For artists, awareness is the first piece of the marketing puzzle. Without awareness, you have no audience to engage with and no one to whom you can sell your art. Here are 5 tips to help you significantly boost awareness of your art business and get your marketing system in motion. Fair warning though—you need to be brave!
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Know your ideal buyer so that you can speak to them in your marketing
Many artists know that they need to create their ideal buyer profile, but they’re unsure how to go about it. It may not be as complicated as you think. Start by asking yourself: what kind of work do I create? What kinds of people buy it? Where do those people go to find art?
Defining the traits of your ideal buyer might start out as simply as: “likes abstract work,” “enjoys color in their life,” or “appreciates storytelling.”
You can develop the profile further by asking yourself questions like: do they live in my local area or do they live in vacation spots around the country or around the world? Are they more metropolitan or are they more small-town? Is my ideal buyer male or female—or does it matter? Do they use social media? If so, which platforms?
Now go deeper on your ideal buyer
This kind of research will help you figure out where to focus your marketing efforts. For example, if you create contemporary or abstract work, where are you going to find people who like abstract art or contemporary art? How about websites and galleries that sell contemporary work? Or perhaps you’re creating very colorful work. Who are the people who enjoy a lot of color in their life? One way to find them may be through interior designers whose style is heavily focused on color.
What if one of the traits of your ideal customer is that they appreciate storytelling? How do your potential customers find and consume stories? Through podcasts? Do they read the New Yorker, their local newspaper, a national magazine? Or do they get their stories online? If so, where?
Your potential buyers are not going to tell you where to find them, so you need to be creative about this and start developing your buyer profile based on what you know today. You can always revise it as you learn more—you have to start somewhere though!
Choose social media platforms thoughtfully
If you're jumping back and forth between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and trying to do it all, you’ll wear yourself out and run out of time for making art! Choose a primary outlet to start with. If you have the ability and the time in your schedule to manage a secondary one, add it later.
Your primary social media platform should be one where you feel comfortable posting marketing content (not just personal content), and where you believe you can find your ideal buyer.
How to choose between platforms? Think of your ideal buyer profile, your work, and your brand, and choose your social media outlet(s) based on a combination of those factors. Make sure that you understand the platform(s) you choose, because if decide to focus your efforts on Pinterest, but you have no idea how to use it, it's going to take you a long time to bridge that gap.
Remember to take a marketing approach, not a personal approach, to the content you're sharing. Social media is very different from a marketing perspective than it is from a personal perspective, so make sure you’re using it effectively for your business. There’s nothing worse than spending hours of your time and seeing no business return for it.
For more on social media, visit my past blog posts: How to Be Efficient and Effective at Promoting Your Art on Social Media and Spend Less Time Promoting Your Art on Social Media (with better results).
Go deep on social media
Commit to going deep within your chosen social platform, learning all the ways you can reach your audience. Use live video, which is available on Facebook and Instagram. Use Facebook groups to find niche audiences so you can engage with people who fit your ideal buyer profile.
Learn how to use Instagram Stories, and always use hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. For hashtags, understand your ideal buyer and who they might be connected to (such as interior designers, or architecture firms or galleries), then craft hashtags that will reach those audiences.
You are what will attract your ideal buyer, so be unabashedly you
Trying to fit in or be like everyone else won’t get you or your work noticed. What will get you noticed is understanding what makes you and your work unique and then being unabashedly yourself and putting yourself out there.
Although most people talk about finding their ideal buyer, the truth is that it goes both ways: finding and attracting. When you’re clear on your brand and what makes you unique and you’re 100% willing to show people that, your ideal buyer will be drawn to you.
Be clear in your mind who your ideal buyer is so that you can go to the places where you'll find them, and at the same time, remember to show your own uniqueness, so that your ideal buyer will be able to find you.
Be seen in front of someone else’s audience
Are there podcasts or YouTube channels you follow with a topic that aligns with your art or your brand or that your ideal buyer would watch or listen to? Consider pitching yourself as a guest on their show talking about your work, creative inspiration, unique process, or even your personal story. Being a guest on a video or podcast series can be a great way to gain significant awareness.
Or approach a local, regional, or national business about a partnership. Again, consider your ideal buyer and your brand and approach businesses that align with both. If you haven't partnered with a business before, start small and see how well it works for you. You’ll find out what’s involved and then you can decide whether you’d like to try it again.
You can also partner with another artist on a creative project. This can be a great way to grow awareness because if the two of you come up with a really creative project idea, it can help you both gain media coverage. And, when you're partnering with somebody else, whether it's an artist or a business, you're reaching their audience as well.
You can also pitch a story about you to the media. Come up with a story idea that connects you and your work with current events or topics that a reporter might be interested in covering, then pitch that story to media outlets. Brainstorm your local and regional newspapers, television, radio stations, and your local city magazines. To be successful, provide them with a compelling story or an interesting angle—something unique that you're doing, like an unusual a partnership or a creative project that you're working on.
The number one marketing priority for most artists is awareness, so focus your efforts there… and don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone to do it.
If you want to gain a big audience then you need to go big! Know your ideal buyer and what makes you and your work unique, and then don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Find big opportunities for awareness and go out there and take them by the horns and make them happen.
Get some support and Create a Marketing Plan for Your Thriving Art Business
Want to have me by your side as you take these steps, and be part of a community of artists who are all working on marketing their art? Join the Art Marketing Project membership!
Are you being brave with your awareness work? Or are there other big awareness opportunities coming up for you? I would love to hear, so drop a comment below and let me know about them!