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Art Marketing 101: How to Promote Your Art

Art marketing is a key part of being an artist. From social media best practices to building a great website, here are our top tips on how to promote your art.

Making art is the fun part. Now you have you get your work out there! Not sure how to market your art? Not a problem—we have all the tips and tricks to help you learn how to promote yourself as an artist. Let’s dive in!

Make an Amazing Online Portfolio

Building an online art portfolio is a crucial first step in marketing your art. Whether you’re networking with a new contact, applying for a particular project, or submitting your work for an art competition, it’s important to have a place where you can direct people to see some of your work.

Since your portfolio often serves as your first impression, it’s important to put some thought into it. Here are some key features that will make your portfolio shine—and take your art marketing to the next level!

Use a Time-Saving Website Builder

Save yourself some time and go with an online portfolio platform; you can build your site within minutes! Choose one that gives you a free trial, so you can see if it’s the right fit for your needs.

Choose a layout and theme that are attractive and easy to navigate; when it comes to marketing your art, you want something fresh and modern, but timeless as well.

Curate That Content

While it can be tempting to show off all your work on your online portfolio, you should be a little picky when choosing what to include.

If your portfolio includes too many examples of your work, visitors are less likely to sift through them all. Some of those gorgeous pieces buried in your portfolio may never get seen!

Or, if you include pieces that don’t represent your best work, they can distract potential clients from the rest—and make your entire portfolio seem weaker overall.

Ace Your Artist Statement and About Me Page

Make sure to add your artist statement to your website. An artist statement describes how you work and what your art means: learning how to write an artist statement is another important aspect of art marketing.

You’ll need it to submit your work to art competitions, and to provide to any media writing about your art. It’s also a cornerstone of creating your brand identity as an artist.

The About Me section on your portfolio is a good place to put it. Make sure to fill out the rest of your About Me page with engaging content about yourself and your practice; prospective clients want to get to know the artist behind the art.

Start Blogging

Adding a blog to your online portfolio will go a long way in marketing your art, since creating unique content for your site will help improve its search rankings.

Blog posts also offer a chance to show off your value as an artist. Whether you’re giving a behind-the-scenes look at your process or providing some tips for your fellow artists, info-packed blog posts demonstrate your wealth of knowledge and position you as an industry leader.

Add an Online Store

Now that you have a great online portfolio that showcases your art, why not make it easy for visitors to purchase one of your pieces? You’ve already drawn them in and got them interested in your art, so setting up an online store ensures you don’t miss out on potential sales. Once these pieces are on the walls of collectors and clients, they can spark interest in other buyers—effectively doing your art marketing for you!

Pick an online portfolio platform that offers online store functionality. By selling directly to clients, you can avoid transaction fees that are typical of some online marketplaces.

Enter Art Competitions

Entering competitions is excellent for artist promotion. If you manage to win, not only will you earn some attention for your art, but having the award under your belt can help you start building a reputation as a great artist.

Even if you don’t win the competition, entering can still help with marketing your art, as many competitions will show off some runner-ups, honorable mentions, or recently submitted entries.

Some annual art competitions worth checking out include:

Throw Your Own Art Shows

Want to learn how to promote yourself as an artist? Organizing your own art show is an wonderful way to learn the art marketing ropes—and it may be easier than you think. Here are some tips to help your show go smoothly:

  • Think of a theme to tie the whole show together. While it’s not required, a theme can give a sense of focus to an art show and help you decide if there are other artists who you want to feature.

  • Consider making it a group show. More artists means more art marketing for the show! Each artist will be able to put the word out to their networks of friends and fans, increasing the reach of your artist promotion.

  • Don’t stick to the traditional options for venues. Sure, if it’s in your budget, renting a formal gallery is great. But any place that is open and accessible could work. Some examples include hotel lobbies, restaurants, and music halls.

  • A great show poster will go a long way in marketing your art. Here are our best tips on how to make a poster that will lure in clients.

Network, Network, Network

When it comes to learning how to promote your art, one of the main skills to master is networking! Here are some of the best ways to build those art-world relationships:

Attend Art Exhibitions and Fairs

Here you can meet lots of art fans, professional artists, and industry pros like gallery owners and agents. Making these contacts are extremely important; they can keep you in the loop about new opportunities—like which art galleries are looking for submissions—and help you in marketing your art, whether it’s sharing your art show on their social feeds or suggesting popular artists you could collabo with. Don’t forget to bring your business cards, and hand them out to everyone you meet! It sounds like a small thing, but even a well-designed card can really help with artist promotion.

Join Artist Organizations

Besides offering tons of networking opportunities, these organizations can often provide workshops, artist promotion and advocacy, resources, and more.

There are many artist organizations based in specific states or cities, so take a look for any local organizations you might like to join. There are also a variety of national organizations.

Some examples include:

Get Involved in Your Community

This is an awesome way to get your name out there, and do a little good for your fellow artists at the same time. Some ideas include providing artwork for charity auctions, participating in community art projects like murals, and volunteering to teach at community centers.

New to the city? There’s still lots of ways to get involved in the artist community and start building that network—and marketing your art.

Collaborate on an Art Project

Finding other artists to collabo with is a great artist promotion strategy. Having another artist involved means more people will be aware of your work.

