The thought of artist marketing can lead you to believe you have to attempt many different tactics.
With the main goal of wanting to sell art online. A lot of artists can end up doing a bunch of artist marketing activities we really don't want to do. Especially if you're just beginning your art business.
- Pay for expensive ads
- Blog everyday
- Redesign our websites again and again
- Try to get the approval of galleries and agents
- Attempt to get THOUSANDS of followers on social media
…and on and on.
When faced with this infinite number of choices, what do we do? A little bit of everything!
“I know… I’ll start a Twitter account…then post on Facebook a couple of times a day… and try to double down on my Instagram during the weekends…”
Pretty soon, we wake up jumping from tactic to tactic with no time for our art.
It’s no surprise most artists get annoyed and burnt out. As if being everywhere online, getting lost in crowds of thousands of other artists online will help.
Your art business needs to have an accelerator you're in control of
Sure, you may get a random sale here and there, but it's nothing you can rely on. A real art business is where you know how much you're going to make.
As a career artist, your art business shouldn't be based on luck.
If all of your social media accounts and ads were to get deleted tomorrow, you should still be able to make money in your art business.
It's possible to run your art business in a way where your earnings are directly correlated with your actions. If you push harder on the accelerator, your art business should grow accordingly.
Artist Marketing: What not to do
I’ve found, in the beginning, most artists get stuck focusing on marketing activities they don't control.
This is a problem.
When you want to sell your art online, you must be ruthless with how you spend your time.
- You might think you have to post on social media 10 times a day.
- You might think that having THOUSANDS of followers on social media.
Ultimately, you're better off spending your time on things that will grow your art business.
And in my experience, you need:
- A measurable – reliable – and repeatable – method for getting traffic to your artist website
- A measurable – scalable – and effective – method for inviting them to collect your art.
The keyword is measurable.
Before you commit to what I'm about to share with you over the next week, you must be willing to get rid of the things that don't matter. So you only work on things that DO matter.
An example of artist marketing at its best
Facebook has changed the algorithm for their Newsfeed. Lowering how many people of your own audience will see each of your posts.
But you know what, it's their platform. They make the rules.
The artists who’ve depended on Facebook are hurting right now. They’ve relied on something they don't control.
The same applies to other sites like Etsy, eBay, Society6, Instagram, and more. They make their own rules – rules you have to listen to.
You see, most artists using other platforms to market their art have the illusion of control.
“If I just post my art all over Facebook, it’ll pay off.”
What they didn't realize was they were building their art business on the edge of a volcano. Over time, it started sending a river of hot lava right over their art business.
They were building an audience they didn’t own.
For example, here's what one of my Art Launch Blueprint students, Marbrisa, experienced:
Marbrisa is an artist who was used to getting 200+ new likes on Instagram whenever she posted a new image.
When Instagram changed its news feed algorithm, she had a huge problem.
In her words:
“I recently lost my biggest source of traffic to my art website, up to 30% of my traffic. It was a wakeup call that my art sales up to this point could disappear at any time.”
We're lucky to have any exposure to the right audience. And sure, we can make strides to try and generate more exposure.
But at the end of the day, many artists are still relying on some third party they don't control.
Which is a huge mistake?
Only focus your time on the things you control
The only things you control are:
- The content you create and share on a platform you own. (Ex: A WordPress or website under a domain you own.)
- Your email art newsletter.
And that's exactly what Marbrisa decided to focus on.
“I had to diversify. Find more ways to attract collectors to my art website. Then optimize my website to get more sign-ups to my art newsletter!. I'm happy with my new approach to growing my audience. Since guest posting on other blogs and creating more compelling content on my blog. My art business has grown into a business I have more control over.”
For now, before we focus on what you should do, we need to avoid spending time on things we don't control.
- What marketing things do you spend your time on right now?
- What's not contributing to real measurable results?
- What one platform do you spend your time on you don't control?
Ultimately, you might realize you're just running in circles. Or what you’re focusing on doesn’t result in new more sign-ups to your email art newsletter, visits to your art website, or new creative clients.
What not to worry about
Here’s what you don’t need to worry about right now. In other words, here are the things slowing your art business down:
- trying to get THOUSANDS of followers on social media
- attending networking events
- trying to get into galleries
- hunting for an agent to represent you
- listing your work on all the famous marketplaces online
- business cards
- a fancy logo
- LLC, DBA, incorporating – if you are concerned about any of the legal elements of your business you should definitely consult with a lawyer.
If you find yourself spending too much time on any of these nonessentials, stop and revaluate your time.