NOTE: I have a super exciting opportunity to share with you. I’m going to France this summer, and you’re invited too!
It doesn’t matter what kind of artist you are; the fact is that if you want a career as an artist, marketing your art online can be a huge opportunity to expand your audience.
But just thinking about marketing your art online is enough to make any creative want to stick their head in the sand. You’ve spent so much time perfecting your craft…now you have to actually get online and start schlepping your wares? Ergh!
Perhaps you’d rather go skydiving without a parachute rather than asking people to buy your work? You’re certainly not the first artist to feel this way.
Problem is, if you like having a roof over your head, food on the table AND you’d like your art to pay for those things, you might have to learn to embrace marketing your art online. Money isn’t going to magically appear without sales. Whether that’s selling your art online or getting people to come to your shows and buying there, it’s important that you make the investment of time and energy.
In this article, I’ll share 9 ideas for marketing your art online. I hope that this approach will reframe your mindset around sales and marketing your art. Who knows? You might even start to enjoy the process.
1. Stop being selfish with your artwork
Seriously. If your art could cure cancer you probably wouldn’t want to keep it to yourself would you? And while we could argue the key differences between your artwork and modern medicine, the fact is there are people out there that really need your work because the world craves beauty and meaning. And you can find them most easily by… you guessed it… marketing your art online.
Can you imagine a world without art? What a boring, beige place it would be! I believe that artists have a moral obligation to beautify the world. To do that, you need to find the people who appreciate your work.
People want to feel inspired, awed, connected, and less alone. Your work may not be for everyone but there is someone out there who will be moved by it. Finding them online is one of the best ways I know how to connect with them.
2. Run an online survey
I’ve spoken in previous posts about finding the common characteristics between people who respond most strongly to your work. If you’ve already made some sales and have some fans, the most efficient way to gather this information is to send them a survey. There are loads of free online tools to set one up.
Ask your fans why they bought from you in the past? What do they like about art? What they don’t like about art? Who are some of their favorite artists and why? What kind of art venues do they hang out at? What social media platforms do they use? This information can be a goldmine of information when you start marketing your art online.
For instance, Iif you’ve been putting all your efforts into Instagram, but all your fans and customers are on LinkedIn – that’s a big hint that it’s time to change platforms.
3. You need a professional website
It doesn’t matter where you focus your efforts marketing your art online, they should all link back to one place; your website. If you don’t have one yet, get one.
Setting up a website these days is super simple and doesn’t cost much. You can pick out a template from a site like Wix or Squarespace and have it up and running in a few hours. Well, depending on the internet gods and your level of experience…
The point is that you don’t have to sell your art on your website, but having one is a sign of professionalism. Having a Facebook page alone doesn’t cut it. Websites are an investment but they don’t have to break you.
4. Sell your art with your stories
What inspired you to paint this piece of art? Or shoot this photograph? How did you get to where you are? What were your struggles? What’s your work about? What have you learned along your artist journey?
Stories are a powerful way to build connection. Bonus points if you can add in some humor and emotion. When marketing your art online, never underestimate the power of a good story to add context to your artwork.
5. Let people know what’s coming
Another easy way to start marketing your art online is to simply let people know what’s coming up next. That might be an upcoming print release, your next art show, a new place you’re showing your work.
And if you’re doing a pop-up show for one night only make sure you emphasize that this is a must see event and create real urgency. Promote the dickens out of it!
6. Give your fans a free backstage pass
A fun way to start marketing your art online is to open up your studio virtually. Show people your setup, your favorite materials, or explain your artistic process. Tell people how you come up with your ideas or where you look for inspiration. Introduce them to other artists who inform your work.
This can be fascinating fodder for social media, especially when you don’t have a new piece to post about. In fact, just posting “Here’s my new painting please buy it,” is not a good way to market your art online. You want to engage your audience. Snake peeks into the artist’s life is a great way to share.
7. Go even further behind-the-scenes
Why not set up a video camera and film yourself at work creating a piece of art? You can speed up your videos and add music to them afterwards to make them more fun to watch. This is a great way to highlight your creative process.
Marketing your art online AND making new art? Now that’s productive! Share your videos on your website or social media.
I know one artist who kept regular business hours when he painted and set up a live stream for people to watch. At first, I thought that had all the attraction of watching paint dry. But it turned out that his fans loved watching paint dry! And then they would buy that paint(ing).
8. Host a virtual meet and greet
The best way to build authentic relationships is still by having real conversations with real people. But when you need to go virtual, consider inviting your followers, clients and anyone else who’s shown an interest in your art to an online event and really get to know them.
This is less about promoting your artwork, and more about getting to know your audience. A great way to market your art online without really marketing your art online, if you will.
9. Collaborate with your fellow artists
Leverage the power of multiple fan bases by getting together with some other artists and putting on an online exhibition.
This is a smart way to market your art online because if everyone invites their list, you’ll each meet new people. And it exposes those people to your work. Make sure you get them on your mailing list so you can stay in touch and they can become your people too.
Remember: Marketing is an artform too
It’s important to remember that marketing your art online is really just about getting the right people in front of your artwork. No slimy or sleezy marketing tactics required.
Like anything, consistency is key, and the more you practice, the more natural that marketing your art online will begin to feel. Promotion is really an extension of your art, not something separate from it.
And if you’re still hesitant to start marketing your art online? Just start with one tiny step. What’s one small thing you can do to market your art online today? Get out there, the world is waiting for you!
Would you like to SHOW + SELL MORE ART? I’ve helped thousands of artists and I can help you too.
Join now. It’s free. No spam. Unsubscribe when you want.