My Art Marketing Failures (And Why They Probably Won't Work For You Either)

art marketing failures - tactics that don't work

I'm a strong believer that failure is often more important than success.

Sounds crazy, right?

But failure allows you to learn what didn't work, and try again with a different tactic. Success can often be hard to break down to identify what actually worked (unless this success comes after many failed attempts and learning experiences), and therefore can be hard to replicate.

Over the years I have experimented a lot, and researched more (my science background really shines through here!), and after careful analysis I've come to learn what tactics for marketing art actually work, and what doesn't.

So let me share a few of these blunders with you with the hopes that you can learn from my mistakes and take a better path.


1.       Posting every day on social media (for the sake of posting every day)

So much of the data out there states that to gain traction on social media you should be posting X times per day, at specific times, etc. Instagram is my platform of choice (due to a personal aversion to Facebook), so there have been times where I listened to the "advice" and posted every single day. But I failed to listen to the core of the message - quality posts over quantity. Here I was thinking, "more posts, more followers!", so I would indeed post every day, but I wouldn't put thought into my captions or my image. And even worse, for a long time I didn't analyze my Insights to see if my attempts were even working. In short, they were not. I was wasting so much time posting pointlessly, and was getting nowhere.

When I finally "woke up", I realized that a few simple changes would make a HUGE difference. Curating beautiful posts paired with captivating captions (don't forget those CTAs) and only posting a few times per week ended up changing my Instagram game so much. Gone are the days of crazy close-ups of paintings that lack context and posts that consist purely of emojis and a few pointless hashtags.

art marketing failures

Lesson learned: quality over quantity

2.       "My art speaks for itself, why do I need to write about it?"

Art, despite what most artists think, doesn't really have a voice of it's own. It runs deeper than that, and holds secrets that need to be teased out with words. How on earth is an uninformed observer supposed to know that your recent blue abstract oil painting is a statement about our declining natural environment? And guess what - they will likely gain a whole new appreciation for your art if they knew why the artist created it and what they intended for it.

Lesson learned: Write good descriptions for your art. Talk about it physically (size, mediums, colours, subject) and give a deeper insight about why you created it.

3.       Instagram Engagement Pods

Okay, so technically this isn't one of my failures since I have never actually tried using Pods, but I had to include it on this list.

Engagement pods are groups that you can join in which you have an agreement with other members to like, comment and share their posts with the expectation that they will do the same for you, all with the hopes of boost your stats and being picked up by the algorithm. While this may have worked at some point, the staff behind Instagram are getting smarter and now this tactic can actually hurt your business. The algorithm is now starting to pick up on when a lot of activity comes from a group message (how a lot of pods are run), and this behavior ends up leaving a black mark, which can result in your reach crashing. Besides, these people "engaging" with your account are not your target audience, and spending your precious energy on them is not going to benefit you in the way that you would hope.

Lesson learned: choose less slimy ways to gain reach and engagement

4.       Sell, sell, sell!

We've all been on the receiving end of the salesman mentality - sell, sell, sell! "Hi! Buy my stuff!" is not a very effective way to gain new happy customers, but it is a great way to ensure that people run away!
While it is true that people expect more sales-directed messages to come from email marketing, it is SO much more effective to change the message from "sell, sell, sell!", to "serve, serve, sell!"

Give your audience the chance to fall in love with your message and build trust before you ask them to take a chance on you with their hard-earned cash. Serve your audience first, let them into your world and allow them to benefit from your insight and knowledge. Treat them like family, be kind and welcoming, and they will be so much more willing to reward you with sales.

Lesson learned: Serve, serve, sell!

Hopefully this can help you to avoid some blunders!

What failed marketing tactics would you add to this list?

Stay magical,


Want to know the materials I use to create my paintings?

Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Colour Paint -
Gamblin Artist's Oil Colors -

Mediums and other liquids
Winsor & Newton Liquin Original -
Mona Lisa Linseed Oil -
Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner -
Gamblin Gamvar -
Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Size Adhesive -
Gold Leaf (Imitation) -
Gold Leaf (Genuine) -
Liquitex White Gesso -

Filming Equipment for Videos
Canon Rebel T5i -
Tripod -
Lavalier Microphone (for voiceovers) -
Adobe Premiere Pro CC

* The above product links are affiliate links that allow me to make a small commission on each sale - every little bit helps!

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Danielle Trudeau creates paintings that walk the line between dreams and reality, infusing magic into every day life.

Wildlife often graces her canvases, brought to life with a spark of magic and oil paint.