Art Heroes: Community-Driven Scaling
Maria JD Sirotkina
5 min read
Art Heroes is an online academy that specialises on training 3D character artists for the Game and VFX (visual effects) industries.

It's a narrow and competitive niche. Other players range from free (YouTube) or affordable (Udemy) to upscale (art colleges). Art Heroes wins by providing mentorship support and community alongside high quality pre-recorded content.
I joined Art Heroes pre-revenue and pre-product. Our goal was to build a community and establish our market presence. This challenge evolved into creating a sustainable growth model for the business.
The Challenge
Key numbers
community growth across several channels
ROAS on paid traffic
email list built
Among the key resources we could leverage were the personal brands of the founders and the instructors.

We learned that the faces were not the major thing in the industry: the projects and professional work of the founders was recognized more than their faces were. We leaned into the founder-led content and audiences, retargeting users within founders’ influence.

We had to pick our platforms wisely: leading with visual social media like YouTube and Instagram, we curated Discord community and captured conversions over email. We also made sure we are present where our users are: industry-specific ArtStation and forums.

We recognized that marketing and sales is the biggest service we can deliver to our community: by helping artists take a leap into professional learning, we helped more artists live the careers of their dreams.
Strategic approach
  • Running custom online events: from challenges to free online conferences spanning over a course of a week
  • Implementing educational email flows that provided value with each download. This gave “just in time” learning and elevated our brand reputation as a niche provider.
  • Value-based email marketing, where every newsletter had a shareable piece of content, not just a promotional piece.
  • Smart partnerships: bringing on board recognized industry experts for community activities
  • Ongoing community support - from weekly activities to monthly townhall gatherings
Smart Tactics
Art Heroes grew from a new brand to a recognized industry name within a few short years. In a highly-competitive space where margins are low, Art Heroes has been able to maintain high prices, charging over $5000 per program. This was achieved by building a value ladder, focusing on needs of the niche users, and maintaining omni-channel presence.

By crafting “ecosystem entry points” we've been able to build a community of over 120K users, demonstrate revenue growth, and become a go-to platform for 3D character art education.
  • Organic + paid = winning model for a high-ticket product. If we were to rely on paid channels alone, we wouldn't be able to maintain the price point. By supplementing paid acquisition with high-quality content, we've been able to maintain the attention and elevate our brand.
  • Smart partnerships. Curating an ecosystem of relevant industry players helped elevate our reputation, a challenging feat for an online school competing with traditional college degrees.
  • Event marketing produces the highest share of attention. Events designed to keep users engaged for a long period of time keep your brand top-of-mind the longest. We started with short workshops, expanding into week-long challenges.
Lessons Learned
Book your call and let’s create your growth story!
Inspired by ArtHeroes's success?
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