How to Start and Grow an Art Business Online
After years of consulting with artists & creating my own art, one thing started to become really clear - artists are absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of tips, tricks, and advice out there on how to build their business online.
And we know that you can be an absolutely incredible artist, but if there's no business or marketing strategy at play, your chances of growing a big strong brand are slim.
Watch the video version of this post by pushing the play button below:
When I first started Evergray, (the LLC that this post was created under), I focused on getting the right info out there to artists. I thought - with my education, corporate & consulting background, and my perspective of being an artist myself - I could get the RIGHT information out to artists.
I thought - if only artists knew x, y, and z about business marketing.
So I created videos, freebies, blog posts, emails - all including & talking about this info that artists needed to know. And the stuff that Evergray has out there to this day is solid & valuable, but I eventually came to realize that there’s lots of helpful info out there about how to grow online, and there was also a lot of bs and unhelpful stuff out there too. Stuff that just makes me pull this face:
I'm happy to add to the helpful mix in a voice that more artists relate to & understand, and I tend to get great feedback and conversion rates from everything. But wading through all of this advice is just super challenging when an artist doesn't have the business background to know the difference between the helpful & unhelpful strategies.
I wanted to clear the way for a lot more transformation to happen in the artist community, and it felt like I needed to do more than just dole out information.
It seems that what's stopping many artists from thriving isn’t a lack of helpful information - there is TOO MUCH INFORMATION out there about how to build a business online.
(Most of this info is not focused around helping art businesses specifically, but it’s still relevant in many cases.)
So the typical route that an artist takes is to just start trying all of these different strategies out in hopes of generating more business. But because artists are just getting pulled in so many different directions all the time with all of this information, they’re not always able to build momentum on one good strategy because Shiny Object Syndrome is real.
See the ‘Shiny Object Syndrome Octopus’ illustration below that I did for reference (Or if you're on your phone, slide to the right side of the screen):
For example, you start a blog and then hear that blogs are dead & that you need a podcast instead. Or you find a super successful artist that you like & their website is wayyyyy better than yours, so you start working on your website again, but this time to make it look a little more like theirs. Or you hear that you should join Tiktok, or post more Instagram Reels, or figure out what a funnel is, & the list just goes on & on.
And all the while making art too?!
Understanding all of this eventually led to an epiphany, which resulted in me making a really straightforward, accessible plan for artists to tackle the most important online business strategies super duper fast.
Because it’s not necessarily more INFORMATION that artists need for more transformation, it’s the SPACE and a great framework.
Of course I’ve got to plug Evergray’s 7 Day Online Artist Plan in a post about growing an online art business because it’s what I specifically created to give artists this space & framework to solve these issues. It’s all about getting focused, conquering Shiny Object Syndrome, and laying the groundwork for being an artist with a powerful online brand. In 7 days. With no fluff.Learn More About The 7 Day Online Artist Plan Here
If you’re not going to take The 7 Day Online Artist Plan, of course there’s still great ways to build your art business online. But I’ll spare you too many tips, tricks, & advice since there’s already an abundance of info out there & say this instead:
Experiment with everything.
Chances are, you've already heard about some really great strategies, but just didn't commit to them because you weren't sure if it would be worth your time. But how do you find out? Try something, measure the results after a few months or so & see what happens. Because when you don’t have the skillset to distinguish which strategies are going to be helpful or unhelpful for you, the major options are: trusting someone else’s framework or experimenting on your own.
But experimentation takes a lot of time, and I consider time to be one of, if not the most precious commodity that I can think of. So a hack that I’ve learned in life when I’m dealing with something that I don’t really know anything about is to find someone that seems incredibly legit & take their advice. Because I’m not willing to spend years trying to perfect just the right ravioli recipe - I’m just going to find a nice recipe on Pinterest, trust the process, & give it my best shot.
Experimenting with new marketing strategies can actually be a lot like learning a new language - you know you’ll look silly - dim even - while you’re new to it, but you’ve got to get past that part to really master it.
You can take all of the Italian classes that you want, but until you work up the courage to just start speaking & sounding dense for a year or two, you won’t become fluent.
Tried something & nothing happened? Try something else. Keep the same strategy but change something slightly & try that out for a bit.
Make sure that you’re trying something out long enough too. Most people completely underestimate the amount of volume that you need to really see results. Had 100 site visitors & only one of them did what you wanted them to do? That’s not a bad conversion rate! Keep going & don’t hop to the next Shiny Object strategy until you’ve hit 1000 site visitors.
So stay focused, because when you don’t get focused on marketing strategies, you might just spin your wheels in a million directions for years & feel like you haven’t made any real progress because everything has only just been incrementally improved before you hop to the next shiny project that you 'should' do.
So what kind of things could you try out?
- Do market research & learn more about your ideal client - interview them about their wants, needs, problems, & available solutions even.
- Develop a more powerful mission statement & keep all activities focused around that.
- Make your brand look visually more cohesive.
- Cut out parts of your brand/products/services/marketing that confuse your audience.
- Try different pricing structures, different types of collaborations, offering workshops, starting on new social media platforms, doubling down & focusing on one existing social media platform, finding new press opportunities - there’s a million strategies to try that could even be as simple as changing the color of a button on your website.
Want some more artist marketing ideas? Check out the Evergray Youtube channel right here. Or go to this Pinterest board for collective business & marketing inspiration for artists.
One thing’s for sure - YOU can have a successful online art brand this year by getting focused & treating everything like a scientist & tweaking until you find a great formula that works for you.
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