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Hate Marketing But Want Sales? Try These 3 Things

Not all marketing requires some big plan. Don't be intimidated or overwhelmed by million dollar ad campaigns. Look to your fellow artisans. Look to your fellow small business owners. In fact, some of our most commonly self-perpetuated challenges get much easier to overcome with a little education. I'll walk you through a few of those "action items" so you can go after some holiday sales before the season is over.

Three things I respond to below:

   - I'm terrible at marketing.

   - I hate marketing.

   - I barely make any sales so who cares.

1) I'm terrible at marketing.

Don't be. Bare minimum buy-in for any artist operating in the digital space is understanding the fundamentals of marketing yourself. Even if you hate it, the only way to eliminate that intimidation factor is knowledge. And a little bit of it goes a long way in the way of confidence.


Read this: The 13 Best Artist Marketing Tips

It's a 20 minute read with basic principles that can start driving traffic to your shop right away. It includes great examples from successful artists implementing tasks you can accomplish immediately. Don't forget to tell people your artwork and products are for sale!

2) - I hate marketing.

We've all said it. We've all heard it. We all know there's a sliver of truth in it, but if you say this to yourself then spend that time on Instagram or watching Netflix, you're not going to be serving your end goal of earning some sales. Isn't that goal? Sure you can say, "I'm looking for inspiration", but how long are you going to look for inspiration before you realize it was just a procrastination tactic?


Post about your work on social media in tandem with big promotions. Share your most popular artwork or products.

We have some major sales happening right now and you want customers to arrive to your shop and browse. Even if they don't buy what you deem to be your best work, they're in your shop looking for the perfect thing which is better than if they're not.

3) I barely make any sales so who cares.

We've all been there, but there's a light at the end of this tunnel. Sales is a numbers game. If you can drive traffic to your shop, your likelihood of getting a sale increases. If you're finding that your artwork isn't resonating with fans the way you want, consider studying artists you respect. What are they doing in their artwork and marketing approach that you can appreciate and implement?


Pick ONE product and do it really well.

Nothing else. If mugs are your thing, focus on your hilarious phrases for mugs and let people know you're the premiere spot for mugs. If you're going after bedding and think your patterns are great, focus on promoting comforters. Again, picking one product you're really proud of and making sure people know where to buy what you're busy making.

In closing...

No one ever said marketing was easy, but it certainly shouldn't be daunting. Biggest takeaways and task items from this post...

  1. Read this article: 13 Best Artist Marketing Tips
  2. Let people know about big promotions on social media. It drives urgency.
  3. Focus on ONE product you do really well and share it.


We'll be putting out plenty more educational content to help you build a comprehensive marketing plan for yourself in the New Year. Keep your eyes peeled!

Feel free to leave questions/comments below.

Banner artwork by Paul Fuentes.

Seller Education




milyKnight commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 1:38pm
Cool :)
GringoFace commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 3:15pm
This has to be in response to the previous post. Here is a simple tactic among artists, because we are all fighting for likes, promotes and followers. Trade 2:1 on likes and pay forward followers. The more followers you have, the more promotes you'll have as more people will see it and get your product view able by more customers. If you like my designs, I will like yours, maybe a few, since I am on your page to check your shop out. If you follow me, I will follow back. Then.. move on to promoting your work on your Social Media... rarely should this pay off with zero effort from you. I've made a few tens of dollars since joining in Oct. - it took working out a few products and I had a HIT on a couple. Since then, I've tried out a few more items... Get over the fear of putting yourself out there - this was never intended for the recluse artist.
Elenor D.G. commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 3:19pm
hahhaha "looking for inspiration" ....hahhaha
How did you know what i'm doing all day? :-DDDD
Anna Dorfman commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 3:25pm
I hate hate hate self-promoting, but I force myself to do it anyway. I'm not going to subject my social media followers to daily sale announcements during the holiday, so I choose to just do it on the days when items with a bigger profit margin (i.e. prints) are on sale. I try to keep it varied and mix in my own promo ads with re-posts of my customers' photos of my stuff "in the wild."
Arkady commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 4:11pm
And what do you do when you promote your Society6 stuff every bit as much as everything else - and make not a single sale on Society6 regardless? I've been on Society6 twice as long as I've been on Redbubble, and I'm pulling in a dependable £40+ every month on Redbubble - yet not a single sale on Society6 ever. And yet I've pushed my stuff on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Every time I put up a new piece of work I spam it everywhere - nothing. I'm beginning to think it's a waste of time even uploading stuff to Society6, to be honest.
GringoFace commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 5:06pm
@Arkady - try building a following on S6 among other S6 artists. Not sure how long you've been with S6 but don't expect a lot of success right away. Keep posting and following others. It may pay off.
picturing juj commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 6:47pm
Great tips Ben! Thanks for this @benrenschen
Ben Renschen commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 6:56pm
Hey @GringoFace! Thanks for the input and responses to @Arkady. You're right in that it takes some work getting confident in putting yourself out there and sales usually don't come without effort on your end. Appreciate the insight as well. It helps other artists understand what their peers are up to with every bit of anecdotal info! So again, thank you.

