Identify your challenges
The first step to take when creating a marketing plan is to define the challenges you are facing as an artist. By doing so you will know exactly what areas need to be addressed in your marketing plan. Ask yourself what problems you want to initially solve, what opportunities should be grabbed, and what threats need to be faced head-on. A key challenge for a working artist can, for example, be a lack of public exposure while a common threat may be an overabundance of artists with a similar style to yours. Whatever your challenges are you need to be completely honest with yourself and identify them upfront.
Outline your goals
Outlining your personal goals is as important as identifying your challenges when you are creating a strategic marketing plan. Unless you have a magnificent publicity stunt in mind (think Banksy) that will help you win over countless fans almost instantly, you need to outline both your short-and long-term goals clearly. Once you have defined your SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Based) you can link them to your challenges and threats in order to create the most effective, personalised marketing strategy for your art. The purpose of setting time-based goals is not to put you under unnecessary pressure but rather to keep you motivated and accountable.
Start drawing up your strategy
Once you have identified your challenges and outlined your goals, you can start drawing up a marketing strategy that will help you overcome your challenges and meet your goals. With your target market in mind, identify what marketing channels are most likely to drive art sales. An informative and eye-catching website together with a cohesive social media presence can be very powerful. Depending on your location and your target audience, hosting art events such as formal exhibitions and pop-up art shows can also prove to be a very efficient marketing strategy. It may also be worthwhile to consider more traditional marketing avenues such as print media as it will enable you to effectively reach out to an extended target audience.
Don’t be in a rush
As vital as earning a living wage may be, it is important to remember that generating art sales may take some time. An effective marketing strategy may not trigger swift fame and fortune, but it will allow you to build a strong brand for yourself that will more sustainable in the long-run than instant sales gratification would. Find the marketing angle that works best for you, implement it, and give it time to prove its worth before changing tactics. There is no marketing strategy in existence that will suit everyone. As long as yours is creative, informative, and tailored according to your challenges and goals it is bound to have a significant impact on your art sales and your overall career.