It's never been easier nor cheaper to advertise and promote art not just locally but nationally and internationally.
The traditional means by which artists bring their work to the world is through exhibition at private art galleries, festivals and shows. These forums, shop windows – call them what you will – can still be an important part of the marketing mix (advertise? Promote? Marketing? – ouch! Makes art sound like some sort of commodity business! … Well, aint it? ) Not so very long ago they were pretty much the only part of the marketing mix.
What does an exhibition at an art gallery provide at best?
- Exposure over a limited period of time to visitors (all transient and mostly anonymous) to a gallery at one location
- Reviews in traditional media like newspapers, magazines and local radio if you are lucky
- Sales of your art with the gallery owner taking his or her commission
What are the costs of an art gallery exhibition?
- Commission to gallery
All told, the sale of art through gallery exhibitions is rarely an efficient way of reaching a large audience of potential buyers of your art. If the gallery has an average to below average reputation then exhibiting there more often than not results in an expensive vanity publishing exercise where only framers make money. If the gallery has great reputation the likelihood is that you only got in because you have already made it.
So much for art galleries.
What was it I said at the beginning? It's never been easier nor cheaper to advertise and promote art not just locally but nationally and internationally.
What am I talking about? Its a dumb question, or at least used to think it was because I assumed all artists take an interest in things contemporary, especially the young ones (anyone under 50 in my 45 year old book!) And would know the answer. Would know that it is online, on the web, that advertising and promotion nationally and internationally is cheap and easy!
Ask yourself the following questions
- Do I have a website or blog?
- Do I have a twitter account?
- Do I have a Facebook and or LinkedIn page?
- Do I monitor and participate in art blogs online?
If you can not answer yes to question 1 you belong to group 1 and should meet me in the corridor to read the next paragraph. If you can answer yes to 1 and 2 and / or 3 and / or 4 then you have some sort of idea about marketing yourself online, belong to group 2, should wait a moment here in class and and can ignore the next paragraph.
Group 1. NO WEBSITE? NOT EVEN A BLOG? WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS? I AM ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHED, IF NOT DISGUSTED BY YOUR TOTAL UNSWITCHEDON-NESS! UNBELIEVABLE! (I am shaking my head) Okay. Deep breath. It's bad, but not a situation that can not be rectified. It'll take a little time and some effort, but soonheless, by no means irretrievable. Okay.
Okay. So we looked at art galleries – what they can offer and the cost of exhibiting in them. How do they compare with the online world?
What does exhibiting and promoting your art online offer?
- Exposure over an unlimited period of time to visitors to your blog at any computer screen on plant earth
- Reviews in other blogs and websites
- Mentions on twitter
- No framing, transport and other costs
- The building of an audience that leaves contact details
- Online can ever translate into exposure in traditional media like newspapers, magazines and radio
- Sales of your art where money made is all yours!
- What are the costs of online promotion?
- Blogs are free
- It cost nothing to participate in Twitter, LinkedIn or most other social media platforms
With the correct mix of platforms and a social media dashboard the time spent promoting your art need not get in the way of your art. Sounds good. Too right it does! How does it work? Well, I'm stretched for time right now so here is the core idea behind online marketing, and social media marketing in particular.
Having a blog and spreading your message online through things like Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms where readers can leave comments and share your stuff with other people is the most immediate connection with potential clients that there is. Either you're in the conversation, or your not.