89 Cheap Ways to Promote Your Art Business

Discover easy cheap ways to promote your art business here.

Here are some useful suggestions for you to promote your art career. You will find links to other Art Marketing News posts on the list. I mention this to emphasize the amount of free art marketing and art business information and ideas you can find here. If you appreciate the content, the best compliment you can give me is to forward the link to this page to other artists or share it on social media. Let us know in the comments what unique things you do to promote your art business.

  1. Press Releases– understand the many ways your business is press release worthy and frequently submit.
  2. Blogging– use blogging to allow your collectors, fans, and friends to get to know you and your work to give your brand a personal voice. Share your knowledge, not just tidbits about you and your art.
  3. SEO – make sure your website pages and blog posts have proper headings, titles, descriptions, and relevant keywords.
  4. Email list– use every method available to build a responsive email list. Send to it frequently to keep it fresh and your readers’ interest high.
  5. Email contests – spike reader participation with contests for recipes, ideas for travel, or travel photos. Get them involved by creatively showing your work.
  6. Free downloads– offer small size high-resolution downloads and encourage them to be printed. Offer to sign the prints when sent with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  7. Include a catalog – include a portfolio or flyer with every purchase.
  8. Portfolio– create a com online and printable portfolio. Use it as a gift when networking, as well as in other promotional ways.
  9. Teach – create a class for a local university or community college. Set up a workshop to teach painting or other art marking techniques. People interested in learning to make art are great prospects to buy your art or introduce you to important people.
  10. Surveys – create online surveys to name your artwork or learn more about your followers’ interests.
  11. Influential people – find ways to write flattering content about influential people on your blog.
  12. Unconventional Direct Mail – send a small paintbrush or color swatch in an envelope. Invite the recipient to come to your studio or website and use it in some way to claim a prize, such as free shipping.
  13. Donate – offer your work to the appropriate charity. Use the donation as a wedge to get involved in other ways to help you network.
  14. Art car – turn your vehicle into an art car. Paint it yourself.
  15. Vehicle wrap – create a design to graphics wrap your car with your art. This may not be cheap, but it could be fun, dramatic, and a cause for publicity and awareness.
  16. Gift certificates – offer your customers the opportunity to purchase gift cards from you. Give them a discount. For instance, offer a $100 gift card for $85.
  17. Call – schedule a time to call all your customers and prospects once a quarter.
  18. Online galleries – create an online shop wherever possible. Get as much exposure on as many sites as possible. Use a few for heavy promotion, the rest for minimal presence.
  19. Submit – submit your site to all global, regional and local search engines.
  20. List your site – get your site listed in all the local and social sharing sites such as Yelp, YP, Judy’s Book, and more.
  21. Facebook – create a Facebook business page.
  22. Shortstack– use the many great, free ideas for Facebook promotion from Shortstack.
  23. Guest posts– seek chances to write guest posts on well-regarded and high-trafficked sites in the arts and entertainment niches.
  24. Pitch bloggers – Research to find bloggers to review your work, new collection, studio opening, or other related products.
  25. Vlog – create an ongoing video blog to share and illustrate your ideas, work, and experiences.
  26. Social Sharing Buttons – add social sharing icons site-wide (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ to make sharing your content easy.
  27. Pinterest– you are in a visual business. Pinterest is a perfect visual platform with a massive female demographic. Use it to create broad exposure with high-quality images of your art.
  28. Cover top blogs – write a post about the best blogs and bloggers in the art business. Feature some of the top posts. This can open doors, builds relationships, and create social engagement where many you cover will, in turn, promote your article and perhaps cover you or offer a guest post opportunity.
  29. Solicit guest posts from other artists, industry bloggers, local media, and local or national celebrities. Doing this will help you make friends and publish free user-generated content that will get reposted and noticed on social media elsewhere.
  30. Donate – Give to a local or national charity (It doesn’t have to be artwork), and gain donor’s page exposure with the possibility for a backlink to your site.
  31. Cross-promote – find jewelers, crafters, picture framers, galleries, and other simpatico partners to cross-promote. You scratch their back and expect they will do likewise.
  32. Logo– hire a graphic designer with logo experience to create your logo. Invest in the best because it should last you a long time, maybe even a lifetime. Use your logo for everything you create and produce.
  33. Business cards – although they are so 20thCentury, they offer promotional value. Make yours stand out with great design and add a call to action.
  34. Print material – make sure every postcard, brochure, and every printed piece that carries your name is branded with your logo, color scheme, compelling images, and a reason to contact you now.
  35. Sponsor – get behind events with demographics that mirror your customers. Leverage your contribution to take advantage of every promotional offer provided to its supporters, including events, website, blog, email, and so forth.
  36. Endorse – make an unsolicited testimonial or endorsement for another artist, blogger, author, vendor, or colleague on their website or blog.
  37. Authority – use your in-depth knowledge about a topic to become known as an authority on it. Are you steeped in local history? Do you know everything about Renaissance artists? Have you visited and written about all the art scenes in your local and regional area? Do you have a natural way of connecting food and art? If you are an expert or are willing to study to become one, then you can parlay that knowledge in many ways as the go-to authority surrounding it.
  38. Public speaking – get a 30-to-90 minute talk with slides on a topic sure to be of interest to your demographic.
  39. Slideshare – turn your public speaking slides into a SlideShare presentation.
  40. YouTube – have someone videotape your public speaking presentations and put them on a YouTube channel you create.
  41. Google Hangouts on Air– start a regular hangout on a topic of interest to you. Invite other artists and notables to join you.
  42. Video demos – film yourself at work and explain how you do things as an artist. For example, talk about the importance of underpainting or building artwork in the proper sequence. People may never want to do it, but they like being entertained by watching others create things. Don’t limit yourself to YouTube. Upload your videos to Vimeo, Daily Motion, and the other video streaming sites.
  43. Art happening – create one day or weekend events where you invite many local artists to congregate and create work. It could be a plen air picnic, or something set up with pop-up tents or a temporary space in a building, business lobby, or a local mall.
  44. Art car – paint your car with your art and have it clear coated.
  45. Vehicle wrap – create a graphic design based on your art and use it to vehicle wrap your car. This may not exactly qualify as cheap, but it could be fun and dramatic.
  46. Contribute – many local publications and some online sites such as Huffington Post accept or consider well written contributed articles, especially those with general or specific interest to its readers.
  47. Referral program – start a formal referral program. Offer a percentage of the sale, credit towards new art, a giclée print, free framing, or whatever you find works best to have your family, friends, and colleagues refer new business to you. Post your offer to make it public, so everyone understands how your program works.
  48. Thank you notes – create note cards with your art on them. Use them to send handwritten notes for new purchases, referrals or to say hello and thanks for past business.
  49. If your space accommodates it, open studio events have regular events there. Make it available for other small meetings such as book clubs, masterminds, planning committees, and other creative use of your space.
  50. 30-second speech– work on and refine your 30-second elevator speech. Practice until you sound natural and confident. Don’t rush what you are saying. Make eye contact while you are talking. Use a friendly, firm handshake. Smile while you are talking.
  51. Network– strategically seek events and targeted people you want to meet. Learn where your best demographics meet and become part of that scene. Attend social events, art openings, gallery openings, and other art scene events. Be ready to present yourself (30-second speech), know what to ask about to get others talking, have a purpose for being there.
  52. Online presence – create online shops wherever possible. Some may not hold great value or need much of your time. Still, use them to create online awareness for you and links to your website or blog. Focus on top SEO results and quality in their products, such as com.
  53. Virtual assistant – hire a VA to keep up your less often used online sites. The proper ones can do other marketing, sales, promotional writing, and even make phone calls for you.
  54. Volunteer – get involved with an arts organization to get to know influential people who are also involved.
  55. Recruit – provide printed promotional marketing materials to your family and friends for them to distribute.
  56. Sendout cards– join Sendout cards. Make your art available for other members to use on their cards and postcards.
