How to Start Marketing Your Art if You Don’t Yet Have Fans or Collectors
We were hosting a FASO Members Only Live Art Marketing Webinar recently, and we spent quite a bit of time discussing reaching out to people on your mailing list, romancing people who have bought from you in the past, making sure to take care of your fans and buyers first and other tactics that assumed that you already had some past buyers.
But then someone asked this question, “What if I don’t have any, or very few, past collectors or anyone on my mailing list?”
That’s a great question! After all, everyone starts at zero, and going from nothing to something is definitely harder than going from something to something more.
There are a number of ways to address this problem, but to keep it simple, let’s concentrate on just a few of the top ways to solve it. If I were starting from zero, here’s what I think I would do:
Step One – The Setup Phase
First, I would set up a website to showcase my art. Yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I sell artist websites, and it’s probably possible to do this cleverly without a website, but you will give everything a tailwind, and you will have a legitimate reason to reach out to people if you have, or you launch a website. So, set up a good website that showcases your art. (If you want the solution many leading artists choose, we would be happy to help you with one at https://www.faso.com)
Second, I would make sure that my website had a very clear way for people to sign up for an email newsletter.
The email newsletter is extremely important, and something we’ll come back to later. Do NOT skip this step, even if you don’t set up a website. If you set up your site with us, FASO, your email signup forms and email sending software are all built into your FASO site, so you don’t have to worry about connecting two different platforms, or embedding any confusing html forms from one service to another. FASO’s built-in newsletter software is called ArtfulMail, but you can also use Mailchimp, Convertkit or a number of other services. If you choose ArtfulMail, you’ll save money because it’s all bundled together with your website.
Third, I would set up, or revamp my social media accounts to be about my art and what I’m doing in the studio, avoiding politics, what I had for lunch, and the latest cat memes.
Step Two – The Launch Phase
OK, after doing the three steps above, your site is set up, you have a way for people to sign up for an email list, and your social media is up and running. Now you need to launch your site! Most artists without an existing following, probably don’t do a big launch, and this is a mistake. Launching an art website, along with making your work available is a big deal. So tell the world! Oh wait, you said you didn’t have anyone to tell. Well, let’s fix that. Here’s what I would do:
First – Email everyone you know. No, you are not bothering them. Send a few a day. These are personal emails, not bulk emails. Let them know you’ve launched a site to showcase your available art, and you’d love to keep them in the loop via email. Ask permission to do that. If they reply and say “yes”, add them to your email list in your newsletter software. Congratulations! You now have a list of fans!
Second – Start posting on social media, probably mostly Instagram. Post images of your art, of works in progress, of you in the studio, of upcoming events about your art. Some people will see these posts and they will “Like” or comment on these posts.
Now – this is important – most artists let the interactions with their posts happen and that’s the end of it. But if you want to sell art, a “Like” is just the start of it. If someone who isn’t already on your email list likes one of your social media posts – send them a private message and thank them for supporting you with a like, and ask them if they’d like to be informed via email when you have new art. If they say yes, boom! Add them to your email list. Congratulations – now you are adding fans every week to your list. We cover in depth how to do this in our paid Sovereign Artist Club here: https://sovereignartist.substack.com/p/how-to-turn-social-media-likes-into
Third – start looking for other sources of new subscribers. This is one place FASO can really help you with a great website launch. Everyone who signs up with us, once they have created their website and have it set up correctly to be ready for subscribers and sales, gets featured.
We have a newsletter called BoldBrush Magazine that goes to approximately 50,000 art lovers. And every week, we have a huge roundup of new members whose websites are ready and we promote those members to those 50,000 art lovers. That alone is worth hundreds of dollars and is included with your FASO membership. It’s like getting a website, an email newsletter platform, and advertising all for a price that is lower than most website companies charge! Honestly, it would almost be worth signing up for FASO even if you didn’t host with us just to get access to the promotions.
Here’s what one of our members said recently in FASO’s Private Facebook marketing group: