Artist Websites  Artist Websites |  Featured Artists |  Art Marketing  Art Marketing |  Art Contest |  BrushBuzz |  InformedCollector |  FASO Loves You - Share Your Art, Share Life


« Dominic Avant ~ Sensitive, engaging work that resonates with the deep inner beauty of all of his subjects. | Main | May 2010 BoldBrush Painting Contest Winners! »

Follow this Blog

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Quick Links

Artist Websites and Good Design
How to Sell Art
How to Get Your Art Noticed by Galleries
SEO For Artists - The Ultimate Tip


Blog Roll

Mikki Senkarik's Blog

advice for artists
art and culture
art and psychology
art and society
art appreciation
art blogging advice
Art Business
art collectors
art criticism
art education
art fairs
art forum
art gallery tips
art history
art law
art marketing
art museums
art websites
artist resume advice
artist statement
BoldBrush Winners
Brian Sherwin
Carolyn Henderson
Carrie Turner
Clint Watson
Cory Huff
Daily Art Show
Dave Geada
Dave Nevue
email newsletters
exposure tips
FASO Featured Artists
Fine Art Shows
Gayle Faucette Wisbon
Guest Posts
Internet Scams
Jack White
John Weiss
Juried Shows
Kathleen Dunphy
Keith Bond
Kelley Sanford
Kim VanDerHoek
landscape painting
Lori Woodward
Luann Udell
Mark Edward Adams
mixed media
Moshe Mikanovsky
oil painting
online art competitions
online art groups
plein air painting
pricing artwork
sell art
selling art online
selling fine art online
SEO for Artist Websites
social networking
Steve Atkinson
still life art
support local art
Think Tank
websites for artists
Zac Elletson

 Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005


Art Marketing: Inbound vs. Outbound

by Clint Watson on 6/18/2010 8:56:40 AM

This article is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.

Artists need (at least) two channels in their art marketing efforts:  inbound and outbound.

What is your strategy for drawing in an audience of prospects, fans, followers, etc?  

It could be art fairs, traditional galleries, online galleries, art contests, an enticing blog[1], or some combination of these efforts and others.  When considering your inbound strategy think about what's likely to get your work in front of qualified prospects.

Inbound is where people tend to focus a lot of effort.

But there's also outbound strategy to consider.  Outbound strategy is how you communicate with people who like what you do, are interested in your artwork, and have already given you permission to contact them again.  Outbound includes:  daily painting blogs[2], email newsletters, personal emails to customers, hand-written notes with photos that you send out, postcards announcing your exhibits, RSS feeds of your artwork, phone calls, and private home-shows of your art for your customers.

The mistake I see a lot is tons of focus on inbound, and too little focus on outbound.

What if you flipped your strategy?  What would happen if you spent your time and creative energy on outbound?  What if you asked yourself how you could "wow" 10 or 20 of your best followers?  What if you created 10 artworks, each one with a particular customer's tastes and interests in mind[3], and then invited those 10 people to an exclusive private showing of your work?

Putting some extra effort into outbound could pay off dramatically.  But it's difficult work for artists who want to change the world.  Most people will choose spend the time "tweaking keywords" for their SEO[4] "strategy", that's much easier, and it "feels" like progress.

There's your advantage - most people aren't doing it - you could amaze your followers by being one of the few who does.


Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

[1]  In Hugh MacLeod's post, "Why Most Artist's Blogs Fail, he discusses how to utilize a blog to draw in a large audience...and how most artist blogs fail at that goal.  Of course, you may have developed another inbound strategy for you and your painting only blog may not be a "total failure" if you are utilizing it as described in the second footnote.

[2]  I listed blogs under both inbound and outbound.  Most artists simply post paintings of their artwork to their blog.  That strategy fails as an inbound strategy.  However, it can be a channel for showing paintings to existing customers who want to keep up with what's new.  A better strategy however, is using email newsletters for alerting existing customers.  Another strategy is to use one blog for both types of posts which can serve as both an inbound and an outbound channel.  This is what Hugh MacLeod did for many years, but has recently switched to utilizing an email newsletter as the primary outbound channel.

[3]  If you're giving outbound the proper attention, you'll know the tastes and interests of your customers because you will have written them down.  If you're not doing that, read How to Sell Art.

