Should You Be Thinking of Digital Marketing for Artists Now?
During a pandemic, thinking about digital marketing for artists seems a bit crazy on the one hand. Yet it is the best thing to do on the other. It’s helpful to figure out what’s right for you. Start with a serious look at all aspects of digital marketing. Decide what can best assist you in selling your artwork. You will find digital marketing a challenge. But there are ways to manage it. The trick is to work one thing at a time. Break things down into small tasks you can handle easily.
Circumstances encourage selling art online. You should try digital marketing because there are so few ways to sell art now.
What about Getting into Galleries During a Pandemic?
It’s true. Some galleries are open. My friend, Jason Horejs, just reported his two Arizona galleries are doing okay at this time. His experience proves working on getting into galleries has merit.
I recommend reading my post on how to get into art galleries. You will pick up many useful insider tips from it.
Nothing Beats Direct Patronage in the Long Run
I believe you should make marketing to patrons who buy your #1 distribution channel directly. Furthermore, it would help if you considered working with galleries as an auxiliary distribution channel. It is good to get in galleries. But don’t bet your livelihood on sales from them. Most artists cannot earn a living from gallery-only income.
To sell to patrons directly, start with learning the best ways to identify and make connections with them. Then stay in touch with them until they are ready to buy and beyond.
For some artists, the thought of making connections and staying in touch is a chilling concept to the point that they either give up quickly or never even try. Nonetheless, countless artists make digital marketing work for them. Sadly, too many artists avoid adopting systems that will help them make sales throughout their careers.
Digital Marketing for Artists Is Proven to Work
There is ample proof that artists can make sales via ecommerce on their websites. The question is, are you ready to give digital marketing for artists a serious try? Ask yourself, what do you have to lose? And what are you doing now that is more important?
It is a given that digital marketing is hard. But that is not an excuse. You have much to learn at first. Then it comes down to faithfully applying what you have learned. Make informed choices and stick with them. Only take on as much as you can do at once. Without help and resources, you can’t use all the tools at the same time. Be smart and pick your spots.
Here is a list to learn more about how artists can use digital marketing.
Email marketing –
What’s not to like about email marketing? You own your subscriber list. It cannot be taken from you. Promoting your art to your email list is your least expensive and most effective form of marketing. Email marketing returns the highest ROI (Return-On-Investment) for users. It is affordable, easy, and it works.
Social media marketing –
Practically everyone uses some form of social media. But marketers no longer get lots of organic traffic from posting. Social media has evolved as a “pay to play” platform. Fortunately, advertising on it remains affordable and flexible. Social media offers the ability to focus on narrow target audiences. Social media marketing strategies have tremendous potential for artists. Done correctly drives traffic, raises awareness, builds lists, sells art, and gets your content read.
Google delivers 53% of all internet traffic. More than all social media combined. However, please don’t make it a top priority at first. The problem with SEO is the fierce competition for the best keywords. It can take months to rank on long-tail keywords, if ever. The most desirable high traffic terms go to major media players.
Search engine marketing –
Search engine marketing, search advertising, is excellent when it works. It’s a natural complementary way to boost organic (SEO) traffic. It takes expertise to get decent results. And competition for keywords is equally intense as with SEO. Plus, for neophytes, there is significant potential to overspend in the early going.
Local search marketing –
I believe in local marketing for artists. You know more people who know people in your local market than anywhere. Use your advantage. It takes time to learn about Google’s local advertising. Whether global or local, knowledge is the only way to avoid paying a stiff Google Stupidity Tax.
Content marketing –
Content marketing is a good strategy for artists who have an affinity for creating content. Alternatively, you can hire content creation. Content marketing also has SEO value. However, it is pointless without a traffic strategy to get the content seen frequently.
Google uses the former term, and Facebook uses the latter. Retargeting is powerful and effective. Both are systematic means you can use to retarget visitors to your website. You need an initial source of traffic to use remarketing to remind potential buyers of your art.
Responsive web design –
Google makes using responsive web design incredibly important. It punishes slow sites with low ranking when they give a poor customer experience. Even if you do not rely on Google, you should have a fast, easy-to-navigate website. That’s because the customer experience on your site is crucial. With so much mobile use, site speed and responsive design are necessary. Today, your website must sell your work for you. Your design is vital to your digital marketing success. No one likes slow sites, especially if they are hard to get around. They get bored and leave.
Marketing automation –
An email list is only as good as how you market to it. Sending one-size-fits-all generic newsletters limits your options. Marketing automation allows you to segment your subscribers and personalize your messages to them. In a physical gallery, you treat returning buyers differently compared to first-time visitors. Marketing automation is the digital equivalent of selectively treating your contacts in the physical world. You want to engage and nurture new connections into buying your artwork. And you want to re-engage existing buyers to encourage more sales.
