Effective Art Marketing is not about you

When marketing your art, it’s tempting to put the focus solely on you: “Check out my art, my show, my newsletter, my Facebook page.” However, your promotional efforts will become exponentially more effective the minute you understand this fundamental marketing truth: It’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM.

That means every marketing message you send must answer the question residing in the minds of your audience at all times: “What’s in it for me?”

I see repeat offenders sending out email newsletters with banal subject lines such as, “June Newsletter.” So what?! Tell me what’s in your newsletter that’s going to make my life better when I open it!

Many artists mis-use their Twitter feed by simply connecting it to their Facebook stream and uploading photo after photo of their art. This results in a Tweet stream consisting solely of the message, “I uploaded a new photo to Facebook” repeated ad nauseam. Boring! Welcome to UnFollow City, Kid.

Instead, utilize Twitter and Facebook as the separate tools that they are. Play to their individual strengths and craft juicy, descriptive tweets and posts that entice, intrigue and engage. When inviting people to connect, Like, or follow you on any social platform, let them know how your content is going to make their lives more enjoyable.

Writing a press release is the ultimate test of your marketing message. If an editor finds your release to contain even the slightest whiff of self-promotional puffery, it will end up in her circular file before she gets to the second paragraph. Instead, you must craft your release in a way that conveys value to the publication’s community of readers.

The secret to crafting a meaningful marketing message is to truly understand what people are responding to in your work. If you don’t know, then it’s up to you to find out. When a gallery visitor says they like your work, don’t just mumble, “Thanks,” and excuse yourself to the wine bar. Instead, dig, probe and inquire to determine WHY they like it.

Listen for key phrases, cues, adjectives and descriptions that you can adopt and use in your art marketing messages. Try to determine what emotional triggers your work is activating in viewers. It has been proven that people make decisions based on emotions, then use logic to justify their decisions.

Therefore, targeting the emotional buttons of your audience is always going to elicit a far more visceral response than your “Just the facts, Ma’am” announcements, advertisements and promotions.

It’s common to think that your audience wants to hear about you, you, you, just because they like your work. Now, you very well may be a fascinating artist and person. However, no matter how fascinating you are, people find themselves to be even more fascinating! So make sure you let them know how THEY will benefit from attending, reading, viewing, following or purchasing whatever it is you’re promoting.

Nikolas Allen is a contemporary Pop artist with a background in advertising, music and video production. He is passionate about art and marketing and wrote his first book, “Death To The Starving Artist – Art Marketing Strategies for a Killer Creative Career” to help ambitious artists reach a wider audience. To learn more about the book, visit Death to the Starving Artist.


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