Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seven Great Ways to Sell More Art

(Brought to you by our friend Barney Davy of ArtPrintIssues.com)

Every artist I know wants to sell more art. It is a natural thing. Besides the necessary financial gain, it is a prime method of validating one's art career. Sure, even though Van Gogh was a failure in his lifetime, things turned out pretty good for him in the long run. However, most of us want and need the income now. Here are seven ways to help you sell more art now.

1. Target your buyers.
It is difficult to be successful if you do not know who your best prospective buyers are and where to find them. If you are in a niche, for instance equine art, it is easier than if you paint landscapes. But, either way, you need to have an appreciation of who is most likely to buy your art.
You need to understand:
• Core demographics about your buyers. Are they men or women, or both? What are their ages? What is their income range?
• Do they shop locally, or are they spread out geographically?
• What are their buying habits? Do you get a lot of repeat buyers?
• Are they price-sensitive? Do they buy giclees, originals or open editions?
If your art is such that it appeals to a broad demographic, you will find 20% of your potential buyers generate 80% of your revenue. When you are able to discover who those 20% are, you can tailor your marketing efforts to them.

2. Be where your buyers are.
Duh! If you are trying to find buyers buy advertising in pricey art magazines like Art News when your buyers are reading Country Woman, you have a problem. This point follows up the one above. Know who your buyer is, where they go and then be there with them.

3. Understand your competition.

The more you know about your competition, the smarter a marketer you will be. I do not advocate directly copying what someone else is doing, but I do condone “creative borrowing.” It is something we all do. Look at any art movement and you will find a bunch of work by various artists all taking influence from each other.
You can learn from your competitors and use the information to be more insightful about the marketplace overall. When you include these insights into your own marketing, you strengthen your plan. Moreover, when you understand what your competitors are doing, you can use the knowledge to position yourself uniquely against them.

4. Create stand out marketing – utilize your swipe file.

You cannot bore someone into buying your art. Before you can get them to consider it, you have to get their attention. The best way to do that is be creative and inventive when it comes to preparing your marketing materials. This is where watching what marketers in other industries are doing can be a huge help to you.
You should have both a paper and digital swipe file. A swipe file is a place to put file away anything you see that is remarkable to you. If you find an ad in a magazine, or an article that moves or inspires you, tear it out and put it in swipe file folder. If you find a website that does likewise, use Internet Explorer to “Save As” under the File menu link to make a .mht complete Web archive file.

5. Make irresistible offers.

I am not in favor of cut prices to get sales. That is a long term way to kill your business. You can, however, find unique ways to make value-added offers:
• Bundle prices for a group of images.
• Free shipping for a sale over a certain price.
• Satisfaction Guaranteed offer. Live with it 30 days and return it for full-price.
• Free hanging service for local buyers.
• Free art consultation – if a business doesn’t have a corporate art buyer working with them, offer your services.
The ways you can add value to a sale without sacrificing your price are endless. It just depends on how creative you want to be. Your swipe file should help you here as well.

6. Diversify your marketing.

It is more important today than ever for artists to be in charge of their own marketing. In the end, the only person who will care if you make sales is you. If you realize you have to trust and rely on yourself and accept that responsibility, you are better for it.
Spread around what you are doing.
• Keep looking for more galleries.
• Start a blog and post frequently.
• Get into the licensing market.
• Look for design centers to place your art.
• Get your own website running.
• Start a Facebook page.
• Join groups on LinkedIn.
• Get involved in local Meetup Groups in your area.

