Marketing your art can feel a lot more challenging than creating it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If your artist dream is to create a full-time living from your art, then you really do need to sharpen your marketing skills.
Building a sustainable art business (just like building any kind of business) isn’t easy. Nor is selling art a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, no matter how much we wish it was.
When it comes to marketing your art it’s important to remember that it takes time to build an audience. While it would be nice if we could all just post a picture of our latest piece on Instagram and sell it instantly – that rarely happens. The majority of overnight successes in the art world have spent years dedicated to laying the groundwork of their business.
While marketing your art can feel complex, there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Today I’ll share with you a simple 5 step plan for marketing your art.
1. Learn how to communicate who you are as an artist
Marketing your art is essentially about communication. Therefore, it’s important to know who you are as an artist. Developing your craft and voice is an essential first step.
Hopefully, you’re already building time into your schedule each week to create. You need to be producing as much art as you can. The more art you make, the more your unique style and voice will begin to emerge.
It’s equally important to continually develop your skills and hone your craft. Actively look for ways to improve your artwork. Be passionate about the work you’re creating. Understanding your favorite medium and style will help you to develop and communicate your ‘brand’.
When you know who you are as an artist and you’re passionate about what you do, marketing your art becomes more straighforward. It’s about sharing your story with the people who will be most receptive to it. Which leads me to the next step…
2. Be a detective and uncover your ideal market
This step can be a little tricky. Once you know who you are as an artist, the next step in marketing your art is to find the people who respond most positively to your work. If you’ve never shown your art to anyone before, now is the time to get it out into the world and put your detective hat on.
For example, you could start by renting a stall at a local market. Instead of focusing on trying to sell your art, be an objective observer instead.
Look at who takes an interest in your work. How old are they? What gender? Are they dressed in expensive designer clothes or do they appear more down to earth? What do they do for work? What is it that they like about your art? Do they have other art in their homes? What kind of art?
Now is not the time to be shy. Talk to teople and see what else you can learn. You’ll use this information to identify more people with similar interests.
There’s no use marketing your art to people who will never be interested in it – so knowing who your ideal market is is a crucial step.
3. Make sure your ideal customers can afford your art
I know this may sound harsh, but the reality is art is a luxury – not a necessity (except for some of us!). But if you target your art marketing efforts to a demographic that simply doesn’t have the money to spend, you’ll find it difficult to gain any traction in your art business.
By all means, consider selling more budget friendly options, like prints of your work. But if you want to sell original artwork too, you’ll need to market your art to people who can afford it. This is especially true if you’d like to create a full-time income from art.
4. Market your art locally
Sure, you can reach people from all over the world on social media, but there’s a case to be made for marketing your art locally too. For starters, if you’re engaged in your community, people will already know you and be familiar with your work.
A lot of art collectors love to support local artists, so participating in local art shows and fairs can be very lucrative. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. If you can find fans and happy customers in your local area, they will help you sell more art faster than buying ads on Facebook.
It’s also worth mentioning that the places you go to find artistic inspiration can also be places for finding potential buyers. For example, let’s say you specialize in photographing animals. Why not attend a local horse show or dog show and take some photos? You may just pick up some new clients who want to commission you to take a portrait of their furry friends.
5. Marketing your art is all about consistency
Patience is your friend. Building an audience of raving fans is a marathon, not a sprint. Build slowly and consistently. Try out as many marketing strategies as you like, but when you find something that works – stick with it.
Marketing your art effectively is about building slowly and persistently on top of past successes. If you find that selling your art online is proving lucrative, stay with it. If you find that you sell more by marketing your art in person – look for more opportunities to get in front of people in real life. It’s about experimenting until you find the best art marketing strategy for your particular art and your personality. There’s no one size fits all approach.
There are many different factors at play when it comes to finding success in the art world. But if you follow these 5 steps consistently, I’m confident they will work for you over time.
And if you want to go even deeper into marketing your art, check out The Working Artist Masterclass. I love to teach artists how to market art and make more sales.
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