This article lists effective ways for an artist to market their work and sell more both online and in their community.
Art Marketing 101: Promoting Your Work Is Just as Important as Creating It
As artists, we love creating our work. We would love nothing more than to spend all of our working hours painting or crafting in our studios and just waiting for the sales to come. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. People need to be able to find your work in order for them to buy it.
Successful full-time artists are not just artists; they are business people, entrepreneurs, and marketers. The amount of time an artist spends marketing their work should be about the same amount they spend creating it! So without further ado, here are 5 techniques to market your artwork.
6 Marketing Tips for Artists
- Share Frequently on Social Media
- Run a Sale or Coupon Campaign
- Always Ask for Reviews
- Participate in Art-Related Events in Your Community
- Give Away Your Art for Holidays and Birthdays
- Have a Giveaway Contest
1. Share Frequently on Social Media
I'm starting with the most obvious tip here. If you are reading this, I am guessing you already post your work on social media. Good for you! You are ahead of the game. Unfortunately, you may be doing it wrong.
If you are like me, you may have gone through some periods where you didn't see any results from posting on social media and gave up for a while. There have been a couple of times where I went a month or so without posting anything because I would only get one or two likes every time I posted anything. It sucks not getting engagement from your awesome posts.
The key to marketing on social media is patience and endurance. It can take several months of posting to get any real engagement, but you have to keep it up. If you don't continuously post regularly, then that engagement will NEVER come. Be patient and keep posting.
Bonus Tip: Don't overwhelm yourself with too many social media platforms. If you do that, then you will burn out and not put much attention into any of those platforms. Try sticking with just your shop and 1–2 other social media platforms. I, myself, use Etsy for selling, and I market my work on Facebook and Pinterest. Those three platforms alone take a great deal of my time.
2. Run a Sale or Coupon Campaign
Sales and coupons can increase traffic into your online shop. Online shops make it easy to run a sale or offer coupons; they will even send coupons to everyone who favorites one of your items.
Before you run a sale or offer any coupons, make sure that your prices are high enough that you will still make money. It's pointless to have a sale if the money you make only covers the cost you put into the item. It can be tricky figuring out how much to charge for an item, but the best method is to charge based on the time and money you put into your item and then mark it up a little more to cover any sale you plan to run.
For instance, I started selling prints that cost about $3 each. I want to at least double my money for every purchase, but if I want to run a sale or send coupons, I need to more than double the price. So instead of charging $6 a print, I would charge $10–12 a print.
If you are struggling to figure out the right price for your items, you can instead send a minimum purchase coupon. With this kind of coupon, you can offer a set amount of money or percentage off to customers, but they must spend a certain amount of money to get the deal. I like to do $10 off when they spend $50 or more.
Bonus Tip: Run a sale during peak buying holidays such as Mother's Day and Christmas.
3. Always Ask for Reviews
After making and shipping a sale, be sure to ask your customer for a review and, if possible, some photos of the item in their home. When new customers see the positive feedback, they will be more likely to buy. But if you don't ask, customers likely won't leave a review at all.
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Most people never leave reviews unless they are unhappy with an item (I'm guilty of it myself), but if you politely ask, most customers are more than happy to help. But don't just send them a message asking for a review; not everyone checks messages on a regular basis and can easily miss such a message. Instead, include a business card and a handwritten note showing your appreciation for their purchase and then ask for a review. A handwritten note reads more personal and involved than a static email.
Bonus Tip: Take screenshots of great reviews and share them on your social media page!
4. Participate in Art-Related Events in Your Community
Participation in events can really help increase the exposure of your art in your community. Sell at local festivals. Participate in an art contest. Donate art to a charity auction.
Many cities have art associations that bring artists together that allows them to learn from each other and participate in art-related events. If there is not an art association near you, try talking to your city's chamber of commerce; they may have upcoming art events you can get involved with.
5. Give Away Your Art for Holidays and Birthdays
This is a sneaky way to get more customers. For every occasion possible that involves giving a gift, give away some art. It doesn't have to be an expensive original; it can be a print if you wish. The point is, you are getting your work SEEN by others, and that is awesome!
Here's how it works: Every time you give away art, you are adding another place where your work is displayed. That means more exposure. Each guest of that home will see it, and eventually, you will start getting requests for commissions from people who saw your work in someone else's home.
I especially love to do this during Christmas for a dirty Santa party. It feels great seeing people fight over my artwork. Every time I giveaway art at a Christmas party, I get at least one commission from another party guest.
6. Have a Giveaway Contest
Giveaways can be a great way to promote your art and gain more followers on your social media page. To run a contest simply:
- pick a piece of art or a print that you would like to give away for the contest
- write a post explaining to your followers to like and share the post and that the winner will be chosen at random on the given date.
- Once the contest is over, choose a winner at random. You can do it old school and pull a name out of a hat, or you can use a random name picker website.
Bonus Tip: If you don't see any engagement with the contest, ask several of your friends and family to share. That will help get things moving.
Marketing Strategies Take Time, but the Payoff Is Worth It!
If you use all of these strategies, you are sure to see a peak in the sales of your work. Just be patient and consistent. Results will come with time.
Do you have any marketing tips that I did not cover in this article? Share them in the comments below to help our fellow artists!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
J Zod from Nairobi on March 01, 2019:
These are very useful suggestions. I am currently marketing my art. I will certainly implement them.Thank you so much.