How we plan to scale up our artist base

This past week, Chad and I implemented the ability to purchase premium greetings on our site. The site’s basic monetization engine and minimum viable product is finally complete.  We’re ready to test our assumption that consumers are willing to pay for artist created greetings. We need artists to post and promote content, so we’re ramping up our artist recruitment process. This isn’t new for us since we’ve been recruiting artists for our alpha testing since day 1. We largely understand our value proposition and the basics of our pitch. Now we need to do more of it, better.

Starting this week my design hours will start to decrease and my hours of artist recruitment will increase. At this point we’ve been relying on good ol’ fashioned networking to find artists.  That won’t suffice now, its time to branch out and see if we can convince people who have no social obligation to hear us speak. We expect a lot of rejection, but we think that is a good thing. It will help us hone our message and fix issues with our product. Here is our strategy to deliver a good pitch to artists and continually improve it.

1 – Focus on the 2 benefits that our site brings to the artist (Money and Publicity)
2 – Track each and every potential artist in a recruiting dashboard, keep notes about the features they like and request.
3 – Never give up. Return to artists that rejected us when we’ve added features they wanted or overcame their concerns.
4 – Give them a one-page pitch document they can look at while we’re talking.
5 – Put a big smile on our faces and enjoy the ride even if we get rejected.

After we’ve proven that the basic assumption works, it will be time to scale the process by adding a “refer an artist” feature to the system and finding a charismatic artist manager to help recruit talent.

A lot of you have gone through this process before, any advice for us?

How we plan to scale up our artist base

2 thoughts on “How we plan to scale up our artist base

  1. “Publicity” as a benefit to artists is a tricky sell. Yes, it is something we all want but the opportunities for exposure on the web are so vast and so easy to create, that it loses meaning as an advantage.

    One of the biggest problems with spec work (which I know isn’t what you’re doing) is that some clients think exposure is a good enough reason for artists to take a job unpaid. I once gave the response that “people die from exposure”. 🙂

    My point is that publicity/exposure has a very low value itself. What artists really want are the results that come from further exposure: money, fans, buzz, recognition, validation of their work, etc. I think Nudgems is positioned to help grow those things but “publicity” is the vehicle, not the destination.

    1. admin says:

      I completely agree with you Steve. We have seen competitors, as well as artist based sites, that take advantage of this “publicity is good enough” payment scheme. Sometimes this takes the form of a small payout contest and other times its small fraction of the revenue. The exception here is Threadless which does a great job of leveraging an exciting user vote to choose the best content and then further rewarding the artist based on the success of their design.

      We truly want this to be an artist shop, where the artist has as much stake in helping to promote themselves and the product as we have.

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