There’s no doubt about it—self-promotion can leave even the most confident artists running for the hills.
It feels awkward and uncomfortable, not to mention you don’t want to come across as bothersome to the people around you.
But, no matter how hard we beg and plead, we can’t make self-promotion go away. The truth of the matter is that self-promotion is crucial to your success as an artist. People can’t buy your pieces if they don’t realize you exist. And, you need paying customers to turn a passion into a living!
While marketing your art business is necessary, it doesn’t have to be a necessary evil. In fact, you can take the pain out of self-promotion altogether simply by changing your mindset.
Take a look at these five mantras that can help you reconcile with self-promotion.
You are a business.
Think of it this way, every single business needs to promote its work or else it will never succeed. Promotion is just a way to help interested customers find you. And, just because you feel like a person, not a business, doesn’t mean you should skip out on promoting yourself. Remember, you are trying to make a living from your work. You are a business!
You are providing value.
In fact, this is one of the key realizations Ann Rea, artist and founder of Artists Who Thrive, helps draw out of her students. Before having this epiphany, Ann’s student Lucy Chen admitted having the mindset: “If people ever buy my art, it's like they're doing me a big favor… because I wasn't clear on what kind of value that I would provide people.”
Ann helped Lucy realize that one essential key to selling her art successfully depended on the way she viewed and handled self-promotion. She realized that she didn’t have to feel like people were doing her a favor by buying her artwork because she understood that she was providing value as well. “ I can't even tell you how much of a game changer that is for me,” Lucy said. “Just emotionally and even spiritually, because it's so empowering.”
As an artist, you have the talent, vision, and dedication that is not gifted to every person. And, whether people are buying your art because it helps them invoke a certain emotion, challenges their way of thinking, adds to their collection, or completes their interior design, your art is providing them with value as well.
That’s why there’s no need to cower or shrink when talking about your art. Interested buyers are out there, you just need to connect with them.
You can provide value while you promote, too.
We’re going to bet that you don’t want to come across as annoying, conceited, or pushy, and you feel like self-promotion will do just that. But, guess what! Self-promotion can be fun, entertaining, and valuable for both you and your fans. This win-win situation is known as content marketing.
Need some ideas? Create an art installation or paint a mural for your community. Offer drinks or appetizers at your art events. Host a podcast. Write a blog post or article for the local paper. Film videos for YouTube. Don’t just post for the sake of posting on social media, develop a strategy chock-full of fun content. Write insightful comments on the blogs and social media posts of influential collectors or designers. Send out notes of thanks and congratulations. Make small gifts for your mailing list during the holidays.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to getting your name out there in a creative way. And, the magic of it is that it doesn’t feel like self-promotion because you aren’t just focusing on yourself—you are providing real value to your fans.
Believe in yourself.
Let’s put it this way, if you don’t believe your art is worthy of being loved, how do you expect your customers to? And, knowing in the back of your mind that you don’t believe 100% in your artwork can make self-promotion feel like nails on a chalkboard.
Self-belief helps you to be more authentic and sincere, so you feel less like an imposter during self-promotion and more like a go-getter. Your passion and enthusiasm will translate, making customers excited about your art as well.
This doesn’t always come easy to artists, but it can be improved with practice. Take a look at 7 powerful ways to build self-confidence that lasts from Dr. Yanina Gomez of Art NXT Level.
Your target market wants to hear from you.
If you have a lot of Facebook friends, you might be anxious to post too much about your art because you know not everyone is going to want to hear about it. Well, this is a valid concern because your haircutter and a high school acquaintance probably aren’t going to be the ones buying your pieces.
The Muse describes self-promotion as educating relevant people about your skills and value—the keyword there being “relevant.” It all boils down to finding your target market since self-promotion is a whole lot easier when you feel like you are talking to people who actually want to listen.
One way to make this easier is to create separate social media channels for your art business. Interested family, friends, and potential buyers can follow you with full support and knowledge about the type of content they are going, and you can promote to your target customers guilt-free.
Stop second-guessing. Start promoting.
Self-promotion is not for the faint of heart. But, it certainly doesn’t have to be as hard as some artists make it out to be. With the right strategy, frame-of-mind, and confidence level, you’ll find it easier to promote your artwork, connect with people who appreciate your talent, and sell more pieces.
Want to reach even more art buyers? Discover 10 ways to build your credibility as an artist.