Blog on Art Marketing and Selling Art


The New Branding

For most artists, I don't think this kind of stuff matters at all. Show me a kick-ass painting and I really don't care if your logo is crap, or if your letterhead is a different color from your website. Heck, I don't care if you even have a logo. And I'll be happy if your letter to me is hand-written in pencil on the back of a Mexican food restaurant menu with salsa stains on it...if... the painting is kick-ass. [...]

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The "Thank You" Card

Sending a note of thanks is good business and simply the polite thing to do. I have also learned that occasionally it leads to immediate sales. [...]

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Home Shows

I am currently working on putting another one together, but what I am doing this time is quite different than what was done in the past. [...]

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Apologies and an Explanation

It looks like I owe the fine folks over at artmarketingsecrets.com and the author Daniel Tardent some apologies....and an explanation. [...]

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The Foundation of Your Online Art Marketing Strategy is....

The foundation of your online art marketing strategy is making great art. duh...That's why I made that number one item on the list in my previous post How to Sell Art...I broach this subject now, because another art marketing blog that I sometimes read posted the following statement a few days ago, "Google is the foundation of your online art marketing strategy."...I don't agree. Google is NOT the foundation of an online art marketing strategy for the vast majority of artists - making great artwork is the foundation. [...]

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Using Note Cards as a Marketing Tool

Artists can endear themselves to their collectors and promote their artwork at the same time by giving the purchasers of their artwork a token of appreciation. One way that I do this is to give my collectors five note cards featuring their recently purchased painting on the cover of the cards. [...]

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When was the Last Time You Called a Collector....on the PHONE?

Think about that. An artist who is considered to be pushing the edge of modern technology is telling you that the core of her non-art activities are phone calls, emails and meetings (all mediums that provide personal, one-on-one interactions with collectors)...I seem to recall saying ad nauseum that Art Marketing is Conversations. [...]

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Actually, Community Precedes Conversation, Which Precedes Commerce

The "Conversation" part in the middle means that YOU have to participate in the conversation. The community may engage in conversations with or without you.....you don't want it to be without you...Think about this long and hard....especially if you're not selling as much art as you would like...Are you participating in the community?...Are you conversing with your collectors?...Are you leading your collector clan? [...]

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Responding to Discount Requests

Sometimes a sale may be lost, but most often respect will be gained. I would rather lose a sale or two than my integrity. The net loss of giving discounts far outweighs the up-front loss of a sale or two. If you begin to discount, soon every artwork will be discounted and the cumulative amount will be much more than that lost sale. [...]

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Why Galleries Rock

Some of my former posts might lead readers to believe that I dislike working with commercial art galleries, but nothing could be further from the truth. While I get irritated with art dealers who take advantage of artists by being dishonest and holding back sales money, I have many times recommended artist friends to galleries. As I've mentioned before - I've sometimes purchased paintings at a gallery - even though I know the artist personally. My reason for doing so, is that it supports both the gallery and the artist, and right now some wonderful gallerists are having a hard time paying the bills. I want to see the good and honest ones prosper. [...]

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Don't Take Offence

So, what do you do when you find yourself confronted by well-meaning individuals who don't "get" your art? They wish to give you advise when they don't know what you are striving for with your art. Sometimes they know (or think they know) quite a lot about art. Sometimes they have no clue. Sometimes they only know enough to be dangerous. Occasionally, you may be confronted by others whose intentions aren't as favorable. For some reason, there are some who delight in tearing others down. Most people, though, simply think that they are helping. How should you act or respond? [...]

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Share Your Stories

Every work of art has a story. Not all stories are comical like these two. Some are more serious. Some are profound. Some are simple. But all stories add meaning to the dialogue. The stories enrich and deepen the connections made. Share your stories. Allow your collectors the opportunity to connect with your artwork. [...]

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I'll Know it When I See It

So how do real people in real galleries look for art? They "stumble" upon it. The usual answer to the art gallery salesperson's question, "Can I help you find something in particular?" is "I'll know it when I see it". That's because "I'll know it when I see it" is fun..."Serendipitous Stumbling" is the funnest way to find art. Here's what happens: You walk into an art gallery, your eyes scan the room and you're hoping that something "catches your eye" or "takes your breath away." [...]

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Thoughts on the Unconventional Guide to Art and Money

I don't normally do "reviews" of other products on this blog, partly since many of the other online art sites I might consider reviewing could be seen as somewhat competitive to my own online services and, as such, it would be a bit strange for me to "review" a competitor. But, as this particular resource is basically a book that gives people ideas on marketing art and not an online service, I do feel qualified to share my thoughts on it. After all, I did make my living actually selling art for nearly 16 years. [...]

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How Would You Promote Your Site if Google Didn't Exist?

It seems that a lot of artists set up a website and then think, "hmmm, I need some traffic" - and embark upon learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, perhaps buy some Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads, and then get frustrated when artwork doesn't magically sell. [...]

