Vary Your Marketing Message

Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send repetitive emails and social media posts for your promotions.

You never know what it is about your work or offering that will be of interest to your audience. Hitting a different angle with each message makes it more likely you’ll pique the interest of followers.

©Judy Leila Schafers, Kale-ing Me Softly. Acrylic, 24 x 24 inches. Used with permission.
©Judy Leila Schafers, Kale-ing Me Softly. Acrylic, 24 x 24 inches.

Below are ideas for doing just that. Many of these suggestions lend themselves to emails, while others could easily be adapted for social media.>Use your noggin to decide.

Exhibition or Art Event Promotions

There is much more to your art show than the title, dates, times, and location. And you don’t have to dig too deep to unearth a new perspective.

    • Rotate images of your art with short 2- or 3-sentence stories for each. People are more likely to get excited about a show when they know what they’ll see and the stories can help sell the work.
    • Mention other artists who will be in the exhibition and why it’s an honor to show with them. Explain what your art has in common with theirs.
©Shelle Lindholm, A Pleasant Tree of Pheasantries. Fluid acrylic on panel, 47 x 24 inches. Used with permission.
©Shelle Lindholm, A Pleasant Tree of Pheasantries. Fluid acrylic on panel, 47 x 24 inches.
  • Discuss the history of the juried show you’re in and why it’s valuable to be part of it. The purpose should come back to you.
  • Offer suggestions for nearby galleries or places to dine. Add your personal slant on these establishments: “Don’t miss the green curry!” or “The back gallery is showing X, who was featured in last year’s Whitney Biennial.” This is especially helpful for people who are coming from a distance and want to make the most of their trip.
  • Relate a particular piece in the show to something that has been featured in the news recently.
  • Highlight special or unexpected features of the event. Maybe you are having live music, serving something besides wine and cheese (hallelujah!), or organizing a hands-on art activity.
  • Provide a list of your blog posts that might enlighten people about the exhibition. Point to specific posts that relate to the work they’ll see at your show. Include an image from each post, a short teaser, and a link to the whole article.
  • Create a Pinterest board for your exhibition and share it with your followers. Or build a private area on your website for a preview of the work.

Teaching Promotions

Classes and workshops are different products than art. Promoting your teaching means focusing on (1) solving problems for potential students that save them time or make the money and (2) verifying that you’re the right person to teach the topic.

  • Focus on what keeps your students up at night. Why would they want to take this class and how can you help?
  • List the benefits. How will students feel after the lessons? What will they be able to do that they couldn’t do before? How will their lives be better after taking your course?
  • Share a story of how you became an expert in this area and why you’re the perfect person to teach the subject. Don’t neglect your own struggles while learning. People love to hear stories of overcoming adversity.
  • Spotlight student stories with their finished artwork.
  • Feature photos of students in class and of you teaching. These photos are a must-have for all teachers and are why you need a dedicated photographer for your classes.
  • Add powerful testimonials from graduates of your class or workshop. Powerful testimonials are from students who had big transformations as a result of your teaching. After they took your class, their life was better because of x, y, or z.
  • Mention any bonuses. Maybe you are providing extensive handouts or snacks. Or perhaps there is a private coaching session with you after class is over.
  • Offer a resource. Some of my best results from an email came when I recommended Evernote as a favorite organizing tool in a marketing email for my former class, Organize Your Art Biz. Even though many recipients had no intention of joining the OYAB class, they thanked me for my email because it included a helpful tool they could use.
  • Address the frequently asked questions you get from students. This is usually done on a sales page, but you can also do it in an email.
©Lindsay Obermeyer, Pollen. Bead embroidery on a needle felted sphere, 5 inches diameter. Used with permission. Photo credit Larry Sanders.
©Lindsay Obermeyer, Pollen. Bead embroidery on a needle felted sphere, 5 inches diameter. Photo credit Larry Sanders.

Whatever you do, don’t put everything in a single marketing email or post. It’s overwhelming! Outline all of the details on a landing page on your website or an event post on Facebook. Then sprinkle these ideas throughout your promotional messages.

You’re an artist! Be creative and vary your marketing message. It’s more fun for you and for your followers.

Find more tips on marketing messages in my learning programs:

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22 thoughts on “Vary Your Marketing Message”

  1. I always encourage students to take photos during demonstrations and share them with the class. Not only does it help me to promote the class but it’s like sharing notes.

    Great suggestions.

  2. This is the post I was looking for! Thank you for the great ideas. I would like to read more artist’s newsletters and I had tried looking for links on their websites or profiles and I haven’t been lucky.
    Are you planning to do the creative bootcamp sometime in the future? Is there any list of newsletters you follow or recommend?

  3. Alyson, I love the useful list of suggestions for different angles – thank you!

    One question: you wrote “Discuss the history of the juried show you’re in and why it’s valuable to be part of it. The purpose should come back to you.” What do you mean by the “purpose should come back to you?”

    1. Jay: Sorry that is unclear. I’ll see if I can fix it. What I mean is to bring the topic back to you and your art. Always connect your art to the show. Hope that makes better sense.

  4. I appreciate your tips and advice. I am putting a show together with a store/gallery that has displayed my work for 18 years – we’re putting together the first show next month! You have presented thoughtful promotional ideas for making friends and inviting people to be involved with my art and the store.
    In the past, my job has always been to make the best artwork I can, nowadays I can’t hide from the promotional elements needed to stand out in a crowded online world.
    Many thanks,

  5. Hi Alyson…I love reading your blog it so very inspiring and helpful. Art has become a very big part of my life since retiring and I have been lucky enough to be able to fill my days doing something I love.
    I really loved your promotion ideas as I have a show coming up very shortly

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