@Elenor - The struggle is real! hahaha

@Anna Dorfman - So smart to focus on sales that you know you'll be able to bring home the bacon on! Striking a balance is definitely a trial and error process too. Appreciate the tips for anyone reading.

@Arkady - You make a great point. I understand the frustration of showing up and then nothing. I'd suggest getting active in the community like GringoFace mentioned. The best way to find like-minded and supportive artists/sellers is to start promoting and commenting on art that you relate to!
Cryptohelix commented on Friday, December 9, 2016 10:17pm
Alright haters, per @GringoFace's strategy of paying it forward I went and followed everyone who's commented so far, and hearted at least two of each's designs.

I do agree with you, @Arkady, that the returns at redbubble are better than s6 - like 10 to 1 - which is unfortunate because s6 looks so much better, lol... but work both of them. Maybe we are both one shower curtain away from a design going viral, who knows.

Regarding following, getting 800-1000 followers seems to have a multiplying effect in terms of average number of likes per piece. I don't think I have a design with over 24 likes... but only 340 followers. Again, that 10/1 ratio. So, do get spammy with the following and liking inside s6, and promote new pieces on the outside. Leaving comments has some weight with your fellow artists as well. Compulsively clicking and swiping is what phones are for, right?
ElioHoHo commented on Saturday, December 10, 2016 9:16am
Thanks for putting together this article. And for linking it to that previous one that really helps!
houseofhotei commented on Sunday, December 11, 2016 6:13am
Fantastic tips! Thank you
osu.busu commented on Sunday, December 11, 2016 7:17am
nice ^^
Elenor D.G. commented on Sunday, December 11, 2016 1:43pm
Anyway has anyone ever been thinking of what sense does this society-driven system makes? I mean what's the need of artist society acting as a "gate-keeper" in this site? If i am not active in the society i'm not getting enough likes that means my work will not be popular and that leads not to get publicity .. and so on. it ends up in lack of sales. But this popularity judged by fellow designers and not customers. But they can't see the art piece if it is not popular enough. Awwww...
This game of liking each other and hoping to be liked back "being active in society" in what for? I think it plays too much role in the game.
Ellen Richardson commented on Friday, December 16, 2016 4:05am
@Ben Renschen I know already asked you your opinion on this before but I'm still stuck on whether to make my work available on all products or just a select few things. I'm glad you say here to just pick one thing and do it well, but when I go through and try to eliminate product ranges I just feel like I'm closing myself off and reducing my potential reach. "...but what if someone discovers my product when searching for shower curtains!".

The problem this creates is that it's SO hard to market, and hence why I haven't promoted my S6 on my social platforms at all. There's just too much to choose from. I love the idea of having a really minimal selection of products, and sticking to categories such as only selling Prints, electronics accessories and stationery, but then I find some things look really good on certain products in the homeware category.

Can you convince me that I really don't need my images on every product? :D
Matt Maggard commented on Friday, December 16, 2016 1:49pm
@Ellen Richardson Ben may have a more detailed answer for you but in my view, focus on enabling great products. Sometimes you may have a design that works wonderfully on most all products types but other times a design may be best for only one or two. I don't think there is a hard rule. And sometimes its worth the extra effort to customize a design for a product (adjusting your design to work well as a clock face for instance).

Basically, if you think a design + product type leads to a compelling item, then go for it. But just enabling everything for the sake of it probably has diminishing returns. I think what you want to achieve is when a customer is browsing your shop - whether it be comforters or phone cases - you want them to feel that all the products they see are top notch. I hope this helps!
Ben Renschen commented on Friday, December 16, 2016 2:04pm
@Ellen Richardson - Hi again! I wouldn't try to convince you to not put your images on every product. :) In fact, the more the merrier. The suggestion was geared towards aiding your marketing approach.

The logic behind the suggestion - make a purchase decision easy for your customers.

In your case, I'd considering telling people you have Art Prints available for sale. They're great quality. Reinforce the fact that you're selling Art Prints across all social media. In another week's time, remind people you have Art Prints for sale again. Maybe, once a Monday morning, post your latest or most popular Art Prints to social media. Your visitors will inevitably discover the other products! So fill up your shop, but help your customers focus their attention.
Ben Renschen commented on Friday, December 16, 2016 2:08pm
Exactly what @MattMaggard said! He's focused on making sure you have the best possible products IN your shop. My response focuses on getting customers TO your shop.
PattonMcGinley commented on Friday, December 16, 2016 4:48pm
A couple of things... and, mind you, I'm "new to the game" of art marketing:

When I began posting to S6 I seemed to get a LOT of promotes within the first several days through the following several weeks. Is there some "feed" for new artists on S6 that I'm not aware of? The "Discover" link under "My Society" seems to only feature work with 100+ promotes. Speaking of which, has anyone noticed that Discover doesn't seem to adding much new work for the last couple of weeks?

Also, when I started out I used the "post to Facebook" buttons on S6 for almost every piece. I noticed that these posts were not getting many likes or comments on Facebook. I started posting directly to my Facebook timeline with a link to my S6 store in the comments. The likes/comments came back to the average amount I typically received prior to using S6 -- I'd been posting art to FB for about the past 5 years. The experience makes me suspicious that FB is limiting feeds coming from S6, as well as similar sites. It is, after all, potential advertising that FB isn't getting a cut of, as far as I know.

I use Pinterest, too, but I don't have the same level of interactivity there as on FB so it's hard to tell a difference.
Ellen Richardson commented on Friday, December 16, 2016 6:33pm
@Matt Maggard / @Ben Renschen Thank you both for your great responses, it's SO reassuring and energising to hear directly from the S6 team.

I think the reason I'm being so indecisive is because I don't like the idea of having some images on certain products but not on others - just me being anal.

You're right Ben, I should just focus on actually selling my prints and generating traffic - the rest is more of a bonus for me. I think for now I'm going to stick to what I'm doing but now with the new Studio I can fine tune my products a bit more.

Thank you both!
Julz Kirschenbaum commented on Saturday, December 17, 2016 11:40pm
I've only been on Society6 for about a week now, and this was amazingly helpful. Both the article and reading everyone's comments. I think a binge read of the blog is in order. Happy Holidays Everyone!
Arletta Cwalina commented on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 3:04am
I'm here around two years now and have just one sale so far. At the same period on few other POD sites I get sales every 2-4 or ~15 days, depending on the place. Plus, my prices are higher out there than on S6...
What is the secret that I don't get sales here on S6 while other PODs are doing just fine for me?
Sandkuhler Store 2D commented on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 12:11pm
I'm happy to read all the comments. It gives me a sense of community. Happy New Year y'all.
IA Apparel commented on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 1:49pm
These are some great comments and advise! It motivates me to promote my shop better! Thanks and Happy New Year!
SisterHipster commented on Thursday, December 29, 2016 7:22am
Cool. I think it's really artists like me just need to learn the art of business and marketing as well.
Agnieszka Ewa Olszewska commented on Monday, January 2, 2017 6:36am
I'm terrible at marketing ;)

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