Maria Brophy


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    ‘Strategies for a Successful Art Business!’
business of art

Don’t be afraid to Promote Your Art Online – If you don’t, no one else will

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Alyson Stanfield, the Art Biz Coach (and someone I greatly admire), put on a Creative Content Camp this summer, which helped artists who are serious about promoting their work online.

This got me to thinking about a few of my artist friends who are afraid to show their art online.  Some are hesitant to even talk about themselves on social media sites.  This is a little bit of a problem, if you want to sell your art!

Self-Promotion sounds like a dirty word to some people.   I know many who have a livelihood that depends on marketing their work, yet they resist it.

But if you look at all of the people who have found success without the backing of a big company or a trust fund left by a wealthy relative, you’ll see that self-promotion was a necessary piece of the puzzle.

When my husband, Drew, was in his twenties, he had a habit that drove his surfer buddies crazy; he would carry his art portfolio with him everywhere he went.  This was before the convenience of iPhones and internet.

Drew had no one to rely on but himself, and survival meant getting new art commissions, which required self-promotion.

And though Drew’s job as an artist was the envy of many of his friends, they would make fun of his “self promotion.”

When they would go to a beach party, Drew would arrive with a six-pack of beer under one arm and his big, black portfolio book under the other.  Inevitably, among surfing, beer drinking and youthful debauchery, a small crowd of people would gather around Drew as he flipped the pages of his art portfolio.

His friends taunted him, calling him “Promo Drew.”

Drew would defend himself;  “Hey, if I don’t promote myself, who will?”

The truth is, nobody really cares about your success but you, and maybe your mother (and me, of course).

But now, with the ease of the internet, we hold the world literally in our hands. We can tell and sell anything online, and if we are really diligent at marketing ourselves, we can attract fans from all over the world and sell art to them.

The good news about this is that we have a lot of control over the marketing of our work.

The bad news is that we have to do the work!  And yes, it’s work that pulls you away from your REAL work.  (writing, painting, creating…)

Don’t feel overwhelmed about the fact that there are a million ways to market online and in person.

You don’t have to do everything all at once, now.  Just choose one method to implement at a time.  Learn how to do it well, spend time on it, and once you feel you can do it in your sleep, then add another tool, and repeat.

Below are a few suggestions of Self-Promotion and Marketing Methods you can implement now:

  1. Video – Posting online videos of you creating art can be very effective.  People want to buy from people they know – and if they watch you on a video, they feel like they know you.
  2. Social Media – Connect with like-minded people and find your fans through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a handful of other sites for social networking.
  3. Newsletters – Build up a list of friends, family and fans and, with their permission, send out a regularly scheduled newsletter sharing news of what you’re working on (be sure to include a “call to action” to inspire your readers to place an order).
  4. Press Releases – Learn how to send press releases to the media when you have something to announce.  List it online on websites like PRLOG.COM and other press release sites, so that there is a permanent record online.
  5. Facebook Advertising – Saatchi Art has run very successful Facebook ad campaigns in the past.  Experiment selling your art by directly targeting your buyers with this tool.
  6. Instagram – This has become a very powerful art selling tool for us in the past few years.  I have sold over one hundred of Drew’s paintings through Instagram!  It’s ideal for an artist.
  7. Volunteer at a Networking Event – This is actually quite effective.  If you volunteer to help greet people at an event, you’ll inevitably meet everyone there.  Offer to help with clean up after the event, and most likely you’ll be rubbing elbows with the movers and shakers (the leaders are always the ones making events happen).  Have business cards on hand, ready to give out to people interested in your work.

I hope this list has given you a few ideas on how to promote your work both online and in real life.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you have anything to share on this subject, please leave a comment below.

Maria xxoo

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3 Comments Don’t be afraid to Promote Your Art Online – If you don’t, no one else will

  1. Steve Witt


    You have helped us to become shameless self promoters. Thanks for making the marketing articles interesting by sharing your personal stories that have connected with me and my artist bride. We are in our 4th year and your have helped us become “semi- famous” in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and beyond. Many Thanks!
    Steve & Kay Witt

    1. Maria

      Dear Steve, thanks for the comment. And I”m so glad to hear that you are doing so well with art in your local area. Congrats!

  2. Vishal Singhal

    Hey Maria,

    Those are some great tips. I had a couple more to add.

    Build your own website because that in turn helps build your brand. When a potential client asks for your work, you can show it to them as a portfolio. All the mentioned aspects such as video could go in that platform. Who better than you at it 🙂

    If you are newly starting out, try selling through 3rd party platforms like Saatchi or, Etsy, etc. They already have an audience base and you can get visibility from it.

    The 7th point that you mentioned of networking hits the nail on the head. Network as much as you can and get the word out there. You never know where you next potential client will come from.


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