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?

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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.

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