Guerrilla Marketing for Artists with Barney Davey | Artists Network Online Events

Guerrilla Marketing for Artists with Barney Davey


Let’s face it. Any kind of marketing for small businesses, especially visual artists, is challenging. Successful marketing requires a balancing act of diligence, dedication and making as many of the right moves as possible.

When it comes to making your art, you have similar decisions to make. Do you make what you like to make, or do you make what you know will be in demand with your collectors and galleries? If you are lucky, you are in agreement with those decisions. Even when you are in harmony, you still have to decide what you are going to create.

If you are like most artists I know, you have a large list of creative projects you would like to tackle, but you have to keep your production in mind if you want to maintain inventory, so you are balancing creative decisions, just like successful artists balance marketing moves. Essentially, you can’t do it all. Or, at the least, you can’t do it all at once.

Guerrillas avoid huge battles and focus instead in winning targeted skirmishes. The kind that produces great results with the least amount of energy put into the effort. This is what you want to model with your marketing. You accept you cannot do it all, and you determine then to do the best with the resources you have at your disposal.

Splashy expensive ad campaigns are the equivalent of bringing in the Fifth Fleet. It is just not in the equation for artists. Besides a limited marketing budget, you have a limit on the amount of time you spend on your marketing. Taking the time to step back to set some goals, assess your resources, study available marketing options and then put together a long-term cohesive plan is how you get control of your time and finances.

What happens when you begin to marshal your resources and put them to use in the most effective way possible is you begin to get multiple impressions on your most highly desirable prospects for buying your art. You can’t learn or expect to put a grand plan together and start getting fantastic results in a few short weeks or months. It take serious strategizing, focused, disciplined efforts, and measuring to discover what works best to get your guerrilla marketing tuned up and producing the results you want from your marketing efforts.

Another thing guerrillas do is work with the people. They infiltrate the local scene and become part of it. In other words, they become master networkers. By taking the time to understand what is happening at the local level, they are able to pick out who the influencers are within the groups they have targeted. By consistently reaching out to the movers and opinion makers, they are able to sway local sentiment to their point of view.

Besides putting together a tight marketing program, the way the art business works today, artists need to develop a collector base that buys directly from them. When they are successful at doing this, they immunize themselves from inevitable events like galleries closing, social media platforms failing, and even downturns in the economy.

A basic fact of human interaction is we like to buy from people we like. Often, we will purchase from someone we like although what they offer might be the second choice. This is especially true when there is little discernible differences between the choices. The easiest people to convert to buyers are those you know. The next easiest are the people those people know. Artists who realize and act on the power of this concept can find a steady source of income right in their local area.

Another proven fact is we like to root for the hometown crowd, particularly when they are winners. Artists who mix their networking and publicity to gain a bit of slight celebrity dramatically improve their ability to market in a way the drives desirable results.

In our time together, you will learn:

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  • Basic goal setting techniques.
  • How to assess your resources.
  • Ways to turn your marketing into project planning.
  • Networking tips.
  • Local marketing methods.

Barney Davey has helped thousands of visual artists discover new ways to market their art. He is the author of four books on art marketing. Starting in 2004, he has written and published more than 500 art business and art marketing posts on his blog. Together with his co-broadcasting partner, Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery and publisher of, Barney has presented more than two dozen hour-long podcasts on topics ranging from self-promotion, email marketing, blogging for artists, advertising, website optimization and many other helpful subjects artists can use to help them market their work more effectively.



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