I thought long and hard about the 3rd important factor for selling your art. You could argue that subject is important, or price which can also make or break a sale but I had to settle on finding the right market. You can negotiate price, and some artists can make just about anything look good but if you pick the wrong market to sell your art, you can lose a lot of money.
Now that you have clean, professional looking art and all of your pieces contain your personal theme, you now need to find a market that connects you with buyers who can’t live without your art.
Whether you decide to sell online, or through galleries or at art shows, you must first find out who your buyers will be. What type of person or business will want to hang your art? Will they be beach goers, horse riders, animal lovers or traditionalists? Where do they live? Where do they shop, eat and play? Where do they work? Answering questions about who your customers are will help you find creative ways to reach that market. In many cases, your buyers will be people who are like you.
If you are just starting to sell your art, usually the first market you will find is family and friends.
This market won’t make you famous but family can start you off to find larger markets and gain valuable information about selling your art. Family will usually not put bad reviews about you on the internet! If your family is supportive of your art, don’t be afraid to ask them questions you would not ask a stranger. Keep in mind family will also be biased, so take enthusiastic compliments with a grain of salt until you begin to actually sell your art to strangers.
I am going to take a pause here to advise against partnering with a friend, family member or “financier” to help you sell your art. Although I do see exceptions to the rule, the great majority of partnerships I have seen between friends and family have caused long lasting negative consequences. The worst partnerships I have seen are when someone offers money and marketing support. Usually what they are buying is control of you. There are many people who see dollar signs when they see an artist with talent. They innocently want to be a part of that talent and help with the artists’ success. Unfortunately, if that person does not understand marketing in the art world, the artist will most likely regret the decision to partner. If you do decide to partner with someone, do yourselves a favor and write down all the details of how the partnership will work. Set goals for the partnership and agree to terminate the partnership if either party becomes unhappy or goals are not being met. This advice comes both as a business person and a friend who has seen partnerships cause a great deal of problems. Do your homework, gain knowledge and advice from experts and don’t let anyone control what you create! I’ll step down from the soap box now…
Once you find your target market, don’t beat them over the head with your art! In this digital age, it is very easy to start online marketing for very little money. It is also very easy to harass people so much that they grow tired of your constant email marketing. As a general rule, I don’t like to advertise to my email list more than a couple times a month. Anything more seems desperate.
I would like to encourage anyone to add your 2 cents on this 3 part blog. If you think I missed something, please feel free to add your advice and help the other artist reading this blog. It would be very helpful if anyone has a unique marketing idea they would like to share. In the next year, I hope to offer more opportunities for our artists to network and share ideas.
Thanks for reading!