Step by Step Guide to Marketing Your Art (without being salesy!)

There are really only two things you need to build an art career – craft and voice.

Marketing your art

And while it may be obvious what you need to do in order to hone your craft, what about developing your voice?

Now I’m not talking about your voice as an artist here – I’m talking about the voice you use to sell your art. That’s important too. But today we’re looking at your marketing voice. Some people might even call it your ‘brand.’

Of course it would be lovely if every piece of art we created simply ‘spoke for itself’ but that’s not the art-world we live in. We need you to tell us why we should buy your art.

“Ugh!” I hear you say, “But Crista, I hate marketing my art…I just feel so skeezy and slimy about it.”

I totally get that. But you don’t have to wear plaid suits and adopt the personality of a used car salesman in order to market your art effectively. You can learn how to speak and write about your art in a thoughtful way. A way that helps your clients and collectors recognize the value in your creations.

Yes, it is possible to market your art in a non-salesy way that opens both hearts and wallets.

Here’s how to do just that:

Define your ideal audience

Who has bought your work in the past? What common characteristics do they share? Are they a particular gender, age group, class?

Identify the common threads in the people that are already buying from you now.

Once you’ve got a rough idea of who’s buying your stuff, it’s time to do a little more detective work. What other artists do they support? What other interests do they have? What do they do in their spare time? What about their career?

Knowing your audience on a deeper level will help you market your art more effectively.

And if you’ve never sold a work of art in your life? That’s okay too. Who likes your work? What do they respond to when they see it? Find out more about these folks because they will give you insight into the buyers.

Where is your ideal audience hanging out?

Both online and offline. There’s no use in uploading endless Tiktok videos if the bulk of your audience favors LinkedIn.

Your best art marketing efforts will go unnoticed if you aren’t putting your messages in the right places. So take some time to figure out where the bulk of your audience are spending time and focus on putting your marketing efforts there.

Here’s an example: let’s say that your work is about the oceans. The people who like your stuff are probably spending time near the ocean or they support charities that help the ocean or they’re on websites that talk about the oceans. Do you see how that works?

It’s about them, not you

When you’re writing or talking about your work – it might be tempting to use a lot of me/my/I language… but try to keep that to a minimum. Instead, focus on the person you’re talking to.

What are they looking for from your art? A status symbol? To liven up their living room? To bring them a sense of joy everytime they look at it?

Highlight what your buyers might be looking for and make them feel special. You want them to feel as though you made this piece of art just for them.

Remember: When you’re creating your art it’s all about you – but when it comes time to sell, your art should be all about your audience.

Not only that but by asking them questions, you learn the answers to those first questions and you find more people like them.

Stories sell

If there’s one way to engage someone into learning more about your artwork it’s by sharing a story.

Stories are magic. And they’re a great tool to help you sell without feeling like a sell-out.

Stories help your audience to connect with you. If you can tell a memorable story, your audience will talk about it to their friends too. Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth when it comes to marketing your art. Seriously, I have sold MILLIONS of dollars in art mostly from using stories.

Pretend you’re recommending your art to a friend

Still feel like you’re being too salesy?

Try thinking about the last time you recommended a great restaurant to a friend. How did you describe it? What did you love about it? What do you think your friend would love about it?

When you recommend something you’re not thinking about gaining anything from the person you’re talking to. You’re simply telling them about something you’d think they’d enjoy. Try approaching your marketing in that way. This will help you connect with the potential buyer without coming off as pushy or salesy.

Don’t forget the Call To Action

You could create the most amazing marketing messages in the world but if your customer doesn’t know what to do next it’s all for nothing.

There’s a reason you see a ‘Buy now’ or ‘Subscribe here’ at the end of every email newsletter or social media ad. People need to be told what to do.

Here’s a quick example for you:

Would you like to SHOW + SELL MORE ART? I’ve helped thousands of artists and I can help you too.

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Working in the international world of contemporary art, Crista Cloutier has spent her career selling art and marketing art to art galleries, museums and private collections. 

Using her professional experiences, Crista has created The Working Artist Masterclass, where she’s developed a global reputation as an artist’s coach. Crista can teach you how to be an artist; including how to sell your art, how to sell art online, how to sell photographs, how to price your art, how to succeed at art fairs, and even how to find your art style. 

Crista has worked with established, blue-chip artists to raise their profile and attract greater opportunities. And she’s also helped thousands of emerging artists to build a professional art practice. To learn more, visit https://theworkingartist.com

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