The internet is a powerful tool for artists, offering free or inexpensive direct and indirect marketing. Learn to use it.
|Ocean Park Beach, by Carol L. Douglas, available through Ocean Park Association. Put your strongest visual image first.|
I’m no marketing guru; I just developed this blog by the seat of my pants. I learned along the way, and you can, too.
Indirect marketinggrows awareness of you as an artist. It comes in the form of news stories, the paintings you donate to non-profit auctions, word of mouth, referrals, reviews and First Friday walkabouts.
Direct marketing is when you ask clients to buy a painting from you directly. That can take the form of an online store, a booth at an art fair, newsletters showing off your paintings, or paid advertisements.
Brand awareness is how much your name and work are recognized by potential collectors. The whole goal of indirect marketing is to increase brand awareness. The better-known you are, the more paintings you’ll sell.
Sunrise, by Carol L. Douglas, available through the Kelpie Gallery. Use your blog to steer your readers toward your galleries or stores.
All artists need both indirect and direct marketing channels, and it helps to be clear about what yours are. For example, my direct marketing happens through plein air painting events, my targeted mailing list, and the Plein Air Store. My indirect marketing is through this blog, public appearances, and Instagram.
|Rocks, by Carol L. Douglas. Available through Camden Falls Gallery. Using your own artwork also avoids copyright issues.|
Developing brand awareness is most important when you first enter the marketplace. Of course, that’s when you can least afford it. Luckily, at this juncture, there are powerful online tools you can use for free. Here are the ones 2D artists use most:
- Blog: best for indirect marketing.
- Instagram: for indirect and direct marketing.
- Targeted mailing list: useful for direct marketing.
- Facebook business page: good for indirect marketing to an older audience.
- Google business posting: useful if you have a physical studio or gallery you want to direct traffic to.
- Website: can be commerce enabled (direct marketing), but, as Alex Serra remarked at MICA, websites are fast becoming the online equivalent of business cards.
- Other free listings. Maine State Tourism offers studio and gallery listings, for example; your arts council or state tourism board may as well.
What direct and indirect marketing channels are you using now? What other ones would you like to explore?
Above is an image of my blog. It is very simple in design, and hasn’t been changed since I moved it back to Blogger in 2016. To me, the art, not the design, is the most important thing. Here are the important features:
- There is a text ad for my workshops directly below the masthead. This runs 365 days a year and links to my website.
- Below the headline is a tag line, which is simple search engine optimization (SEO). I just treat the first 25 words as if they were an ad for the whole post. I’m not into mindless click bait, but I do try to ensure that words my readers care about are there.
- My most compelling picture goes first. Reposters like Facebook automatically run that photo.
- There’s almost always a link to another of my blog posts in the copy. This increases readership and is important for SEO.
- There’s an ad at the right and at the bottom. This is the only revenue-generation I do on my blog. I do not sell endorsements or links.
- Five days a week, I write 400-600 words of fresh copy.
Several people at Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA) asked me for more detailed information on marketing on social media. That’s my subject for the next few days.
Part three: Getting readers
Part three: Getting readers
Feel free to comment or ask me questions, below.
And, for those who wonder, my medical tests yesterday went great. I’m cancer-free for another year.