Let’s face it: marketing is a huge activity, and it could take over your whole life if you let it. But we’re not going to let it, because you’ve got a few other things you need to attend to—like creating art!
You can't do it all, so simplify your art marketing by choosing the things that are right for you and your business.
How to simplify your art marketing
By simplifying, you’ll save time, you’ll be organized so that you don’t end up switching gears between marketing work and creative time, and you’ll connect better with your audience. Here’s how:
1 | Choose the most efficient marketing tactics for your business
Keep it simple and choose the best tactics (or tools) for you and your business. Here are some tried and true tactics:
Use social media to interact with your existing audience and to reach new people. Social media is great for expanding awareness of your art and increasing engagement with your followers.
On social media it's completely acceptable to promote your work and share links to your website to build your business.
For more on this topic, read this post (to open the post in a new tab, right-click the title and choose “open link in new tab”):
When I say “email marketing,” you might think, “I don't want to have to write an email to my list once a week or twice a month.”
But think about it: when people join your email list, they are showing you that they’re interested in what you have to say. They’re giving you permission to contact them regularly about your art business.
Email lets you communicate your message in a personal way directly to your followers, develop relationships with them over time, follow up with past buyers, and link to your website when you have a blog post or promotion to share.
Most important of all, you own your list and control your email marketing, unlike with social media, where the rules can change without warning.
So focus your marketing efforts on your email subscribers, and give them your best effort!
Not convinced yet? Read this post:
When I mention blogging, many artists cringe, but read on: blogging and email work together very well, because your blog is your storytelling platform, and email is the tool you use to tell your audience when you’ve written something new.
Coming up with an occasional post about a project you’re working on is great, but if you can manage to blog regularly, you’ll get better at communicating about your work, you’ll engage your audience more, and you’ll build up a wealth of content that you can repurpose in a variety of ways.
Bonus: with regular blogging, your website will always have fresh content.
For more on the advantages of blogging, check out this post:
—Building a network
Imagine having your own personal team out in the world who keep you in mind, and when opportunities come up, they mention your name. That’s what building a network can do for you.
If you go about it strategically, you can develop a network of people who help you make personal connections with the right people to move your business forward. This gives you far greater reach into your market than you could manage on your own.
First, you need to know who your ideal buyer is, because you’re looking for good connections to help you reach that ideal buyer. Let’s say you’re a landscape painter. Your ideal buyer is likely interested in the natural world, and maybe environmental causes. You might look for connections to non-profit organizations that have the same passion in their business.
If you don’t know who your ideal buyer is, download my ideal buyer profile worksheet and work through the exercise.
Then, spend up to 30 minutes brainstorming a list of your current contacts — anyone that you know business-wise, including other artists. These are people who might be able to help you get in front of the ideal buyer you’ve identified. Now call them and make an appointment to get together.
Of course, it's not a matter of saying, “Can you give me five names?” The aim is to build reciprocal relationships. Offer to be of service first — even if it’s as simple as picking up the tab for coffee.
Then try this: “I create ___________ for _______________. I would like to meet ____________, _____________, or _____________. If you have any connections, I'd appreciate an introduction.”
For an in-depth post on how to build a network, read this:
Increase your exposure to new audiences by running paid Facebook or Instagram ads.
Once you’ve got your website set up to capture new subscribers and sell your art, you can run these ads for a small amount of money every week and have them work for you while you're sleeping.
As long as you’ve got a subscription form on your website, you’ll gain email subscribers too. The bigger your email audience, the more sales you’ll get over time as your subscribers come to know, like, and trust you.
Once you get this dialed in, you can set it and forget it, which is awesome—and efficient!
In this blog post, When and How to Use Advertising to Skyrocket Your Art Sales, I go into this topic in depth.
2 | Follow a plan
With a plan, you've got a refined list of things to do to promote your business rather than feeling like you have to do it all.
The process of creating your marketing plan forces you to think strategically about what will be effective for you and your business. This way, you can avoid falling into the trap of doing what your friends suggest or trying every new tool that comes out.
With a plan, you’ll stay focused, have confidence, and you’ll know how to create work that sells.
I’m so passionate about this topic that I teach a course on it! Read all about it: Create a Marketing Plan for Your Thriving Art Business.
3 | Decide how much time you can devote to marketing
As a small business owner, it’s easy to spend 50 percent of your time on marketing activities!
To rein it in, plan how much time you’re going to devote to marketing and stick to the plan. If you say, “I am going to spend 10 hours a week on marketing,” and you have a plan with a list of things that you need to do, then your job is to get those tasks done within that time period. That way you’ll be less likely to allow marketing to take over your life!
Calculate how much time you can make available for marketing and outline your ideal week. Start by reserving studio time, time with friends and family, and time for the other necessities of life. Be sure to give yourself time for learning and play so that you have the space to be creative, and then schedule time for marketing and business tasks at times that work for you.
Want this as a PDF? Download it here >> My Ideal Week Worksheet
For more detail on this topic, read this post:
4 | Hire help for the work that you can’t manage (or don’t want to manage)
No business owner can be the creator, CEO, and marketing director all in one, so don’t try to go it alone. Hiring help is the way to free yourself up to spend more time doing the things that only you can do—creating art, engaging with patrons, and creating new business opportunities.
Know your own strengths and capacity, and then consider hiring help for tasks such as content writing, email management, social media management, photo editing, appointment scheduling, website updates, and managing your Shopify or other e-commerce account.
Start by considering how long it takes you to produce a piece of art and what price your art fetches, and you can come up with an approximation of what your time is worth.
Then, for the hour, or two hours, or even eight hours that you’re spending on marketing per week, how much would that time be worth if you were using it to create art? If you can hire someone at a lower rate than that to help you with some of these marketing tasks, you’ll be helping your business because it’s freeing you up to do higher paying work.
Find lots more ideas on hiring help here:
Remember to simplify: choose marketing tactics that are right for your business, follow a plan, decide how much time to devote to marketing, and hire help when you need it. Then you can get back to the studio. Hooray!
P.S. In my Create a Marketing Plan for Your Thriving Art Business course, you'll learn how to create a plan that's right for you so you can keep it simple. Add your name to the waitlist and I'll let you know when registration opens.