As an artist you are creative by nature, which means the business aspects of marketing and selling may feel uncomfortable. Developing an online presence can help with the process. Each online activity creates permanent evidence that you have been there and serves as a “marketing assistant,” helping to market and sell your work 24/7. There are many such activities an artist can utilize. Here are seven:
1. Register with online portfolio services.
Sites such as AbsoluteArts.com and ArtistPortfolio.net have established technologies that allow you to upload art images to create an online portfolio. Before registering, write a brief statement explaining who you are as an artist and other information important to clients. This can be as short as two words or as long as a paragraph. Also, choose the one image that conveys who you are as an artist (this will be your showcase piece) and write a short biography highlighting awards and achievements.
2. Develop your own Website.
This is more involved than the portfolio services in that you must find a Website developer to create the site and keep it updated. Some sections to consider for your Website: portfolio with images of your work (including the work’s title, and any other relevant information); a biography and statement explaining your art; contact page with a submission form or other information about how to reach you; calendar of events, shows, and appearances; photos of past activities; a blog; video; and off site links to other sites featuring you or your work.
3. Benefit from pay per click (PPC) advertising.
Pay per click ads are the “sponsored links” at the top or right side of Internet search results. You can purchase PPC ads directly through Google AdWords or Yahoo! Search Marketing. Or, if you find the cost too high, benefit indirectly by establishing a presence on sites that advertise through PPC. Start by typing keywords related to your work into a search engine (“original sculptures,” “watercolor paintings,” etc.). Some of the sponsored listings will be sites that allow you to sell or auction your work through them.
4. Participate on artists’ forums.
There are several artist communities, such as Fine-Art.com and ConceptArt.org, with forums where members can interact with others in the community. By becoming active — asking and answering questions, contributing to critiques, and asking for critiques of your own work — you become better known. Most forums allow you to create a signature line, where you can link to your portfolio or Website. Be sure to become familiar with a forum before participating. Read the rules and browse the various categories.
5. Offer ecards showcasing your work.
Ecards are emailed postcards. Many people like to send those with attractive images to family, friends, and colleagues. Making ecards available from your Website or online portfolio can encourage visitors to spread the word about your work. Some online portfolio services have ecard functionality built in. You can also ask your Web developer to install a script on your own Website.
6. Sell or give a way products imprinted with your art.
Brand awareness is a powerful marketing technique. Imprinting everday items with images of your art (along with your Website address and/or other contact information) can spread awareness of your work. Cafepress.com allows you to sell more than 80 different products, including apparel, bags, coasters, and mouse pads.
7. Use offline promotion to generate interest in you online portfolio.
Your Website or online portfolio serves as an information source for potential clients. To fully benefit, get into the habit of sending people to your site for more information and to view your art. Print your Website address on business cards and any other points of contact with your clients. You can also easily order your own customized snail mail postcards (AmazingMail.com and Vistaprint.com are two sources). Don’t forget to put your Website address on these.
There you have it. Seven ways to market and sell your art with the help of your own online “marketing assistants.”