Visual artist success is not merely about fame or fortune; it’s about embracing your creative journey, finding fulfillment in your art, and leaving a lasting impact on the world.— Barney Davey
Helping Artists Find Success on Their Terms
As an art marketing strategist, I initially aimed to equip visual artists with the latest marketing techniques to guide their path to prosperity. Over the years, this aspiration resulted in a portfolio of six books, countless informative blog posts, and numerous courses, webinars, and workshops designed to offer artists a comprehensive business and marketing toolkit.
What Is Your Relationship to Marketing and Business?
I discovered that despite many artists showing enthusiasm for how these concepts can help them, they refrain from harnessing my expertise and knowledge to their fullest potential.
It was a discouraging reality to learn that, although they appreciate what art marketing can do, many artists see marketing as a necessary evil that overshadows their passion for creation. And so, it became apparent that my ladder to helping visual artists succeed was leaning against the wrong wall.
It’s not all black-and-white circumstances, but more like a plethora of grays—just what you’d expect from artists when you think about it. And in some ways, it’s a microcosm of life in general, with complex, confusing views and facts that are ever-shifting about things important to us. So, you are not alone if you have a complicated relationship with marketing and business.
Getting My Ladder to Visual Artist Success on the Right Wall
I was trying to help artists solve marketing problems with valid concepts. Unfortunately, the methods are intimidating and challenging for many. So my artist followers wouldn’t stick with them because of that and a lag time on producing desirable results.
Imagine teaching people something they are reluctant to learn and use, which takes a long time to fulfill—that was my dilemma. While my observations from my journey only describe some artists, my experience is that they represent the majority. I’m sure you agree if you can relate to what I’m saying.
An ‘Aha Moment’ and Confronting the Challenge
No one knows it all, as I proved to myself. Amid my efforts to help artists succeed, a new awareness emerged when I discovered thousands of artists who were quite content with the website they chose to display their artwork. It happened when I consulted with a service provider that builds websites exclusively for artists.
At first glance, the platform’s minimalist approach to email and social media marketing tools appeared to be a glaring omission. However, my perspective shifted as I found the company’s artist users enjoying the prestige of their elegant, e-commerce-enabled websites without the sophisticated digital marketing tools I expected such a service to have.
Instead, I found that the users wanted an elegant place to showcase their art without the pressure and guilt of feeling obliged to use marketing tools in which they have little interest. Their tangible satisfaction was reflected in the platform’s high renewal rates and user satisfaction.
This shocking revelation challenged my assumptions and forced me to reevaluate what artists genuinely need. It became clear that, although artists have many marketing tools available, they don’t utilize them as well as they could. And even though most artists agree that they should use the marketing tools and strategies I presented, they only use a fraction of them.
So, where do we go from here?…
Discovering the Strength of Storytelling and Intentional Connections
The most potent and authentic tool artists can wield to transform their success is their personal story. In our current era of digital impersonality and algorithmic predictions, what sets one artist apart from another is their unique narrative, their intimate insight into the creative process, their passion, and what drives them to make art.
Art collectors seek authentic visions with fresh takes, and independent, self-representing artists with compelling stories behind them match those desires.
Embracing the Power of Intentional Connections
And storytelling is only half the equation. The other half is about forging intentional connections. It’s a common belief that artists must build lists of thousands of followers on social media or have an extensive email list to succeed. While these can be beneficial, they’re not the only way to connect with your audience.
Everybody Needs Somebody Sometimes
Whether collectors, curators, critics, counselors, gallerists, administrators, supporters, or more, artists can learn to use self-awareness and acceptance to feel worthy and identify and connect with key individuals who can boost their careers. Just know it’s always okay to ask because it is the best and often the only way to get what you want and need.
Quality over quantity is the name of the game. These intentional connections can lead to word-of-mouth referrals, repeat purchases, and loyal patrons who are invested in your journey as an artist.
What Other Tools Can Artists Use to Sell More Art?
While you always want to grow awareness, making sales is the measure of success that pays the bills. And although I always advocate email marketing for artists, success with it takes a lengthy commitment before it pays off. So, I started looking for solutions to sell more art now.
And there it was…
Social Media Marketing for Artists That Works
My experience with social media advertising was mixed results. I found using it confusing and expensive; many artists feel the same. So, it was an exciting and eye-opening experience to learn from my longtime friend and art marketing broadcast partner, Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery, that he was getting steady, predictable, and affordable results selling expensive original art online.
He was busting myths with his methods. He wasn’t using advertising to support an intensive organic social media strategy. He wasn’t selling to buyers who had been in his gallery or added to his mailing list. Instead, he is generating sales to strangers.
Social Marketing Insider for Artists
Jason has built a course for artists who want to learn how he gets predictable results selling fine art to strangers on Facebook and Instagram. I was so impressed with his program that I joined it immediately as a student and affiliate. I wanted to start using advertising in my business and share my enthusiasm for his course with artists like you.
You can buy the course separately or get it free with a lifetime membership to the Art Business Academy, which I confidently recommend. Jason is an excellent teacher and coach. You can join the social media marketing course or get it free when you join the Art Business Academy with a one-time payment with a lifetime membership. Learn more and register here.