1) Choose Your Weapon of Choice
You simply CANNOT work every marketing angle online. Not anymore, anyway. My suggestion is to pick just one method of marketing your work online and to consistently stick with that method until it works. Choose a method that you are good at, based on your strengths. For instance, if you’re good with video you could launch a YouTube channel and focus your efforts there. If you’re friendly and you like to network you could start a basic Facebook account or Fanpage and build a group of fans and collectors of your art. Blogging is also a fantastic option. Any of these art marketing tactics will work, but choose the one that you are most interested in and use that one as the primary vehicle for marketing your art.
Whichever one you choose, realize that you will likely need to spend some long hours at it if you want to succeed. Consistency if the key. By focusing most of your hours in one place you will the best chance of breaking through all the noise online and gaining an audience for your work.
2) Adjust Your Short-Term Expectations
Believe it or not, art marketing on the internet is really all about numbers. How many people have come to your website? How many views do your videos have on YouTube? How many subscribers does your newsletter have? These numbers are a much better representation of your success online than sales. Selling your art is the end result, but selling does not happen overnight (unless you’re very gifted or incredibly lucky). Instead, you will slowly build UP to selling art and in the early stages of marketing your work online, it’s all those numbers that will actually show your progress.
3) Content is King
How do you increase visitors to your blog each month or add more channel subscribers on YouTube? First, stick with your goals of adding new blog posts or video on a regular basis. Without consistent, quality content people will lose interest and forget about you. Next, join the conversation in community forums, submit articles to websites or leave intelligent, helpful comments on related blogs. And of course, ALWAYS leave a link back to yourself.
This promotional period will be the most difficult and time consuming part of your marketing strategy. It won’t go on forever, but it’s VERY important that you follow through with it for at least the first 3-6 months. If you do, you will begin to see many new visitors trickling back to your blog or “Liking” you on Facebook, etc. Within a few months you won’t have to do as much marketing as you did when you first started. Instead, your visitors will start promoting FOR you. This is the exponential power of the internet—you only need to start the avalanche moving forward. After that, things will pick up speed on their own.
5) Give Up Control of The Ship
It may seem crazy, but giving up control of your fanpage, blog, YouTube channel, etc., should always be the final step of your marketing plan. Doing something well always means hard work up front, but if you can smooth out the path for others, you’ll have no shortage of helpers down the road. Plan for the moment when you can team up with other artists and help them get a foothold online, too. Your own workload will ease up considerably and everyone wins. This final step, as odd as it may seem, will probably turn out to be the most fulfilling and most successful from an art marketing perspective.
Good luck. . . and if it gets tough (and it will), remember that nothing worthwhile is ever easy!!!