How to sell art with Google AdWords

I’ve fine tuned how to use AdWords to steadily get 300-400 new art newsletter subscribers every month for less than $100.

When I first started using AdWords to grow my audience I made a lot of mistakes. My biggest and most memorable mistake cost me over $700+ in a single day. (yeah…ouch!)

Regardless of that mistake, I stayed laser focused on mastering Google AdWords. I saw the potential in it and kept reading, learning, and experimenting with different ways to harness this tool.

Specifically, how to use this much overlooked tool to get the right people to visit my art website and ultimately sign-up for my art newsletter.

Here’s what using Google AdWords looks like:

  1. Someone searches Google for something related to you and your art.
  2. They see your ad and click on it because it looks interesting and relevant to what they’re searching.
  3. The ad takes them to a specific landing page for your art newsletter.
  4. They sign-up for your email art newsletter.
  5. They get to know you through a series of automated emails via your art newsletter.
  6. They eventually collect your art when you craft and art launch for your art newsletter.

NOTE: Using Google AdWords is an advanced audience growth strategy. You definitely need to build your artist website first (my artist website is built with WordPress). Once you have your own art website I highly recommend implementing your free audience growth strategies first. Focusing on things like getting written about, interviewed, and guest posting on other blogs, etc… Of course, you’ll also need to have fine art prints or original art to sell.


Because then you’ll know your conversion numbers for your art newsletter landing page.

You’ll know that for every 100 visitors who visit your art newsletter landing page X amount will sign-up. (In other words, only start to think about using Google AdWords when when you get to a 40-60% conversion rate.)

AdWords has some distinct advantages over other forms of advertising.

The most significant advantage is that you’re not trying to force your ads on your potential audience.

For example, with Facebook Advertising, you’re paying for your ad to appear in the news feeds of people who aren’t actively seeking out content like yours. It’s more “in-your-face”.

With Google AdWords, your potential collectors are already looking for topic satisfy their needs when they see your relevant ad.

Google AdWords focuses on “search intent”.

Meaning, the people who’ll EVER see your ads are people who’re already searching Google for something related to you and your art.

The best part, you set the keywords and search phrases you want your ad to appear for (and NOT appear for).

Remember, Google has one purpose: To give it’s searchers the most focused and targeted results.

Google determines if your ad is relevant by looking at two factors:

  1. The text in your ad
  2. The text on your landing page (the page searchers are taken to when they click your ad)

When these two elements are in sync with each other, the higher your ad will rank.

This is where a landing page for your art newsletter is essential.

A landing page is a page on your website that is focused on promoting one specific item. In our case, an appealing art newsletter to gain new subscribers to our art newsletter.

Did you know Google actually crawls the URL you use in your ad to see if it’s relevant to your ad and the keywords you are targeting?

Google then uses this information to determine your price per click. The more relevant your ad is to the landing page URL, the lower your price per click is.

So what exactly is Google looking at on your landing page?

Google looks at things like the headline of your site, body text, and image descriptions. If your ads are linked to an irrelevant page (like your homepage), Google will make you pay more to get your ads to show.

This strategy eliminates the bad advertisers and rewards good ones.

This is Google’s way of rewarding advertisers who are providing the best experience for their users.

All that matters is that your ads have relevant content that’s in sync with your landing page. Google expects YOU as an advertiser to create relevant landing pages.

Remember, the people clicking on your ad are HUMAN. They have searched Google for something specific. Let’s do our best to make it as relevant and interesting as possible.

Your landing page offered EXACTLY what the collector was expecting to find when they clicked your ad. It’s relevant to what they were searching.


When I’m talking with other artists, I often hear the same questions and misconceptions over and over again about Google AdWords. Let’s clear these up first:

MISCONCEPTION: AdWords doesn’t work for artists.

Despite the many benefits of Google Adwords and PPC “Paid Per Click” advertising, many artists have the idea that AdWords (or advertising in general) doesn’t apply to selling art. Here’s the good news – you’re already ahead of 99.9% of artists out there because you know that art sales happen on your art newsletter. You know people won’t buy your art the first time they visit your art website.

A big mistake people make with AdWords or any other form of advertising, is that they rush everything.

They make ads in the hopes that people will click them and buy what they’re offering immediately. That’s not how selling your art online works.

You create ads to grow your newsletter, not to sell art. The selling your art part comes later after someone signed up for your art newsletter.

TIP: Instead of creating an AdWords campaign directly sending people to a page on your site with a “BUY NOW” button, send them to your dedicated landing page for your art newsletter on your website. This way they can become familiar with you and your work before you invite them to collect your work.

The keywords and phrases you select to trigger your ad depend on the audience you’re targeting. Put yourself in the mind of your collector. Think about the different aspects of your art that would appear in a search.

  • Is your art about a certain subject?
  • What parallel audiences is your art related to?
  • What mediums do you use?

These are the elements you’ll think about when you create an AdWords campaign. From the keywords and phrases that will trigger your ad, to the text in the copy of the ad itself.

MISCONCEPTION: To run a meaningful AdWords campaign, 
I need to spend thousands each month.
With Google AdWords it is entirely up to you how much you want to spend on your ads everyday.

There may be galleries and brands competing against you spending a TON of money. The key is to not try to get into a bidding war for 1st position on Google with people who have deeper pockets.
Here are 3 ways to get by on cheaper monthly budgets are:

  1. Bid on more specific keywords and phrases – of course “buy art”, “painting for sale”, “wall art”, will be highly competitive and therefore expensive to bid for. Why? Because they’re specific, but also general. Rather than compete where thousands of other are competing, you should instead focus on more unique aspects of your target audience. Think about parallel things they may be searching for that are also related to the work you do.
  2. Beat ‘em with a well crafted ad – you only get a title and 2 short lines of text to work with, but ads that explain why someone should click your ad over the others may give you an advantage money can’t buy.
  3. Create a highly targeted landing pages – You may only be able to afford 100 clicks to your page each month, but imagine if you already knew that your landing page for your art newsletter gets a 40-60% optin rate.

