3 Steps to Marketing Your Art

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How can you take solid, deliberate steps to market your art with confidence and professionalism? In this guest post by artist and marketing consultant, Margot Rogers, you will learn 3 practical steps to help you market your art in a way that fits for you. If you’d like more tools to cultivate your marketing skills, I’d like to invite you to join me this Thursday, September 19 when I interview Margot for Marketing Your Art with Margot Rogers. This one-hour online class (phone and web) by The Grove Center for the Arts & Media will be packed with practical information designed to help you cultivate your marketing skills. I hope you can join us. Margot writes…

Lots of artists suffer from the “Not enough Time” syndrome. Our culture is (and has been for a while) very comfortable with the phrase “There’s just not enough time in the day.” Giving into the mantra of overwhelm that permeates our professional spheres is art-killing. Not just art with a capital A art as in fine or commercial art, but little ‘a’ art like the art we put into marketing our work, telling our story, and showing why our work is worth clicking on, collecting, and living with. What every artist needs to reclaim their time is to step back and re-focus their priorities. If your goal is to get better at marketing your art, here are three priorities that will help you take back your time and make it work towards your goals.

Clarify your Unique Value

Your first priority to improve your art marketing strategy is to clarify your unique value. Our time is marked by the shift from regional connectivity to the opportunity to connect internationally with a click of some kind from a blog post to an email or a tweet. This connectivity is an asset that can only be put to use if you have discerned your unique value, that is, why are you different enough to get clicked on.

As it becomes easier for artists to share, market and sell their work directly to collectors and curators online, it is increasingly important for artists to highlight their unique value. Not to change their work necessarily, but to bring to the front that which makes them different. Has your fine art painting been hung in a Contemporary Museum or collected by a prominent patron? Has your watercolor been licensed for a commercial calendar? Bringing to the forefront the things that make you different is not only a great way to improve your marketing strategy, but also a way to focus your audience’s perception of you into a soundbite or keywords so it is easier to share what you do with interested friends and colleagues.

Take a note from the Tech World: MVP

Second priority: Marketing only works if you ship it on time. MVP, Minimum Viable Product in business terms is creating a prototype of a product with the minimum amount of resources to test its viability. This methodology is inspiring for me as an artist because I can try out my ideas and see if they are visually or artistically thrilling before pouring out my soul onto a canvas that is a poor shadow of someone else’s work. The MVP applies both to our art practice, but even more perhaps to marketing that art and getting it out there.

In my own experience, setting up a website with a small number of quality images on it was enough of a digital business card to land a large illustration job commissioned by 4 Hour Body author Tim Ferriss, who I reached out to on Twitter. An example from the tech world  I love is a story from 2008 when Google commissioned a comic book by Scott McCloud to explain the new browser Google Chrome. The comic shipped ahead of the browser and for two days was the only source of information about the software release internationally. To think that a giant company like Google would use this same principle of putting out a MVP in comic book form of a product that was not yet finished is inspiring for us little guys.

Marketing your work, while creative in many aspects, is not a work of art. Waiting to press go on a blog post until it is perfect can cost you readers and diminish the value of your social currency which may down the road cost you a gallery show, a commission or a sale. While branding is important for artists, getting your work in front of audiences is arguably more important. Taking a note from the tech world, it is true that “Speed Kills the Competition.”

Your Story Needs a Trojan Horse

Third priority: Make your message shareable. Don’t be afraid to tell your story, but when you tell the story of what makes your art unique, make sure that it is a good enough story that others will tell it to their friends. Trojan Horse Marketing is looked down on in general but Trojan Horse I am speaking of is more of a gift brought into the walls of your audience’s trust and rather than spewing out soldiers or hidden messages that they are averse to. Your stories should carry authentic pieces of why people should remember you, and what makes them want to share.

Good storytelling is the basis of good marketing. Who enjoys your work? Where is it hung or published? What makes people connect to it? All the elements of your personal story, and of your professional story make your artwork more memorable and shareable. Develop a content strategy that tells your story in manageable bites and plan how you will share it. Keeping all your content on your website is the best, but using social media to share is an important aspect of expanding your audience.

Questions: What did you find most helpful about what Margot had to say? Please share what works for you with marketing your art? Successes? Failures? Lessons learned?

Click here for more information about The Grove’s practical online class Marketing Your Art with Margot Rogers this Thursday, September 19 at 2pm PST (5 PM CDT).

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