7. Offer big and more than once.
Offer big. No one has ever been hurt because they assumed a sale and made an offer for a very large sale. On the other hand, many a blind pig has found an acorn because they kept looking. In other words, there are buyers out there who are open-to-buy and who have budgets well beyond the meager funds in your savings account.
If you sell based on your personal perception of how much money is in your wallet at the moment of the sale, you are losing money nearly every time. You cannot presume to know what a buyer’s ability or budget is. You can presume they are fully capable of telling you no if they cannot or do not want to accept your offer.
How big is too big? Beyond being ridiculous, there is no offer too big. What is wrong with saying, “I can make you three groupings of three pieces each.” Go on to explain the design virtues of groupings of three, or how great the Feng Shui value in such groupings can improve a home or office, or whatever makes sense for you and that buyer at the moment.
Spend some time to think about constructing at least two separate offers such as the above example and work on them so you are comfortable with the notion and equally comfortable with presenting them. Then practice so when you make such an offer that they come out naturally and comfortably.
I promise you these two things.
• If you regularly make big offers you will find buyers who accept them and you will be so tickled pink it happened the hardest part will be for you to remain calm while you process the sale. (Send me a note when it happens because I guarantee it will.)
• If you never make big offers, you will never enjoy the benefits and income that come from doing so. Or, as the now famous Wayne Gretzky saying goes, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”
Remember, no does not always mean no. It often means, I need more information, or I am not yet convinced. Keep the conversation going and ask again, or probe for more details on the decision, or what the buyer is looking for. At the least, get both an email and a snail mail address, note which works were of interest and communicate with them regularly. It is not uncommon in many galleries for buyers to take a year or longer before they make a purchase.
Put these ideas into action and it is certain you will make more money and sell more art.

Bonus point.

Be humbled and thankful for your blessings. Regardless of your current position, it never hurts to be grateful for the blessings you have. You are blessed with talent and creativity to make art. You are blessed to afford to be able to make art. You are blessed to have time to read blog posts like this one.
Despite a world around us that much of is plunged in darkness, we find ourselves living in the greatest abundance ever known to mankind. We should not take this abundance for granted. Nor should we allow ourselves to fall under that spell of those who spread divisiveness, lies and hatred.

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Attracting High-End Art Buyers

(Brought to you by our friends at ArtBizCoach.com)

How does one connect to the buyer agents of high-end customers? How does one get into the loop of being looked at? Performing artists have auditions and can wind up on American Idol, etc. It seems that the rest of us struggle every which way to get out there. Other then having all the necessary qualifications and Internet exposure, how do we get into that select group of artists and designers that is being considered by high-end buyers?

That’s a $10 million question, isn’t it? It’s what everyone wants to know. My short answer is “persistence,” but let’s dig deeper. When people ask me a question like this, here’s what I want to know:

• How long have you been promoting your art?
• How many people are on your mailing list, and how have you been using it?
• How much time do you spend on marketing each week?
• Who created and is maintaining your website?

Their responses will tell me a lot, and then I can suggest steps for more fruitful results. In the absence of the answers to those questions here (and in the absence of any American Idol for Visual Artists), these are the three steps I would take to attract high-end buyers.

1. Network everywhere
You have to meet new people–more and more new people. You should be out networking not only with people who are potential buyers but also with people who know potential buyers. These might be other artists (yes, artists know potential buyers), but they could also be people who hang out at your usual haunts: museum lectures, group meetings (especially if you have a niche), church and school functions, political rallies, and the like. Meeting new people means expanding beyond your comfort zone. You never know where you’ll run into someone who could become very important for you in the future.

2. Work your contact list
It doesn’t do any good to meet new people if you’re not going to stay in touch with them. I’ve said it a gazillion times. Connections are critical to your success. How often are you reconnecting with the people you know? The most alarming weakness in most artists’ marketing is not using their contact lists to maintain personal relationships. Make sure everyone you know is aware of your art and who your potential buyers are. When your connections come across a good match, they’ll think of you first.

3. Get a website evaluation

One thing stood out for me in the above email message: the phrase “Internet exposure.” You can’t just have a website. You have to work that site through consistent blogging, Facebooking, Twittering, emails, and newsletters. You need a strong, well-constructed professional presence. Templates and blogging platforms make it easy for anyone to build their own sites. However, unless you know how to add html tags (and lots of other stuff) correctly, your site might be ineffective. Ditto for copywriting skills. Words rule on the Web, but you have to know how to use them to your advantage.

