Your $350 Marketing Budget

You have $350 to use for marketing in your current budget. Let's just say it's for the month.

Deep Thought

1. What options do you see for using the $350 for marketing your art?
2. What do you feel is the best use of $350 for marketing your art right now?
2. How did you determine this?

Credit goes to . . . This question arose in the Art Biz Bootcamp around paying for advertising. After I posted it on my personal Facebook profile, Barney Davey asked: What are some better ways to use $350 to promote your work?
I felt it deserved more attention here.

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34 thoughts on “Your $350 Marketing Budget”

  1. I will be showing my art in a NYC restaurant for the next six months. I used the money to print out postcards for the restaurant that have a photo of my art on the front and my website and the restaurants information (contact info for purchase of the art) on the back left side. They will give this out to every customer with their check. They can keep the postcard or mail to on to a friend.

  2. 1. Not a lot options, but still there are some. If you are just starting, a regular monthly budget of $350 is better to use for building a solid base of followers/supporters, for instance in Facebook. Just be sure that you are targeting the right audience. Meaning that your money should not be spend to impress fellows artists, instead you have to attract attention of galleries, art dealers, curators. Another way of long term marketing investment is to build a good website. Again – good for those you are targeting.
    2. If I have to spend $350 now I’d buy ads provided by some major artists platforms. I’m now thinking about an offer to buy two monthly ads of various size accompanied with newsletter mentioning and some other favors for $340, the website is visited by 300k visitors per month. Not of them are collectors and dealers but there are some…
    3. I determined this way is rather effective on my own experience, at least the numbers of visits on the website increased dramatically.
    Thanks and have great weekend

    1. Sorry for being so foggy 🙂 I mean big websites provide services for artists – like FAA, Saatchi Online etc.

  3. These are great questions! I don’t even have $350 for marketing right now…so all I have is word of mouth and the world wide web. Sure, would I send out postcards? Contact dealer and collectors? I don’t know, but just starting out, it seems my greatest success is just meeting with people and making a connection. I find that a lot of average people want nice art for their walls…but mind you my prices art still low. When they start creeping into the thousands I will need new marketing strategies, and that is when I will be turning back here for some good advice!

    1. Kellee: Sounds like building that list and using postcards in conjunction with e-news is a good option.

  4. Great question, Alyson. I love reading other’s comment. As for myself, I would consider enlisting the aid of HubSpot to maximize my website, with the hope of increased online sales.

  5. I currently spend about that much each month for advertising/marketing. But if I had an extra 350 to spend to increase my marketing, I would probably hire a professional marketing wizard (like Alyson!) to just go over all my current ads, copy, and general methods and strategies to get that all important second opinion and the good ol’ fashioned “thump” on the side of the head.
    A good ol’ fashioned snail mail campaign is also long over-due. When are we going to get that 8 day week?

  6. Take the money & buy a year’s membership in the Art Biz Incubator Silver option…Take what is left over & spend it on delicious hot drinks & snacks to have while you are reading through the extensive library materials, watching the interviews, & updating all your online sites, blogs & social networks…If you teach a man to fish, he can fish for a lifetime, If you give a man a fish, he’s only eating for one day…Spend the money on learning how to be a fisher of men, so to speak…It’ll last longer in the long run…

    1. Very effective use of the proposed budget, but I think I’d also allocate some of that to other research. Of course this is different for different users. Some artists are way ahead on marketing, knowing exactly what needs to be done, where, and when. Others (like me) are still trying to figure this out (at any given time).

  7. Some of the money would be used for postcards, note cards and postage for my collectors and folks on my mailing list! I’m with Sari Grove on buying some of your other services, along with coffee house visits to read through all the assignments you would give to boost my business! 🙂
    It’s amazing why one can do creatively with a $350 budget and if you really want to get creative, try thinking of a list of things to do and buy if $350 was all you had for a year of marketing!

  8. Hhhhhhhmmm. I have been thinking about this. My Agency Access/Adbase contract is almost up. I need to do one more email campaign and that $350 would be nice to send out postcards as a finale. I put a lot of money into the mailing list and got ZERO ROI on it. So I can save a lot of money over the next year and explore other advertising magic.

  9. Anything $350 marketing effort might work, however I’d doe some research on some galleries that might be a good fit with my art, then take that $350, send out personal invitations to a few of those gallery owners/art collectors and take a few of them out to lunch specifically to talk about my art.
    Or, you might consider having a “happy hour” so to speak – rent a gallery space, invite people from your local art community/galleries and invite them to get to know you and your work.
    There are not enough opportunities for personal introductions in my opinion, so why not create them yourself!

  10. Some of the posts made me come up with this idea. I would spend some of it on postcards and some on brochures to invite people to an open studio at my house.

  11. Host a showing of my work either at my home or a local business or public space…I would use the $$ for refreshments, postcards and also market via facebook event, email, and website. In addition I would write a press release about the even and send to the our arts council for the newsletter and to the local paper for the arts section. Doing something like this in partnership with another artist(s) of a different media is a great way to pool financial resources as well as benefit from additional contacts.

