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Low budget, minimal resources, and a remarkable product: The “starving artist” is a textbook example of a word of mouth marketer.

Here are three examples from Austin artist Judy Paul, whose work was recently picked up by Google:

1. Know what your customers do with your stuff
2. Make something adventurous
3. Get people involved

1. Know what your customers do with your stuff

Your customers are great at coming up with word of mouth topics for you. But how do you ask them to share those with you? Judy Paul asks people to submit photos of where they spot her artwork around town or in their own spaces. In exchange, she’ll send them a free print or a discount on an order. By asking for these in-the-field photos, Judy gets direct feedback on how people are displaying her art, and by giving them a print or a discount, she also puts a word of mouth tool in their hands.

2. Make something adventurous

Judy hides mini prints of her artwork around town and posts the locations on Facebook for people to find. Lots of people share the posts or tag their friends in the area so they can find it for themselves. She also gets comments like this one: “I have the enlarged version of this print in my dining room. It brings me joy every day.” The sense of adventure and surprise from these scavenger hunts aren’t just a conversation-starter for the hunters, but also for the people who already love her work.

3. Get people involved

Ownership makes your stuff more interesting. The more stock someone has in what you create, the more they want to talk about it. For example, in one of her recent exhibitions, Judy got people involved in a simple art project: Use a marker to add one line to a huge blank canvas. As each person added their own line, it created a piece of art with lots of contributions. That kind of simple participation made people feel like they did more than go to an art exhibition, they made a connection to Judy’s art.

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