Zann Makes an Art Marketing Website Part 1: Starting Off

If you haven’t read the preamble for this art marketing journey, it can be found here.

This post will outline my starting assets, my initial plan, some early roadblocks and some progress as far as how my assets have grown (or shrunk) and how my plan has evolved.

Starting Assets:

  • 2 letter-sized colour drawings of dogs
  • One large painting of a horse
  • One really good drawing of my dog’s face, three times
  • A few sketches from elementary and high school, including a small drawing of a kitten’s face, photographed with a phone
  • A six-year-old inactive twitter account with 9 followers
  • A couple hundred Facebook friends
  • A job
  • Some money

Recently Acquired Assets (Over the past six weeks):

  • 3 New Paintings
  • 2 New Drawings, turned into Dogagrams 
  • 38 new followers (47 total)
  • 3 AdWords Campaigns
  • A free CDN (content delivery network) account with CloudFlare
  • A WiX website and blog
  • A Google Analytics Account
  • A Google Search Console Account
  • A Google+ Account
  • A YouTube account
  • 2 Timelapse videos
  • 1 making-of gif
  • A Zazzle account
  • An Etsy Store
  • A PawsByZann-specific gmail account
  • 4 PawsByZann Blog Posts
  • Some Bing vouchers

Recently Lost Assets:

  • Some money (about $500)


You can sort what I’ve been doing into into three categories: Setup, Social Media, Online Content and Artwork.

The artwork can be further subdivided: I have art that is intended to provide examples of the kind of work I’d like to get paid for, like this puppy portrait:

Ellie xs.jpeg

And I have art that was made with the sole intent of being shareable, like this cute, silly Golden Retriever Diagram:

Anatomy of a Golden Retriever sml.jpeg

I made this drawing into a Blog post (Anatomy of a Golden Retriever). I posted it on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, I linked back to my main PawsByZann Blog where possible, I put it on Zazzle. I want this to go out in the world, and I think it has a better chance than just the painting.

The Original Plan:

Sell custom dog portraits online for $300 – $1500 depending on size and medium. Use AdWords to get a predictable stream of commissions, then build my referral network using social media and content marketing.

The Roadblocks:

  • The traffic I bought with AdWords didn’t buy my art
  • Because I didn’t get any commissions, I didn’t get any referrals
  • My content went entirely unnoticed



The New Plan

I’m going to need multiple sources of income, way more traffic and a better website. It’s a bit overwhelming but I’ll do my best to break it down, both for your benefit and my own.

Multiple Income Streams:

  • Custom Pet Portraits through my website
  • Custom Pet Portraits through Easy
  • Pay on Delivery (POD) Design Sites
  • In-person sketches at events like farmers markets and agility competitions
  • Non-custom art

Multiple Traffic Sources:

  • YouTube How-to Paint Dogs videos (this is where I can sell the non-custom art)
  • Mutually reinforcing, with traffic from one source leading to other purchases
  • Email Subscriber list
  • Twitter
  • Donations of work for publicity

Website Improvements

  • Better Segmentation (into the different income streams)
  • Addition of aforementioned testimonials and happy customer photos
  • Blog posts that link to income streams with examples
  • Paid CDN service for speed
  • Other things that I don’t know about yet (web design is not my strong suit)


Watch for weekly updates as this plan improves. I’ll add detail posts for a few subjects that will be important if you’re starting out in marketing yourself online, including getting a good quality score on Google AdWords (and why that can make or break your campaign), starting a Twitter following, blogs and inbound linking, and what I know about YouTube. Some of these I’m more knowledgeable about than others, so expect a mix of how-to and learn-with.

If you have any of your own experiences building an audience for your creative pursuits,  please share in the comments!

See you next time.



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