  12. I love Kathy’s use of postcards in conjunction with showing art in the restaurants. I think people love to “get” something -even if it comes with their dinner bill.
    As I enjoyed trying some craft beers and snacks at a new local craft brewery last weekend, I thought of proposing that I hang some of my art on those walls ( big and blank right now). If they agree, I’d use part of the $350 budget to buy postcards promoting an “opening” of my “show” sent out to my and the brewery’s mailing list. I’d use the rest of the money to pay for the snacks. There were some yummy savor and sweet empanadas for purchase there last weekend.
    Alas, I’d love to spring for the beer, but I don’t think $350 will do everything!

  13. With $350 I would target my snail mail list of collectors and those who have signed up to be on my mailing list. I would design a postcard with a recent painting and some sort of news regarding an upcoming show or new accomplishment. Reminding them of my website and studio page on Facebook is always beneficial. Vistaprint and Overnight prints both do a great job on the postcards. Spend the money targeting people who already love your work!

  14. If it were a one-time shot, instead of a preferred ongoing investment in my career, I would create a 20-page portfolio on This would buy approximately 100 copies. I would use these exclusively as gifts to those who I would have already targeted as “A” prospects or “A” referral prospects. I would make it a point to distribute them wisely, and quickly, and vow to follow up diligently and persistently with each person who I gifted. Passion, persistence and a plan backing up excellent, compelling, viable art are how you make a mark in the art business. Beats making a bunch of art and hoping someone buys it.

  15. Right now my thank you cards are providing some of my best ROI – so I’d spend $75 to order another batch of Moo cards to use for that. I would use the rest for to travel to a European art fair to get new contacts, it would probably just cover flight and hostel – perhaps Brussels but I’d like to get an overview of galleries in Germany.

    1. Hey Tina,
      I lived in Germany five years in the nineties. I prepared extensive marketing materials, even having letters to galleries translated into German, but was told repeatedly they were interested in exhibiting the work of German artists. I would advise you to do most of your research online to see if this remains the case before spending the money to travel there, and good luck!

  16. Sounds like Postcards are at the top of the list! And, yes, that’s what I would spend my money on (and postage of course)I haven’t sent one out this year so thanks for the reminder.

  17. Just to clarify, mine are greetings cards. 🙂 I just like them more for a proper handwritten mini-letter. (and Alyson – snazzy new site design! I had thought I’d clicked somewhere else yesterday. 🙂 )

  18. Show invitations to collectors have definitely worked for me. An e-mail version including a link to my website, with lots of new images, generates lots of interest in the show as well.

  19. I spent about $350 last December, 10 of us rented a gallery space for $250 each for a week long show, I had a 12×12 wall. I had postcards printed & distributed at the show. I sold a piece for well more than $350. Good investment of time and money.
    Kathy Ferguson do you want to announce on this blog the restaurant in NYC where your work will be shown or will it be on our site? I live in NYC and would like to see your work.

  20. Alyson last year I spent about $50 on postage, invites and food. About $100 on materials used to create Jewelry and Paintings. Yes, I planned out the party carefully [I never had an exhibit in my Studio before] and wanted to see how many people would show up. I prepared most of the snacks myself and had lots of TEA of all kinds and some Sweet Wine. I invited 20 people and 15 showed up [3 of them were my neighbors!]. I sold about a bit over $1000 worth of Art that day not to mention I had an amazing time interacting with people who showed up and they still contact me periodically to see if I am having another exhibit again. This Summer I plan on spending $350 on Food & Wine, printing out formal Postcard invitations, Greeting Cards and Stamps with my Artwork on all of them from Zazzle to give away as gifts to my Collectors. I believe anyone can use Stamps & Greeting Cards to send out to their friends and family about the exhibit they attended and a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. I recommend Zazzle to all Artists out there. Epicurean-Tea-Party

  21. I don’t put 2 sided post cards for shows in envelopes, I send open with the post card rate. I guess if it is more of an invitation only or high end event that is the way to go. I have a graphic artist set up the card according to my ideas for design, could do it myself if I used photoshop. I have printed at If you don’t want to print 500 minimum, they print smaller runs at reasonable prices, good quality. If you check them out and need more info than on the site, call, their phone support is very good. I usually get all this done for around $100 or less.

  22. I mail out postcards regularly, so I’d use this to do something totally different. Maybe rent out a pop-up gallery space for a weekend to get my art in front of a new audience? Or pay for an entry fee for an art in the park or other event. Anything to get my art physically seen and meet/connect with new people!!

  23. Notecards envelopes and stamps. Imagining having an advertising budget is the most important thing here. Because now I see it as something we need to have.

  24. If I had $350/month to use for marketing, I’d probably not spend much of it on things like printed items (postcards, brochures, etc). I’d use the majority of it to finance membership dues in networking organizations or business organizations.
    I’d rather invest the money to get one on one face time with community business leaders and raise the level of awareness in their eyes of not only me and my work but the arts in general.

  25. i am looking for a way to gain more reach with my art, i would love to have them in chain stores, any suggestions would be great.

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Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

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You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

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