While finding other artists who work in the same medium as you is a reasonable place to start, if you think outside the box, the opportunities are endless. For example, you could find a band that needs cover art for their next album.

Apply for Grants

Being awarded an art grant can help you gain attention and boost your reputation as an artist. It may result in some media coverage, and organizations that give art grants typically like to promote the great artwork they’ve supported.

There’s a lot of art grants available; look for ones that are the best fit for your work, and get cracking on writing a killer grant application.

Place Your Art in Film and TV Projects

There are some artists who make a living creating artwork that appears in film and TV. This artwork can range from a painting that will be hanging in the background to a business logo or a storefront.

If you’re successful in getting your art into a movie or TV show, it will result in a lot of eyes on your work and your name in the project’s credits.

Get started by contacting local production companies, or failing that, reach out to film and TV students in your community. While having your work in a student production likely won’t launch you into stardom, it is a way to start demonstrating your ability to meet the unique requirements involved with film and TV production.

Kill It On Social Media

Learning how to market your art means learning how to excel on social media. These platforms are the key to artist promotion. Read on for our social media tips.

How to Promote Art Online

No social media marketing plan? Things can get messy! If you don’t have concrete goals in mind, it’s harder to assess your progress and identify areas where your art marketing is lacking.

This is why you should start by creating a social media strategy for how to promote your art. It should include things like what you want to get out of your artist promotion campaign, what type of audience you want to target, and which platforms you are going to use.

Set Up Business Accounts on Facebook and Instagram

If you’re still using your personal social media pages as the main way to promote your art online, you should consider creating business pages on Facebook and Instagram. Not only will this make your artist promotion look more professional, but it will also give you access to some more analytics tools to hone your social media marketing strategy.

For example, once you have a business page, you’ll be able to use more analytics tools and create Facebook ads. You should start with setting up your Facebook business page, since it’s required to create a business account on Instagram.

Switching from a personal to a business account is fast, simple, and free! While you’re setting up your new business pages, it’s a good time to take some simple steps to protect your social media accounts from hackers. They can include enabling two-factor authentication, avoiding reusing old passwords, and ensuring your passwords are strong enough.

Get Your Followers to Promote for You

Peer-to-peer promotion is one of the cornerstones of good social media strategy. That means finding ways to get your followers to promote for you.

One way to do that is with contests. For instance, some companies offer free products as prizes and ask participants to enter the contest by making a post that mentions the company or product.

As an independent artist, you likely won’t be able to offer an expensive grand prize. However, if you get creative, there are plenty of ways you could entice people to participate.

For example, you could task the participants with creating a post about their favorite piece from your portfolio, and offer one of your artworks as a prize. This way, you’ll have participants showing off your work to the people in their networks.

Cross-Promote With Other Artists

There are lots of artists out there in the same position as you: they’re also looking for ways to promote their work. So, one easy way to get some artist promotion is to agree to cross-promote with another artist. It can be as simple as making some posts that highlight the artist’s work and what you like about it, with an agreement that they will do the same.

It’s an art marketing win-win: you’ll both get some more eyes on your work. And since everyone’s taste in art is different, you can cross-promote without worrying about sending potential clients to a competitor.

Track Your Progress With Analytics Tools

Tools such as Facebook Insights and Instagram Analytics can help you see how well your social media promotions are working. These tools can tell you things like how many views each of your posts attracts, and how many of those visitors clicked through to see your online portfolio.

By comparing the performance of your various posts and social media strategies, you can get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t.

While the tools that are built into Facebook and Instagram provide enough info to get started, when you’re ready, there are many third-party analytics tools that go further. (Be sure to check out our list of the best analytics tools for Instagram!)

Be Inspired By Your Fellow Artists Online

Study the social media accounts of the artists you look up to—or any artists that really know how to promote their art online. You should examine everything about them, from the type of images they post to their posting schedule. By learning what makes these social media accounts so successful, you’ll gain some insight into what you can do better.

Use Post-Scheduling Tools

Consistently posting fresh content to your social media is important. It’s a great way to keep your followers engaged and attract new ones. However, it can be a pain to stay on top of it day after day.

Luckily, there are a variety of scheduling tools that can take the stress out of it. These tools will let you create your posts at your own pace, and then schedule them to be automatically uploaded at specific times.

These tools make it easy to post at the best times. As your analytics will likely show you, time of day can be a major determining factor in whether your art marketing is seen—or not.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about the scheduling tools that are out there, here’s a list of the best Instagram scheduling tools.

Start a Facebook Ad Campaign

You might assume you’d have to spend a lot of money to get any return from advertising on Facebook. But that’s not the case. You can start by spending as little as $1!

Flexibility is one of the major benefits of Facebook Ads. You can start as small as you want and expand your advertising when it’s needed. There is also a range of different types of Facebook Ads, including various styles of photo and video ads, so you can choose the ones you think will best showcase your art and grab your audience’s attention.

Now What?

Congrats—you’re on your way to mastering how to promote your art. If you put all of these methods into practice, you’ll find your reputation growing and new opportunities arising.

Skilful artist promotion and art marketing can even help you get your art into an art gallery. Once you start marketing your art the right way, anything can happen, from gallery representation to booming sales. It’s time to get out there!

Want to learn more about art marketing?
What Should Creative Professionals Blog About?
10 Social Media Marketing Secrets You Need to Get More Clients
Do Artists Need An Agent?

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