Business Marketing VS. Art Marketing

There’s a saying worth remembering- people don’t buy from small businesses, they buy from the person running that small business. As an Artist- the rules and strategies that guide standard marketing don’t always apply. We thrive within small communities, and personal relationships built on trust. Often our first and greatest supporters are people we know- friends and family. That extends outward as we grow and develop a career. This blog offers up some tips on how to market from this unique position using examples of what to do and what NOT to do as an “Artrepreneur” online…


  1. Be present in your marketing. We live in a sea of beautiful art online. There are so many talented people out there screaming into the void- sharing beautiful photos of artwork they spent weeks or months creating. Put yourself front and center when creating content and reaching out to your audience. They want to hear you, see you, know you. That personal relationship and presence with your supporters will make a world of difference.
  2. Build relationships. Art is personal & totally subjective. To market well, you need to know your audience and nurture relationships with your collectors. Standard business marketing usually casts a wide net, but Artists thrive in close knit communities. Leverage the relationships you already have to reach new people. This means treating buyers well, adding special touches when you make a sale, supporting fellow artists, and engaging with your supporters.
  3. Showing art online doesn’t really count. In a recent episode of the Medium Podcast, I spoke with Artist Joe Boruchow about cultivating a sustainable career. He made an excellent point- showing art online doesn’t count. You have to show your work in person, in your area, to actual people. Art has a totally different impact in person, and your community is out there ready to see what you’ve been working on. Make a point of showing your art off in the real world, as often as possible. Those likes and follows don’t often translate into sales- but they can lull you into a false sense of accomplishment.
  4. Make & share what you love. In the advertising world, companies spend tons of money on psychological research & customer profiling. While this can be useful info- it’s not the best strategy for artists looking to find their niche audience. Instead- make what you love. Create to satisfy & delight yourself- then share it. This is a natural, non manipulative way to engage with the right people who share your passion & taste.
  5. Be Authentic. Artistry isn’t always pretty. The process of creation is a journey & the drive to make art usually stems from a need to truly express yourself. It’s very human & attractive to be vulnerable in a world full of curated images. Be yourself. Talk about what matters to you. Share your challenges, victories & personal journey with your audience. I’m not suggesting you over share- I think we’ve all seen enough of that. What I am advising is to discover what you value. Stand up for what you believe in & integrate that into your work.
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