Marketing an art gallery might be one of the most interesting and enlightening campaigns we’ve had the pleasure of working on this year. From overseas exhibitions to artist showcases, it’s a fascinating industry to be a part of. However, we’ve also learned how difficult it can be when it comes to marketing your art gallery effectively.
Why art gallery marketing is so important
Marketing your art gallery is essential to nurture a strong brand image, win the esteem of reputable artists, and most importantly to attract a healthy audience. Worryingly, footfall in some of the UK’s biggest museums and galleries appears to be in a steady decline.
Artnet recently reported that London’s seven biggest art institutions had experienced a marked decline in visitor numbers, with attendance figures dropping from more than 26 million in 2014 to 24.7 million in 2017. All in all, visitor numbers aren’t that far off dropping by half a million a year – a sobering statistic for anyone marketing an art gallery!
Worryingly, the drop comes in spite of innovative efforts to entice visitors, from late-night openings to special exhibitions, interactive events and free entry.
How one art gallery is attracting new visitors
There are exceptions to the rule, of course. The recently expanded Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum announced a rise in attendance figures of nearly a million. If we’re looking for tips on marketing an art gallery, perhaps they’re the ones to watch. While these two have bucked the general trend though, they haven't done enough to offset a overall drop in footfall.
According to one article in the New Statesman, art galleries could be considered cathedrals of the modern age, representing a modern place of worship. These buildings can act as a showcase piece – but the problem comes when marketing your art gallery without access to such a generous budget.
So if you can’t approve a multi-million pound extension, what’s the best plan for marketing your art gallery?
Five simple tips for marketing an art gallery online
Six & Flow is a digital marketing agency, so we thought we’d get back to what we know best. Digital marketing can introduce a huge number of highly affordable and incredibly effective strategies. Here are some simple tips on marketing your art gallery online.
1. Champion your artists
You’ve chosen to work with particular artists for a reason, so share this with your audience. Tell their story through engaging content and demonstrate why they are a great name to invest in. If an artist has an established fan base, online interactions with them may attract further attention to your gallery too – so be loud and proud about the names you work with!
2. Offer thought leadership
Most art galleries are led by a curator, so use their expertise to full effect. Make this individual a focus of your content and offer their opinions to your audience - after all, they’re already calling the shots on what gets shown in your gallery.
3. Talk to your audience
Consider who your ideal visitors are, and think about how and where they choose to communicate. Identify which social media platform is the most popular with your target audience, and take care to set a tone of voice for your online messaging. Think about how you would talk to these people face-to-face.
4. Get a full visual effect
Hopefully, the art you are displaying is eye-catching – so use that to your advantage! Online visual platforms such as Instagram are instrumental in many art gallery marketing Just look at the Louvre, Tate and MoMA, each with over two million followers on their Instagram accounts.
5. Attract visitors to upcoming events
While it’s important to develop some evergreen tactics, art gallery marketing can often revolve around launching new artist exhibitions. Promote upcoming events with engaging content and share details on social media – you can even invite influential bloggers and journalists.
So there you have it – a few digital pointers to help you on your way. Marketing an art gallery can be a complex and fast-paced process, but these simple steps should help you to engage with your audience and attract new visitors through the door. For more advice on marketing your art gallery, get in touch.