You’d feel more confident in putting money behind an ad that directed people to it wouldn’t you?!

Here’s what you have to do to create an effective landing page:

  • get rid of the navigation bar and links that take people away from this page.
  • a strong title that explains what you offer and relates to the ad the user just clicked on
  • an intro story about you and your work
  • images of your work
  • a prominent call to action (newsletter bonus, etc…)

There are only two possible actions someone can take on the landing page of your art newsletter – to enter their email or exit the page.

MISCONCEPTION: AdWords works overnight.

The number one reason artists fail at running a successful AdWords campaign is because the let the ad run for 3 days, don’t see immediate results and terminate the campaign.

Although you can get very good results in a very short period of time, when using Google AdWords, it is usually necessary to evaluate your ads for a while to see the behavior of users and the click results.

One of the most important parts of Google AdWords is optimizing your campaign over time based on the performance of your ads.

This involves making improvements on a regular basis and analyzing your metrics based on previously obtained results in order to achieve a higher return on the money you pay for your ads.

TIP: Sync your Google AdWords account with your Google Analytics account so you can keep track of all of your conversion numbers.

MISCONCEPTION: You have to spend a lot of money to see any sort of success with AdWords.

The artist who does a better job in crafting an ad that links to a relevant landing page for their art newsletter, is always the one who gets the best results from AdWords.

Pretty much all the factors that determine your ad campaigns cost is by how relevant your ad and art newsletter landing page is.

The more more relevant the less it’ll cost you to show it. Why?

Because you’re helping Google carry out their mission – to offer up the most relevant search results.

If your ad and landing page do this, Google will show their love for you by lowering your costs and putting your ad higher up in the search results.

MISCONCEPTION: Your ad will be seen by the wrong people.

Another great advantage of AdWords is that you can choose which keywords you want your ad to target. This will attract highly relevant targeted traffic which is already interested in what you are offering.

Let’s say your ad only shows up if someone is searching to ‘owl drawings’. You can configure your ad settings so your ad ONLY shows up when the word ‘owl’ AND ‘drawing’ are typed into a Google search.

Not one or the other.

You can also set which words you DON’T want your ad to show up for. Such as ‘eagle’, ‘bird’, ‘cheap’, ‘free’, ‘how to’, ‘tutorial’, ‘inexpensive’ and so on.

As you can see the level of control is completely in your hands. It’s really up to you who views your ads.

MISCONCEPTION: AdWords is expensive.

AdWords is the only form of advertising where you can pay what you want and when you want. You can set a maximum cost per day.

Additionally, you can limit your AdWords campaign spending at a predefined amount per day.

If you get a lot of action with your ad, you can tell Google to stop displaying your ad after a specific amount of dollars has been spent. Once this specific amount has been reached, your ad will not display until the following day.

MISCONCEPTION: Anyone can click your ad and use up your entire budget.

Google’s system protects against multiple clicks from the same user.

MISCONCEPTION: You have to pay for a set period of time.

With Google AdWords you can stop or pause your campaign at any time – If you want to make adjustments, you can edit your whenever you want as well.

What matters the most is the ability of your landing page to get your fans to take action – to join your mailing list and buy your art.

Remember, it’s not about Google – it’s about your artist website.

Whenever I hear artists say AdWords didn’t work for them. 99.9% of the time their campaign failed because they didn’t have an effective landing page.

They were just directing people who clicked on their ad to their art website homepage. Where there wasn’t any clear action for their website visitors to take. Other than look at their art and say, “That’s nice!”. And leave

The only action you want first time visitors to your site to take is to sign-up for your art newsletter and nothing else.

What Google AdWords will help you do more effectively than anything else, is send highly-targeted, predictable traffic to your website, day in and day out.

Know your numbers

Before you even start thinking about spending money on an ad campaign with Google AdWords or ANY other form of advertising is to know your numbers first. This way you can expect a certain return on your investment.

You need to be able to measure everything. This way you can confidently say, “For every $1 I spend on AdWords, I get $3 back!”.

The only way for you to know this is by having launched your art a few times already.

Here’s when it’s okay to set-up your first AdWords campaign:

  1. Grow your email list to at least 100 people by using free strategies (guest postings, interviews, etc.)
  2. Take note of your traffic numbers and conversions on the landing page for your art newsletter (EX: For every 100 visitors, you get 10 subscribers.)
  3. Do a simple 5-day art launch with your existing email list.
  4. Record your numbers. For example, for every 100 people who go through my 5-day email series, 3 will purchase a $40 print. That’s $120.
  5. Then create a 30-day AdWords campaign to drive traffic to your art newsletter landing page. (Spending no more than $2 a day). Now if you get over a 100 new subscribers to your newsletter, and they go through your email series, you’ll likely make 3 $40 print sales. Spending $60 to make $60

This is what’s so great about having a system for selling your art online.

It’s actionable and measurable. Allowing you to hit the accelerator on how fast you want to grow your art business.

I can’t overemphasize how powerful AdWords is.

A little traffic. A lot of traffic. Turn it on or off at will.

Google already has some great “how-to” videos showing your the intricacies of setting up your AdWords account. Just in case you get stuck with the technical parts of getting started, check out their videos.

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