Marketing Your Art

Marketing Your Art

Artists work hard!

They not only have to hone their craft, never quite hitting perfection as they constantly strive for improvement and deeper meaning and connection with their art, but they also must learn how to sell it.

Selling might seem like it goes against the heartfelt, soulful world of art but that’s simply a point of view.

Let us leave how to sell your art to the right person for another post.
This time let’s talk about art galleries.

An art gallery is a fantastic way to get your art in front of the eyes of a one-of-a-kind loving audience, but I need to remind you, the art doesn’t sell itself.

And, although an art gallery should have its own marketing plan to bring people in to view all the beautiful pieces they have on display, it’s not entirely their job alone.

It’s well known that people need to see something more than once before buying if it’s not in front of their face (or in their hands).

This means using your resources to build your audience and get your art in front of them.

Having your art in galleries and shops is just part of that. A person may see your work online and want to see a piece in person before buying.

So, here are some recommendations to help guide you.


Now, before you start saying that you’re not techy or you can’t afford one, keep in mind that there are many options these days, including free ones and many, many tutorials.

And there are many very good reasons to have your own website.

  1. Having a home base.

    While Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms are still necessary for reaching your audience your website is your owned media.
    Social media platforms can go down or even cease to exist without your control or the ability to interfere. Your website, on the other hand, is entirely up to you.

  2. Full control over branding, content, and look.

    Social media platforms have their own branding and give you limited options for content types, layout, and capabilities. And while those options are especially useful, they are not entirely what you need.
    On your website you can collect email addresses, choose what products you highlight, get more visitors through search (Google, Bing, Yahoo), and direct potential buyers as needed.
    One such way is to have a list of galleries or shops your work is displayed in so they can go see it in person.
    Another is to list events you are attending so they can plan to come visit and explore your skills.
    Don’t forget to link the events and shops/galleries to their own websites so you are assisting them in selling your work as well as boosting your own site for search engines.


Instagram is fantastic for the visual medium of art!

I have heard a lot of ideas of how to use Instagram but one that has stuck out to me is that your feed should be used like it’s your magazine.

It is your portfolio.

Make it fit your style. Make it beautiful!

Don’t forget to share behind the scenes and some of your personality, but use the same filters so the images blend in.

And, of course, video.

Be sure to use IGTV and Stories. Go live to show your work and talk people through it or post short snippets of each piece.

Lastly, don’t forget your call to actions. Always say things like “DM me for more info if you’re interested in buying this piece” or “click the link in my bio to visit my shop/website”.


I will start this by saying that I am not a fan of Facebook, however, it does have its uses.

While it hosts the largest social media presence still and a great targeted way of reaching them with ads, it makes it hard for entrepreneurs and small businesses to reach their audience without paying.

Some recommend using your personal profile as a business profile instead but I warn you, this is against Facebook’s terms of service and can have you shut down.

Instead I feel that Facebook Groups and their newer video platform are fantastic uses.

You should still have a business page and post to it but you should use groups to collect and interact with your best fans and buyers.

Video is becoming popular on any platform so it’s never a loss to post the videos you do on Instagram on Facebook as well.

When you do a live on Instagram also do it on Facebook to sell your products.


Now while I am not a fan of Facebook, I am definitely a fan of Pinterest and boy are they making new updates that will help sellers more.

Pinterest, being visually based, is a fantastic platform for artists to share their work.

They now allow sales directly from their site as well.

    Here are some tips:

  1. Always watermark your images so someone can’t steal them and if they do viewers know who’s work it is anyways.
  2. Link directly to the piece in the image not your whole site.
  3. Create multiple boards based on keywords and share the same image to all of them, not necessarily all at once as pins have a 3-month lifespan.


Participating in events is a great way to not only sell your work but also to build brand recognition.

We have already covered the idea of listing them on your website and It’s already well known that participating in events is good for gaining customers so how about some tips to make the most of it?!

  1. Have a newsletter sign up list or form ready (or if you’re techy use a laptop or tablet with a keyboard)
  2. Give a business card to every buyer and those checking out your table
  3. Have clear signage so people can see your brand from the other side of the aisle.

Go to every event with the plan to build your brand audience even if you don’t make sales that day. And remember, every event is a treasure trove of information and experiences that you can learn and grow from.


Okay, I know no one wants to hear about paying for attention but the reality is that we live in a pay to play world.

While there are more and more ways to reach your audience without paying (organically) none of those will be as direct as paying for ads on social platforms or in search engines.

The two most popular ad platforms are Facebook and Google.

Facebook has fantastic targeting tools for getting your ads in front of your audience based on age, gender, location, interests, and so on. So you need to know or have some idea that can be fine-tuned of who your audience is.

Whereas I do suggest you do keyword research before getting into Google ads.

So, in short, you can’t rely on galleries and shops that carry your work to do all the advertising for you then become disappointed when it’s not flying out the door.

Gallery and shop owners should have their own marketing plans and methods but as the artist, you should never stop marketing yourself.

The Cost of Traffic

The Cost of Traffic

One thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the cost of traffic.

Recently it was brought to my attention that Etsy was increasing its fees again and some people were freaking out.

Organic traffic may not cost you per click or acquisition or lead but it is certainly a time investment to create posts, engage, schedule, research, experiment, and so on.

