Marketing to Different Kinds of Audiences

Today I want to talk about a question I get from a lot of the new artists I talk to: how to market your art online when you have two different audiences. 

Understand why you have two different audiences
Are you making two drastically different types of art that don’t have any crossover? For example, do you paint traditional landscapes in muted tones, and also bright contemporary abstracts? Or maybe you paint and also make jewelry. Or maybe you only make one style of original art but you also offer education like myself.

The answer to how you will handle these scenarios is different. But regardless of which of these scenarios you are dealing with, the fact remains that if you have two different audiences and you want to serve each of them well you are essentially running two businesses. Which I know from experience is a lot of work.

So here’s the part you may not like to hear. But if you are just getting started and you don’t have a lot of traction with any one thing you are offering, my advice is to pick one and let the others go. At least for now.

Going all in
I want you to think about this task for a minute. I’ve given you a piece of wood, 10 large nails, and a hammer. Your job is to hammer those nails into the wood BUT you only get 10 whacks to do it. If you go and pound each of those 10 nails one time you’ll hardly be able to get them started. But if you pound one nail 10 times you’ll get that sucker all the way in.

I am really going to suggest you put 100% of your effort into getting traction and recognition for one thing. This is what I did with my original art, and when I reached my goals with my original art sales I realized I had the bandwidth to delve into education. Doing things this way means you see the results of your efforts so much faster. It’s also much better for your brain because your focus won’t be pulled in so many directions.

Expanding once you're ready
Let's say you’ve reached the point where you’re ready to add your second thing. You’ll need to decide if these two things can live nicely under one brand or if you really do need to keep everything separated. In my case, I keep everything together as the artists who are interested in my educational offerings are also interested in my art, though my collectors are not necessarily interested in my artist education. Practically speaking there are a few things you need to consider:

You will need to decide how you want to handle your social media. You can consider creating separate social media accounts for each of your offerings if the audiences are 100% different. But keep in mind that is literally double the work, so if your audience does have some overlap I’d suggest you keep a single account and plan your content so that 50% of it appeals to both audiences, 25% specifically to audience 1, and 25% to audience 2.

In my case, I only post art business content on YouTube. And I try to keep Instagram to that 50/25/25 ratio. I find that both my audiences are interested in behind-the-scenes and process-type content while my collectors appreciate photos of my art in situ and artists are interested in business strategies and painting tips.

Leverage your email lists
After getting your social media strategy figured out, one place you will definitely want to keep your audiences separate is on your email list. Use segmentation to create different groups based on the preferences and interests of your subscribers. And then you can send newsletters featuring your latest paintings to one group and updates on your educational offerings to another. When you do this you’ll see better open rates and engagement because you’re giving each audience exactly what they want.

I want to remind you that I’m a huge believer in just getting started. As you’re trying to figure out how best to deal with your separate audiences ask yourself “What would easy look like?” and do that. Know that some things are going to work and some things aren’t, and be flexible and ready to make changes.

To recap, marketing your art online to two different audiences is all about understanding their unique needs and preferences, and how you can speak to each one without creating a ton of extra work for yourself:

Get started and find success with your one thing before bringing in the other if you can.
Figure out if there’s an overlap between your audiences so you can speak to them both at the same time when appropriate, as well as offer specific content for each audience.
Segment your email list so you can create emails for each audience and always be ready to analyze your results and adjust.
All the best,


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