6 Free Ways to Promote Your Art Business Online

Guest author:  Zuly Gonzalez

As a cash-strapped small business owner, I had to come up with creative ways of promoting my business online.

And by creative, I mean free ☺ There are many ways you can promote your art business for free, but there is one thing that ties them all together.

And that’s you. You are an artist, an expert, an industry leader…you know your business, and you know it well. So why not leverage your expertise when promoting your business?

I promise this will not be another post on how to use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote your business. The techniques I describe below will not cost you any money, however, do keep in mind that they will cost you time.

1. Start a Blog

So you’ve got your art website up. The website has information about your art, pricing information, contact information, and maybe a cool video or two. But no one is visiting your website. That’s because they don’t know you exist!

The easiest way for people to discover your website is to start a blog. Blog about things artists care about. Help them solve common problems on their own. Provide useful art tips and tricks . Think about what someone in need of an artist would search for in Google. The key is to make your blog about them, not you.

If you need help getting started with creating a blog, read one of Lori’s recent guest articles, 5 Simple Steps to Start Your First Blog . And for some ideas on creating a great blog post, see 8 Tips to Create a Great Blog Post.

2. Guest Post on Other Blogs

Find other artists with blogs, and ask if you can write a guest post for them. Your guest post will include a brief description of who you are, and a link back to your website. Most blog owners are happy to take guest posts because it increases the value of their blog. And by doing so, you will drive traffic back to your site. This also adds to your credibility as an artist.

To get started, you can submit a guest article, like this one, to Lori’s blog. Also, feel free to contact me if you would like to experiment with guest posting on my blog.

3. Publish Free eBooks

So you’re an expert, right? Why not use your knowledge to publish free eBooks on topics of interest to artists and aspiring artists. By making them free, you exponentially increase the number of people that will read them…free eBooks spread like wildfire online. Remember, your goal here is to build awareness of your art business, not to make a few bucks. Make sure to include your business logo and information in the eBook to remind people where it came from.

For a quick primer on eBooks, check out Why eBooks Are Better Than Whitepapers, and for some ideas and inspiration browse through Hubspot’s free eBooks.

3. Create Videos

Videos are another great form of sharing content. Sometimes it’s easier to show someone how to do something than it is to describe it in words. Videos are also a nice break from the usual blog post. I recommend you upload your video to YouTube and then embed it on your website. The reason is that you will benefit from all the traffic YouTube already gets.

Again, you want to think about what your audience is interested in learning about. For example, if you make jewelry, create a video that shows others how to make a simple necklace. If you’re a painter, show others how to master a particular technique. For some inspiration on using videos on your website, take a look at Lori’s video page. And for tips on creating good videos see How Artists Can Use YouTube Video to Improve Marketing.

4. Participate on Online Forums

Becoming an active member of an online community is a great way to prove yourself as an expert, and drive traffic back to your website. People are always looking for answers online, why not it be you they trust?

I’m a member of several online forums, including a Q&A site for startups [http://answers.onstartups.com/], and it has been a very rewarding experience. It’s a great feeling knowing that you helped another small business owner succeed.

There are tons of forums and Q&A sites. You just have to find the ones that line up with your expertise. To get started, take a look at the list of official StackExchange sites. StackExchange is a network of Q&A websites on a wide range of topics – who knows, you may find one in your area of expertise. For example, there’s a popular one on photography . Two other good places to visit are LinkedIn answers and Yahoo! answers.

5. Submit Articles to Article Directories

Article directories are websites that allow people to submit their articles to them for free. Like with the other techniques, submitting to article directories increases your credibility as an expert in the art community, and will drive customers back to your website. Ezine Articles is the largest, and most respected, online article directory. To see more, a list of the top 50 article directories can be found here.

6. Now It’s Your Turn

I hope some of the ideas and examples I shared will help you promote your art business. The nice thing is that they are all free – they just require a bit of your time. Now it’s your turn to go out there and try!

Tell us, have you had success with any of these techniques? What other free ways have you used to promote your art business online?

*****

Thank you Zuly! This is a great article for any artist or small business owner looking to promote themselves online. You shared a lot of valuable tips here with us. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. ~Lori

Guest author:  Zuly Gonzalez is the co-founder of Light Point Security, a startup company developing the next generation in web security products. Zuly blogs about startups, small businesses, and internet security.

*****

You might want to check out these articles:

The Best of 2010: Articles on Art, Marketing & Social Media

How I Stopped a “Copycat Artist” on Facebook

14 Art Business Tips from the Pros on Twitter

Easy Steps: Add a Newsletter Sign-Up to Your Facebook Fan Page

How to Create a Powerful Art Portfolio

How to Give Your Blog Post Artistic “Sex Appeal”

How to Use Good Reference Photos for Landscape Painting

10 Reasons Why You Should Date an Artist!

When Are You Ready to Call Yourself a Professional Artist?

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Twitter Image & Following

About Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Artist Ambassador to Arches/Canson/Royal Talens. As the owner of FineArtTips.com, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses.

Comments

  1. Lori, Loved that great guest post by Zuly Gonzales! This is such a great blog! Great info for emerging artists like myself!

