Get more of what you want for your art program, and less of what you don’t. All with the magic of art teacher marketing in just 15 minutes per week.
Marketing? Really? Ugh. It might feel like just one more thing for art teachers to do. But you are leaving a lot on the table by NOT marketing your art program.
Benefits of Marketing
When you market your art program well, you are always top of mind when new money rolls in or opportunities come up.Who doesn’t want to be the first one the principal asks if they want to use up a new pocket of money or go to a special conference?
Marketing helps people understand the importance of what you do. No one will be able to help and support you in the art classroom if they don’t know what you are about. Marketing is communicating with your adoring public, and keeping them in the loop about how awesome your art class is.
Marketing gives you a stronger political position within the school to get what you want. When your art newsletter reaches parents, and they tell the principal how happy they are that their students are learning about Rembrandt this week, that looks good for you. Take the opportunity to ask for that special art supply you need to REALLY make the Rembrandt project special.
Good marketing also gives you a legitimized excuse for getting out of unwanted work. “Oh, I would love to help out with [insert dumb thing someone wants you to do], but I promised parents in my newsletter that students would do Part II of the Rembrandt project and they will be so disappointed if I can’t set it up today.”
If you give enough legitimate excuses, people will stop asking you to do busywork. Every school has *that* teacher who inexplicably gets away with things. You can be *that* teacher with good marketing.
Ok, you are ready to give marketing your art program a go. Now what?
Art Teacher’s Guide to Marketing Your Art Program
Pick ONE Goal. Also known as an Ask. You may want a specific art supply, go on a field trip, want to get off a cart and into a classroom, etc. But the key here is to pick one. ONE.
You need a targeted, precise, and consistent message for best results. You cannot scatter your focus or the focus of the people whose minds you are trying to change by bombarding them with a bajillion requests. If every time admin sees you they know that you need a bus for the art museum field trip, you are more likely to get it.
Persistence. Once you decide on your goal, consistently ask for it every opportunity you get. You can’t expect to communicate with a power broker one time and for them to remember what it is you want. You have to make your goal known again. And again. And again. The more consistently you are able to put your Ask in front of the powers that be, the more likely you are to achieve it.
Communicate. Social media, newsletters, billboards, art shows etc. are all great ways to communicate with your community. However, it can be way overwhelming to run a full marketing spread, and many art teachers fear the potential professional ramifications of social media.
If you are overwhelmed by all the choices, stick to e-mail newsletters. They are so powerful. And effective. You can use services like MailChimp to make it super easy for people to sign up for your newsletter. It helps make pretty newsletters, and it is free if you have less than 2000 contacts, which most of us do.
Target Audience. Make sure as the art teacher that you are communicating and marketing to all the right people. School board members, parents, students, principals, local journalists, local art supply stores, etc. Make sure to invite all of these people to subscribe to your mailing list. Post a link to join your mailing list on your school’s website and in your e-mail signature.
It may be unnerving to send a newsletter to a school board member, for example. But remember, you are communicating to power brokers to show them how important art is. And get this: THESE PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. That’s why they subscribed to your newsletter in the first place!
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Consistency. You can’t communicate just once. You must communicate again and again and again. How were conspiracy theories so successful at infiltrating the public mindset? Repetition. Use repetition for good by getting it into your community’s head how important art is and how cool the things students are doing in art class are. Send out a weekly newsletter and watch your power to get supplies donated and get prioritized for school funding grow.
Before, During & After
Not sure what an art teacher should write or post about when you are marketing your art program? This is a very simple guideline to follow. In your marketing, tell your community what you are about to do. Tell them about it while you are doing it. Tell them that you did it. That’s it, it’s actually quite simple.
Exactly How to Market Your Art Program Step-by-Step
Sign up for newsletter service. I recommend Mailchimp because it is free if you have less than 2000 contacts. There is a slight learning curve for using a mail service, but once it is set up you will be amazed at how easy it is. Basically you need to congregate your contacts into a list, start a new email campaign with one of their templates, upload some photos and insert a few lines of writing, and then send it out. It really is that simple.
Still overwhelmed? I made it even easier for you. Here is a sample newsletter outline. Just follow the steps, and then send out your newsletter.
Sample Newsletter Outline:
- Classroom anecdote. Ex. This week, a student accidentally spilled some paint in 3rd grade, and the whole class helped to clean it up. I’m so proud of their helping mindset.
- Your ask. This is where whatever it is you need help with or want funding for goes. Ex. “The art classes are so excited about our kiln fundraiser. Last week, the PTA gave us $100 towards a kiln. We now have $400 towards our $2000 goal raised! If you would like to donate money towards a kiln for the school, please send a Venmo or Zelle to the PTA account firstname.lastname@example.org. You can do it right now!
- Shout Out. Highlight a student who made exceptional art this week and why it was good. ex. “Susie’s Rembrandt project has the most skillfully drawn nose I’ve ever seen. Congratulations to Susie!”
- A few sentences about what you did last week. Ex. “Last week we made thumbnail sketches for our Rembrandt project. And good thing, too, as some of the students used that exercise to change their mind about how to approach the main project.”
- Pictures. Ex. Here are the progress pics of our Rembrandt project.
- A few sentences about what you are doing right now. Ex. “Today was our 3rd day working on our final Rembrandt projects. Most students finished working on their noses this week.”
- A few sentences about what you are going to do. “Next week, we will be writing 2 reflection paragraphs about what students learned during the Rembrandt project.”
That’s it. Just follow this formula. Once you have your mailing system set up, it should take you about 15 minutes to put together a newsletter. It doesn’t have to be very long. In fact, 1-2 sentence paragraphs are best for skimming. But it is just long enough to make sure that you, your students, your ask, and your art program are top of mind for your parents, administrators, school board members, and local journalists.
Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a great marketer and advocate for your amazing art program in just 15 minutes per week!
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How do you market your art program? Let me know in the comments below.