Looking for an art marketing expert? Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist is a tried-and-true online art marketing whiz! He has been teaching effective internet marketing to artists since 2009. Through blog posts, coaching, podcasts and webinars, Cory empowers artists to take control of their art business. Whether it’s leveraging social media or capitalizing on email marketing, Cory knows how to help you successfully promote and sell your work. We asked Cory to share a few tips on how artists can effectively market their art online.
Capitalize on Social Media
Depending on who your audience is, social media can be really useful. I would narrow your focus to Facebook and Instagram.
a. Share and Advertise Your Art on Facebook
Facebook is huge - there are so many users, groups, and subgroups. I see lots of artists getting a good foothold in Facebook by joining groups. For example, if you’re an artist that makes spiritual art, there are a couple dozen mindfulness and meditation groups on Facebook. Participate in these communities and talk to people who are potentially interested in your art. You can also create your own Facebook page. Showcase photos of your work in progress, in the studio and displayed in buyers’ homes.
“Facebook can lead you to bigger sales in the future.” -Cory Huff
I do recommend having an advertising budget. You can get away with $5 a day for a couple of weeks and get good results if you know what you're doing. Facebook is generally a loss leader strategy. If you want to sell $10,000 pieces, odds are you probably won’t be able to on Facebook. But, artists can sell $1,000 and $2,000 pieces online and often sell quite a few works for less than a $1,000. Later on, upsell these buyers once they know you and your artwork. Facebook can lead you to bigger sales in the future. Target people based on their interests and activities. For example, I worked with an artist in Hawaii who created traditional Hawaiian art. We targeted just people who live in Hawaii, are age 25-60, speak English, and have college degrees. We ran ads targeting this specific audience. The artist spent $30 on Facebook ads and sold $3,000 worth of work. It doesn’t always work like this, but it can.
b. Attract Dealers and Collectors on Instagram
Instagram is an image only and mobile only network. People can comb through images on their phone and people can easily scroll through artwork. It’s perfect for artists who want to capture the attention of art dealers and agents. Instagram is a must do if you’re looking for those. You can also use Instagram to market directly to art collectors. There are lots of art collectors on Instagram looking for the next best artist. Artist Ashley Longshore has sold $30,000 worth of art on Instagram. Vogue says Instagram is the best new way to sell art online. It’s full of well-heeled people looking for the next great artist.
Take Advantage of Email Marketing
Email marketing is probably the most underrated form of art marketing. Artists shy away from it to their own detriment. They usually jump on social media without ever sending out an email. The challenge with only marketing on social media is that people are mainly there to socialize. Your images are competing with thousands of other distractions on social media. Email is a direct line to someone’s inbox. (Check out Cory Huff’s Email Marketing for Artists: The Ultimate Free Guide.)
a. Build Relationships Through Email
Your emails should be about building a relationship with your contacts. If you sell a small piece to a collector and you get his or her email address, you should send a thank you email. Also say “if you’re interested, here’s a link to my website/portfolio.” Another week later, send an email that tells the collector why you make the art that you do. Give insight in what creating your work is like in the form of a video or link to a blog post. People love behind the scenes and previews of what’s to come. Every few weeks give them a teaser. This could be upcoming work and past successes - such as your work in other people’s homes. Seeing your work in another’s collection gives people social proof.
“Someone buys a new piece from Jolie Guillebeau off every email she sends.” -Cory Huff
b. Send Emails as Often as They Can Be Interesting
Artists often ask me how often should I email? The more important question is, how often can I be interesting? I know some daily painters that email artists three to five times a week. Daily painter Jolie Guillebeau creates a new 100 piece series two to three times a year. She emails her list three to five times a week, with a new piece from her series. Someone buys a new piece off every email.
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