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Art Marketing: Are You Giving Others the Power to Kill Your Business?

by Clint Watson on 8/9/2010 7:39:56 AM

This article is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.

Don't put all the control of your art marketing channels into the hands of others.

If you're relying on galleries to sell your art, do you know who is buying it and how to reach them?  If that gallery goes out of business, it could kill your business.

Are you relying on SEO?  What if Google decides to change their rankings and pushes you down anyway?  Or worse, what if Google moves "the #1" organic spot to the 11th listing on the page?

Getting tons of business from Facebook or Twitter?  Do you have a way to reach your fans if those networks go down?  Or worse, change their terms of service in a way that impacts your ability to do business?

Do you rely on a free service like Google Blogger for your blog?  What if they ban access to your blog?  Who do you call, the tech support line (oh wait, there isn't one)?  Don't think that would ever happen?  Ask artist Marsha Robinett.

My point is, control your marketing channels.  They are your lifeline to your customers.  That's one reason that we continually beat the drum of utilizing an email newsletter as your primary marketing channel. [1]  That's something you control and can use to connect directly with your customers.  Nobody has the power to take that away from you...except you.

Now, go change the world,

Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic


[1] Control is one reason we love email newsletters as a marketing channel, but it's by no means the only reason, or even the main reason.  The main reason is that they work and generate engagement and sales better than anything else.


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Topics: art marketing | FineArtViews 

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Marian Fortunati
Once again, I have to "THANK YOU, CLINT!" You've been beating the email newsletter drum for a while now and because of you I started sending out a monthly newsletter.
Although I've made sales through galleries and shows, I almost always know that my email newsletter will result in developing a new client for me or even a "re-newed" collector. I am so very thankful to you for trying to teach us all how to better manage our art business.
Just yesterday, one lady who recently bought a painting from a show my work was in, signed up for my email newsletter and wrote me a nice note after receiving the automatic sign up acknowledgment. I responded to her kind words last night and today I find that she has purchased another painting directly from my website!!
What a treat!!!
Thank you Clint!!

carol schmauder
I am thankful for the e-mail newsletter option from my web site. Now I just need to be a little more consistent in my production of a newsletter. Thank you for the wonderful templates through FASO.

Spencer Meagher
Good points to ponder. I find the newsletter is extremely powerful. I find I do have to find new ways to grow it and keep it I interesting.

Michael Cardosa
Hi Clint,

Valid points all. Like any business owner, you control your way to market or you are just along for the ride and if no one is really steering you just might go off a cliff!


Helen Horn Musser
Good on Clint, thanks for the wake up call

Tom Weinkle
Great points Clint. Thanks again. “We're surrounded by assassins” (hah)


Tuva Stephens
I embrace the newsletter option on my website. I am continually working on my TUVART newsletter to record awards, events, quotes, new works, stories,etc.

Recently I realized people who give me permission to subscribe to my newsletter may be receiving the text version. I have hesitated by sending my present newsletter because I signed up about 15 people. I spend hours making the newsletter look professional using the template provided and to know it is arriving as text is disheartening.

When I type the person's name in the "add a subscriber" no option comes up for text or html.

Sharon Weaver
Way to go Marian. The website and newsletter are working for you and that is great. FASO does help to expand your client base. I just had another sign up too. Keeping your client info is important but sometimes problematic. I always ask for the contact info, even if it isn't offered.

Spencer Meagher
I hadn't given a great deal of thought to collecting data on subscribers, other than email address and maybe a name. I think I better try tp get more information on them. Could be very useful!

Barb Stachow
It's always good to hear of the different ways to contact our buyers, newletters are great!

Bonnie Samuel
Whew! What scary thoughts, Clint. But certainly true that one needs to control lines to prospects and clients. And FASO makes it quite easy to have both a newsletter and blog.

It would be nice to build a mailing list on blogs as we do newsletters though. Or is there some way one knows who subscribes to an RSS feed?


Carol Lee Beckx
This is an excellent reminder to artists to become self sufficient and independant.
We should rely on ourselves rather than sit back and hope that others will do the important task of marketing for us.
Next on my list since I have got my website and blog up and running will be a newsletter!
Thanks Clint.

stede barber
Hi Clint, Thanks for being a bridge of clarity in what sometimes feels like either a void or total chaos.

I just finished a 3-day studio tour in Abiquiu, NM, and am very pleased with the number of people who signed up to receive my newsletter.

Now that this event...and getting ready for complete, I can go back and catch up with the goodies you have offered like connecting our newsletters to Facebook, etc.

