Many artists want to earn an income selling artwork but soon realize selling fine art is a lot more complicated than creating it.
Building a business of any kind, including selling art is not easy.
To earn an income selling art, you will have to work long hours, be disciplined, and patient.
You will discover and implement multiple marketing strategies in the hope of building an online presence.
Unfortunately, most of them will produce little or no results.
Developing a visual artist marketing plan that sells art online takes a lot of trial and error.
During the quest for building a thriving art business, you will continue to try new ideas and become frustrated and discouraged when they do not work.
The question you will often ask yourself is, “Why does my marketing strategy not produce the same results as the other artists selling art online?”
The most important thing I want you to remember is that the artists you are following online started exactly where you are right now.
There is no such thing as an overnight art career success story.
You only see an artist who seems to be selling a lot of art.
You do not see all of the hurdles they had to jump to get to where they are today.
If you continue to work towards your goals, you will eventually reach the finish line.
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How To Develop A Visual Artist Marketing Plan
By the end of this post, you will know…
- How to create a visual artist marketing plan
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses
- Know your objectives
- Discover who your buyers are
- Importance of engaging with your audience
- How to ask for reviews
- Start marketing local
- Work on a few strategies at a time
Art marketing definition – a series of conversations designed to build a bridge between you, your art, and your audience. These conversations take place in person, by telephone, on the Internet, and via surface mail, and no matter what the medium is, they all require the same two things: careful observation, and perceptive listening. (Source: Aletta de Wal)
So many artists cringe when they hear the words, marketing art.
Just as Aletta said, marketing art is just a strategy to build a bridge between you, your art, and your audience.
All you are doing is making people aware that you are the person who created the art they are admiring.
You are not forcing someone to hand over money for your painting or drawing.
You are not begging someone to purchase your art.
Your art marketing plan objective is to make people aware that your art exists.
If and when a person is ready to buy your art, they will as long as they know that it exists and it is available to be purchased.
Marketing and promoting your art is not a bad thing, and you should not feel awkward or uncomfortable doing it.
You should be proud of your art and excited to share it with the world.
Now that you are ready to share your art with the world, let’s talk about some different marketing strategies for artists that will help you to build your following.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
You will come across many tips for selling art but one of the most important visual art marketing plan tips is to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.
You want to continue to address your weaknesses to make them your strengths.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Can I improve my paintings or drawings?
- What do I need to work on to improve my paintings or drawings?
- Are the images of my artwork I share on social media professional quality?
- Do the images I have on my artist website accurately represent the original?
- Do I write about my art on social media, or do I just upload images?
- Do I include links to where people can purchase my art on social media?
- Do I engage with my following?
- Am I good at writing blog posts about my art and art business?
- Am I consistent with my efforts?
- Do I continue to work towards my goals? Do I have goals?
- Do I track the results of my efforts, so I do not make the same mistakes?
- Am I open to constructive criticism?
You know what your struggles are. You know what comes naturally and what is difficult.
Your creative business plan should focus on your strengths, and you should take time every week to work on your weaknesses.
You might even want to consider taking courses to speed up the process.
The main objective is to sell art.
Invest in your business and turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Bluprint and CreativeLive.com are the two sites I go to first when I am looking for courses that relate to art business and artist tutorials.
Know Your Objectives
A successful marketing plan for visual artists starts with having a clear vision of what you would like to achieve.
The work you put into your art business will not be productive if you do not know what you are working towards.
Sit down and write down precisely what you want to achieve.
Do you want:
- To make art your career
- Make enough money for vacations
- Make enough money selling art to put your children through college
- Sell enough art to buy a new house
- Sell your art in art galleries
- Sell your art at craft fairs
You need to know exactly what you want before you can start to develop productive marketing strategies.
- How to Write Goals You Can Achieve Workbook
- Artist Goal Planners in Light Blue
- Artist Goal Planners in Light Pink
- Annual Art Business Review Workbook
Know Your Target Audience
The second step is a little more challenging.
Once you have written down your objectives, you will need to identify who your target audience is.
Your target audience is a group of people who have a passion for your artistic style.
For example, if your passion is painting birds, then people who like birds and realistic art are going to be your target audience.
You don’t need to only market to your target audience, but they should be the focus of your marketing strategies.
It will be more challenging to sell your art to people who are not your target audience. But that’s not to say they will never purchase your artwork. However, your ROI (return on investment) will be less.
