Arts Marketing Through Storytelling in 2 Actionable Steps

arts marketing

How many of us feel that marketing is a bad word? Or at least something we hate doing? How many of us feel overwhelmed at the thought of it? The answer: A LOT! 

But what if we pivot our thinking and instead of labeling it arts marketing – let’s call it storytelling?

As artists ourselves, we know that starting your own business comes with a lot of tasks that are not the reason we got started, but that are necessary for us to grow and continue making our art. Marketing, for many people, is one of those things.  

In this blog, we are going to discuss the importance of storytelling as a means to get people to understand and therefore connect deeper with your art and break down how you, as an Artist, can do this in two actionable steps! 

1. Arts Marketing: Finding Your Story

Selling your art is like a puzzle; the story is the missing piece that makes it all come together. Without it, your audience might appreciate the beauty of the individual pieces, but they might not be able to see the whole picture. Telling your story helps you to connect with your audience on a deeper level and makes your art more meaningful. 

86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands to support. The same is true for art – your audience wants to see the real you – fake simply just doesn’t work.  

So how do you find your true authentic story? Start by identifying things that make you stand out! What are some things about you or your art that would make someone discuss it further after meeting you and experiencing your work? 

Some things to consider here are: 

  • What motivates you to create art? 
  • How does your art evoke emotion? 
  • What are your passions? 
  • Consider the challenges you’ve faced in your life. How have they shaped you? 
  • What about your worldview do you want to share with others? 
  • Identify recurring themes or motifs in your art. 
  • What themes and motifs do you explore in your art? 
  • What materials and techniques do you use in your art? 
  • Does your art tell a personal story? A cultural story? An environmental story? 
  • What inspires you?
  • What drives you?

2. Identifying Your Ideal Customers: 

Now that you have given some thought to your personal story, it’s time to identify your ideal customers. A simple way to start this process is to list some qualities about customers that might be drawn to or enjoy your art. For example, maybe your ideal customers can identify certain textiles you use or are fans of Andy Warhol or love crystals and jewelry or want art that inspires change.  

The possibilities are endless here, but you know your art better than anyone else and by identifying your ideal customers, you will be able to focus your storytelling efforts on the people that are going to be the most receptive! 

It really is as simple as two steps, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take careful crafting and energy. Bottom line: Storytelling is marketing and marketing is KEY to selling more art.  

It certainly isn’t the reason that you began creating your art, but it is the means needed to sustain you financially as an artist and to keep you growing in your business.  

In order for people to understand and want to invest in your art, they will need to know, love and trust you. You do that through being your own authentic self and connecting with them, online, in-person and through your art.  

It might feel daunting at first, but telling your story, as a means to promote your art, is important and a challenge worth exploring!

If you’d like more hands-on help identifying your own story and how to convey that in your marketing, check out our upcoming Artists Workshop “Marketing Methods for Artists” on September 9, 2023 in Columbus, OH. Specific location TBD.  

This workshop will be put on by myself, Lynette Shy-CEO of Confluence Arts Solutions, and Jennifer Zmuda, founder of Jennifer Zmuda Photography.

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