[4] SEO is an inbound marketing strategy, just not a great one for most artists.

FASO: Want Your Art Career to Grow?  Set up an Artist Website with FASO.
FineArtViews: Straight talk about art marketing, inspiration - daily to your inbox.

InformedCollector: Free daily briefs about today's finest artists in your inbox.

BoldBrush Contest: Monthly Online Painting Contest with over $17,068 in awards. 

Daily Art Show: Daily Show of Art that reaches thousands of potential collectors.

Backstory: About Clint. Email EditorTwitter. Republish. ]

Related Posts:

The Foundation of Your Online Art Marketing Strategy is....

What if Google Went Away?

Don't Worry About Google . . . too much

The Only Two Things Artists Have to Master

Topics: art marketing

What Would You Like to Do Next?
Post your comment Join Email List Follow via RSS Share Share


Lori McNee
Thanks for the reminder Clint.

As an artist who also has a thriving art blog, this article serves to help bring us back to the basics of 'direct marketing'.

It is easy for the art blogger to get hung up on SEO and rankings, but it is equally important not to neglect the 'real connections' that are made via Social Media. Finding a balance between two while carving out time to paint is my real challenge!

Best - Lori

Clint Watson
Lori - I wouldn't even suggest a "balance" between SEO and rankings and 'real connections' - I would lean heavily toward the 'real connections' side and worry about SEO if there's any time left over.

Lori McNee
Very true, and agreed Clint.

My personal balancing act is more about trying to find time to paint because of all the 'real connections' I have made - lol. Many of these connections are from my blog via the SEO work that goes on behind the scenes of blogging. I am still learning about that...

Thanks again for the thought provoking article and reply to my comment.


Clint, great reminder about outbound marketing - the "old ways" of marketing such as direct mail, phone calls, etc. can be extremely useful, especially as such methods have fallen off - so that seeing a postcard or handwritten in the mail really stands out these days.

I also agree that permission marketing works - and am eager to see how social media and great new ideas change how we will communicate with our audience going forward!

Helen Horn Musser
Hi Clint, You are the expert on outbound; this shows in your success with faso. I was asked why I am loyal to faso? I am still thinking about that and know this relationship has a lot of excellent qualities. Then I can concentrate on my outbound

Michael Cardosa
Hi Clint,

Another good posting. I personally think that a good outbound strategy will almost take car of an inbound strategy. Communicate with enough interested parties and they will eventually bring you more inbound traffic.


Helen Horn Musser
Michael, Have to agree with you; more inbound more sales, more satisfied patrons.

Michael Cardosa
Right Helen, and the way I see it, you have to reach "out" to people to do that!


Helen Horn Musser
You are very good at that Michael, always enjoy your comments, are very upbeat.

Martha Inman Lorch
What this article (and many others) has reinforced is that we need to develop a relationship with potential and past buyers, not just peddle our art. I think that buyers are delighted to find that they not only can enjoy our art, but enjoy the relationship with the person who created it. I admit I don't do enough to foster that relationship. Thanks for the reminder that outbound can help with that.

Jill Banks
Great article, Clint ... and it ties in with a seminar I attended this a.m., sponsored by Modern Postcard and the USPS on direct mail (outbound) strategies. Some of the points including measuring responses, tracking how many times we need to "touch" a prospect to turn them into a customer (frequency of email or regular mailings), testing and analyzing our "programs" to build more effective campaigns, and focusing the message on "you, you, you" instead of "me, me, me." The last point is the one I will concentrate the most effort on.

Daniel Fishback
Thanks Clint for sharing your valuable experience with us. Outbound marketing is not an area I have not put much effort into but can see why it might make sense to start investing some time there.


marilyn gilis
Good article. I agree the outbound strategy needs a lot of attention. Going where the buyers are is crucial to increasing sales.

Carol Schmauder
Thanks for your article, Clint. There are also many good comments. I am trying to find a balance with my strategies and am working to increase the outbound strategy. I find I get good responses when I reach out to people.

Lori McNee
I have learned a lot from following some 'marketing expert' blogs.

Most agree that the best marketing trend for 2010 is to focus on 'repeat customers'...

Artists can translate that advice over to the art market with their 'outbound' strategy.

