Your Art Marketing Strategy

These are not art marketing strategies: having a website, starting a blog, signing up for Twitter, adding a page on Facebook.

My definition of an art marketing strategy is a thoughtful plan for putting your art in front of more people and engaging potential audiences.

Jacqueline Steudler, In the Midst of Trees #11. Gouache on paper.
Jacqueline Steudler, In the Midst of Trees #11. Gouache on paper, 40 x 40 cm. ©The Artist

What strategies are you using to keep your name and art in front of people?

  • Speaking or conducting demonstrations at gallery receptions
  • Sending postcards quarterly
  • Mailing/Emailing a newsletter or regular update
  • Writing a personal note to someone on your contact list
  • Blogging 2-3 times a week while engaging your readers and responding to comments
  • Updating your page on Facebook with interesting content
  • Creating a top-notch video and posting it on YouTube
  • Exhibiting your art — over and over again, in new and better venues
  • Posting frequent, helpful tips to your niche market on Twitter
  • Researching the people in your niche market on Twitter and following them, retweeting them, and saying nice things about them
  • Researching the people/businesses/organizations in your niche market on Facebook and liking their pages, commenting on their updates, and saying nice things about the work they do
  • Researching the top blogs in your niche market and commenting frequently (and substantively) on the posts
  • Producing a regular (regular!) podcast or radio show related to the content of your blog and art
  • Writing and publishing a book about your art and work — and making sure it’s seen by its intended audience

Yes, these strategies take a great deal of effort. Yes, being a professional artist is hard work. Yes, it would be easier to purchase an ad, but . . . Yes, this is WAY more fun and rewarding.

What are your marketing strategies?

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31 thoughts on “Your Art Marketing Strategy”

  1. I often need the reminder that marketing is ongoing…and not just set it up and let people come – type of thing! I wonder if giveaways would attract people…or contests to get people involved with your work and to get a bit of buzz.
    Although at times we do a lot of things regularly that contribute to marketing, such as blogging, social interactions, etc… how do we measure if it’s working or worthwhile?!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Linda: You’ll know because you’ll be selling more art, getting more articles written about your work, adding more followers, etc.
      It all depends on how you define your success. WHY do you market?

    2. Hi Alyson! Thanks for the response. I realize of course when things go well, something is working and it’s important to define what your personal success is… I meant more specifics…as in advertising you can measure exactly how successful a particular effort was through tracking. But a lot of social media type things seem harder to measure…wondering how others approach it…

  2. Some great marketing tips, I feel good that I have ticked off half the list already in my last month or so. Still a lot of work to do though. It really is not easy, but it definitely is rewarding

  3. Apparently I don’t have a marketing strategy. Can you believe it? I actually find quantum physics to be many orders of magnitude easier to understand and work with than marketing. Every time I think I understand something, I realize that, no, I actually probably don’t.
    The whole thing hinges on knowing one’s audience and where they hang out. I have a pretty good idea (not perfect) of who my intended audience is but where they are, I haven’t the foggiest idea. And all my researching hasn’t helped me figure this out yet.

    1. Oh yeah, Patricia, I’ve known who my market is for years but they are so scattered – there isn’t a magically specific group I can just attend. My mailing list (both snail and email) has been slowly slowly gathered over 19 years of doing shows, presentations, teaching drawing lessons, studio tours. . . one name, one address at a time. Kind of makes me want to go lie down for a bit!

    2. Jana, Hahahaha! It’s just the weather. Dark rainy days always make me sleepy. Or that might be lack of a good solid night of sleep before but I doubt it. 😀
      Seriously, though, I think that might be the case for both of my types of art. Scattered audience whose attributes don’t necessarily imply they hang out together. Huh.

    3. Hello Patricia, if it were me I’d look at my existing customers and find the common thread. Also analyze how they found me and continue those proven strategies. It helps to interact directly with the public too and get inside their heads.

    4. Aileen, you’ve a good point and I think that since the common thread is not obvious I should probably try writing down what I know about them. Which, sadly, is exceedingly little for the most part. Especially the people who purchased major pieces from online venues. Etsy, especially as they have this “don’t contact the buyer” policy that made (and continues to make) me reticent about contacting them any time after the sale was finalized.
      That’s a good project to start while I’m out for my weekly coffee alone break. Thanks!

    5. Oh no, I didn’t know Etsy had a don’t contact the buyer policy! Jeepers… what kind of interaction is it supposed to be?!?!

    1. Aileen, that’s an excellent idea. I’ve got a newsletter and facebook page; I could start there. Don’t know where else though I honestly don’t believe that the people who would buy my work are seeing those.

  4. Great list and some great ideas. I have enlisted many of these tactics and I am slowly building my following. I have done some advertising, more on a limited basis.
    The one piece I have found to work and work well is blogging. The more you can engage your viewers/followers you gain more. I have in a very short time of blogging, been asked to reprint my work in magazines and be a guest blogger.
    I do think it takes many pieces to make up your marketing arsenal and it does take time. Your reputation and passion will engage your clients and they will seek you out if done correctly.

  5. My business of creating miniature wedding gowns has always posed marketing challenges for me. When photographed, my miniatures look like full size gowns, so at a glance people don’t often realize that they are looking at a 10.5 inch gown. Recently, I have begun an new marketing program which places display miniature gowns in the show rooms of select wedding professionals. By doing this, prospective clients are able to see the intricate detailing of my work. Instead of a simple business card, the display is stocked with my purse-size notepads…something they will pull out time and time again as they plan the wedding. I have just launched this program and am confident it is my best effort to date.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Peggy: Great idea! Having just visited your site, I think you need to put the scale with every image – wherever it appears. So under each picture: 10.5 inches (or whatever). This is just as I ask other artists to do with their 2 and 3D art.

    2. Alyson…thank you for the great idea. It never occurred to me to put sizes on my photos but I will make sure I do from now on and will make some corrections on my website too.
      I always pick up the most interesting ideas from your articles. Those ideas become the seeds for new things to try in my business!

    3. Alyson Stanfield

      Peggy: I’m glad that resonated with you and that you pick up good ideas from me now and then.

  6. When I read the title I said to myself, I’m not ready for marketing, at least not for now but when I read the post I realized you can’t never stop marketing in one way or other. I still update my facebook fanpage, send post cards and keep the word out.
    Thank you for creating such good articles, they are impossible to miss.

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  9. Alyson,
    The part about researching people in your niche market on facebook and twitter…I think that’s a great idea. How would you suggest going about that?

    1. Getting me to think about this too, thank you. Would good search criteria be whatever commonality exists in one’s target market? Say, for example, they live in NYC and go to concerts or the opera? Or they live in Atlanta and visit galleries on the weekends? Or they are people with boats …?

    2. Alyson Stanfield

      Since part of your oeuvre is jewelry, maybe you can connect with non jewelry artists who sell to the same audience, too.

  10. Alyson,
    I have done searches on Facebook and Twitter for terms like “art” and “portraits” and “interior designers.” It’s harder for me to search for patrons.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Kate: I think you do the best you can. No one would put in their Twitter bio that they’re looking for a portrait, ya know? But you just connect to the people in the best way you can: portrait brokers, other portrait artists (hey, they might have more work than they need), etc.


  12. While I know our interest is to handle our art business ourselves while we create art, I’m just wondering….what percentage of the revenues do “most” artist representatives/managers/whatevertheymaybecalled take?…I suppose from net profits? Any info? (Didn’t know what to type in to search since I’m sure this topic has come up before 😉

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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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