Welcome to October and to the first in a series of reader question posts celebrating 600 posts on this blog. The first question is about marketing artwork. Here’s the question.
My biggest challenge is marketing! I’m a total dummy with social media, and except for occasional FB marketing posts, shy away. On top of that, I often feel that my work doesn’t measure up to that of other artists. Maybe I just need a “swift kick in the pants,” as my dad used to say!
Marketing Artwork in Today’s World
I had the same problems marketing, especially the way I thought about my artwork. I never thought my work was good enough to sell, but I’ve learned that that was mostly because I knew I could have done better. The people who saw my work didn’t know that, and they were happy with it.
So I think part of the answer is to let go of the self criticism enough to put your work “out there” and see what happens. Even if you’re not trying to sell your work right now, letting other people see it can be a valuable way to get feedback on what you’re doing right.
And don’t forget the opposite side. If you ask for comments and suggestions on what you post, you can also get valuable help in the areas where you need help.
That’s all important because the first step in successful marketing is making the absolute best artwork you can make.
Comparing Yourself to Other Artists
Remember that no matter how good you get, you will always be able to find another artist whose work looks better. This is especially true if you look at your work and see all things that could be improved. I speak from personal experience here! I am my own worst critic so I try not to compare my work with anyone else’s work.
Instead, compare your current work to your early work in order to see how far you’ve come. That will help you quite a bit. It certainly helps me.
One of the pitfalls of the current state of social media is that we sometimes have to make a big splash in order to be noticed. If you’re on social media at all (on any platform), you’re likely to see dozens of artists posting great work. There’s a lot to see. If you’re just getting started marketing your own work, social media platforms can look like an uphill battle.
There’s nothing wrong with starting on social media, but I suggest that you try marketing locally first. If you do animal art, for example, explore the opportunities of displaying work in places where animal lovers go. I promoted my horse art at horse shows, for example. I also had some artwork in a local vet’s office.
Marketing locally can help you develop confidence in your work, and that will make it easier to branch out into other marketing methods.
If you’re selling original artwork, look for local gift shops and see if you can place artwork with them. Small works or artwork that depicts regional subjects can be a big seller with tourists and even with the locals. So don’t overlook such opportunities.
Believe it or not, just handing out nice business cards featuring your artwork can also be a great way to get local customers.
You might also consider marketing around special events. Christmas is a good time to market small works, for example.
If you create gift-type artwork or artwork that could make great greeting cards, that’s also a good way to try your hand at marketing.
The Bottom Line
The best advice I can offer about marketing is to start slow and small. You don’t have to market everywhere and you don’t have to market all the time.
Also be aware of the people who are most likely to buy your work. Who are they? People who like the kind of art you make!
I’ve written a post on the basics of selling art. It’s a good post if you’re looking for marketing myths and/or marketing tactics.
One final thought: You don’t have to be actively marketing your artwork in order to use Facebook or any of the other social media platforms. Talk about yourself as an artist, the projects you’re working on, and so on. Work at developing a following in a more organic way and you might find that the marketing takes care of itself.
Got a question? Ask Carrie!