Thanks again Clint.

Nancy Pingree Hoover
Great article Clint!! I really need to get an email list together. It's the formatting of the newsletter that bothers me. I want it to look professional, but can't afford to hire company to do it. Any tips on formatting your emails to look professional?

Are you saying that if you use your blog as inbound/outbound does that eliminate the newsletter, except perhaps for the very important events?


Clint Watson
Hey everyone - I should point out that, although it wasn't planned, Keith's article from yesterday is related to this subject:

Clint Watson
Nancy - it doesn't have to look fancy - just an image of your work and a heartfelt message. Don't worry about formatting it to look "professional." The more it looks like a regular, personal email the better in my opinion.

Nancy Pingree Hoover
Gotcha Clint. I did just read yesterday's article. I'm a bit behind and reading them in the wrong order.

I'm definitely going to find out how to put a newsletter sign-up box on both my website and my blog. I need one to send out notices toward the end of the year for a show.

Thanks again Clint!


Joanne Benson
Good advice! I definitely have to work on both in and outbound! If only there were more hours in the day!

Marian Fortunati
I think it's important to know about your clients' and potential clients' tastes and interests... but... Do we REALLY want to paint with that in mind???
Wouldn't it be better to paint what most inspires us as artists -- what our own muse is telling us to paint... then look toward our list of customers' likes to see if there are matches...
Then the difficult work begins... a card? gulp... a phone call?? an event... How to let them know that somehow the art wizards have come together and you might have "just what they've been looking for"...??
Ahhhhh the miriad of skills required to be a successful artist... Gotta keep working on the art but the rest is sooo important too.

Thanks again for the little pushes and nudges you always send us to make us better and smarter about what we love to do.

Michael Cardosa
Thanks Helen, but honestly, right now I'm not doing any marketing. The comments here are about the only outside viability I'm giving myself so I need to start doing more sometime soon.

Nancy Pingree Hoover
Marian, I think what Clint means is to know your client's and potential client's tastes so you can be sure to email them notices of new artwork that is available and might be something they may be interested in. I don't think Clint would suggest that we should paint according to our client, potential client, or any other person's likes rather than what inspires and moves us.

I'm like you too, I can gladly send a card, but a phone call, yikes! Not my favorite thing to do at all and definitely out of my comfort zone!!!


Marian Fortunati
I imagine you're right, Nancy... but when I read Clint's post the first time, painting for someone else came to mind. Although we all do that to SOME extent.. It would sure take most of the joy of painting away to do that and only that.

As you said... the phone call would be a big step, that will require overcoming some shyness. For now I'll stick to my newsletters, my blog, show cards and personal notes.

In the meantime, it was nice "talking" to you Nancy... now to drop by for a visit....

I agree, theres only so many hours in a day

Donna Robillard
Thanks for the post and about balancing the inbound and the outbound. All suggestions are a big plus.

max hulse
Clint Good points on inbound and outbound.
I am working diligently to appropriate your
suggestions and find that I spend far too
much time on "outbound" for the results I
am getting. Hopefully, as I improve my
methods I will be able to accomplish results
faster and consume less time away from the

Max Hulse

Judy Mudd
Great idea, Clint. I never thought about purposely developing art that would appeal to your existing clients and offering a private showing. I've always just made the art and hope someone liked it. Your ideas are much more proactive. Thanks!

Kathleen Kelley
Is "Fine Art" just 2-D? I've been subscribed to this site for a few months now and just want to say that it seems like all the articles are focused on painting. Why is that?

What about all the Fine Art that is 3-D? Why are sculpture, ceramics and non-traditional materials never mentioned? Seems like even 2-D media such as pen and ink, printmaking and pencil, charcoal, pastels, etc. are also downplayed.

If this site is focused on marketing, I would think you could get a better market draw yourselves by including the other "Fine Arts" in your articles. The same marketing principles you discuss apply to other media.

I have a hard time believing that you might consider painting to be the only "Fine Art" but it sure sounds like it in the articles--or am I missing something?

Clint Watson
Kathleen - it's an unintentional but natural extension of our community:

1. Most of our customers and writers are painters so they tend to write from that vantage point

2. Nearly all marketing techniques discussed work for other media, just replace the word "painting" with "sculpture", "photograph", "drawing" etc - it doesn't change the value of the information.