To get started, look at artists on social media that have a similar art style. Take notes and organize your findings into gender, age, and demographics.
Once you have an idea of who your target audience, you will need to learn where to find them so you can create content that attacks them to your artwork.
The best way is to research online:
- Websites that relate to the subjects you paint and draw
- Print publications that write about topics you paint and draw
- Blogs that write about the subjects you paint and draw
- Social media groups that talk about the subjects you create and draw
Put the URLs of the sites that you have discovered on a spreadsheet so you can have access to them in the future.
These sites will help you to create content that attracts your art collectors.
- Sell More Art By Learning Who Your Audience Is
- How To Find Your Target Audience
- What Is Your Target Audience Searching For
Engage With Your Audience
Engaging with your following on social media is a great way to build trust and grow your following.
But it takes more than just clicking the like button or typing “Thank You.”
You spend a lot of time posting on social media networks, hoping to build a more substantial following.
Why do you spend so much time trying to grow your audience?
Are you trying to increase your art sales?
Are you trying to drive more traffic to your artist website?
Are you trying to make people aware of the classes you teach?
Whatever your objectives are one of your social media marketing strategies should include engaging with the following you already have.
Nia Gyand talks about different ways you can engage with your audience so you can build a tribe that supports your art business.
Below is an overview of what she had to say:
- Be a storyteller
- Be personable
- Conduct polls and surveys
- Use video
- Ask for user-generated content
To read more visit How To Engage With Your Social Media Followers
Don’t stop your audience-building efforts with social media.
There are multiple ways you engage with your audience.
Building a following offline:
- Join community groups
- Accept speaking engagements
- Perform seminars
- Instigate conversations at craft fairs
Above are just a few different ways you can build trust from future art collectors.
Think outside of the box and come up with different ways you can start sharing your art business story.
Keep In Contact With Your Buyers
You will continue to work on building your following, and while you are doing that, you will also want to maintain a relationship with the audience you already have.
Different ways to keep your following up-to-date:
- Send a newsletter
- Promote new products
- Offer free giveaways to loyal fans
- Offer discounts to loyal fans
Take some time to reach out to a few of your loyal customers every month.
Reaching out and just saying hello without asking for anything in return goes a long way.
Ask for Reviews
Asking customers to leave a review about one of your products can feel like a daunting task, but reviews are essential for the growth of your online art business.
I have designed a simple templet to send my buyers after they have made a purchase.
I usually email the buyer ten days after they made the purchase.
Below is the template I use.
Feel free to use it and adjust it to compliment your art business.
How Was Your Experience With Nevue Fine Art Marketing? (Email subject line)
Hello (Customers name)
Thank you for your purchase.
Online reviews from valuable customers like you help others feel confident about purchasing art online.
Could you take 60 seconds to leave me a review?
Here is a direct link to your purchase (add link)
Thank you in advance for your time.
I also include a coupon code for their next purchase at the bottom of the email.
Do not get discouraged when your buyers do not leave a review or respond to your email.
Best Visual Artist Marketing Plan – Start Local
Selling art online will help you to reach a larger audience, but it will take time to build a following.
Social media will help you to grow your audience, but it is very difficult to land sales on social media.
The best place to start promoting your art is where you live and to people who already know you.
Do everything you can to make the people around you satisfied customers. They will help you to sell more art than any paid ads on social media.
Focus On A Few Marketing Strategies
The last thing I would like to talk about is only working on a few different strategies at a time.
Become a master at the marketing strategies you are implementing.
It will be more productive and profitable for you to focus on two or three different strategies than it would be to work on a hundred different ideas that you can not put the right amount of time in.
As you become more efficient with your art marketing, you can start to try different strategies.
The key is to make them work for you before trying different ideas.
There is no visual artist marketing plan that will produce the same results for everyone.
Analyze the results of your efforts and come up with different ways you can improve.
Developing a successful visual artist marketing plan takes a lot of hard work.
As long as you stay focused on your art business objectives, you will eventually reach your goals.
Visit, Art Marketing Resource for more art marketing articles to help you build a thriving art career.
Popular Art Marketing And Sales Tutorials
Below are some of the most famous art marketing courses that will grow your online art business:
Most Popular – How to Make a Living Selling What You Make by Megan Auman
Most Popular – Build a Successful Creative Blog by April Bowles-Olin
How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft by Megan Auman
Pinterest Marketing for Makers & Designers by Megan Auman
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