About a week and a half ago I came across what I think is a very smart art marketing technique used by Chris Bolmeier.
Chris is a fellow painter and blogger (she’s actually written for EmptyEasel in the past) whose articles are often just as fun to read as they are insightful. Visit her art blog and you’ll see what I mean.
To be honest, this art marketing technique she’s using isn’t necessarily a new one in the online world, but up until now I haven’t seen it employed by individual artists online.
You see, Chris has started an affiliate program. For herself.
Here’s how it works (and it’s pretty simple, really). Every once in a while on her blog, Chris will post an image of one of her paintings that she’d like to sell.
Anyone—her readers, fellow bloggers, other artists, you—can try to sell that painting for her, by word of mouth, by writing about it online, etc.
If you find a buyer, just let Chris know and she’ll send you a PayPal link (which you’ll forward to the buyer) to purchase that work of art.
End result: Chris sells her art, the buyer goes home happy, and whoever referred the buyer (did I mention this part?) makes 20% of the sale price. Here’s her original post explaining it in more detail.
Now I’m not writing about this to say “go sell Chris Bolmeier’s art” although you’re certainly welcome to do so. Instead, I think it’s a great idea for any artist to try.
Obviously it would help to announce your affiliate plan through a blog, like Chris did, to try and reach as many people as possible—but if you don’t have a blog, there’s still nothing to stop you from setting up a commission agreement with friends, family, associates, or anyone else who wants to give it a try.
Rather not get your friends and family involved? Then why not find a group of like-minded artists who are willing to promote each others’ artwork on a regular basis?
If you’re online, this could be done by placing images of each others’ artwork in the sidebar of your blog or website. Depending on your agreement, those images would either link directly to the other artists directly, OR to a contact form where visitors could request more information from you (so you could get a commission).
Offline, cross-promotion might be as easy as swapping artwork with other artists and hanging that art in your house, at your work, in your church, or anywhere else you have access to.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing can be done by anyone, not just the big companies. All it takes is a little creativity and, yes, the willingness to share some of your profits.
Of course, how much of those profits you share is up to you.
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