Copyright © 2010, Alyson B. Stanfield

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs

Monday, January 18, 2010

Exceed Expectations

(Brought to you by our friends at ArtBizCoach.com)

Under-promise and over-deliver--this is a key business rule. It means that you should 1) never promise more than you can make good on and 2) surpass any expectations. In other words, wow your patrons, curators, administrators, and gallerists with speed, efficiency, and quality.

Here are ten ways to exceed expectations.

1. Offer to deliver any artwork personally to your buyers and install it in place.

2. Tell people they can live with your work for a week while deciding whether or not to buy it. In order to do this, you must have proper paperwork (e.g. a loan agreement) and insurance in place, but it can be done.

3. Provide gift wrapping. For my book sale in December, I attached a bow and a small card to the books I knew were purchased as gifts and being sent directly to the lucky recipients. I didn’t offer this as an option at the time of sale, but added it as a surprise.

4. If you have a commission you think will take you six weeks, tell your patrons it will take ten weeks. When they get it in six, they’ll be happy as a clam!

5. Be early for your appointments. This gives you time to catch your breath and get organized before the other person arrives.

6. If you’ve been asked to submit a proposal, tell the recipients they’ll have it by the end of the week. Then get it to them the next day.

7. Allow your buyers to trade in their previous purchases for new choices (of equal value) for a certain period of time. Make sure you have this in writing and that terms are understood upon sale.

8. Depending on the work you do and your circumstances, offer to make any repairs for a reasonable period of time. Many artists offer lifetime repairs free of charge.

9. If you don't have or can’t deliver the goods, refer people to another artist who might be able to help. This is great karma! Both the customer (who knows lots of people) and the referred artist (who also knows lots of people) will be grateful. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

10. Present your highest bid, and then come in under-budget.

Copyright © 2010, Alyson B. Stanfield

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

“The Six Common Mistakes Artists Make When Approaching Galleries”

(Copyright 2010 Jason Horejs, Owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona and Author of "Starving" to Successful: The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting into Galleries and Selling More Art. )

Mistake #1: Presenting an Inconsistent Body of Work
Artists generally love their freedom. They want to experiment. They love a challenge. They crave variety. All good things, except when you are presenting your work to a gallery. The work you present to a gallery needs to be unified. It doesn’t need to be repetitive or formulaic, but it must present you as a consistent artist with a clear vision. Often I feel I am looking at the work of multiple artists as I review a single portfolio. To avoid this problem you need to find focus in your work. If you work in several media and a variety of styles, focus on just one for the next 6-12 months. Create a body of work that feels like a “series.” Once you have 20-25 gallery ready pieces in this series, you will be ready to approach a gallery. You can further create consistency by presenting the work in a cohesive way. Use similar frames for all of your paintings or photographs, similar bases for your sculptures, or similar settings for your artistic jewelry. Make it very clear all of the work is by the same artist. If you simply can’t rein your style in, consider creating multiple portfolios, one for each style. Don’t confuse the galleries you approach with multiple styles in your portfolio.

Mistake #2: Producing Insufficient Work to Sustain Gallery Sales
Many artists create marketable work, but in quantities too low to make a gallery relationship viable. Successful artists are consistently in the studio creating artwork. You may be surprised to learn the results of a recent survey I conducted. I asked artists how many new works they created in the last twelve months. Painters responded that on average they were creating 53 pieces every twelve months; sculptors 31; glass artists 500!!! Gallery owners need to feel confident you will replace sold art quickly and maintain high quality. They want to know that if you are successful, you will be able to replenish their inventory. Don’t despair if you are far from reaching this goal. Rather, look at your creative production for the last year and set a goal to increase the production by 25% in the next 12 months.
Several suggestions to increase your productivity:

1. Dedicate time daily to your art. Maybe your schedule will only allow for two hours daily, but you will produce more by working for those two hours every day than you will by waiting for big blocks of time. Treat your studio time as sacred. Train your family and friends to respect that time. You don’t interrupt them when they are at work; ask them the same courtesy when you are in the studio.

