At its basic level art marketing is a systematized process of creating awareness and interest for an artist or artwork that leads to a desire to engage the artist, gallery, or company, to own its products, use its services, or all of the above. Businesses, large and small, use marketing to communicate their offerings, promote their brands, identify new prospects, and strengthen bonds with existing customers.
Marketing can be complex and sophisticated requiring a lot of knowledge and learning as evidenced by most large companies seeking advanced degrees for entry-level marketing positions. Fortunately, to be successful marketing your art, an MBA in marketing is not required. By reading blogs such as this, and being a student of the art business, you can learn how to utilize the same tactics bestselling artists use.
What you need are the desire to be successful, the willingness to reach out of your comfort zone, the ability to apply relatively easy-to-use marketing tools, and the organizational skills to accomplish simple, practical marketing plans. On the business side, your art career success is about identifying your goals, your strengths, and the best marketing methods to use. That done, then diligently, routinely applying those methods to achieve your goals.
Successful art marketing is essential to succeed as an artist. It is about developing a systematic method of getting your art seen and sold. The truth about art, or any product for that matter, is that unless people are aware of it, no one will buy it. Imagine if Apple created the iPod but failed to let anyone know it was available. They would have a near-revolutionary product with no sales. To thrive, you have to sell art, and to do that, you have to get your work seen.
There are innumerable living artists who are creating compelling artwork, but their work is not selling for the simple reason it is not being seen. Without art marketing to create awareness, there is no interest, and consequently, no sales. If your art career goal is to make a living from selling your work, you need to use efficient marketing methods coupled with effective selling skills.
Sales take place only after art marketing has done its job to create attention, interest and desire to own the work. You instinctively know you cannot build a career on spontaneous art sales. Most art, especially originals, requires repeat exposure to your prospective buyers before attention, interest and desire can lead to a purchase.
Desire alone is often not enough to persuade a customer to buy art. Uncovering and responding to objections, presenting alternatives, providing reassurance, simply asking for the order, and other factors are all instrumental in creating art sales. Your art marketing may lead them to the gallery or studio, but the interaction that takes place after that is where selling skills come front and center.
Many artists hold the mistaken belief that marketing their work somehow devalues it. The attitude that creativity and quality cannot exist simultaneously with economic success is widespread beyond the art community. It hinders the success of many small businesses. Even when there is a benevolent attitude toward marketing, the fear of or ambivalence toward performing necessary tasks such as marketing often holds business owners back.
It does not matter where you are with your art marketing operations at the present. When you start putting a greater, more informed effort into your plans, you are on your way to a more fulfilling art career. To become a successful art marketer, you must commit to continuing long-term efforts to raise awareness for your work and yourself.
(This article is excepted from the first chapter of Guerrilla Marketing for Artists: How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Art Career.)
You can find dozens upon dozens of art marketing articles within the 500+ posts in this blog. You can comb the Internet to find tons of art marketing articles. If you want exposure to a concise plan that you can tailor to fit your needs, I recommend my book, Guerrilla Marketing for Artists. It is loaded with the best information and ideas I’ve learned and passed along to artists for more than two decades.
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Your small investment in the book will cost you roughly a half tank of gas, but the lessons you learn will pay hefty dividends throughout the years of your career.
I love your book! I found it to be the most practical and direct information on this subject. ~ Julie Brayton
Guerrilla Marketing for Artists is without any question, the best contemporary resource, or, if you will, the best resource-period, the best tool, for any artist at any level. I consider your book Guerrilla Marketing for Artists as the compass and global positioning system/survival kit for all artists to hone in on the 21st Century’s new landscape of opportunity. ~ Bud Smallwood
Your book Guerrilla Marketing for Artists blows my mind. It is THE Bible for artists, I have read nothing like it ever before. People have asked me how I sell so much of my art and I always told them through marketing and my website. Your book opened a door for me to becoming a professional artist. There are many things I have never thought of that you present in your book. ~ Frances Velling
Chapter Nine addresses marketing art online and is probably worth the price of the book in and of itself. ~ Bob Killen, master fine art photographer and instructor