Do You Recognize the Problems with Learning Art Marketing Techniques?

The problem of gaining knowledge and art marketing techniques without context and practical application is quite often the student doesn’t progress—the reasons are generally the same no matter the field of study. It’s universal and hardly just an artist thing.

Buying books and courses on art marketing techniques is something we all do. And the internet has become fertile ground for authors and course creators to agitate their flock to buy their goods. They’ve learned tricks from the digital marketer’s handbook to sell their stuff. I’ve been a student of digital marketing techniques for years and direct marketing techniques for years before that. As such, I see these techniques in play daily.

We Are Constantly Conditioned to Buy Stuff

The brightest, most prolific, and successful copywriters and advertising madmen developed the process of how to push people’s buttons decades ago. Some of what they teach is slick and tricky. And their techniques are in use by many offering advice, products, and services.

While this type of training primarily advances the creator’s goals, which are generally benign efforts to sell stuff, some are used to manipulate people in devious and unhealthy ways. For instance, famous courses on “how-to pick-up women” using NLP persuasion techniques, a pretty slimy use of specific knowledge.

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe

Awareness Makes for More Intelligent Purchases.

It’s easy to find offers from digital marketers who use psychological persuasion practices to sell their books, classes, apps, and services on less controversial subjects. Instead of how to get girls, the pitch is “You’re only one marketing funnel away from turning on the cash flow,” or “Anyone can build a $10k per month dropshipping business”, and it goes on ad nauseam.

Not all marketers use NLP techniques intentionally, but many unintentionally do because they replicate what others do or have taught them about positioning their product in the marketplace. It’s not all a snakepit by any means. Many well-meaning creators genuinely want to share their specialized knowledge to help others and don’t resort to psychological persuasion to promote their offerings. I put myself in that category.

The Marketing of Instructional Courses Is Different.

There is a difference. Teaching someone how to do realism painting is something that most students will learn and use for their enjoyment, making sneaky persuasion unnecessary. With no way of knowing, I guess that “how-to” courses that teach specific skills unrelated to business or marketing get a higher percentage of course completion than those that don’t.

The discrepancy in the results is that learning a skill for personal pleasure is a separate motivation from learning marketing techniques that are often not fun unless one is a digital marketing nerd – even if they lead to making more art sales. And it’s highly likely; the marketing techniques in the business and marketing courses are more challenging to put into use than it seems from reading promotional material or learning about them.

I Have My Share of Helpful Art Marketing Training.

I created dozens of workbooks in the Art Marketing Toolkit Project (AMTP) to cover nearly every subject artists need to know about art marketing techniques. But I also have firsthand knowledge that giving artists open access to such extensive information is not helpful without context and purpose.

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

There are hundreds of books and courses offering art marketing tips and know-how. Still, with this avalanche of information, a substantial percentage of artists struggle to successfully apply the insights from these sources into their art careers.  

The Reason Is There Is a Disconnect.

Disconnects occur when the student becomes aware, sometimes only subconsciously, that despite the usefulness of the information and the implied positive results, they are not willing to do the things prescribed as necessary in their training.

The core problem is being out of touch with what one truly wants from their life as an artist. If you tell yourself or let others tell you that building up a great art business with sales flowing steadily through the operation is what you want, it’s tempting to believe it.

But if what you truly want is to make the art you like to make without spending time and money on marketing your art, you may have a conflict with the concept of building a big-time art-selling business. That is a disconnect that causes internal strife and angst because it’s nearly unresolvable. You can fool yourself for a long time that working just a little harder will make the difference.

You Are Not a Failure.

You and others might question why you aren’t as successful as it seems possible. The answer is not that you are a failure. What’s happening is you are true to your natural desires, and they don’t mesh with popular opinions about measuring art career success, which is most often done by monitoring sales.

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

Meanwhile, what’s actually happening is you are where you are because it’s comfortable, and that’s how you like it. At least, that’s how your subconscious brain wants it because it makes most of the big decisions. You could be and do more, but the decision-maker (subconscious mind) says it’s not going to happen because it knows you won’t do the work and that you will beat yourself up because you didn’t succeed at something you never really wanted to do.

Misunderstandings and internal conflicts lead to confusion, anger, and the artists feeling down unnecessarily. If that’s you, imagine removing the stigma from your thoughts. You identify them, cut them out, and banish them from your life. It’s a choice you can make that may be the best thing you can do for yourself. You can free yourself of the head trash that is the source of conflict in your internal thoughts.

Success Is an Attitude Adjustment Away.

With a new attitude, you find yourself in the pleasant pursuit of making art and marketing art in ways that keep you intact with your authentic desires. You are no longer trying to live up to the standards of others or the misguided, unrealistic expectations you put on yourself like those crazy thoughts that tell you that you must be a success at all costs.

Once you arrive at this understanding, you will find your anxiety level decreasing and your concerns about what others say or think of your art career diminished if not eliminated.

Marketers Set Out to Make You Feel Bad So that They Can Sell You the Solution.

Smartypants marketers use all the tricks in the bag to make you uncomfortable, and it’s not hard because we all have general expectations of success. They hope you accept the premise of being anxious or worried because it creates the ideal scenario for them to present a solution, which is their course/product/service. They’ll point to a particular artist selling like hotcakes, another in many prestige galleries, and yet another selling on Instagram with ease, and tell you that you can do that too. Just buy this book or course, study up and work hard so you can replicate the success of others. Unfortunately, all too often, things never work that way.

I’ve come to know that having commercial success is rarely the top priority for most artists. It’s usually somewhere in the order of things because sales are a source of validation and income, which are highly desirable – it’s hardly ever the prime motivation for making art.

The key is learning how much confirmation and revenue do you need? Not what you think you need, or others say you should have, but what you need. Get this right, and you can stop chasing a dream that can become a nightmare. Instead, you can pursue realistic goals that are achievable and aren’t the cause of unnecessary angst over your career.

There Is Another Way to Use Art Marketing Techniques.

Success and self-satisfaction for you can only be defined by you. When you understand what that means for you, then you can tune out the noise from others. That’s where I am personally with my marketing business. I intend to help visual artists lead well-lived, joyful artist’s lives. I’m not trying to compete with anyone else. I’m very much at peace with selling access to my information at the giveaway price of $4.99 per month with no contract for two reasons:

  1. I believe gaining access to world-class marketing training should not be expensive
  2. I believe I can do the most good by applying the philosophy of no artists left behind.

Those are my guiding principles in creating the Art Marketing Toolkit Project (AMTP). I can attest it feels like the birdcage opened when I made this decision. I’m free to help artists in the best way I can without worrying what others think about my pricing, training, or anything else. I’m doing things differently and my way, and it feels pretty darn good. I recommend it to all.

You Get to Choose to Make Your Business What You Want.

I’m well past preaching to artists they all need a website, email marketing, blogging, social media marketing, networking, and more. That’s the old-school one-size-fits-all method that never works. You might need and want to use and do all those things, but I bet you don’t. I’d also bet that many who are trying to do all those things find themselves unhappy and frustrated.

My philosophy is first to help AMTP members understand why they create art and know what they authentically want to happen to the art they make. The essential part is, to be honest with oneself. When you get that right, you can review all the art marketing tips and tools and figure out which will help you achieve your goals. You can stop feeling guilty that you don’t blog because you dislike writing and find it tedious, for example.

Turning Things Around and Inside-Out Works.

Too often, gurus teach us to recognize problems that aren’t our real issues. Still, we believe them because what they say has some applicability, sounds logical, and often because they have studied the art of persuasion. Even though they don’t know you from a rock, they apply their generalized idea of some problem you may or may not have. Their hypothesis sounds rational despite those problems they identify as yours have little impact on your life as an artist.

Those gurus tell you everything you need to have and do when most of it does not apply to you. They have a formula that is supposed to work for everyone. Hah! Once in a while, a student follows advice precisely and has success. That’s always great news.

If the techniques align with the artist’s desire to run their business, it might be sustainable. If not, many artists will quit even when it’s profitable because they don’t like to work that way.

Art Marketing Techniques and Training Come Later.

From the opposite perspective, you can first determine what you want and need. And only then do you begin to assemble the art marketing tips, tools, and techniques you need to help you meet your goals. That approach is the only one that I think will work for most artists. With the proper point of view, you can use just about any training or knowledge set out there to succeed.

Instead of rushing to learn every art marketing technique, step back and first find what makes you joyful. Then it’s easy to choose the marketing tools that will help you in your art business. It’s okay if your primary goal is to make your art business into a thriving, profitable operation. It will look much different than someone who seeks to create and market art on a laid-back approach.

We’re not just all laid back in the AMTP. Artists who want to put the pedal to the metal will find all the insights to tools and techniques to ramp up fast with encouragement from the group and me.

If you like my thinking, I cordially invite you to join the Art Marketing Toolkit Project. It would be a pleasure to have you as a member. Priced at $4.99 per month with no contract, you have much to gain and virtually nothing to lose.

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


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  1. Мотивация для творчества нонконфрмиста, я уверен, ляется, в первую очередь, недовольство и неприятие существующего мира, попытки создания своего мира, более приемлемо го для него. – с уважением, Я.

    As translated by Google: The motivation for the creativity of a nonconformist, I am sure, is, first of all, dissatisfaction and rejection of the existing world, attempts to create their own world, more acceptable to it. – with respect, J.

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