2. Set a production goal. If I could tell you the secret to producing 50 or 100 pieces per year, would you listen? Here it is: Create one or two new pieces per week. I know it seems overly simple, yet few artists work in a concerted, disciplined way to achieve this goal. (A common objection I hear to this suggestion is that quality will suffer if an artist works this quickly. In my experience, the opposite is true. A certain level of quality may only be obtained by putting miles on the paintbrush, spending hours in the darkroom, moving tons of clay or stone.)

3. Remove distractions from the studio. Move your computer to another room. Unplug the telephone. Nothing kills an artist’s focus faster than the constant interruption of technology. Your inbox and voicemail will keep your messages safe while you work.

Mistake #3: Delivering a Portfolio in a Format Inconvenient for Gallery Review

Often your portfolio is your only chance to show your work to a gallery owner. Poorly formatted portfolios are rarely viewed. Your portfolio should be concise, simple, informative and accessible. 25 years ago, formatting a portfolio was simple. A portfolio was either a literal portfolio with sheet protectors and photos, or a slide sheet. The choices have since multiplied. CD? Digital hardbound photo book? Pdf file? Email? Which format is the most effective? None of these, actually. Each has drawbacks limiting effectiveness. They are either too much work for the gallery owner to access, too easy to delete, or too hard for you to maintain. In my book I will show an example of a perfect portfolio. Easy to maintain, easy to share. Successful.

A couple of things to keep in mind with your portfolio:

1. Your portfolio should contain no more than 20-25 of your most recent works. You should not create an all inclusive portfolio. A gallery owner does not want to see your life’s work. They want to see your best, most current, most relevant work.

2. On each page you should include pertinent, relevant information about the art. Include the title, the medium, the size, and the price. Don’t include the date of artwork creation.

3. Place your bio, artist’s statement, and resume at the back of the portfolio, not the beginning. Your artwork is the most important feature of the portfolio, don’t bury it behind your info. Limit press clippings, and magazine articles to 2-3 pages.

4. Include 2-3 images of sold artwork. You should try to include at least one photo of your artwork installed. These images will establish your credibility more rapidly than any resume ever could.

Mistake #4: Lacking Confidence & Consistency in Pricing
One of the greatest challenges facing you as an artist is knowing how to correctly value your work. Many artists price their work emotionally and inconsistently. Galleries can’t sell incorrectly priced art. Worse, nothing will betray an unprepared artist like not knowing how to price his/her work. Many artists mistakenly under price their work. They do this because they feel they are not established. They do it because their local art market won’t sustain higher prices. They do it because they lack confidence in their work. Is your work priced correctly?

Mistake #5: Approaching the Wrong Galleries
My gallery is located in an art market dominated by Southwest and Western subject matter. My gallery stands apart from most of the galleries in Arizona because I have chosen art outside the norms. Yet I am constantly contacted by Western and Southwestern artists. They seem surprised and hurt when I turn them away. They could have saved us both some discomfort by researching my gallery before approaching. Which markets should you approach first? How should you research the galleries? Is it safe to work with galleries in out-of-state markets?

Mistake #6: Submitting Art Through the Wrong Channels
Conventional wisdom, and even some highly respected art marketing books, will advise you to send your portfolio with a cover letter to the gallery. You may also hear it's best to call a gallery and try to make an appointment to meet the owner. You might visit a gallery's website to learn of their submission guidelines. In my experience, these methods all guarantee failure. I will share with you a more direct, simpler approach. This approach will tremendously improve your chances of success. The approach is no secret, and yet most artists don’t employ it.

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs