Artist Goals 2014 – Places to Advertise Your Art Business

Advertising Venues for Artists

It is getting harder and harder to find a place not touched by advertising…

OK, one of your goals for this year should be to take a look at where you are advertising your art business and make changes to suit your goals, strategies and budgets. Are there places where you should be advertising?

Advertising is where you pay to have your message displayed on a particular medium for a particular length of time at a cost that is known to you. The key word with advertising is that you “pay”. Advertising is not free and it is important that you have a well thought out strategy before embarking on any advertising effort or program as it can get quite expensive.

There are a lot of factors that go into having a successful advertising program. The tricky thing about advertising is that all of these factors need to be working in your favor – kind of like an engine running on all cylinders.

In this article I am going to take a look at one of these factors and provide you with some ideas about places or mediums to advertise your art business. There are more places to spend your advertising dollars than you have money to spend on advertising, so choose wisely.

One type of advertisement every artist needs

Before we get too far in exploring the various types of advertising mediums there is one type of advertisement that YOU need. I am amazed by how many artists and other creative people don’t have a business card. If you don’t have one, make this your first priority. Without a business card you don’t look professional, people may not take you seriously and it is pretty hard to start to develop your network.

Advertising mediums or places to advertise

It seems that as each day goes by someone figures out a new place to put an advertising message. As you develop your advertising strategy it is important that you make it a habit of looking around you and becoming aware of the messages that surround you – they are everywhere!

Here are just a few of the venues where advertising appears:

  • Broadcast – television, radio, infomercials and web broadcasts of audio and visual content, mobile…
  • Print – newspapers, magazines, brochures, flyers, rack cards, business cards, posters, phone books, directories, catalogs, back of receipts and tickets, stickers, shopping bags…
  • Outdoor – signs, banners, billboards, bus benches/shelters, buses, taxis, subway stations & trains, signs on vehicles, vehicle wraps, portable billboards, human billboards, walls, posts, sidewalks, yard signs, bumper stickers, airports, malls…
  • Direct Marketing – direct mail pieces, post cards, door hangers, coop direct mail, telemarketing, email marketing, coupon books, and supermarket carts…
  • Digital – web banners, web advertisements, mobile phone, ads, social media ads (Facebook, Twitter..), search engine listings…
  • Apparel – hats, t-shirts, bandanas, coats, umbrellas, visors…
  • Ad Specialties – pens, balls, post it notes, notepads, electronic items, key chains, watches, flash memory sticks, water bottles, toys and just about any other item you can think of that can be printed on…

Choosing the appropriate advertising medium

There may be many or only a few advertising mediums that are appropriate for your art or creative business. You need to choose these carefully – some things to consider:

  • Do you have a budget to execute an advertising program using the medium?
  • Are your customers or potential customers likely to interact with (see) the medium?
  • Does the medium support your brand image?
  • What medium(s) are your successful competitors using?
  • Are there opportunities to use a non-traditional medium by thinking outside the box?

Check out where other successful artists are advertising

Before you choose an advertising medium, do some research by looking at where other artists are advertising. You may get some good ideas and probably a few that are not so good…

The bottom line(s)

Where to advertise is just as important as the creative message in having a successful advertisement – both have to be spot on. Take a look around you and choose advertising medium that might work for you. Test your advertisements to see if they are working for you and if not then make changes. The good thing about advertising mediums is that you won’t run out of things to try.


Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver where he teaches “Marketing the Arts”.

Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto

2 thoughts on “Artist Goals 2014 – Places to Advertise Your Art Business

  1. Christina Plichta

    Instead of giving away business cards, I think artists should bring a big bag of quarters to shows, and just give away a quarter to everyone who asks for a business card. It’s about the same thing, except a quarter might get you more attention.

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