Art Marketing: Inbound vs. Outbound


    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 San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office. You can connect with Clint on TwitterFacebook or his personal blog at


    While we're all sequestered in our homes, we're all facing the potential for lost or wasted time.  So let's ask ourselves: How can we use this time to get better? How can we be of service and use?   I know, without a doubt that great art is being created around the world at this very moment.  Perhaps by you!  Our entire team is focused 100% on whatever we can do to help you market and sell more art.  With that in mind, we're focusing FineArtViews on sales and marketing ideas more than ever before.  The following article was selected from our archives as it seems quite timely in the current situation and provides ideas we think you can use to improve your own art marketing.




    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.

    Until next time, please remember that Fortune Favors the Bold Brush.





    Clint Watson

    BoldBrush/FASO Founder & Art Fanatic


    PS - If you have questions or would like a reply from me, I generally limit my online discussion time to Twitter. Follow me on Twitter and ask questions there if you'd like to be sure I see your question. Here's the link:

    [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.

    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