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Keep on Keeping On

I've noticed a disturbing trend among some of my artist friends recently. When their gallery sales seem sluggish for a month, some lose interest in painting, and find excuses to avoid the studio. However, when their gallery calls and announces a sale, suddenly these same artists get excited about painting again. [...]

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Art Marketing with Email Newsletters - Stories from the Wild

I have been using my newsletter a fair bit lately.... mostly because a lot of good news has come my way. This is a good thing. I also had asked people to forward my emails to others who might be interested and this has resulted in some good connections and SALES!!! (Yippee) [...]

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Selling Art

We've published a lot of practical information on the nitty-gritty business of selling art over the years and thought it would be helpful to our readers to go back and organize a handy little resource for you. So if you want to learn more about selling art, bookmark this page and enjoy the following articles. [...]

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New Venues to Sell Your Art

When tough economic times hit, commercial galleries are often the first ones to feel the heat. . .I'm mentioning this because it seems that many artists still seem desperate to get into a gallery... as sort of a credential. When times are tough, some collectors may choose to buy directly from artists or at other art venues where the prices may be lower. [...]

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How to Sell Art

Over the past couple of weeks, I have shared some of my ideas about selling art in the series, On Selling Art, Part 1 and Part 2. After finishing those two articles, I realized it might be helpful to have the same ideas (and a few more) distilled down into a sort of "action list." So that's what I did. Here are 24 thoughts on How to Sell Art. [...]

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Personal, Timely, and Relevant

Today's Post is by Clint Watson,  founder of FineArtViews. Follow Clint on Twitter. You need to reach people WHERE they want your message, WHEN they want your message and the message has to be RELEVANT and PERSONAL to their needs. This post was inspired by a video of Seth Godin where he mentioned that marketing messages only get through to people when those messages are personal, timely and relevant. In thinking about this applies to art, it provides a context as to WHY . . . . 1.  Art galleries sell better than restaurants (more relevant) 2.  Art openings sell better than "regular" days in the [...]

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Does Expensive Art Just Look Better?

Want people to respect and enjoy your artwork more?  Evidence suggests that you should think about raising your prices. "If it Doesn't Sell...Raise Your Prices" We know a very famous, talented and respected artist whose paintings now sell for upwards of $100,000 apiece.  He once shared his pricing "secret" with us.  It was a simple philosophy.  He told us, "If a painting doesn't sell, I simply raise the price."  He went on to relate the story of showing a painting in New York for $2,000 where it didn't sell.  So he moved to another gallery in New York and raised the price to [...]

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Where do Most Artists Sell Art? - Empty Easel Poll Analyzed

It seems when buying art, customers still want a relationship with an actual person (a gallery person or the artist).....not a nebulous web site or social networking community. We, at FineArtViews, already knew this fact because of our background of owning and running a retail art gallery, and, indeed, it has been the topic of many of our past articles. Interestingly, we noticed a poll on the respected art blog, Empty Easel, titled, "Where do Most Artists Sell Art?" And the poll results confirm what we've been telling you here - art buyers want to deal with you, the artist (or the [...]

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What REALLY Drives Web Traffic - Word-of-Mouth and Advertising

We all know that your web site will live or die by the amount of traffic it receives.  So it's natural to want to focus on search engine marketing.  Artists are constantly asking us about "keywords", "search engine optimization", "improving rankings" and what art sites get the most "traffic." We understand the temptation to focus on these things; however, sometimes we think people get focused on search engines to avoid the hard work of real marketing....the hard work of "getting down in the trenches" and getting to know your customers personally.  It would be nice to think that now we live in [...]

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Post Your Prices

GI wrote me to ask about displaying prices on his art web site: I noticed that most artists don't put prices on their paintings. Is it better to leave them off unless there is an inquiry or interest in a painting? I just began to market my work,and have no galleries yet that carry my paintings. What is your personal opinion? Is it more professional to not put the prices in the works pages? Thanks for the question GI.  I'm not sure why more artists don't put their prices on their web sites.  I've always been on record as saying that artists should [...]

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Friction-Free Selling? Not!

Ooh La La! Yesterday we shared an essay by Robert Genn entitled "Friction-Free Selling."  It's funny, we thought our essay about "Gallery Protectionism" would have been the controversial one...boy were we wrong.  Artists, marketers and collectors have been pounding away at their keyboards to give us a piece of their collective minds regarding "Friction-Free Selling." We've decided to devote today's missive to addressing the opinions that you shared with us yesterday.  However, before we begin, we need to clarify.  "FineArtViews" provides a forum for views about fine art to be shared.  It is not necessary that we agree with everything presented.  It's probably not even productive if we agree with everything.  After [...]

