Marketing Your Art – Here, There, and Everywhere

A professional artist’s success is in direct correlation to finding the right markets for his artwork. The million dollar question is “Where can I market my art and get the most out of my efforts?”
First, determine if you are really serious about selling what you make. Selling is what separates the amateur artist from the professional artist. As an artist you are creating a product. If you believe your product is valuable and you believe people will buy your product, then it is essential that you identify the market for your product.

The following are the main areas you should consider: Select two or more (don’t put all your eggs in one basket).

Art Galleries

Begin with developing a list of local art galleries that are within 100-200 miles of you. Art galleries are listed in your regular or on-line yellow pages. Take the time to personally visit each gallery on your list to determine which ones showcase the style of art most compatible with your art. Contact the owner or director of the gallery by telephone for a firm appointment to show your work.

Print Publishers

The print market is very profitable. When your art is in print, it is available and affordable to the widest possible audience, and your originals become more valuable. In my free online booklet, “Marketing Your Art” is available for professional artists wanting to market their artwork.

Fine art publishers can be found in art trade publications such as Décor Magazine, World Art News or On-line. Develop a list of those publishers you want to contact. The next step would be to send them a professional presentation of your work letting them know you are available for licensing.

Art Shows and Festivals

Outdoor shows and festivals are an excellent way for you to generate immediate income and see first hand how the art buying public responds to your work.

Many successful artists get their start and pay their dues with this venue. There are several Art Show and Festival promoters such as Art Fair Source Book (AFSB), American Art Festivals, Sunshine Artist Festival Network online that conduct 100′s of these events all around the country. Dates and locations are available in their directories, and you can contact them online or ask others artists and friends about their experience.

Banks, Restaurants and Corporations

Thousands of works of art are showcased and sold each year in banks, restaurants, and other private and public facilities every year. These locations are ideal prospects for the showing and selling of your Art. Local artists, local companies and the local public all benefit by having art displays in a bank or restaurant or business.

Co-Op Galleries

Co-op Galleries are generally local art associations that establish a location where fellow artists can hang their art. Contact your local art association for details about membership.

Commission Projects

Interior designers, architects and art consultants are constantly looking for artists. You can generally develop a list by searching your local phone directory yellow pages or online yellow pages. Contact these firms by telephone and send them your brochure.

Your Website

Your website is your own personal on-line gallery, open 24-7. This is a very cost effective way to show and sell.

A first class website is like a first class brochure; but, even better, it allows you to change and improve without reprinting.

Your website is of little value if no one goes there to view what you do. We cover how to fully maximize your website in our website chapter.

Trade Shows and Art Expos

These are high traffic professional events where you can purchase space to showcase and promote your art. Décor, Art-a-Rama, and the New York Expo are a few of the major annual and semi annual productions.

Studio Showings

Your home studio is an excellent and inexpensive way to exhibit and sell your work to friends, family and collectors. You should develop and maintain a mailing or e-mail list and should be in contact with this list on a regular basis.


Competitions can be good venues, but generally do not produce much income. They can, however, add credibility to your resume or biography. Good sources for dates and locations of competitions are available through Art Magazine and American Artist Magazine.

Remember it is important that you choose the venues that you feel will provide the best results for you. You may not be able to participate in all those areas, but you need to choose two or more to begin with. Since you have many choices. choose the marketing option that best fits you personally and puts your artwork in the best light.

Direct Mail Marketing and Customer Coupon Addictions

Many times small-business people complain that their direct-mail marketing advertising is working too good and that everyone who comes in seems to have a coupon and no one seems to be coming in who doesn’t have a coupon. There could be a couple different reasons for this.

One reason could be that your customer service is very lousy and even though you bring in new customers no one ever comes back. But the second reason is probably the most likely and that is that you use direct-mail marketing so often and so much that people only come in when they get the coupon in the mail, which they expect every week or two times per month, so they wait for it.

If this is happening to you perhaps you need to limit how much you give away on your coupons and slowly break your customer’s coupon addictions. You want the customer to be addicted to your great service and or your products and services, not the coupons that you send out in the mail.

The objective of direct-mail marketing is to get the customer in to buy from you and introduce them to your business. Then get them to come back and shop with you more often. But if you consistently send out coupons, they will simply wait until the coupon comes in the mail to come and shop with you.

This does not help your business very much, as it costs you money to give away discounts, send out the direct-mail advertising and you’re not getting a long-term benefit that you need for the ongoing vitality and success of your business. Please consider all this in 2006.

Direct Mail Marketing VS Big Banner Advertising

For a small-business owner they know that a big banner in front of their store with advertising will help them sell more products or sign up more people for service. Some cities and towns have ordinances that do not allow small-business owners to put up the banner ads all year round. Instead they are only allowed to do it so many times per month.

This is why sometimes it pays to look at multiple ways to advertise to promote one’s small-business. Which works better; Direct-mail marketing in those little coupon advertising books or a gigantic big banner in front of the store?

They both work very well is specially if the store is on a Main Street and well known in the community. If the direct-mail marketing piece is sent out to all the customers within a 10 mile radius of the store then those customers are more apt to come in shop if there is a discount worthy of mention.

Okay then, how often should direct-mail marketing pieces be sent out in the coupon booklets? Well, perhaps once per month if each month the small-business owner picks a different type of discount.

This will generate new traffic and new customers and perhaps those customers will become regular customers. That should be the goal of direct-mail marketing advertising. I hope you will please consider this in 2006.

Direct Marketing VS Bigger Signage

Often I am ask by marketing students to compare different types of advertising a marketing. Once, I was ask a Case Study Question; Which is better Direct Mail Marketing or a Bigger Sign on your business? Well, I said I will answer your question if you give me more details.

Such as where would I be sending these direct mail pieces? Was my business on a major thoroughfare? Where did my customer base currently come from? What is my target market? What type of signage is out there now and what is the sign made out of?

Well the student who asked the question gave up and withdrew they question so I began to carefully construct a creative scenario. Okay, my business is a car wash on the busiest street in town and 80% of my customers come from a 10-mile radius, which spans 20,000 people in two zip codes plus one more zip code of PO Boxes.

My current sign is wood and decaying, the new city sign ordinance implemented last year due to lobbying by the Chamber of Commerce allows for triple the size and a higher pole out front. The new sign I want costs $4,000 and I get no trade in value for the old sign, its basically fire wood.

In this case I choose to cut down my direct mail for the year by 4 mailings. Currently I do eight per year of the 10-mile radius at $1,000 each. Instead I will do only 4 mailings and build my sign. So what does this say about, which is the better way to advertise? It says they are both good and you should consider this in 2006.