forward.

Kevin now looks after the website and social media channels.

Conclusion & Results

This is rather a lengthy case study, but that’s because of the size and scope of the project. Implementing an achievable business and marketing plan, has enabled Kevin Williams Art to start from zero to being the most well-known artist in the area – and in such a short amount of time. My role comprised of mapping out the strategy to give Kevin immediate visibility and create an audience that would turn into paying customers. My event managing experience and expertise enabled us to organise highly professional exhibition events which attracted much excited interest. This sort of interaction cements loyalty and trust in a brand for both the short and the longer term.

 

Sold Art

The amount of work sold is almost unheard of in art circles for a new artist. The Kevin Williams Art brand has been well and truly established, and collaboration with the newly branded Fagins Craft Beer House & Art Café was a sound business move. He now has his own permanent gallery to exhibit his work, which effectively acts as a bricks and mortar shop front. The website sells his art and other products and attracts growing traffic thanks to the local SEO (search engine optimisation) which includes news, videos, blogs and information about the local area.

 

Local Community Projects

Projects with the local community have expanded a further reach which includes children, parents and teachers in the three local schools, great examples of how lateral thinking can help identify potential audiences. As Kevin’s art consists of mostly local themes, it was imperative to include as much of the local population as possible when it came to marketing.

 

Social Media Success

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest formed the backbone of the social media strategy which continues to grow and maintain the brand together with driving traffic towards the website. It raises awareness, creates interest and helps turn a prospect into a conversion. It can take many years for an artist to make a living from their work, but thanks to a carefully worked strategy, Kevin has firmly cemented the roots of his fledgling enterprise which continues to grow a loyal audience in a fraction of the time it takes most artists,

“I’ve long been aware of Dave’s background and his unique ability to create a vision and see it through. The whole project has been a roller coaster ride and taken me from a position of not knowing how I would make a living from being an artist, to being in charge of my own destiny.

He understands business, has the necessary technical skills, unflinching thoroughness, and understands gobbledegook like SEO, SEM and XML (and all the annoying rest) without ever leaving you behind in the conversation. I’ve known him for a long time and can’t recommend his services enough.”

Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams Art

Get in Touch

Serious about getting your business to move up a gear, but not sure how to make it happen? Then please drop me a line.

But don't leave it for another day, that day has a strange knack of never arriving!