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The Only Way You'll EVER Sell Art

People buy art for all kinds of reasons, but in the end, all of them boil down to wants.  If someone doesn't want to buy your art - they won't. Wants can be created in a variety of ways. Sometimes a want is a result of wanting to avoid something else.  Let's take an extreme example: You could hold a gun to someone's head and demand he buy your art...he WOULD want to do it . . . at least at that particular moment.    More realistically, I don't want my wife to be unhappy.  If SHE loves a particular artwork, then I [...]

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The Single Most Important Question In Marketing

With every message you put in front of your prospective clients, you should carefully consider your customer's needs and wants.  The best way to do that is to put yourself into your client's shoes and ask, "What's in it for me?" I've been in marketing a long time and although I've always instinctively understood that all marketing must be considered from the client's point of view, it's only within the past couple of months that I've noticed people discussing the WIIFM (What's in it for me?) question. I like the concept, WIIFM.  I've started approaching every blank piece of paper with the question [...]

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Start a Testimonials File

On Tuesday, I provided a few ideas about how to use testimonials to increase sales.What if you don't have any testimonials?Simple.  Just start a file.  Whenever someone emails you, writes you or tells you something complimentary about your work, drop it in the file.  You'll probably be surprised how quickly you will amass a collection of good, authentic testimonials. [...]

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Artists Should "Hard Sell" Their Artwork

In most people, the term "hard sell" conjures up visions of sleezy used car salesmen and pushy time share purveyors.  Yet I contend that artists should "hard sell" their artwork.  Nearly every artist I've ever met would shudder at the thought...after all, artists are supposed to be above such tomfoolery....pure and uncorrupted....free to express their opinions in paint, clay or photography.  Let the dealers soil their hands selling! Right?!Wrong.The mental conflict most people experience regarding selling results from a misunderstanding of the proper definition of selling.  You see there are two ways to sell:  Bullying and Helping.The Bully Method of SellingThe [...]

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Use Testimonials to Increase Sales

As I think about ideas fine artists might implement to increase their sales, I can't help but think about the reaction of prospective clients at gallery shows.  Clients become more interested in an artist's work when they overhear other people being enthusiastic about it (See Blog Post: Enthusiam Sells).  Similarly, when red dots are going up all around them, they want to red dot a piece too.  Phsycologists call this phenomenon social influence.Testimonials tap into our desire to be validated by others.  When presented properly, testimonials effect us powerfully...causing us to stop and listen to the pitch . . . motivating [...]

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Enthusiasm Sells: A Tale from the Night of Artists

Enthusiam Sells.  I'll simply relate the following story of how I sold a painting without even trying to, simply because I was enthusiastic about it.  You may draw your own conclusions as to how this might apply to your own career....if it even applies at all.Last night, my wife, "P" and I attended The Night of Artists event, sponsored by the National Western Art Foundation.  Arriving a bit late at the packed venue, we immediately began enjoying the art.  P seemed to enjoy taking a leisurely pace, talking with acquaintances, sampling the wines.  I, being a man and relishing my "hunter" [...]

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A Pricing Question

A reader posted a comment regarding prices (Would You buy now without knowing the price?):I agree, prices should be listed on an artist's site and I do list mine, but I wonder how other artists handle this problem. On your site you have an 18x24 listed at $1,000, now that piece has been accepted into a show that takes a 40% commission, & shipping is your responsibility. Your work is now priced at the exhibition for $1,700 but prospective buyers at the show could buy it from your website for $1,000, why would they pay $1,700 at the show??? How do other artists handle this?I would like to [...]

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Immediately Increase Your Sales by 15% with Hot Apple Pies?

Today we offer a practical tip for increasing your sales. . . At least for those of you who are brave enough to engage your adoring customers directly. If you shun the "front line" of sales and purvey your artwork primarily through galleries, then call your galleries and make sure that they employ this technique in their sales efforts. Feel free to tell them we suggested you do so. They might still be insulted at your audacity to question their methods. . . But at least you can point a finger at us. Who knows? It might [...]

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No Substitute For Good Customer Service

My wife dragged me to the mall for clothes shopping Saturday (for her). After an hour of following her around the women's casual section, serving as her personal valet, personal stylist, and assistant, I had amassed a huge pile of pants, shirts, sweaters, and skirts which she intended to try on. As I struggled with this massive load of designer garments, an angel of mercy appeared. "can I help you with those?" asked, Fran, salesperson and customer service representative.I looked to my wife for guidance, "sure" she said, "Where can I try these on?""right this way," Fran replied, "we have a large [...]

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Why do they Buy?

In my recent ezine "Why They Buy" by Robert Genn, Robert discussed the mystery of why art buyers buy artwork. If you would like a copy of the ezine, visit http://www.webartsites.com and become a member. (Membership is free). Then visit the ArtThoughts ezine page and click on "Why they Buy by Robert Genn" Artists and Collectors: please share any thought you have on "Why They Buy". Collectors especially, your insights are particularly welcome. Artists ask me all they time for insight into the "Collector's Mind." I know why I buy, but why do YOU? Sincerely, Clint Watson Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic [...]

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