Marketing Your Art Online: Are you always sowing a marketing seed?

One of my Facebook page fans wrote to me that they’ve been online for awhile and that they’re feeling burned out with marketing online. She voiced a sentiment that a lot of artists have when it comes to marketing their work. It’s hard enough just to make your artwork and run your business. Marketing, either online or offline is one of those continual tasks that don’t always seem to get the results that you want or at least don’t get them fast enough.

Recently, I was listening to a podcast about effective creativity from The Accidental Creative called “Seeds“. In the episode, creativity and an artist’s nurturing of creativity was likened to farming. In order for creativity to grow and thrive, a farmer can’t just plant a couple of seeds and then want to harvest a crop just a few weeks later. Rather, there’s a natural process to nurturing a crop that requires a farmer to plant seeds, nurture the crop, let the crop grow, and then harvest when the crop is ready. Any attempt to harvest before then will end up killing off the field.

While the podcast was talking about creativity, marketing follows the same principal. Marketing your website is a lot like the “sowing the seeds” example in the podcast. Every blog post you write, every tweet you send out, every new subscriber to your email list, every ad you put on a popular blog is like sowing a marketing seed for your artwork. You’ll see results from some of these seeds right away…some you might not see weeks, months, or even a year or two later. On the other hand, while things like blogging, writing, and building your reputation online are things that take time to yield results, they are also things that continue to bring results months and years later.

And just like a farmer doesn’t just plant one seed and expect it to grow into an entire crop, if you’re trying to marketing yourself, you shouldn’t just try one thing and expect to get huge results from it. The more things you try, the more you get yourself out there, not just online but also offline the more you’re likely to get results. And the more you’re likely to have at least one technique succeed in case another technique fails.

So what if you’ve been trying and trying to market online and you’re really burnt out because a) you have too much to do or b) you don’t seem to be getting results?

1. Try something different. If one technique doesn’t seem to be yielding results, try something different…or make a tweak to what you’re doing already. Sometimes just stepping back and making minor adjustments can make a world of difference.

2. Do one small thing every day. Large projects like building a website or setting up a blog or redesigning a website can get you a boost, but most of your results comes from small things that you can do every day…like emailing a customer that you haven’t heard from in a while…or better yet calling them up or visiting them. Or writing a quick blog post, or shooting a quick video, or making some comments on your favorite blog.

Earlier this week Alyson Stanfield wrote a blog post about committing 15 minutes a day to do something important…like marketing yourself or creating art. Commit 15 minutes a day to do some marketing task every day this year. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll end up getting done.

3. Get help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. This is something that my husband is always telling me and I know that it’s something that plagues a lot of other artists as well. Get help addressing and stamping those postcards you’re going to mail out. Ask for more help with the housework or cooking if that’s one of your responsibilities. Get a professional to design that blog header or ad instead of struggling to do it yourself.

4. Take a mini vacation. If you’re absolutely burned out, give yourself permission to take a mini vacation to recharge your batteries. Take some classes, join a Meetup group and network with other artists, visit some museums and galleries, read about something completely different that what you’ve been reading. Listen to some new podcasts (starting with the one by the Accidental Creative about sowing seeds) or instructional CDs. But just like a real vacation, make sure that you specify a date to return so that your vacation don’t stretch out into weeks or months.

So, are you burnt out with your marketing? Leave a comment and let me know how you’re coping!

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8 Responses to Marketing Your Art Online: Are you always sowing a marketing seed?

  1. Meredith February 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Great article. I will be sharing this on Smaller Box. Doing some marketing task each day is the only way I’ve been able to successfully grow my online retail business.

  2. Thyme2dream February 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Great post!! Because I get sidetracked very easily Ive been working on organizing my home and housework into 15 minute increments -WITH a timer set! I am now integrating this principle into marketing and it is so refreshing- I seem to get a lot more done in much less time!

    The seed idea is very helpful- and I have learned over time that I get much better results from just doing what comes naturally- being friendly, being myself and engaging-and NOT waiting around to see if I get something out of it…it all ends up coming back to me eventually as I “sow” with a pay it forward sort of attitude, helping others in the process:)

  3. Judy Leila Schafers Fine Art February 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Enjoyed your article and agree with all of your points. Living all my life on the farm, I identify strongly with your analogy. Trying to do all of these things is indeed overwhelming sometimes. Having patience and taking daily steps make it all doable! I look at the marketing of my artwork as part of my creative endevours and enjoy building relationships with clients almost as much as creating the work itself. When we share our gifts with others, we all win!

  4. sherry dream a little designs February 6, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    Thank you so much! I needed the inspiration today! Feeling very burnt out with online advertising and networking. I sometimes have to step back and realize how much I have DONE, set up my own etsy store, my own blog, flickr acct, joined forums and blogs, etc etc. Hope to see those seeds grow soon!
    I am subscribing to your blog for sure!

  5. Nicolette Tallmadge February 11, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    @Judy Leila Schafers

    I didn’t grow up on a farm, but the analogy makes sense. And marketing, especially marketing art is about connecting with the folks that are going to buy it. Building relationships is not something that you can build overnight…even with the Internet!

  6. Nicolette Tallmadge February 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    @sherry dream

    Yes…good point! One key to preventing burnout is definitely appreciating what you’ve accomplished. It is easy to just focus on where you’re going and forget where you started off from. Don’t worry, in my experience those seeds will start bearing fruit when you least expect it.

  7. Nicolette Tallmadge February 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm #


    Thanks for sharing the article! I appreciate it! I had subscribe to your newsletter and blog a couple weeks ago and I really enjoy it. Keep up with the good information you have there on your blog and I’ll tweet it out…great stuff!

  8. Nicolette Tallmadge February 12, 2010 at 2:06 pm #


    I work from home and it’s hard not to hear that pile of laundry calling you. I try to do all of my marketing stuff, blogging, writing comments, and tweets early in the morning so I can get it out of the way. So then if the pile of laundry starts bothering me I can do it knowing that I’ve already done my marketing stuff first.

    The other benefit of marketing by being a nice person without expecting anything in return is that I find that it’s less stress on you. You’re not mentally keeping tally, getting irritated or feeling ignored because people aren’t “returning the favor”. And people probably sense it on some level. Much better to toss the seed of kindness out and forget about it.

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