This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $38,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed "art fanatic", Clint delights that BoldBrush's downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office which he shares with his two feline assistants Kiara and Lilly. You can connect with Clint on Twitter, Facebook or his personal blog at clintavo.com
The top goal of your marketing efforts is to build a high-quality list of customers and prospective customers with whom you are able to communicate, develop a relationship, and market your art. Your customer mailing list is your number one marketing asset. Outside of creating your art, building, maintaining and nurturing this list is your top goal.
There are three big buckets of marketing channels: They are known as paid media, earned media, and owned media.
"Paid Media" is a fancy term for advertising: You pay a magazine, and they feature a page full of your art.
"Earned media" means the value of media that you didn't pay for: If the same magazine runs a full page editorial story about your art, the "earned" media is worth the same value as paying for a full page. More even, since an editorial about your art will carry more weight in the minds of collectors than an advertisement that you place.
"Owned media" is the last bucket. And the most interesting. Owned media refers to channels that you own. Or, channels that you at least exert a very high degree of control over.
While you should utilize all three types of media to market your art, paid media is generally expensive and usually takes repetition to achieve sustained results, and earned media, while great, is relatively infrequent and something you can't plan and control. So for now, let's focus on owned media.
Of the owned media options you have both inbound and outbound assets. A website is an example of an inbound asset. You control it, so it's owned media. But you can't make someone visit your site. With a website alone, you, like a fisherman stuck on his own dock, you have to just sit and wait for a bite. You have to wait for your other marketing efforts to bring people willingly to your site .
Inbound channels, like a website or a search engine, can not create demand for your art, they can only harvest demand that your other marketing efforts have already created. Blogs, as an aside, are also an inbound channel and I no longer think they are a good use of marketing time for most artists (there are a few exceptions), at least not by themselves. They can work well in conjunction with an email newsletter, but, in that situation, it's really the newsletter that does the heavy lifting. 
Outbound channels, on the other hand, allow you to put your message in front of qualified prospects at a time of your choosing. You don't have to wait for people to willingly visit an outbound channel.
This makes a mailing list a huge asset. Particularly a high-quality, well maintained email list. It's a channel that's both owned and outbound.
With an email list, you control the channel and you can put a message in a subscriber's inbox any time you want to. Not only that, when done properly, it has a third attribute that makes it even more valuable: It's a permission based asset.
It's owned, it's outbound, it's affordable, and you have permission from everyone on the list to send messages to them.
That is a powerful combination and one you don't find very many other places in marketing.
If you put the work in to provide interesting and regular content, people will even expect your messages.
So let's put it all together: you own it, it's affordable, it's outbound, it's permission-based, and your fans are expecting it.
That is why your email list is your #1 marketing asset.
Until next time, please remember that Fortune Favors the Bold Brush.
BoldBrush/FASO Founder & Art Fanatic
1. This is why FASO Artist Websites are far more powerful than what you can find with a generic website host. Most websites are purely inbound channels. When you host with FASO, while your website itself is an inbound channel, we have a number of outbound marketing channels that we utilize to drive people to your site for you, and we put simple tools in your hands so you can do your own outbound marketing. That's a powerful combination.
2. I realize lots of people recommend blogging as a marketing channel for artists. Blogs used to be a great marketing channel for artists, but, due to enormous changes in the online landscape in the past decade (death of RSS, death of Technorati and trackbacks, "death" of Digg, rise of social media, death of blogrolls, etc), in most cases, in my opinion, they no longer are. Blogging is a decent marketing channel for people who sell information products or services. People who sell information and courses to teach artists how to market themselves often still recommend blogging. That's because blogging works well, for them. And we are no exception with our FineArtViews blog (which keep in mind has a full time editor and a whole team of writers and an associated daily newsletter). But, as an artist, if you're not selling an information product, or a highly followed teacher, there are better channels and uses of your marketing time. I will expand on this thinking in a future article.
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