Photo of someone drawing flowers with watercolour paints

How to promote an artist or graphic design business

Promoting an artist or graphic designer, your work isn’t necessarily location dependent, and you don’t necessarily have to be hired to create an online portfolio, so your options are endless. This gives you a few benefits, but in a saturated online space, there are things you can do to stand out and be seen so that you can sell your work and be hired for your skillset.

Your Website

My recommendation for this specific business type is to implement the following on your website:

  • You might choose to have an Etsy store, which is fantastic for people to find you, but you should keep your own website
  • Share your story about why you do what you do and your passion for it
  • You can both sell works, or offer services on your website, creating work before you have the client. Graphic designers can create templates and take and tweaks, such as ready made branding where you would change out the name
  • Add your contact information, with a form, email, social media channels with messages open, and/or an appointment booking system.
  • If you go to local markets, or can be visited at a studio, add those hours and information to your website
  • Include lots of pictures so people know what your style is, and the details of your work.

You should also make sure you take photos and video of the following:

  1. Your process
  2. Your supplies and tools
  3. Your finished work
  4. Your finished work in use
  5. You as the artist or designer

You should take photos of your work before, during, after, and styled, hung or in use. This shows people what makes your work so special, as well as see how it could work into their life.

Run giveaways or set up an affiliate programme for those who post online, so you can encourage people to do this on a regular basis.


The free stuff, assuming you do it yourself

For best search engine optimisation, you should also do the following:

  • Make sure you include all possible descriptions of your work, including your materials, style, and who you create for
  • If you sell your work as products, or have a portfolio, explain each item, it’s nuances, the inspiration, of it was a commission what the request was, and include reviews whenever you can, there will be keywords and phrases that you can bring in here, that will catch what people will be likely to search for
  • Make sure you put a photo of your work, your location, and your offering on your Google My Business, and make sure your phone number, website and hours are correct.

To grow a Social Media following and engagement...

The platforms you use will depend on who your target market is, but realistically you should have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Pinterest, and you might want a presence on LinkedIn if you work with or for businesses.

  • Post consistently in a way that suits that platforms style and engage with all comments within a couple days
  • Share people’s Stories when they tag you, and repost their photos into your feeds
  • Go live or record timelapses (sped up videos) of your process and share them
  • Tell your story, over time sharing what you love about what you do and who you create for
  • Setup the Facebook Pixel and Pinterest Tag so you can track people who visit for future ads.

The Paid Stuff

Social Media Advertising

You’ll want to spend most of your money on awareness and reach, and a smaller amount on traffic. You’ll want to engage people to get likes and comments as much as possible within these ads so that those who follow you will see your posts.

Google Ads

If there’s enough people searching for either your type of service or commissioned work, you might like to try search ads. However, shopping ads in search, display ads and YouTube ads will be your best area since they have a visual aspect to them. You;ll need to be careful in picking your demographics, based on your pricepoint and your target audience.

If you choose to run YouTube ads and Display ads, you can carefully select your channels and sites, based on where your ideal followers will hang out.

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Promoting an artist or graphic designer... you don’t necessarily have to be hired to create an online portfolio, so your options are endless.

Email Marketing

You can share your work, what you’ve been creating and putting out, including links to your videos you’ve made of your work process. You are in a unique position in that people will sign up for your newsletter solely to see what you make next, so you don’t necessarily have to offer a discount or ebook or anything like that to get people to register, so you might simply share your latest newsletter on the signup page so people know what they get. You might send out emails weekly, fortnightly or monthly, but don’t go longer than a month. For a platform, I recommend Flodesk because it is so easy to set up and manage, so it doesn’t take up too much of your time. This is a paid platform, but you don’t pay more for the more subscribers, so you can fill your list as much as people want to be on it.

Photo of watercolour supplies

Not sure what to do first?

Register for a free marketing audit, and Emma will review your website and public marketing and send you a video review.

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