Why You Can’t Market Your Art

Posted by: Sonya Highfield

“I just need to figure out how to market my art.” As a business coach for artists I hear this all the time as one of the top reasons for feeling stuck and wanting help. However, figuring out options and strategies for marketing art is usually not what the artist is really struggling with.

Before one can effectively market their art, they have to figure out who they are and what they stand for, and most importantly they need to understand that they are worthy of making money (good money!) from their creative pursuits. So when an artist says they need help marketing, I assume there’s more to it than them having stacks of beautiful works and no idea what to do with them. (I mean, it’s called Google and there’s about a million blogs/websites and articles telling people where and how to market their artwork.)

If you’re stuck and you think marketing is your problem you can start with the logical questions: What is the end goal for the work? Where do you envision it ending up and how is it being used? What type of person or what kind of place would most appreciate your work? (It’s really NOT for everyone.) What are all the possible ways you can get your work in front of those ideal people and places? Who makes the decision to purchase? What’s the back story of the work that will help them connect with it? What’s your story as a creator that you can share? Marketing is about stories, connection and learning to communicate most effectively who you are, what you do, and why it will better others lives.

And if you already know the answers to all those questions, then go deeper and ask these questions: Why am I holding myself back from being seen? What is it that scares me about putting my work out there? What excuses have I been using to hide? What am I getting from proving the doubts and fears right, the ones that say that I can’t make a living from this?

Be honest with yourself. And take the time to answer these questions, and to keep updating your answers. And put in the effort your work deserves to get seen and get sold. Whether you’re selling online, in galleries, in person or a combination, know that it all takes effort, good communication and a will to put yourself out there and be seen.


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