  57. Local arts scene – be more than a hanger-on. Get involved. Promote your local arts scene. It is not just visual arts; it expands to dance, theater, music, and beyond.
  58. Marketing calendar – create an annual to a five-year marketing calendar.
  59. Leave behind materials – check events in your area. When there are conferences, meetings, and shows that relate to your business, leave your brochures or postcards in strategic spots like visitor registration, hotel lobbies, and so forth.
  60. Grand re-opening – conjure a reason for a grand re-opening and promote the daylights out of it.
  61. Comment – find the blogs your fans regularly read and leave intelligent comments that add to the discussion on them.
  62. Docent– become a docent at a local museum. This gives you opportunities to meet people on the museum staff, and you never know who will be in your tour group.
  63. Research social media – there is much useful information and insight from learning what groups your collectors belong to on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media. Use the information to decide which groups to join, participate, volunteer, market to, and interact with.
  64. Be-back offer– not everyone buys the first time they see your work. Create a printed offer with all your contact information and a reason for them to come back. Give a discount on their first purchase, such as a free mini print with the original, free local hanging, or tax-free first order. Test to find the best offer to pull the potential buyer back to your site, shop, or studio.
  65. Fund-raiser – if you see a need to raise money, you don’t have to wait for a local charity to get involved. Be pro-active and start a fund-raiser.
  66. Local contests – enter into local contests for artists, such as for airport installations. Even if you don’t win, you will be on the radar of those involved in your area’s visual arts community.
  67. Link – be both generous and judicious in providing links from your site.
  68. Email signature – create an email signature for all your emails. Links are better than images, which oftentimes are stripped from the email. Include a subtle call to action.
  69. Befriend – follow local journalists and media who can help you. Support the charities and other organizations that they also support. Send them juicy story ideas, use your blog and other means to promote their articles and publications.
  70. QR Codes– create a QR code to put on all your printed materials. Link it to a landing page with a unique offer and a link to subscribe to your mailing list.
  71. Packaging – design stickers or screen prints to use on all your packaging. Include your logo, website address, and QR code on anything that goes out of your business.
  72. E-book – write an e-book on a topic of interest to you. It could be about your life experience, worldviews, what it’s like to be an artist, and how to create art using simple shapes.
  73. Promote e-book – use your e-book as an incentive to join your mail list, or send it to all your current subscribers. Encourage others to share it freely. Make sure you provide links throughout the book to your website and your email opt-in form.
  74. Book reviews – write reviews about books you know your demographic audience will like. Provide book reviews for local media or specialized blogs of interest to buyers you want to target.
  75. Giveaway – give small bundles of notecards, postcards, or mini prints as lead magnets for email subscriptions, thank you for referrals, or door openers with strategic networking prospects.
  76. Creatively borrow – tap into the power of the internet to discover the promotional tools and techniques other marketers use and adapt them to your business.
  77. Google alerts– use Google alerts to monitor your prospects, collectors, media contacts, and others you want to stay in touch with.
  78. – create an profile to create more digital content about yourself and backlinks to your blog and website.
  79. Promote packaging – create videos or a series of images to display on your e-commerce site to show your white glove packing and shipping techniques.
  80. Piggyback – create an insert to go into direct mail from non-competitors.
  81. Streamline – make your online ordering easy, understandable and quick.
  82. Installation services – offer free local art installation services for your buyers.
  83. Color consultations – offer your buyers and fans color coordination consultations for interior decor or clothing.
  84. Contact database – start a contact management system with ly.
  85. Voice mail – put a promotional announcement on your voice mail.
  86. Feedback – ask non-buyers for feedback. They decided not to buy it today. Take the opportunity to ask why they did not buy. This feedback can ultimately be more valuable than knowing why others buy from you.
  87. Buyers feedback – ask customers what they like about your art, what kind of art they would like to see you make, or if they have ideas on ways to promote your art.
  88. LinkedIn– join appropriate LinkedIn groups and become an active participant.
  89. Be generous – share this post with your artist friends.

