How to Market Yourself + Your Artwork Online

Tips and Insights For Artists Looking to Improve Their Marketing Efforts

Photo by Hannah Wei on Unsplash

At MakersPlace we are passionate about helping our artists succeed, in both the digital space and the art world in general. To empower our artists with the tools and knowledge they need to propel their names and artworks to the next level, we’ve compiled some best practices to keep in mind when marketing your art and engaging with potential collectors.

We hope you find them helpful!

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Why Does Marketing Matter for Artists?

Financial success in the art world is not defined by talent.

You can be an amazing artist but if no one knows your name or has been exposed to your work, success will be difficult to achieve. *Success is obviously subjective, but in this case we’re defining it as recognition and sales.

As an artist your main focus should obviously be on your art, but in today’s digital world, taking the time to market yourself across online channels is imperative to building your name and brand as an artist. As daunting as it may sound, most successful artists are spending as much time marketing as they are creating.

Recognizing Your Target Audience

A crucial first step for marketing your art, and yourself as an artist, is to first understand who you are trying to market to. This step is equal parts self-reflection and research.

First you must clearly define and identify your art style(s)… Easier said than done, we know. Many artists have more than one signature style — that’s fine, it just means you need to do this step multiple times. If you have a style that is not easily defined, try and find works that are somewhat similar and base your definition from those.

Once you have a clear idea of which category your artwork can potentially fit into, you can begin researching artists with similar styles (ideally those who are already well-established and making constant sales). While researching, pay attention to:

  1. Who is buying their artwork?
  2. Which collectors are big fans of this style of art?

Use these insights to build a list of potential collectors and audience members. As you begin to create your target audience list, be sure to consider entire communities as well. Is there a forum where people are discussing art similar to yours? Those people are all your target audience! Learn what type of art they like, what they usually spend and where they hang out.

Learn from Those Doing it Well

Before you dive into your marketing mission, another important step is to research the artists in your space who are well-established and getting the recognition you hope to achieve.

Take note of what they are doing:

Where and how are they promoting their artworks?

How are they crafting their descriptions?

How are they communicating with their collectors?

Thinking about these questions and more will help you create a game plan for your own marketing strategy going forward. Artists love helping other artists, so reaching out and asking for advice never hurts!

Build Meaningful Relationships with Collectors

Once you’ve identified your target audience/collectors, the next step is making sure they know who you are. Successfully engaging with collectors is a delicate balancing act — You want to them to know you, but you also don’t want to come across as sales-y or annoying.

The best way to avoid this? BE SINCERE! Collectors are people, and like most people, they can sense when someone is being disingenuous. Start slowly engaging: liking their content, contributing ideas or opinions on their posts, etc.

DON’T start by asking them to check out your work, or bid on a piece. Build a relationship first, so that when the time does come, you are someone they not only recognize, but enjoy. Chances are once they get to know you, they’ll start exploring your work on their own anyways.

Once you have a good relationship, you can begin to notify/tag them in your future promotions.

Develop An Active Presence Across Channels

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is an important tool for artists hoping to gain more exposure, fans, and eyes on their work. It’s how most collectors discover their favorite artists and work. You should aim to have an active account on all social channels: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Post and promote your artwork regularly across these channels. If you aren’t capable of managing all three social accounts, prioritize Twitter and Instagram.

Having a well maintained personal website and/or blog is also key for artists hoping to be discovered online for two reasons:

  1. It makes it easier for people to discover and share your work
  2. It makes you look reputable and established

Having your MakersPlace gallery url in an easy to find location across all platforms is also a must for driving people to your store, thus increasing sales.

Sharpen Your Storytelling Skills

People share and buy art that inspires or ignites some type of emotion within them. While all art is up for interpretation, drafting a thought-provoking description that pulls viewers in and makes them feel something will help viewers appreciate your art even more. Storytelling principles should be applied within all your promotional texts, including your artwork description on MakersPlace or social media captions.

Asking yourself these questions to come up with an emotional description that effectively tells the story of your artwork:

  1. What is the message of the artwork?
  2. Where did the inspiration of the artwork come from? Was it inspired by an event, person, place, movement, feeling, etc?
  3. What do you hope people will take away from this artwork?
  4. How does this artwork make you feel? How did you feel when creating it?

Stay Motivated and True to Yourself

The biggest piece of advice we can give to artists is to never give up! Gaining a fanbase is something that can take years — after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

In the beginning you may feel frustrated or silly promoting to your 5 followers. But with time and dedication you will see your following grow and grow. Discover your voice both as an artist, stay true to it, and post, post, post. Eventually, you will see the fruits of your labor begin to blossom.

Get in Touch

If you’re a digital creator, you can learn more about MakersPlace here.

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