Creative Marketing for Artists

By Carolyn Edlund

Check out five examples where artists have gone above and beyond to market their work and keep their businesses responsive to their customers. How could this creative thinking work for you?


Creative Mind


Creative artist #1

A photographer walked through a business expo, carrying an iPad. Seeking commercial clients, he had targeted the expo as a good place to meet prospects. When making contacts at the event, he was able to quickly open his iPad, which was connected to his very polished website, and show his portfolio. Upon receiving a business card from an interested party, he could instantly send an email to them with a link. Nice job!

Could you adapt this type of effective marketing to your own business?

Creative artist #2

A jewelry designer had an idea to approach personal shoppers in his area, offering high-end designs and custom work for their clients. Personal shoppers need to find unusual, creative apparel for their clientele. This designer would be able to offer exceptional value to the personal shopper through a high level of customer service, and the ability to create designs exclusively for interested clientele.

After friending his prospects via social media, he planned an initial email contact with gorgeous glamour photos embedded, followed up with a phone call for an in-person appointment. He was gearing up for a fantastic presentation, with solid evidence on how he could offer value.  

How can you target and plan to reach a specialty market for your work?

Creative artist #3

A glassblower working on a private commission takes photos on his cell phone of work in progress and instantly sends them to his client to make sure they are “on the same page” – while the glass is still hot!

Could this type of amazing customer service work for your business?

Creative artist #4

Recently, several artists discussed the “how to” of a creative direct mail strategy that would cost $150.00. It didn’t involve a postcard mailing – their plan was much more targeted. They suggested culling your email newsletter mailing list by checking analytics to find those recipients who regularly opened and clicked on links. Use those names to make a “short list,” because your mailing will actually be small. Add in a dream customer or two that you would love to do business with.

Now – spend the time and effort to create a spectacular mailing piece. Full color glossies? Accordion-shaped book of your full line? Super creative 3D promo that arrives in a gift box? Even if each one costs $15 to make and send, you may be mailing to only ten people. For that small $150 cash investment, you can wow your prospects with an amazing presentation, guaranteeing that you will be memorable.

Have you tried a similar approach to get the attention of your targeted prospects?

Creative artist #5

Another artist had a professional video created of herself painting in her studio, which is sent to galleries featuring her work. When the video is shown on a loop, it effective tells her story and allows visitors to get “up close and personal” by virtually entering the studio itself. Do you use creative “sales aids” to promote your work when you can’t be there in person?

Each of these ideas goes above and beyond to sell art and develop strong business relationships. Today, personalized marketing, exemplary service and increased value are expected by customers. What techniques have you used to grow your business by going the extra mile?


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  1. hi Carolyn-
    Thank you, these are incredible, professional ideas*!
    I have had a lot of success and impact with my hand-made one-of-a-kind business cards, people enjoy them & keep them as souvenirs.

  2. Carolyn,
    Great ideas! I am also looking for ideas that “outside the box” and these fit the bill. I am planning to begin short videos called “studio talk” and post on my site, blog and you tube. These will not be painting techniques but short talks about inspiration, universal life lessons with art as inspiration.
    Thanks again.

    • Your website and your videos will represent you to the world, and I think these will be wonderful. When you tell your story, you make an undeniable connection with visitors. Make sure you capture their email addresses and follow up with a “drip marketing campaign.”

  3. WOW! Awesome tips I have never thought of! Thanks!

  4. Nice Article! People forget that selling artwork is a long-term job. Each step and strategy is helpful in some way. We generally recommend maintaining a regular status when it comes to marketing and PR. It’s good to use a lot of resources to promote one big event, but sometimes it’s more important to keep smaller resources running regularly. If you want to make a living from creating art and being an artist, you should see it as a full-time job or a business to run. In the same way you prepare and create your art, you should have a budget for the marketing and promotion of your artwork.


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