Bonus Tip: The Definitive Guide to Social Media Tools with a list of 500 Social Media tools included.

I believe we all have at least one masterpiece, sometimes more, in us. My Art Marketing Toolkit program is my masterpiece. It is the best work I’ve done. After helping artists find efficient ways to market their work for 30 years, this is it for me. I encourage you to check it out.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.


15-second pitch, art business, art career, art promotion, believing in yourself, promote your art business, self-promotion

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  1. Follow your art-where does it live after it leaves you? Share a map.
    Make miniature photos of art and use for key chains. Be sure to put t contact info on the back.
    Volunteer to present a talk to local school. Send materials home. Build a fan base early. Donate art for display so parents can see firsthand. Rotate pieces.

  2. Hi Barney, I look forward to your articles every Sunday morning. I get a cup of coffee and start reading. Thank you for all the information you share, I have learned so much. One thing I have done to promote my art was to organize an art gala. I joined forces with local businesses that share my target market, like a clothes boutique and a salon. Our gala included an art exhibit, a fashion show, great food and wine. It was a huge success and we got great exposure within the community. We want to do it once a year, maybe twice.

    1. Hi Nadjah, Thanks for your kind words, and for your comments. Your art gala is a perfect example of what I am suggesting here. Let me know how things develop. I can envision a guest blog post about the event and how it worked out for you.

  3. Hi, Barney! Thanks for the great list; I recognize many ideas which are already part of my standard practices, but quite a few others that I need to put into action, ASAP!

    I’ll add that I rarely leave home without an 8×10 or 11×14 portfolio; the physical, old-school type, holding 20 printed images. When someone asks about my work, it’s important that I show them, not just tell them.

    It’s been my experience that people respond differently to actual hard-copy prints than to small images on a screen. Also, it seems easier for viewers to visualize real-world size and impact, when they’re up close and personal with a good-quality print.

    Some great opportunities have come my way on the strength of my ‘book’ — I recommend it to every visual artist!

    1. Gee, Barney, you’ve done it again.Just when I think I have covered most of the bases, you come up with so many more opportunities for me to follow up and put in my next list of things to do. This one email is going to take most of my non-painting hours for the next week or so to just familiarize myself with the new opportunities. Just when I become discouraged because I think I have tried everything I can afford to do on my marketing budget, you come up with more stuff to keep me going. Thank You.

  4. Some awesome ideas i will definitely implement! Thanks! Craigslist has always been awesome for me thru the years…I’ve gotten a good portion of my commissions from there!

  5. Some great ideas that I’d not thought of before…. but just to let you know I did read it all the way through, there are some duplicates. 14 and 15 are the same as 44 and 45, for example. 86 is going to be an interesting one to implement….

  6. Nicely done, Barney. That is a great list where I was able to cherry-pick a couple of new ideas. Other ideas will appeal to other artists – so I just did a little post on my personal blog suggesting my readers come over here for a look. Because I am a photographer I entitled it, “Promote your Art Photography on the Cheap.” 🙂

  7. Hi Barney – an artist friend posted a link to this article on LinkedIn, and I’m very impressed. I’m familiar with Jason Horejs, whom I feel has done a whole lot of good for artists, but for some odd reason had never in 25 years in the art licensing business come across your work. Glad I now know where you hang out, as you certainly have a lot to offer artists, whether they’re oriented toward gallery sales, general promotion, or even my field, art licensing. Thanks so much for what you’re doing.

    1. Hi Lance, thanks for your comments and high praise. They prove all at once that the art business is both vast and a small world. You mention Jason Horejs. He and I have been presenting a free monthly art marketing webinar for artists for more than three years. He is a good friend. I agree, his work goes a long way towards helping artists. It’s my goal to help as many artists as possible to succeed at the business of art. You and your company have been mentioned in my How to Profit from the Art Print Market going back to the first edition in 2005. I suppose I should have been more proactive in telling every business mentioned and listed in the Resources section about it. A missed self-promotion opportunity. Nevertheless, I’m very happy to be on your radar now.

  8. Very impressive Barney Davey!
    You are taking the business of art to a complete new level…we might have to start creating (VERL)- Virtual Elevated Reality Locations- where entrepreneurial artists inspires and promote each other through (MRNS) Marketing Routes Networks Systems(for each state!) as a pilot project program …sounds like a team of life dedicated commitment through the arts…we will need funds and time to make those revolutionary ideas come to reality places!…I guess starting with a core of motivated people is a good start…just a tender note.

  9. Barney, I have been a fan of yours for a long while. I like to print your articles, read them, highlight them, learn from them and share them. And learn I have, thanks to you.

    The problem with this article is that for me, it doesn’t fit on regular paper width to print properly. That results in my being unable to read your words of wisdom.

    Any chance of a fix?

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