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Getting It Right: The Three Keys to Art Marketing Success

Usually when I write these blog posts, I focus on nitty-gritty, practical tips I hope will help you take your art marketing to a higher level. But today I want to step back and look at the big picture. I’d like to share with you something that may be completely obvious to you, but that was kind of an “a-ha moment” for me a little while ago. What I realized is that every artist needs to have three things to be successful at promoting and selling their artwork.

You’ve got to have the right plan, the right skills, and the right mindset.

The right plan is essential. It should include a clear picture of where you want to be, along with the strategies and tactics you’re going to use to achieve your objectives. It’s so easy to get caught up in activities that aren’t actually moving you in the right direction, toward your desired destination, so it’s critically important to map out a plan that’s efficient and effective. (Click here for more on strategic planning.)  

You’ve also got to have the right skills, and the great news is that every skill you need can be learned. Skills are what I focus on most, but there’s obviously a wealth of great knowledge on the internet and in books that you could access. And here’s probably the most important thing about skills: You don’t have to be perfect at every skill to make progress. So what if your website isn’t perfectly designed? The important thing is to have one. So what if your Facebook posts aren’t perfectly written, or if you occasionally miss a few days? As long as you’re posting occasionally, you’re going to have a positive impact on your followers. Just like any skill—including much of what we do when we’re making art—skills take time and practice to develop. Be patient with yourself, but at the same time, commit to getting better.

Now here’s the “a-ha” part, for me at least. It really comes down to mindset. In studying the really successful artists I know, they all share a common trait: a dedication to diligently, actively promoting themselves. That doesn’t mean they enjoy marketing necessarily, but it does mean that they have set aside whatever mental blocks they may have had so they can focus on self-promotion. It means they’ve let go of the excuses (I don’t have time!) and broken through the myths (if I just had a good gallery, I wouldn’t have to market myself) so they can get down to business. Some have even fully embraced the idea of marketing their own art, seeing it as another aspect of the joy of sharing their gift with the world.

What are your thoughts about this? Are there other essentials I haven't mentioned? Of these three, which do you think is most important? Which is the most challenging? Let’s connect!


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