11 Strategies for Success In Your Online Business : The Art of Growing Your Business (Infographic)

How To Sell Art Online (Infographic)

As creatives we know how to express ourselves, how to translate ideas with colour, composition and texture. To think of this creative expression as a business can sometimes come as a challenge though. The subtlety of art and the boldness that is required to grow an art business often leave us struggling somewhere in between the two, and for many artists this is where they give up. Whether you’re a painter, ceramicist or art gallery owner the ability to distinguish between the two and know what hat to wear when is essential to thrive in the art industry. 

In this blog post, we’re discussing 11 proven strategies that can help you overcome this dichotomy of sorts and grow your art career. From setting aside time in your calendar for both elements, to asking for help in tasks you’re unfamiliar with, to building a strong online presence and leveraging social media platforms, we’ll discuss effective methods in sustaining all the aspects of running a successful business. 

By becoming comfortable in being both an artist and entrepreneur, you can take your art business to new heights and achieve sustainable growth. I know because I’ve done it. And it only happened when I learned how to make time for both. So, if you’re ready to elevate your artistic career, let’s dive into the art of growing your business and the 11 Strategies for Success In Your Online Business.

1. Schedule A Time For Creativity And A Time For Business

I think this is where a lot of us get a bit lost. We’re very good at making time to create but often struggle to prioritize time for tasks such as marketing, planning, budgeting, etc… Think of yourself as an “art-preneur,” you’re not just an artist, you’re a brand. You’re not just a painter or sculptor or filmmaker; you’re a CEO. A marketer. A strategist. Of course, it also means you’re a bookkeeper, salesperson and your own administrative assistant. We’re all really good at the thing that we started with. But, sometimes our creative brains get a little lost in all the digital tools, careful planning, various marketing channels, finding financial success and the business of art in general. This is where it’s important to schedule time in your week to wear the artist hat and the entrepreneur hat. And if it’s scheduled in, it’s easier to switch between the two without neglecting one. 

Also take a moment to learn the best time for you to be creative versus being pragmatic and technical. Understanding how your brain works throughout the day will yield better results and keep you from getting frustrated or overwhelmed.

2. Build A Strong Brand Identity As An Artist

Establishing a strong brand identity is crucial for any business, and the art industry is no exception. Your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors and helps you connect with your target audience. To build a strong brand identity as an artist or art business, you need to define your unique selling proposition (USP) and communicate it effectively.

Start by identifying what makes your art or art business special. Is it your unique style, the story behind your work, or the values you stand for? Once you have a clear understanding of your USP, incorporate it into all aspects of your brand, from your logo and website design to your marketing materials and artist statements. Consistency is key in building a strong brand identity.

In addition to visual elements, storytelling plays a crucial role in establishing your brand. Share the inspiration behind your art, your creative process, and any personal anecdotes that make your work more relatable. Use your website, social media platforms, and artist interviews to tell your story and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Remember, people don’t just buy art; they buy the story and emotions that come with it.

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3.Collaborate With Other Artists And Brands For Mutual Growth

Collaboration is a powerful way to grow your art business while fostering meaningful connections with other artists and organizations. By partnering with like-minded creatives, you can expand your reach, tap into new markets, and learn from each other’s experiences.

Look for opportunities to collaborate with other artists on joint exhibitions, art projects or even workshops. These collaborations not only provide fresh perspectives and creative inspiration but also expose your work to new audiences. Additionally, consider partnering with local businesses, galleries, or art organizations to host events or showcase your work. These partnerships can help you tap into their existing customer base and establish yourself as a trusted artist in the community.

When approaching collaborations, be clear about your goals and expectations. Ensure that the partnership aligns with your brand and values. Collaborations should be mutually beneficial, so take the time to understand what each party brings to the table and how you can support each other’s growth.

4. Engage With The Local Art Community And Hosting Events

Building a strong presence in your local art community is essential for growing your art business. By actively engaging with other artists, art enthusiasts, and local organizations, you can create valuable connections, gain exposure, and find new opportunities.

Attend local art events, exhibitions, and gallery openings to meet fellow artists and art lovers. Participate in art competitions or juried shows to showcase your work and gain recognition. Instagram is a great place to find online art competitions and get featured when you participate. Also, consider joining art associations or groups to connect with like-minded individuals and access resources and support. 

Hosting your own events is another effective way to engage with the local art community and attract potential customers. Organize art workshops, artist talks, or even pop-up exhibitions to showcase your work and connect with art enthusiasts. Use these events as an opportunity to build relationships, collect contact information, and nurture leads for future sales and collaborations.

5.Diversify Revenue Streams And Explore New Markets

To ensure the long-term sustainability of your art business, it’s important to diversify your revenue streams and explore new markets. Relying solely on selling original artwork may limit your growth potential and is harder to scale, so consider alternative income streams that align with your brand and target audience. Tutorials, art prints, art courses are a few examples that have worked for me. 

Another option that I haven’t explored in much detail is to create merchandise featuring your artwork. This allows you to reach a wider audience at a more affordable price point while maintaining the exclusivity of your original pieces. Another option is to offer art-related services such as commissions, art consultations, or art workshops. These services not only generate additional income but also provide opportunities to connect with potential buyers and build lasting relationships. Some of my most favourite pieces have been from commissions. 

Exploring new markets is also crucial for expanding your art business. It takes a bit of time to research and find some of these options but looking beyond your local community and into international competitions, or even selling your work through international or online galleries is also a great way to get your artwork noticed globally.  