Influencer marketing –
Influencer marketing is getting someone with a sizable list to give you a mention or recommendation. Riding on coattails is the essence of influencer marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful. The right influencer can sell your work, build traffic, grow your list, and boost your reputation. It’s not just high-profile celebrities, although they can be helpful. Promoting through someone with a large social media following will generate buzz for you.
Video marketing –
Reading is passé for many. Partly because reading on mobile devices is difficult. There is a reason for 500 cable channels and millions of YouTube videos. People like watching videos. That’s why they get preference from Google and Facebook for placement. They rank higher and faster than static pages. And they stay ranking high longer. Video captivates, which makes visitors spend more time on the platform. Artists have an advantage with video because their work is visual. Thoughtful execution will get top-notch results from video marketing for artists.
More Options for Artists to Market Art Online and Offline
There are additional tools, such as blogging for artists to market art online. Also, postcard marketing, direct mail, and cold email marketing are available. All options are mere starting points. Digging deep into any of them to gain solid knowledge is the first step. Then it’s using systematic implementation to get the best returns.
No solo entrepreneur artist can get every digital marketing plate spinning. No matter how committed, you must choose what to do first. Learn and apply tools and techniques one at a time. You can learn and use it all. Just not all at once.
Back to How to Do Digital Marketing for Artists in a Pandemic?
The short answer is it’s a challenge to do digital marketing for artists anytime. First, be honest with yourself. Determine how much marketing work you are willing to do. There is nothing wrong with deciding a full-on digital marketing strategy is not for you.
Make a goal. Pick a digital marketing tool or two, at the most, and get to work. There is a huge amount of free and paid advice available. And there are numerous tools, courses, and coaches for your use. Settle in and work with one thing until you hit your goals. Focus on achieving small victories that build on larger goals. Taking well-chosen incremental steps is how to market your art in a pandemic. The same techniques will work in the post-pandemic world, too.
It’s different but equally important for everyone. You need a guiding light—a why. If you don’t have a North Star, you will flounder. And likewise, if you start working with a tool without knowing why you are using it and what you want from it, you will fail. You must know how your tools work and what to do with them to get results.
Start with the Basics
It is a pointless waste to drive traffic to an inefficient website. Before you start using digital marketing techniques, make sure you can sell your work through your website. Make it user-friendly, easy to navigate, and to check out with a purchase. Publish your shipping and return policies; make your pricing clear. Create an FAQ section to provide information that takes away uncertainty and fear.
When your website is ready to sell, choose a tool from above. Jump in to learn everything you can about it. That’s how you get the best return on your effort. Test your results. Refine your process to improve your sales. Don’t complicate things. Complications hinder growth.
Get Outside Help on Digital Marketing
Here is something thing I learned operating as a lone wolf entrepreneur. If you want to get less than the best results for your efforts, do everything yourself. What I’m saying is getting help is a good thing. So is finding the right partner to split up duties. That includes your digital marketing for artists tasks.
There are many books, courses, tools, and coaches, to help you with digital marketing, including from me.
Here are several ways I help artists with their digital marketing.
Art Marketing Books
My six books on art marketing are the least expensive way to tap my knowledge. The most recent is Straight Advice | How to Market Art Online Now
Art Business Courses
The Art Marketing Toolkit is loaded with useful information on many of the tools listed above, including:
- How to identify and connect with collectors
- How to get into galleries
- Email, social media, and digital marketing for artists
- Tip on how to work with print publishers and licensors
- Easy ways to get referrals and lots more
It’s only $4.99 per month with no contract. You can choose what you want to learn now. And you can come back for more ways to get your work seen and sold.
The Personal Storytelling for Artists and Creatives course is a powerful tool. Your stories start conversations about you and your art when you aren’t there. Whether you want to get into a gallery, school, show, or museum, someone must open doors for you. When they love your art and your story, they’re set to help you.
Coaching for Artists and Creatives
Sometimes you need to talk through your digital marketing for artists options. That includes working through decisions and how to implement your plans. I can assist you, and I’m flexible.
I have one goal to work one-on-one with artists. That is to help them determine where they are going first. And then to figure out how to get there. You might need practical advice on what to do now. Or, it could be a need for specific help in fine-tuning a concept or tool. I’m ready and eager to help. Book a free call to explore your options with me.
Whatever your desires and plans, I wish you the best with your digital marketing for artists’ plans. If you have questions, feel free to comment below or reply for private comments. Either way, I’m here to help you make the most of your plans and wishes.