Marketing art has become the bane of my existence. It is hard putting yourself out there when there are so many things to do that is more demanding on my mind. Well no… if you do not market then no one knows you are there.
Because I am an introvert and talking to people just drains my very soul, I want to avoid it. It has been a real drag getting myself to get out there, but getting out there I did.
Starting online with merchandising sites gave me a leg up on making that step. There are many sites that you can pick items to sell your art on. It does not pay much, but as you build more works to post, more sales come through. Sites like Redbubble, CafePress, Dazzle, Society6, Storemate, Artier, Artweb, or speciality shops like tee spring, threads, teashop, spreadsheet, imprint, skreened, Bouf, Unbound, etc. There are also sites to set up shops like Easy, Shopify, Creative Market and Sellfy. It is a great way to start making passive income.
Social media marketing is no guarantee. Your posts have to be a bit more interesting than “I did this today.” Build a relationship with the people that like your page. They want to get to know the person that is making the art. Facebook has set up a way to make a shop now. Instagram is just photos that can be easy to keep in touch. Twitter is short and sweet for sending messages to who follows you. Pinterest is a great advertising tool. You can post photos, your blog posts and tag photos to set up what you like so people get to know you in other ways.
Commission sites are a fairly new concept to me. There are sites like Sketchmob, Canvasmatch, Talenthouse, The Commissioned, Custom Portrait Artists, Artist n Clients, Bluethumb and more. This can be a good way to built a patron list. Bluethumb.com.au is the site I will be uploading my art to this week for a trial, I will let you know how they go with sales. Make sure you write down all usernames, passwords, listings, price, date sold, and if you can get it the address and email of the customer sold too. This email can be added to your email list for future mailings.
The next step is my hardest work. This is where you take your work to the local market. Get your feet on the pavement and start talking to cafes, offices, consignment shops, setting up your own market stall, etc. Anywhere you might be able to sell or display your work. Make sure to take business cards and quality photos of your art in a portfolio to show them examples of the type of pieces you can offer.
You can set up an agreement contract with some owners that may want a commission, others you can offer advertising for their shop in your postings/newsletters and any other marketing material. A tit for tat type of agreement. Dress wisely and present yourself with confidence. You are an artist on a mission. There will be some turn downs, that is ok. It doesn’t mean that your work is not great. They may just not want to deal with customers for your sales or it isn’t they type of work they think will present their taste for the shop.
Keep a list of date approached, name of the business, address, who you spoke with, piece(s) displayed there, date for pick-up, Item(s) sold and price. This will let you remember all the details of that visit.
Note: if the owner states that it is not the type of work for their shop, ask what they would like to see displayed there and if you could make those items up for sale. You may land a commission. Get their email address to add to your list if they would like to keep abreast of your future work.
My last point, but not the last of marketing efforts you can undertake, is going to libraries and galleries that have window displays or halls for artists to display. Check with local art clubs to see if you would like to join and display with their works. Make friends with other emerging artists that may like to pull together for a duel exhibition to share costs. Check local show ground show times. There are so many ways to get your work out their for people to know you are for sale.
Keep notes on the name of clubs, fees, date of meetings, annual shows, commission costs, contact person, email, etc. for your records.
Now for the shameless promotion point…. You can keep a file, a ringed notebook, a computer file or you can get my “Daily Art Marketing Journal” to keep all your marketing contact information. Anything to get your goals for sales going. Know where you have been and what contacts you can obtain from them all. You can get your name and pieces out in the world as simple as any of the steps above.
Do you have other ideas to share? Leave a comment for everyone to share techniques.