Paid traffic will cost you more than $0.20US per listing and 5% per transaction ($5 on a $100 order).

Etsy has already done the work to build up their platform’s incoming and returning traffic and they continue to do so both organically and through paid methods.

The sellers also help to bring in the traffic not just for themselves but for other sellers.

Instead of worrying about the fees, let’s consider asking ourselves about traffic to our own website.

Driving Traffic Organically

What are the organic methods of traffic for you to consider for your shop or website?


Facebook has made a lot of not-so-business-friendly changes recently, which means that organic reach is not as easily accessible for pages.

Before you suggest that you will just use a profile then, you should know that it’s against Facebook’s terms of service to use your personal profile as a business profile.

So, what is Facebook good for if not organic reach?


Facebook is still an awesome platform for organizing your audience into great, interactive groups. Funnel them into your newsletter then invite them into your groups for further interaction and connection.


Twitter can be great for reaching people if your market is on there.

Your tweets reach your audience and those searching for certain topics, so you can reach new people.
If your target market isn’t there, then you could be wasting time by making it a priority.


Instagram is growing in popularity and getting followers is easier than it is on Facebook.

However, you are only allowed 1 link, which is in your profile, until you hit 10,000 followers, at which point you gain access to adding links to individual Instagram Story posts.

Yet, Instagram has added buyable posts for those approved and using hashtags, location tags doing live videos, and now, starting your IGTV channel will get your content in front of new eyes and it’s all free.
Create a great strategy and work IG with devotion and you can see a great return.


I have found Pinterest to be an awesome way to drive traffic to my website and my client’s websites.

When I have put regular time into pinning on Pinterest, both other people’s content and my own, I have seen it being the top traffic driver for my website.

Pinterest is also a great way to make affiliate income and now also has buyable pins for US priced shops.

Online Listings and forums

You can do a search for online listings for your specific industry or problem you are solving and find quite a few I’m sure.

Many listing sites will allow you to list your business for free and others will want you to purchase membership.

In the case of organic traffic, you would be only listing in free sites and finding forums that are active on your topic to engage in.

This can help you get targeted traffic from the listings and build relationships that visit your site and grow into customers from your forum interactions.

Joint Ventures/Affiliations

While building relationships, either online or in person, you will find people who complement what you offer well.

This could lead to wonderful ideas of programs (like summits), presentations (webinars), guest posts, and other creative offerings that you could do together for each other’s audiences.

In turn, this would grow your audience and theirs by sharing each other’s talents and offerings.

The Low Down of Organic

While this all sounds great there’s a lot to consider.

You need to first create a strategy, figure out your branding, target market, offerings, message, etc….This is whether you use paid of organic methods.

Really though, organic is not free.

If you are doing all the work yourself at $30 an hour (obviously unpaid) and spending hours working on this then it’s still costing you in time.

If you hire someone you are looking at a rate of $50 an hour or more and will limit the time they can spend on your organic methods.

One way or another you still need to drive traffic, and everyone starts out with organic and spends hours of their time doing so.

Now for paid

Just as there are several ways to drive traffic to your website organically, there are also lots of ways to drive traffic using paid methods.

Paid methods may be more successful, but they can also break and waste the budget if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Paid Ads

According to a 2017 study by Ad Espresso the cost of a click via Facebook ads is around $1.

While according to Wordstream, a 2015 post pegs the cost of Adwords also around $1 per click.

Yet, according to the Google Analytics for my Etsy shop (which I don’t really do much with), I have had 5 shop visitors for the month of June.

This would have cost me $5 even though they didn’t purchase anything. Instead, with Etsy fees, it only cost me less than $2 (it was over $2 when converted to Canadian dollars).

Therefore, it saved me money which could have been spent on paid ads.

Some may argue that the paid ads on my part would have been more targeted but in the case of my Etsy example the people coming to Etsy are looking for specific types of things and are often looking to buy, whether now or in the future.

If they are just looking to Pin my products for later use they are then, in turn, giving me more free advertising.

Paid listings, membership sites, and affiliations (sponsorships)

This is quite the grouping, but I really don’t want to spend as much time here because the costs are so varied.

Just as I had mentioned that there are sites for listing your business there are also paid version. It will be up to you to read through the media kit and evaluate the value of the site before accepting its validity for your business.

This is the same for membership sites.

As for affiliations, this is a HUGE topic of its own.

This can come in paying to do a webinar for someone’s audience, paying for them to post about your business (money or product), paying for traffic (don’t do this!), paying for them to email their audience about you, and so on.

This range of cost is huge as each person sets their own rates and it will vary by so many factors.

Let’s Cash This Out

Whether you’re using a 3rd party platform for your shop such as Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, the fees are worth it when you factor in all it takes to drive traffic yourself.

This isn’t to say that you should stop driving traffic, but you could focus more on relationship building with organic methods rather than paying for ads as well.

As you make more money then you pay for ads to bring in yet more money.

By building relationships via organic methods you are building the audience to target your ads to and learning more about them along the way.

So, next time a platform increases their fees you should think about how much time and money it would take you to drive the same amount of traffic.

If you can bring more traffic and convert visitors to buyers more then add in the cost of hosting and branch out on your own to your own website such as Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce.

Otherwise, figure out all the tools the platform(s) you are using has to offer you and stop whining about the fees.

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