guest post :: 6 marketing mistakes artists make online

mistake collage by tmass
collage print by tmaas

my friend kelly asked me to share the lessons i learned launching my first ebook, 52 weeks of blogging your passion, on her blog, one woman marketing. and like the awesome friend she is, she provided YOU with some of her own insight into mistakes that we all make marketing our art & craft online.

Six Marketing Mistakes Artists Make Online

By Kelly Watson

Artists: are you getting the maximum marketing value from your web site? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell. Here’s a handy list to keep you from making common internet blunders.

1. Poor design. It’s ironic but true: some of the best visual artists suffer from terrible web design. Your site is your calling card to the world. Keep it looking professional. Give your visitors an easily-accessible navigation bar on the top or side of each page, and create a clear visual hierarchy so people know where to look first. (For more web design tips, check out Steve Krug’s book, “Don’t Make Me Think.”)

2. Too much stuff. Sometimes, less is more. This is especially true on the internet, which gets more crowded every day. Keep text to a minimum, and images at a reasonable size. When tempted to add something new, ask yourself: does this fit the theme of my site? Will visitors really care? If the answer to both questions is yes, then go ahead and add it. But when in doubt, leave it out.

3. No contact information. Let’s be realistic. If someone really wants to stalk you, he or she will find a way—regardless of whether your address is listed online. But if potential customers can’t find your contact details after a few clicks, they’re likely to leave and never come back. The moral of the story: make it easy for people to get in touch with you. Put your contact information at the bottom of each page, and encourage visitors to call or send an e-mail. (Worried about junk mail? Simply write out your e-mail address like so: Kelly at This will stop the majority of spam bots from recognizing your address and adding it to their lists.)

4. Use of flash, blinking text, animated graphics, etc. Back in the ‘90s, blinking text was still a novelty. Today, flashing graphics can feel like an assault on the senses. You want your web site to be pleasant—so stay away from fancy splash pages, animated images, and anything else that can cause seizure activity in small children.

5. No prices. If you don’t list the price of your artwork, you’re likely missing out on sales. That’s because people love to shop, but they hate asking questions. Perhaps they think by drawing attention to themselves, they’re more likely to be ripped off. Make it easy for them by clearly listing the price of every piece of artwork, everywhere it’s featured on your site.

6. Not taking advantage of social media. Think MySpace and Facebook are just for teens? Think again. These and other social networking sites are invaluable marketing tools for visual artists. And better yet—they’re free! Spend an afternoon checking out the sites and building a few pages for your artwork. It’s easier than you think, and it will draw new visitors from around the globe.

kelly watson - one woman marketingKelly Watson is a website copywriter and marketing consultant who specializes in marketing to women. She blogs at One Woman Marketing. Kelly works from her home in Lancaster, PA, where she writes copy for businesses across the nation. On, she blogs about her experiences as a “solopreneur” and one-woman marketing department.

32 thoughts on “guest post :: 6 marketing mistakes artists make online

  1. excellent advice! i especially appreciate the obvious, but overlooked (by me) advice to put your contact info *right there*. will do! thanks!

    1. hi kendra! i see that soooooo many times! i try to contact an artist for more info for a feature and it’s just not easy to find. front & center please :)

      thanks so much for stopping by!

    1. hey stephanie! for sure: the easier someone can find your prices, the easier it is to buy. you’ve really got to break down all possible barriers to a sale.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I especially need to start making use of social media.

    I am so with you on flashing text. It makes me feel really stressed out when I look at it!

    1. hi brooke! well, commenting on blogs is a great way to get into web 2.0 (or are we on 3.0 now?!). twitter & facebook can be a bit overwhelming and a tad confusing at first. but let yourself get immersed in the experience, give it time, and let it work for you! thanks for stopping by today!

  3. Straightforward informative articles like this are so useful for a newbie Etsian like me; thanks for posting! And thanks so much for reposting my Alice in Wonderland comments among your favorites! That’s so flattering!

  4. I wholeheartedly agree about the social media connection. After months of denial, I finally embraced my inner Facebook and have found it to be a invaluable asset to my business. I love the ease and immediacy of the information and visuals that I can provide/expose to my “fans” as well as other interested parties. I’m sold!

    1. hi susan! it really is a great way to engage your customers on a daily basis. i’m so glad you took the plunge! best of luck navigating the rest of the social media seas.

  5. This is great! I feel confident that I’ve tackled all of these except price listing.I have an Etsy account selling my art work, but what if someone wants to hire me from my website? I shall work on that right away <3

    1. hey vincent! precisely – i feel so much more confident contacting someone for a service when i can see a price up front, even if it’s just approximate. good luck and thanks for stopping by!

    1. hey jennifer! i hardly think your blog is ugly 😉 but if you ever need help with a makeover or re-do, just let me know!

  6. I am planning a website re-vamp soon and will definitely be harking this advice.
    My only trepidation is that adding prices and a shopping cart to my site will upset my wholesale clients. But I have decided in this troubled economic time, I have to do whatever I can to bring in sales.

    1. hi danielle! it seems that wholesale clients understand 1.) exactly what you said about the economy and 2.) you’re not really taking their business (unless you’re undercutting them, of course….) because many people will still want to try on – touch – experience your work in person. also, i think that you could interpret that advice to market to your wholesale clients and consider putting your wholesale information somewhere on your website. i think anytime you can break down a barrier to a sale online, you end up making more & getting more contacts!

      thanks so much for stopping by today. i really appreciate your comment!

    1. hi heidi! thanks so much for stopping by. yep – that’s a big one! sometimes it’s really hard to get a hold of people from their website. …which means your website isn’t working very hard for you!

  7. Great advice! I totally agree with the need to always list prices – I have been ready to buy things on several occasions only to see “price available upon request” or “sold out – please inquire for your OWN such-and-such” and decided against buying it. Thanks for all the great tips!

    1. me too, heather! i’m all about encouraging people to break down the barriers to making a sale – whether it’s for an item or a service.

      thanks for stopping by today!

  8. Numbers 1 and 2 really hit home for me. My website needs an overhaul big time. I want to go with a cleaner, fresher look and I do have way too much stuff on it. I built my website a few years ago using FrontPage and I maintain it on my own, but I barely know the basics. I have a certain look in mind, but I’m not sure if I can figure out how to make the changes I want to make. Spring cleaning is going to be going on in more than just my house this year! 😀

    1. hi lana! fresh & clean is definitely the web design trend for 2010. i would highly encourage you to look at wordpress as your platfrom – not just for your blog but as a whole website. if you want to find out more about how that can be done, please check out my personal site: or email me: [email protected]

      thanks so much for stopping by!!

  9. Great advice! Couldn’t say it better about the need to social-market yourself nowadays. In fact, that’s how I came across this article! (I’m always following Tara’s excellent blog and FB page!)

    1. aw, thanks, arosha! your efforts are a great example to artists & crafters looking to maximize the benefits of social media. keep up the awesome work!

  10. Artist are probably amongst the last to get with the program. Yes that includes us ‘old school’ artists from way back in the 20th century.

    We appreciate this straight-forward approach to internet marketing. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *