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Digital Marketing for Artists


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In recent years, artists have been increasingly using digital marketing platforms to showcase and sell their art. Gone are the days when artists relied only on word of mouth and were limited to only their local areas. Artists have now started to invest in digital Marketing and have gained a firm understanding of it, which mainly consists of raising awareness and attracting an audience to their network.

There are five main pillars of digital marketing strategy: An online portfolio where you showcase your work of art, target audience, personal brand statement or messaging, marketing channels and performance metrics. Understanding and mastering these five pillars is guaranteed to make your art business a success. These may sound like complicated words, but technology has made it very simple and easy to understand. Most digital marketing tools are designed to be used by non-technical people like you and in case you still decide not to do it on your own, there are many freelancers or small digital agencies who will execute the marketing program on your behalf for a small fee. 

Let’s go through some details about these five pillars of Digital Marketing:
     
Showcase Your Art Work
In the digital world, you must have a home for your art, where visitors could come and take a look at your creation. This could be a website, Facebook page, online store, Youtube channel, or your own seller page on digital marketplaces such as Vibrnz, Ebay, Etsy or Amazon. As you can see there are many possibilities, but I believe that your own website is a must. Simple websites can be designed, created and launched in a matter of few hours, thanks to services such as Wix and SquareSpace. If you want a fully functional e-commerce store to sell the goods online, services like Shopify can make it happen very quickly. 
Whichever way you decide to go, there are a few basic things to keep in mind. Your website should be free of clutter, easy to navigate and well organized by categories.  You must take special care in designing the home page. It should show your best work/accomplishments and must make a good first impression. Another important aspect of building a website is making sure that search engines such as Google & Bing can easily find you on the internet. If you want to rank high on Google, work with a SEO (search engine optimization) expert. Lastly I would highly recommend having your own blog on the website. This has several benefits. Google loves fresh content, and regularly written blog does that job very well. Secondly, it gives you an opportunity to talk about your new artwork, which you can then socialize on your social media channels.  

 Audience
Let’s talk about knowing your audience. As a seller of services & products you must know who your target customer base is. You may segment your audience by geography (city, state, zip), age, gender, interests, language and any other specific customer attributes that are relevant to your artwork. Sometimes it also helps to segment your customers based on the marketing channel such as FB users, Etsy Users or Amazon users.

Messaging

Next in line is your messaging. What are you going to tell the world about your artistic creations? Most important thing to keep in mind is consistency, your messaging and your brand statement must be consistent across all channels including your website, your social media profile and your marketing material. Remember the goal is to build trust with your target audience. Once some of those targets become your customers, they must become your advocate and, in a way, start acting like your word of mouth marketing channel. Your marketing message must demonstrate your expertise, your professionalism and your personality. Remember as an artist you are selling your work, so your messaging should be more about you and less about your artwork. It must a value proposition, what’s in it for your target audience? Why should they consider buying your creation or services? Thinking about all these factors will help you come up with a killer message. 

Marketing channels
Artists use a variety of marketing chanels to promote their art, including Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and FB to name a few.  Decision about which marketing channels to use will be driven by your analysis of where are you most likely to find your target audience. I strongly recommend starting with social media channels and then slowly move to marketplaces (in case you are selling a product) such as Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. In order to use marketplaces, you must be able to first make your products available on these platforms, which unfortunately is not easy. Taking outside help is recommended if you think you have a good shot at selling your artwork on these platforms. I would also recommend trying out Google search Ads. You will first need to know what keywords people typically use to search for your artwork and then find out how competitive those keywords are. Google charges for every click depending on how popular that keyword is. You must set a small budget and try it out and then expand only if it makes financial sense.     

Performance Metrics
Lastly, it’s extremely important to track how your marketing investments are doing across various channels. Installing Google Analytics (a free tool) on your website is highly recommended. All marketing channels such FB, Amazon, Google Ads provide their own tracking mechanisms. You may want to keep track of how people are engaging with your website, what you are spending on various platforms and how much money that channel is making for you. Keeping a close eye on these metrics will help you optimize your marketing efforts.

Final Thoughts
Digital marketing if done properly always works. Trick is to start small and start slowly. Try and experiment with different channels, different messaging, different audience and overtime you will know where the sweet spot is.           

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By Anjum Kaushik
Anjum is a digital marketing professional. In this blog she has shared some pointers on how to establish your online brand and showcase yourself digitally.
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