3. You are not missing anything - you are correct - we don't consider fine art to be only painting - all mediums can and are "Fine Art"

Thank you for helping me clarify our position on that.

Kathy Chin
Thanks for the "inbound" and "outbound" explanations, you are, as always, right on target. I'm one who has neglected both to my detriment, and it's reflected in my business. Thanks for continually reminding us that we need to work daily at getting business!
btw, although I'm not a traditional painter, I too have noticed that many things are geared to the painters...but it does NOT bother me. I appreciate all forms of art, learn daily from the wonderful information that you all provide, and find it's easily applied to my own work.
What I have been intimidated to admit, besides being a photographer, I'm also a (shhhh, don't tell anyone) DIGITAL painter which is something many traditional painters tend to roll their eyes at and dismiss as not being "true" art. It doesn't matter, I'm still learning, creating, and enjoying!

Marilyn Gilis
Digital art is the up and coming thing. It's something I'd like to learn eventually.

Phyllis O'Shields
Thanks for the reminder on inbound vs outbound. I have neglected both while painting a new series, now I will re-evaluate time lines and get the newsletters out more often than the one month style. This newsletter is a one stop read that helps daily remind me of what I need to do and how often. I get so involved in painting that I tend to forget everything else. Phyllis O'Shields

Fiona Purdy
Great post as always Clint and I agree with you 100 percent!

Marian what you said interested me... "the phone call would be a big step, that will require overcoming some shyness"

I have a suggestion that might help you overcome your shyness in contacting your clients by phone. Who said that you had to call them with your sales person hat on?

Why don't you just call a client to say hello, to ask them how they are and to see if they are still happy with the art that they had purchased from you? I don't know about you but I have quite a connection with the people who have purchased a piece of my work. A bigger connection than just selling them a painting. So it's not strange at all for me to call them just to say hi!
I've found that they do not see it as an imposition, in fact they really like the fact I took the time to call them and inquire about them!

Makes for a great relationship, I highly recommend it.

Marian Fortunati
You're right, of course, Fiona. With the people I actually KNOW, that would be a great idea. One well worth pursuing because I haven't seen most of them for a while. (Strangely many people who have purchased my art work are colleagues of mine in my previous roles as a teacher, principal and data administrator...) Now that I've retired I don't get to see these people much... GOOD IDEA!! THANKS!!!

Some of my clients are people who purchased my work through a gallery out of town and I don't know them at all. Luckily I have addresses for most of them and can send them a note or a gift card just to check in.

Thanks for the inspiration!! I'll do it a little at a time so that it seems like little hills rather than a huge mountain... (LOL).

Fiona Purdy
Cool - I'm so glad that you're going to do it. I know all of these people will be so happy to hear from you.

Woo - hoo!

Gayle Faucette Wisbon
The first painting I ever sold from my FASO site was almost two years ago to a total stranger. A man purchased it as a birthday gift for his wife. She emailed me to say how much she loved it and shared with me her husband's connection to this area. She said they would be purchasing from me again in the future. During this time, I replied to all their emails and had sent a thank you card with the painting.

Since then, I have tried to stay in touch. I have invited them a couple of times to join my email list, mailed them a Christmas card, a post card, etc. But I've never heard from them again. So, is there a point where you just let a client go?

Mark Haglund
Great post. It reminds that my #1 goal is to become a better artist. Part of becoming a better artist, for me, is to talk and write about my art. The words I write give solidity to the concept I had for a painting. It is almost like a debriefing.

So I consider the writing time as important and painting.

The way I look at it, if I am going to write, I might as well share that in my newsletters and blog.

I use my newsletter to inform people of a my new art and blog posts and direct them to my blog or web site.


Marian Fortunati
I just wanted to drop back by, Clint, and thank you for doing all you can to help us move forward in our art marketing and creative efforts!! I'm trying to work on those outbound things now too.


FASO Resources and Articles

Art Scammers and Art Scam Searchable Database


FineArtViews, FineArtStudioOnline, FASO, BrushBuzz, InformedCollector, BoldBrush
are Trademarks of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc. 

Canvoo is a registered trademark of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc

Copyright - BoldBrush Technology, LLC  - All Rights Reserved