Marketing and selling art requires an enormous amount of time and effort. At least 50% of my day is dedicated to marketing. The good thing about all this is that the more you do it, the more followers and fans you will get. It is an investment of time, but it is both ways. You will spend hours on the keyboard, posting (sometimes wondering if it's worth it) but you will develop a following. Some of the casual, some very loyal and dedicated indeed. You must remember that it may take months or even years of following an artist's work and career before a collector buys his work.
So here are my top 10 tips (by the way, there is no affiliate marketing in this blog post and there is a lot more I could say, but I'll just stick to the 10 tips to get you started).
- Your story: be positive. Nothing succeeds like success. There is enough depressing news and your art is (hopefully) an escape from all that disgust. So it's important to celebrate all your successes, no matter how small every Paintings for Sale, exhibition, painting in progress is cause for celebration. Never be tempted to say that you are not selling or that you hate online galleries. Instead, talk about your latest project.
- Have your website: There are many different hosting platforms. Some specialize in hosting artists like art web, fiasco, and amateur. Everyone will charge an annual fee. You must ensure that your site has e-commerce facilities. That means it works not only as a gallery but also as a store where collectors can purchase works.
- Start blogging: A great way to tell your story is to blog. I use WordPress but there are other blogging sites like blogger and many websites will have a blog page built into the site. Your blogs don't have to be big essays, but the important thing is to blog regularly. Some bloggers blog once a day, others once a week. Don't be an occasional blogger. There is nothing more frustrating than a blogger who only writes three times a year. You will lose followers if you are inconsistent. Stay focused. Blog about your art and inspiration or art in general. Don't blog about the news, your family, what you had for tea, the latest fashions unless it's directly related to art and what inspires you. Which brings me to ...
- Social networks: there are many media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, etc. You don't have to do them all (I left Tumblr, for example, because it was a bridge too far) but make sure whatever platform you choose to be, get it right. To be honest, no platform is necessarily better than the others in promoting your work, they will all do something to help. Don't post twenty times a day; It will appear that you are spamming people and they will stop following you. Once or twice a day is enough, maybe three times on Twitter. The important thing to remember is that it is called social media for a reason. You have to be sociable. If someone comments on your post, it's polite to reply with a "like" and a "thank you." It is important that you support other social media users and follow other artists, photographers of any sympathizers you like, comment and share their posts and return the favor. We all need encouragement. It is important to encourage others. I have made many good friends in the online world. Again. Like blogging, try not to mix personal and commercial stuff on your art pages/sites; have a separate one for your familiar stuff and stick with art-related stuff in your art accounts.
- Pinterest: It's not just for recipes! It has 250 million users every month, with 25 million users in the US and about 80% are women. It is not a social media platform, but a search engine. It's worth joining to get your work known and develop a following. It is also a very good source of information on art marketing. I've learned a lot about blogging, pinning, marketing, and pinned websites on Pinterest. If you'd like to see a selection, I've saved my Buy and Sell Art pins here.
- make it look good. Canva: Great for creating professional-looking blog covers, Pinterest graphics, and more. I use it all the time. There is also Pablo.
- SEO: Use keywords in your posts so that search engines like Google and Safari can find you. A website that is well optimized for search engines "speaks the same language" as your potential visitor base with SEO keywords that help connect search engines to your site. It seems like a very broad topic to me, but there are pins on Pinterest and sites like Moz.com that will help you improve your SEO. Make sure that when you publish your images on your website you are filling in all the boxes.
- Listen to podcasts for marketing tips: Look at your podcast provider for Art Marketing or Artist podcasts. Some of my favorites are Artstorefront and Content Jam. There are many more Paintings for Sale Pasadena. I listen while I paint.
- Lastly, online galleries: there are lots and lots to choose from. There is a very long list of online galleries here. It is a puzzling choice. Some work better than others. There are large ones like Saatchionline where it is difficult to be seen and smaller ones that have less budget for advertising, such as Rise Art. Singulart is a new site based in Paris that is expanding rapidly. There are others that charge to be in them like Artfinder and Artgallery. It makes sense to have a presence on multiple sites.
Just remember that putting all your energy into a website or social networking site is silly, as it is like building your house on someone else's land. They all change their algorithm, pricing policies, curators, and what might work for you one year may not the next. I'll give you an example, last year Facebook closed my Emma Cownie Artist Business page without explanation. This is not uncommon on Facebook. I tried in vain to find out why it had happened and to restore it but to no avail. I lost thousands of followers and their contact details. I was devastated. That's not a story I usually share as it is not positive, but let it be a warning not to put all your eggs in a social media basket.
It is always wise to be on multiple platforms and sites and encourage your followers to follow you on different platforms. You can do this in many ways, such as an email signature with links to your social media platforms. There is much to learn and there are many people who will offer tempting online courses on art marketing, but I prefer to teach myself. I hope this post helps other artists to be seen.