ArtId Art Blog
What is Marketing?
Most people will say that it's hard to sell art, that no one wants to buy art. There are people who want to buy art, want to improve their life-style, want to feel good about themselves and like art in their life. You need to find these people -- where they hang out, what they do for their livelihood and hobbies. That's what marketing is all about -- finding and contacting the right people.
People ask me all the time, "Where is the most active art market in the U.S.?" When I tell them their own city, they get really mad. They want to hear some magical answer, like Santa Fe, New York, Seattle. It's ridiculous to think that there is a better city than your hometown for starters. Within each city many persistent and active artists are selling lots of artwork, but they're not the artists asking that question!
The term 'marketing' is sometimes used incorrectly as a synonym for selling. Marketing is the sum of several different kinds of activities: promotion, intelligent research, planning, pricing, studying competition, as well as selling.
"The art market's down," is another commonly-used excuse. "You mean the auction market?" I ask. They don't know, they just heard somewhere the art market is down. If we're talking about the $20,000-plus range, this could be true. Are you in this category? No? Well, then don't believe this myth about the art market being down. Art has been made out to be a thing for the rich. How absurd! I've bought many art works for under $250. Generally small, I still value them, even after many years of viewing them. When I go to outdoor shows, there are beautiful pieces ranging from $500-750.
You need to instill confidence in small-time buyers who approach your artwork. It could be their first such purchase. They've been under the myth of "investing in art" and just don't know if they're making the right choice. At this level, a customer is not investing in art and needs to be told this. He is simply purchasing a piece of art to improve his life-style, to enjoy, to receive energy from. Indeed, the works might increase in value, but if he wants to invest in art, he will need to make larger monetary purchases.
Knowing interesting information about an artist or the creation process can help a potential buyer become more interested, but he initially has to respond to your work -- there is no convincing involved.
Excuses You Make
Everyone who comes before you is a potential customer. If you have excuses, it is because you don't want to make the effort to sell to them. When you are in a confident mood, you will not make up these excuses. Practice not having these excuses if this is your problem.
- He doesn't look like he has any money.
- He doesn't look like someone who buys art.
- She is not avant-garde enough for my art.
- Her fingernails are not polished. She doesn't have any money.
- No one off a tour bus ever buys.
The author, Constance Smith, has devoted the last eighteen years to publishing art marketing information -- researching and networking with art world professionals nationwide. Previous to that she represented fine artists in the San Francisco area. Art Marketing 101 is available at bookstores nationwide or you can order directly from the publisher.
Art Marketing 101 Published in 2003 8×10" format, 336 pages $24.95 + $4 shipping ISBN: 0-940899-32-9