The 5 “I’s” of Art Marketing

By Aletta de Wal in Art Business Advice > A-Z Art Marketing Guide

Welcome back to “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z.

In today’s article, I’ll be focusing on the 5 “I’s” of art marketing by explaining the importance of impressing viewers and fans, interesting yourself in their lives, inspiring desire for your art, interpreting responses, and initiating follow-up actions.

1. Impress to the best of your ability

We receive thousands of direct and indirect messages each day. Messages that relate to our priorities show up on our radar but most end up in our mental trashcans.

Your first task is to cut through all that “noise” and impress people! Here are a few important ways to get positive attention:

• Show only your best work—quality will set your art and your marketing apart
• Curate your exhibits and websites so that nothing distracts from your art or you
• Create a memorable tagline to introduce yourself in person, in print and on the web

Do all of these things consistently, and you’ll stand out in people’s minds, making it easy for them to recall your artwork and tell others about you.

2. Interest yourself in people’s lives

The best way to have people become interested in you and your work is to first be interested in them.

More than a century ago in Great Britain, a young woman who had dined with both William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli explained why she preferred Disraeli: “When I dined with Mr. Gladstone, I felt as though he was the smartest man in England. But when I dined with Mr. Disraeli, I felt as though I was the smartest woman in England.”

Once people know that you care about them, they are more likely to care about you. Whether or not they buy your art, they will tell others what a great person you are—and people do buy from people they like and trust!

The best way to attract curiosity and interest is to:

• Make the audience the focal point in each conversation
• Find out exactly what people want to know about you or your art
• Reply to questions and comments in the way in which they want the information

3. Inspire a desire for your art

Since art is an emotional purchase, your art and marketing must inspire viewers to discover and express their desire for your work.

The next step should be entirely the viewer’s choice. If you move too quickly, trying to achieve a sale, you may just push the person away. You’re only desire should be that the other person has a terrific experience with you, and wants more contact with you.

• Learn what your audience desires in life (not just art) and help them achieve it
• Find out what drives viewers to see, talk about and buy art (any art, not just yours) and offer whatever information you can that helps them do so
• Be respectful of their right to control of the pace of their purchase process

4. Interpret and understand all communication

Guessing at the meaning behind someone’s words can lead to dominos of misunderstanding. The only way to verify the intent of anyone’s words, expressions, body language, or actions is to ask them.

Use your communication skills to get context and verify the accuracy of your interpretation. This leads to mutual understanding, and deeper, more mature relationships.

• Observe carefully the words, tone of voice, and gestures of your audience
• Ask lots of open-ended questions before making comments or offering suggestions
• Restate what you hear, and ask for verification that you have understood

5. Initiate follow-up and follow-through actions

Assuming that people will buy right away is like expecting to get married after the first date. It happens, but rarely, and it doesn’t always lead to happily ever after.

By following-up, and following-through, you can pursue the relationship thoroughly enough to arrive at an outcome that suits both parties.

Good follow-up shows the person that you cared enough to really listen and that you paid attention to what matters to them. And following-through by doing what you said you would do, when and how you said you’d do it, builds trust.

Take the initiation and continue the conversation by:

• Finding out whether they would like more information, interaction or action
• Graciously provide whatever they’d like, even if it is no further direct contact
• Continue to follow-up and follow-through as long as you have permission to do so

Keep moving forward until—ideally—you make a sale, get a referral, or are offered representation, depending on the situation.

If you get a clear signal that it’s time to back off, then by all means, do so. Simply consider it an opportunity to create more art or continue a great conversation (and the 5 “I’s” of art marketing) with someone else who’s interested.

Follow the links below to read more articles in “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z:

A – Appreciating your Audience

B – Building your Business Base

C – Communicating Clearly, Consistently and Cleverly

D – Diversifying Your Delivery

E – Educate, Entertain, Engage, Enrich, and Evolve

F – Fostering Friendly Familiarity

G – Give to Gain

H – Hiring Help

I – The 5 “I’s” of Art Marketing (current article)

J – Joining Juried Shows

K – Creating Good Karma

L – Listening and Learning

M – Mastering your Marketing Messages

N – Negotiating 101

O – Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

P – Procrastination & Perfection

Q – Quality & Quantity: Creating Art that Sells

R – 8 Rules to Improve Your Artist/Collector Relationships

S – S is for Sales

T – 30 Ways to Say “Thank You”

U – Switching from “I” to “Us”

V – Volunteering in the Art World

W – Write, Write, Write!

Y – Just Say Yes

Z – Zen, Zoom, ZigZag & Zowie


We'll send you articles & tutorials right as we publish them, so you never miss a post! Unsubscribe here at any time.


This post may contain affiliate links.