A lot of artists have been writing to me just this past month about how to get your work seen. Just today a very nice lady wrote to ask how to get her Mom's custom portraits seen. Art Paw has a pretty strong web presence and many artists may think we are "lucky" or that maybe we know some easy secret to marketing that gives us an edge. The reality is there is no "easy" secret when it comes to marketing artwork. I would be happy to share a few tips that are working for us.
#1 Advertise off-line to drive traffic on-line.
We spend a few thousand dollars a year advertising in a variety of pet oriented national magazines. The cost for print ads can run as low as $200 and can go up into the thousands depending on your budget. We do small marketplace ads and try to keep our costs as low as possible.
#2 Show up at local pet events
National coverage is great, but do not forget to work your local market by showing up at dog and pet related events put on by local charity groups. Be sure and give to those local charities as well. Many rescue groups have yearly auctions and would love to have one of your portraits to auction off for their cause. They will often place your business cards and marketing brochures by your auction item.
#3 Search Engine Optimization
If you have a website make sure the engines can find you. I am always trying to read up on the latest news about optimizing for various web engines. I am not going to go into detail here and give you a step by step guide on how to do this because there are a gazillion web-sites out there that will teach you how. In addition to free information there are companies that will optimize your website for you for a small fee. If someone tries to sell you services for web optimization be sure and check to see how their web site ranks. You do not want to hire the company that is ranking on page 10 for SEO services.
#4 Printed Marketing Materials
The web is great and a well designed on-line portfolio is a good place to start but do not forget about old fashion marketing materials such as full color business cards, flyers, postcards and more. Leave these at your local vets, groomers and doggy daycare places. Slap a bumper sticker on your car with your domain on it ....get aggressive locally in getting your name out there.
#5 Spend almost as much time marketing your artwork as making it.
Yep, it sad but true, you should develop a real joy for selling because your first 5 years in business should be spent with at least 50% of your energies being put into marketing. If you are doing art fulltime and can afford to spend twice as much time selling your artwork as making it then you will succeed twice as fast.
#6 Network with other Artists
There are tons of successful artists on-line and while not everyone that you e-mail is going to feel compelled to give you any help it never hurts to ask. A word of advice in approaching other artists by e-mail, try and include your full name, web address and phone number. Do not try and be sneaky or pretend to be someone else. I have had a handful of portrait artists e-mail with their hotmail accounts to ask how my ad in a specific magazine is doing for me without even identifying themselves. Be totally above board and honest with people and they will usually be glad to help you. If you try to be anonymous it will usually backfire on you. Be willing to share a little of yourself when approaching other artists.
#7 Spend Some Time and Spend Some Money
I have never been shy about spending money on my business. It takes money to make money. I happen to love marketing and see it as a creative art form in itself. I am not afraid to invest time and money into selling because I know my work is good and that it will pay off if I invest in myself.
So if you are an artist get out there and start selling. Artists should also feel free to leave a comment here and share your own marketing tips. If you are a pet lover please order an Art Paw original today so I can figure out how to pay for my next print ad.