If you’re preparing for the West Austin Studio Tour (or any art event for that matter), you may find it hard to balance art making and art marketing. You may even think the two have nothing to do with each other but their close spelling doesn’t lie.

Art marketing is an essential part of your artistic process. It’s the method in which you share your work.

Finding a way to promote yourself and your work is a skill that needs to be continually developed. Luckily, it’s also one that allows for experimentation.

Connecting to your audience, standing out and reaching your goals are all a major part of any art event you participate in. Our WEST Marketing Guide will take you through the steps to hit all of three of these for the upcoming event.

Make Your Stop Stand Out

WEST veteran Avery Orendorf lets her audience swim through her art with the mural she painted at her home studio.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.

People have 374 choices during WEST this year. Would you sort through all of the participants? Of course not. People are relying on you to do the work for them. Make it easy. Make it enticing.

The WEST catalog and website are a good jumping off point, but if you’re relying on that alone, you’ll never stand out from the pack. Take advantage of this major event and market yourself as an individual.

This starts with designing how your particular stop will run by adding elements that make it a unique and interactive experience.

But how?

You are an artist. Apply your creativity to elements outside of the work you are displaying. Here are some suggestions based around what I’ve seen at WEST:

  1. Create a backdrop from your art for people to take photos in front of
  2. Take visitors on a custom tour through your studio
  3. Share works in progress and sketchbooks for people to flip through
  4. Make a bingo card for audiences to hit multiple stops that you’ve partnered with

The beauty of this multi-day event is that you can adjust your approach throughout both weekends.

Get What You Want out of WEST

Don’t forget to think about your experience during WEST too. This is a time for you to share your work and connect with your supporters.

Our advice is to write down your goals for WEST and then the steps you need to take to achieve them. Here are a few examples:

If your goal is to sell art then you should…

  1. Update the shop on your website
  2. Have enough inventory
  3. Diversify your art to accommodate different price points
  4. Market to people who have already bought work from you

If your goal is to connect with a new audience

  1. Cross promote with sponsors that have a different audience than you
  2. Collect contact information at your stop and have yours readily available
  3. Personally follow up with new contacts after WEST
  4. Experiment with how and where you market on social media

If your goal is to push commissions

  1. Make it clear through your display that you offer commissions
  2. Personally follow up with anyone inquiring after WEST
  3. Collect contact information and initiate communication
  4. Have a physical portfolio of past work

Even if you have multiple goals, defining them will give you more direction.

Let’s Get Started

Once you have a plan of attack, it’s time to put it into action. Your promotion needs to span the time before, during and after WEST.

Your campaign should be structured without becoming overbearing. Prioritize the platforms that your audience interacts with most and focus on reaching the largest amount of people prior to the event.

Here’s our breakdown of a basic WEST promotional campaign:

Above all else, remember that marketing is creative. Use your natural skills as an artist to share your work. And don’t forget to have fun with it!

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