5 Ways to Promote Your Art (without feeling salesy)

I turned down the same job — twice — because it was a sales job.

I really liked the company, they thought since I had a background as a performer that I would have a great “phone presence,” and the job would have made me a nice chunk of change. The reason I turned it down (even though it was my only job option at the time) was because I couldn’t get past the idea of calling down a list of people day in and day out to essentially convince them to buy an expensive product.

I turned down the job and then, 6 months later, I still needed a job so I re-interviewed with them and still couldn’t bring myself to sign on the dotted line.

This sales job reminded me a lot of my time spent as an aspiring actress and singer in New York. Posting on social media things like “come see my show!” or “buy my album!” had left some massive PTSD on my mindset when it came to “selling.”

Selling and marketing just felt like dirty words….until I discovered a few ways to promote my art online without feeling slimy about it.

Over the last few years, I’ve actually fallen in love with the art of selling — and it is just that: an art. There is creativity in the way that we promote our work and we as artists need to learn how to do it well.

So, I have broken it down into 5 ways to promote your art without feeling salesy. Are you ready to promote yourself as an artist and feel confident and (dare I say it) excited about it? Let’s roll.

Find Your People

First, let’s talk social media.

Did you know that people actually have to choose to follow you online? That means that if they follow you, they actually want to hear from you. They’re interested in learning about what’s going on in your world. They are your people.

So the first lesson is this: recognize that — even if your following is small — you have a group of people who are ready and willing to hear about your next art show, listen to your next single, or watch your next short film. (Also, did you know that people need to hear or see something an average of 7 times before actually making a decision? That fact alone should inspire you to share like crazy!)

Be Bold, Brave, and Believe in You

It’s infectious when someone is excited about something. There is almost a tangible feeling in the air around them. That excitement is attractive to others and causes them to look in the direction from where the excitement is coming.

I used to think that if I showed too much excitement online — or even in person — that for some reason people would write me off as an amateur. I wanted to present a cool, calm and collected vibe at all times. But people want to be excited with and for you. I can’t stress this enough.

If you’re excited about it, your people will be excited about it — and they might even share it for you. (See point #1, never underestimate your people).

Tell a Story

Okay, this is actually probably the most important point.

Telling a story is the difference between saying “Come see my show! It’s only $20!” or saying, “I’ve dated all of the wrong guys, and picked up the pieces of a battered heart and I decided to write a show about it. It would mean the world to me if you would come and check it out. Tickets are $20. I can’t wait to share my story with you.”

Which pitch are you most likely to resonate with? I bet you $5 that it’s the second one. Why? Because we are social creatures and every person on planet earth loves a good story and something they can connect to on an emotional level.

The psychology that goes on when we read or hear a pitch that tells a story is that we respond and say, “girl, I’ve dated all of the wrong guys too! I want to hear your story.”

So tell me about a challenge you overcame, a lesson you learned, a time you laughed so hard snot flew out of your nose…whatever it is — tell a story.

Focus on Pain Points

This is where you get to play a little Nancy Drew and discover “pain points” that your audience or potential client is facing. What problem do you solve with your art? It can be as simple as “feeling like it’s impossible to get over a breakup” and your solution is: “here’s my latest single — it’s all about learning to love your single life and female empowerment.” Or something similar.

If you are a product-based artist, like maybe you handcraft beaded jewelry, the problem you solve could be as simple as helping the clueless boyfriend or husband find that one perfect necklace to buy his girlfriend or wife for their anniversary.

The options are literally endless. I encourage you to sit down and list out every single pain point you can think of and how your art solves it and then just run with it.

Practice Makes Perfect

Ah yes, the old adage: practice makes perfect.

I know you’re probably sick of hearing it because I am too but it is just too true to stop saying it. The first few times you try to promote your next gig, single, blog, etc…it is going to feel awkward and you might even be tempted to shy away from doing it all together. Embrace the awkward, take a deep breath, and tell your story.

The more times that you do it, the easier it will become. You might even find that you love finding creative ways to promote your art.

We did it! We discovered 5 ways to promote your art — without feeling salesy. I am so proud of you.

Now, let me tell ya, I love brainstorming new creative marketing ideas and strategies. I went from turning down a sales job to becoming my own salesperson (and because I’m selling my own services and art, I really believe in the product).

If you’re looking to find the words to help promote your next single, short film, novel, or beaded jewelry, I would love to help you brainstorm and find some creative ways to do just that. Promoting your art doesn’t have to feel slimy — instead, it should be empowering.

I want to empower you to promote and sell your art. Let’s do this.

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