    • Hi Ishita,

      Thanks for taking time to let us know! Zuly has some great ideas for us artists, and we are lucky to have her share them here on Fine Art Tips!

      Best-
      Lori

  2. Wow…That was an amazing post…Just in time for a struggling artist like me…Thank you Zuly and Lori…

  3. Lori, thanks for letting me share this with your readers. I hope it is useful!

    • Zuly, let’s do this again sometime soon! Thanks again for your patience in getting this posted…it was worth the wait! You really came up with an amazing post with great ideas for artists. This article will really be useful to artists who are not aware of these free marketing tips.

      Cheers-
      Lori

  4. Thank you for ALL of the info Zuly. I just spent a half hour exploring many of your links and learned a lot. Thanks Lori, for posting Zuly’s article.

    • Hi Carol! I’m happy to hear you got a lot of value out of my post. I like including lots of links in my articles because I feel like it improves the experience for the reader – I’m glad to know the links were helpful.

  5. Great article, fine ideas, good help, thank you very much!
    Regards from Berlin,
    Juergen

    • Wow, Berlin! I hope to visit there someday. It is exciting to know that my tips are helping others across the ocean. I am glad Zuly’s great tips are useful to you.

      Hope to see you here again someday soon!
      Lori :-)

  6. finally…some different advice…and it’s super useful!! I’m going to go check out some of those links now…thanks!

  7. Ed Terpening says:

    Something new I’m experimenting with now is use of the Facebook “Like” button. You can place these buttons on any site and associate it with any URL. My website gallery has a Like button for every painting (because each painting image is after all a JPG URL). When the user clicks on the button, the image and URL for the painting shows up in the user’s Facebook feed, which spreads my work to all the friends of the user. This is a great way to leverage the social graph. I also have an overall Like button on the home page for my site, but I find that people are much more likely to Like individual paintings.

    I’m using this now to get feedback from my collectors to choose work for my next show. See my blog for this post.

    Goo luck, everyone!

    • This is a great tip, Ed! I tried to put a FB ‘like’ button at the bottom of my posts, but had technical difficulty. I guess my webmaster will have to help me with that one. I will have to check out your site. Thanks for sharing it in the comments.

      Thanks a bunch!
      Lori

  8. Thanks for the post. Traffic and friends and followers are great, but how about sales. Have you found that you can link these activities to sales. Takes a lot of time to market and time is an expense. As a sole proprietor I have found it hard to do it all – creating the art and then marketing it. Seems to me you need to really find your market and target it.

    • Hi Pam-

      Yes, online marketing is time consuming. However, we reap back what we are willing to sow with this new marketing medium. I have sold art online many times and plan to do more of it in the future. That said, I still primarily leave it up to my galleries.

      Thanks for your comments-
      Lori

    • Hello Pam,

      Yes, marketing your art online is time consuming. But, we truly reap what we are willing to sow with this new medium. I know this from experience. I plan to do more of it in the future, but right now I primarily leave the art sales up to my galleries.

      Take care-
      Lori

  9. Zuly, these suggestions are fabulous ones – thanks so much! Won’t they primarily build a market that is artist-centric? They will help leverage a reputation, for sure, and create an interested body of students/followers, but what other ways can creatives reach out to a non-creative demographic? Would it be as simple as choosing the blogs one guest-writes for and creating content that is less artist-niche specific? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and thanks in advance! Kim

    • So happy you enjoyed this blog post Kimberly. I will let Zuly know she has a comment to reply to… Meanwhile, I can help. Social media is the perfect opportunity and platform to reach outside the creative industry. I have written about this on this blog a few times.
      Lori

  10. Sarah Blackwell says:

    Hi, I am an 18 year old aspiring artist and would like to say that this website has helped and supported some ideas which i have now pursued. I don’t have a website yet, I only have instagram where I show most of my work http://instagram.com/rev66 however, I would rather have a website but it’s hard to know how to start, what web page to go for, and knowing if its worth putting one up. I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to ask this but you seem to understand your way around. Thank you for your time, best regards sarah:).

    • Hello Sarah, thanks for your question. Congrats on being so young and enthusiastic about being an artist. If you have enough work to showcase, you might want to consider a website/blog. It is a great way to control your own content and to be found on the internet. If you don’t have a lot of art to display online, a Facebook page, Twitter, G+, Pinterest and Instagram will keep you busy! I hope this helps. Good luck, Lori

  11. Photographers, I may have just launched a company that can help you sell your work, check it out.

    Pc

  12. Lori and Zuly – love these suggestions, especially #2 as I love to write! I would love to do a guest blog for a willing recipient on “How to Make the Most of Your Series.” I have had experience here and loved the multi-disciplinary approach to max out the original work. Let me know if either of you are interested. Painting in Mexico in early March but could have it ready in April. Just contact me at art@cindymichaud.com or go to my website and contact me. Love this blog Lori and follow you faithfully on twitter! Thanks.

    • Hello Cindy, I would love to see an original guest post on this subject if you are still interested. Thank you for letting me know and for the nice feedback. Glad we are Twitter friends too.

      Let me know what you think!

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