How to Research Your Online Art Market

Successful artpreneurs do a lot of research to find out where they can best position themselves in a market. In a recent interview with superstar artist Matt Leblanc, he talks about how he spent a fair amount of time researching his market to find out what kind of art was out there, who was doing it, how much they were charging, and how much they were selling.

Using this research, Matt was able to position his art at a certain price point that fell right in the sweet spot between various other artists, and he took over an entire local market. You can do the same, and the research isn’t that hard.

Good Artists Copy…

Research is a good foundation for all marketing campaigns. You want to make sure that you are reaching the right people, at the right time, in the right place, especially if you want your art to stand out online. You need to think about who your ideal collectors are, where they spend their time on the internet, what their hobbies are, and even perhaps what their income is. In addition, you’ll want to know what your competition is doing so that you can find opportunities in the online art marketplace. (on a side note, there are so few artists doing a good job of selling their art on the Internet right now, that there are tons of opportunities – tons)

How to Look

There are lots of interesting tools for doing online research. I’ll give you here a run down of some basic tools to get you started.

Finding other artist websites/blogs

Use the SEO Book Keyword Tool – Aaron Wall has put out an easy to use tool that will show you how popular some artist sites are. This is a good indicator who you should imitate or learn from.

Google Blog Search – just type in the style of art that you do (as specifically as possible), and you’ll find a host of blogs and artist sites who are in the same genre. Most of them will be really awful. Use them as an example of what not to do, stealing a few examples of designs you like and marketing tactics you like.

Artist blogrolls – most bloggers have a list of blogs that they read on their their site. Looks for long lists with titles like “blogroll,” “blogs I read,” or “great people.” You’ll start to notice patterns. Who gets listed a lot? Think about why they get listed.

Twitter Search – Twitter produces 1 Billion Tweets per week! That’s a LOT of real-time data about what’s happening on the Internet and in the real world. People update Twitter from their smartphones all the time. Spend a little time there to see what artists are tweeting about, and who is responding to them. It could be enlightening.

Google Keyword Tool – Google advertising program, Adwords, provides a free keyword research tool. Use it to see how many people are searching for your style of painting. Be sure to get really specific. “Portrait Art” is way too general. Think “Original Pet Portrait Art,” or “Portrait Artist Portland, Oregon.” The numbers can be enlightening, but don’t let these numbers alone dictate what you do with your work. Even if there’s not a lot of search traffic for it, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a living as an artist doing what you love to do.

Facebook search – Want to see which artists have large followings online? Look at Facebook Fan Pages. Just do a search on Facebook for the kind of art that you want to do and see who comes up. It might surprise you to see that there are already a bunch of artists who have substantial Facebook followings, and that they are making sales off of those Facebook fans.

Trust Your Muse

Finally, I’ll say that while research is important, the final decision on what to do and how to do it comes down to you as the artist. It’s your work and your life. Artists remake new markets and forge ahead into areas that others can’t see. That’s what makes artists unique and interesting. Once you’ve done your research, set it aside and think about your artistic vision and then do what you know will take you down the right path.

You have the vision.



Need help with figuring out your online marketing? Check out our artist coaching packages to give your art business some love!


  1. AlliBratt says

    Thanks for this post and video, Cory! It was very helpful and informative. I will be going through your video slower later today, so that I can make some real progress!

  2. carolannperkins says

    @Wow Cory really useful information. I too will be going over this in more detail later today.
    but, being more old school I am writing things in a notebook at my desk.

  3. best online website builder says

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your different articles. They are so informative and interesting. This post give truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. thank you so much.Keep up the good works.

  4. Dawn says

    Thanks Cory! This is exactly what I need at this point in time! You really have a way of motivating me as well. Keep up the great work!

  5. Tammy says

    Hi Cory, I love your ideas however I have a comment about the company SEObook that you suggest getting a free tool bar from. I went on the site, signed up for the free tool that you suggested and in the registration process they tell you that you will be sent an email so that you can create a password and then get the free tools. I did everything and no email .. i looked in my spam folder too. Nothing, I expected it in a few minutes but I waited over 24 hours before inquiring. I finally managed to find somewhere to ask a question to the powers that be on SEObook and I got an answer during the night and this is the exact letter:

    “check your spam folder

    lots of freetards sign up then label the emails they receive as being spam, thus they block others from getting them.

    many ISPs charge spammers to whitelabel them for the inbox, but those who don’t pay go to the spam bin if a few freetards label their emails as spam. ”
    I can tell you that I’m not sure I appreciated being referred to as a freetard. I especially don’t like the reference. BUT I still want the free tool. Any suggestions? Thanks!!!

    • theabundantartist says

      He’s not calling YOU a freetard. He’s saying you should check your spam folder because other people mark his emails as spam.

  6. says

    This is excellent! Some tips in there I’ve never heard before and it’s definitely useful for positioning, branding, and generally refining your online presence.

  7. ceRES says

    I still have a lot of work ahead, but you have made it so much easier to figure out by posting this video. I’m so happy I stumbled upon this site. It has been a huge help, so full of information and tips!

  8. says

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  9. says

    I guess that I still have a lot to do … LOL … thanks for the great advice. I am wondering if the “free keyword research tool” from AdWords still exists. Whenever I tried to use it, I get on a page where Google want me to pay for my first campaign. no free tool. Any suggestions?

    • Cory Huff says

      Hi Faith – the tool is still there, but you have to sign up for Adwords to use it. You don’t have to actually spend any money, but you do have to give them your payment info.

  10. Beverly Garland says


    I am just starting out to do pet portraits as well, but with a different twist. Your blog on the business of art marketing has been invaluable! Your newsletter has been full of up-front value, as well.

    Thanks for the tip about the SEObook toolbar. That will be amazingly useful in my research!

  11. says

    Thanks Cory for all of your valuable information. A friend of mine shared your website with me recently and I can’t thank her enough. The gallery where I showed my work closed suddenly and I was left in the lurch figuring out my next ave for sales -so your advice is very timely. (I have had a website for 5 yrs and doubt I have had more than 100 visitors in all of that time!) I have listened to some of your podcasts and plan to listen to them again until I know which steps to take to begin successful online marketing.Thanks again!

  12. says

    Hi Cory,
    Such helpful information. I’ve just started using the SEO tool and I can’t believe how well it works! I didn’t even know that kind of information was so easy to find out about….little bit weirded out by it but I’m going to use it anyway!

    Thanks again,

  13. says

    I’m just getting started with all of this – thank you so much for your posts! Very well written and insightful, I am learning so much!


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