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6. Enrich Your Website Content With A Blog

Content is king in the online world. By crafting and sharing authentic content that is useful, you can enrich your website and help attract multiple revenue streams into your creative business. I don’t necessarily mean start writing blog posts about what you did last weekend, but think about how you can use a copy dense section of your website to help build brand awareness and draw in collaborations.

If you’re selling infant clothing, perhaps your blog is a combination of how you make your clothing, your production process, collaborations with other moms or influencers, tips and tutorials for new moms and partnership posts with retailers that might already be selling your products. Begin by pinpointing the pertinent topics and themes in your industry and for your target demographic. 

Create a bit of a content schedule to methodically plan and coordinate your content creation. In this also schedule in time for reaching out to others to promote and introduce your brand and a partnership opportunity. Think of your “blog” as a business page and source for all things related to your product or service and how you’re using your brand to connect with the world. Whether through insightful blog posts, compelling videos, or instructive tutorials, strive to deliver meaningful content, ALWAYS. Can’t stress that enough. Then, remember to revisit and refine your content for search engine optimization by integrating relevant keywords and articulating a distinct value proposition. If you need help with this, check out The SEO Framework.

7. Nurture Relationships With Collectors And Art Enthusiasts

Building strong relationships with collectors and art enthusiasts is key to the success of your art business. These loyal customers not only support your work financially but also become ambassadors for your brand, spreading the word and recommending your art to others.

When selling your art, whether online or in-person, provide an exceptional customer experience. Here are some ways to provide exceptional customer service:

1. Respond to inquiries and requests promptly, offer personalized recommendations, and go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. 

2. Consider offering incentives such as exclusive previews or discounts for repeat customers to encourage loyalty and repeat purchases.

3. Maintaining regular communication with your collectors and art enthusiasts is also important. Keep them updated on your latest works, upcoming events, or any exciting news related to your art business. 

4. Consider sending personalized thank-you notes or small tokens of appreciation to show your gratitude for their support. By nurturing these relationships, you not only build a loyal customer base but also create a network of advocates who will help promote your work.

8. Never Stop Learning

In order to make money you have to spend some money. We’ve all heard this before. But, it’s really true so I need to include it here. When it comes to art business advice, this is so important. Industry professionals will tell you – take the course, learn the systems, listen to the podcast, read the book, enrol in that membership. Do your due diligence and find the right courses, mentors and teachers to help you learn. You’ll rarely ever regret taking an online course or listening to a podcast. 

Continuously improving your skills and expanding your artistic knowledge not only enhances the quality of your work but also opens up new opportunities. Stay up to date with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in the art world. Experiment with different mediums, explore new artistic styles, and push the boundaries of your creativity.

In addition to technical skills, focus on developing your business acumen. Learn about marketing strategies, financial management, and art business best practices. Understand the legal aspects of the art industry, including copyrights, contracts, and licensing. By honing these skills, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the competitive art market and make informed decisions for your business.

9. Showcase Your Work Through Exhibitions And Galleries

Exhibitions and galleries play a crucial role in showcasing your work to a wider audience and gaining recognition in the art industry. Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, or mixed media artist, exhibiting your work in galleries or participating in art exhibitions can significantly boost your visibility and credibility. To start, research galleries and exhibitions that align with your style and target audience. Submit your portfolio to juried shows or open calls, and consider reaching out to galleries that represent artists in your niche.

10. Nurture Your Mailing List

Your mailing list plays a vital role in your business. It’s your list of those who have chosen to interact with you. Email marketing refers to corresponding with and building your community via email. Also referred to as an email list, subscribers list, collectors list, this digital marketing strategy involves sending emails, email campaigns or an email newsletter to a targeted group of individuals or potential clients with the goal of sharing valuable information, high-quality content, promoting products or services in your online store, social media pages, driving traffic back to your online store, building relationships, or generating brand awareness through a robust online presence. It’s power comes from the fact that it’s a direct form of communication between a business and its audience, and working on building loyal customers via marketing campaigns. For small business owners the relationship you develop with your email subscribers has a direct impact on the success of your business.

Spend time every week taking care of your list. Some of the best ways to build a brand connection is to send them updates, stories, tips, insider info and whatever you’re up to that week. Pick one day per week to send your newsletter and make it a habit to always send it at the same time. Your subscribers will learn to expect something and look forward to hearing from you. Share good news, tell a great story, talk about art communities or new things you’re working on. Write these in your own voice, and always include a call to action button for them to engage back with you. Also be sure to include your social platform links and how they can contact you. 

11. Ask For Help

Ah, the one thing I wish I knew when I first started. I was so stuck on doing and creating everything myself that I probably wasted countless days trying to do things that cost me more than if I was to hire someone to do it for me. I’m a avid learner and sometimes that gets me in trouble because I am able to quickly chalk something up to educating myself rather than not using my time effectively. But, there are tasks that you can learn how to do yourself and then begin to outsource them. I’m currently hiring a VA in my business to help with creating visual content. I’m doing this not because I don’t know how but because my time is better spend doing other things. Always consider the cost and the gain before trying to tackle everything yourself. 

Conclusion – Embracing Creativity And Persistence In The Art Business

Ok, friends. That’s it for today. I wanted to end by saying that growing your art business is hard work and requires a combination of creativity, strategic thinking, and persistence. Over and over again. The art industry is highly competitive, but by implementing the strategies we talked about today, you can set yourself up for incredible success as a professional artist.

It’s all about combining your artistic skills with effective strategies and a relentless pursuit of your goals. So, go forth, create, and grow your art business with passion and purpose.

Thanks for reading!

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