Shop Talk

Self-Promotion for Artists: Recognition for Your Buyers

By Beth Caird and Jen Wahl 

Previously, when it comes to the ever-intimidating world self-promotion, we’ve discussed how to get started, satisfying the curiosity of your followers, and giving your fans a say in your art. In this installment, we’ve pieced together some of the best tips on how to say thank you to your buyers and supporters. Whatever you call them — your fans, your posse, “your people” — it’s so important to turn around after someone invests in your artwork or project and give thanks.

We’re sure  there’s a study somewhere that says it helps your posture, or you’ll live five years longer if you regularly thank other human beings, but we’re too lazy to look that up. So let’s run with this general notion that saying thank you, being grateful, and demonstrating gratitude is a really lovely thing. It’s also is an amazing way to stay in touch with your fans, locate new supporters, and generate sales of your artwork over and over again.

Come out from behind your online mask and say hello. (Image: "Nature Walk" by Simone Maynard)

1. Say thanks to your supporters publicly and celebrate each win 

Social media makes it easier than ever to reach out and thank people for engaging with and buying your artwork. Last time, we talked a lot about the power of social media and the way it can make you approachable to new fans. By using the “share” button and thanking supporters for buying your work, you can also generate publicity on a very basic level by showing the world that other people believe in and have literally invested in your art. You can use social media to show instead of tell people that your artwork is fantastic and worth buying. These social updates, no matter how small, are little wins and can help with social media momentum and popularity.

Stay in touch as much as possible with your fans. (Image: "The Fixer" by aaagraf)

2. Send a message of thanks to your buyers 

Redbubble currently offers artists the option to leave a message to buyers saying thank you and extending gratitude for their money and time. Don’t be shy when it comes to using this function, it’s a small way of letting your buyers know you appreciate them and that you actually think about them. Help your buyers understand that you, as an individual artist, worked incredibly hard on your art and would like to thank them for engaging with your work. Occasionally buyers may think that Redbubble is a large lofty faceless mega-mall on the world wide web, and not a rich tapestry of insanely talented individual artists linked together by a vibrant community and backed by a small team of dedicated and passionate staff. Sending a message of thanks reminds them of this wonderful fact.

Redubble allows you to reach out and say thanks.

3. Find your art in the wild  

When someone buys your work on a garment or sticks your poster up in their bedroom, they’re creating a beautifully interconnected network of models and promoters. When someone purchases art from you, they’re excited. Often as artists we aren’t privy to these moments where our fans truly invest in us and our work, so it’s important to seek out these moments . Once their goods arrive, buyers often  take photos of themselves, proudly displaying your art. They share these on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites, which builds excitement about your talent. To harness this enthusiasm, try starting an “In the Wild” folder on Facebook. Some artists makes this easy by asking fans to send their photos to a separate email.

Make an "Art in the Wild" folder on Facebook like Megan Lara.

Over time this also builds momentum of its own as your buyers will know that when they checkout with one of your tees, they’re also joining an ever-expanding community of people that have a common love of your artwork. Everyone loves to feel involved, included, and in touch with others, and a collection of your fans with your artwork generates that feeling.

Another way to find your art in the wild is to use reverse image search functions on your own work to search for them online to see where they have been posted, check out Tin Eye, or Google’s version.

4. Hold promotions and giveaways to mark big wins

Involve your buyers and supporters by running discounts, promotions, and giveaways to mark your personal milestones. A personal milestone is not how many martinis you had at your Aunts third wedding, it’s occasions such as reaching 500 Facebook likes, or selling “x” number of t-shirts.

Set these creative and professional goals for yourself and send out prizes when you reach them. You could run caption contests on Facebook, or use a random number generator, and award someone who is commenter number “x” on your artwork with a prize.


Celebrate landmarks with your fans.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, keep your fans in your loop. Keep in touch with them to let them know what is coming up next if you’re running promotions. Try and stay in your fanbase’s orbit by checking in as often as time allows. If you’ve been doing your particular thing — your artwork (your life’s work) very well, then all of those that support and encourage you want to know about it and celebrate with you.

Check out our entire Self-Promotion for Artists” series over here

Have you practiced giving your audience a voice? What’s your favorite part of interacting with your fan base? We’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and tips in the comments below. More is more when it comes to knowledge in this sector, so please join us in a discussion below.

[Header image: “People in crowd pattern” by oksancia]

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