Question: I just read the acknowledgements page of a book I'm starting, and the author clearly distinguished between his awesome MARKETING person, and his equally awesome PROMO and SALES people. What is the difference between marketing and promo, do you know?

Thanks again...back to the easel, thank goodness.

stede barber
Just noticed that I'm listed twice in the "number of comments" list, with 2 different numbers of comments....problem?

Nancy Riedell
I am testimony to the fact that the newsletter works! I send out a newsletter to approximately 60 subscribers every month. I usually announce my latest finished paintings. Last month, after just ONE HOUR of sending out my newsletter announcing a painting called "Wind Swept Waves," I sold it! A client immediately contacted me and told me she wanted to buy it. I put it on hold while I waited for her payment. Thank you for your newsletter service. It really does work.

John Johnson

You've probably banged the drum on the "how to" side of emailing, but could you point me to a link? We've accumulated a huge list of emails from drawings at Sue's art shows, but now's the time to do something. So many services out there - so little time to reserach them and know what to do!

John Johnson for artist Sue Kouma Johnson

Marian Fortunati
Just as an additional comment I'd like to mention that personal notes (like the snail mail type) also help.
A client who purchased two paintings from my website ... I still don't know how she discovered these paintings.... just bought another painting after I sent her a hand written thank you note with some note cards that had images of the paintings she had purchased and some other paintings on them...
You have mentioned this before, and I'd like to thank you again, Clint, for continuing to encourage us to market our work in different ways.

Tom Weinkle
marian, you go girl!

Marian Fortunati
Hi there, Tom...
Another wonderful thing about blogs and newsletters is discovering other wonderful artists...
A post from this blog is how I discovered your work and I immediately signed up for your newsletter. I look forward to being inspired by your new work whenever one of your newsletters appears in my inbox!

I REALLY enjoy your work, Tom!!

Spencer Meagher
It hadn't occurred to me that receiving other artists newsletters could not only be a source of inspiration but so provide new ideas to adapt to my promotional process. That's a good idea. Thanks

Tom Weinkle
Marian, Thanks for being so kind.

I am amazed at how many people are creating beautiful art. This blog is very valuable to all of us.

Blogs need to have pertinent information that is relevant. Have something to say that is unique to you as an artist. Don't ever plagiarize.

Richard Christian Nelson
This is very interesting advice, and lately I am following it. I hope with all the complexity of my new site, FASO never goes away!

Helen Horn Musser
Congrats Marion, good follow up with your patron.

Helen Horn Musser
Congrats Nancy! Clint is unique in his approach and is our hidden asset....

Donna Robillard
It's great and inspiring to read how remarkable the email newsletters work.

I understand exactly what you mean. Who are those people who come to my website to read my blog? An ISP address is so vague.
I suppose this is why I work my way through the summer art fair ritual, as well. Meeting patrons face to face is absolutely the best way.

Bonnie Samuel
Hi Cooper--thanks for the comment. One way to at least get an idea of how many "subscribe" to your blog is stats. That's a really good feature on FASO I think as you can get some feedback that way.

When at shows, do you have some way for people to sign up for your newsletter?

Good luck in Perry. Bonnie

Spencer Meagher
Bonnie, I guess I didn't realize you could check blog state on FASO. That could be useful.

Lori Woodward
Clint, I've been reading Seth Godin's Ideavirus, a book that was written several years ago. It's interesting to note that many of the companies he sites as "up and coming", technology-wise are nowhere to be seen now. Facebook wasn't even on the radar.

Ideas, gadgets, social media sites have a short lifespan for the most part, and you're right - we should not get dependent on them ultimately for reaching our audience.
They are in control and can change the rules any time they wish, and we have no recourse.

Bonnie Samuel
You are absolutely right, Lori! But the scary part is the tremendous power, as you said, of these internet sites, not to mention advertising in general. And as Clint has said, it is best to drive your own wagon (sentiment to that effect anyway) and be in control.

Here's something interesting...way back in 1916 my great grandfather wrote a book called, "The Evils of Advertised Living." Basically he compared advertising to propaganda....

Clint Watson
Lori - predictions are free and worth what you pay for them - however - I think people who rely too much on Facebook are going to regret it at some point. I'm not going to trust them to store/protect ANY data that I really care about. I'm certainly not going to use their new "Titan" platform as my email.

I guess I'm strange but I want to PAY the companies I work with so I know WHO their working for (me). If I'm getting something for free, then I'm not the customer.....I'm the product.

Lori Woodward
Clint - great point!
" If I'm getting something for free, then I'm not the customer.....I'm the product. "

I'm getting to the mindset that paying someone for services is the way to go. I'll still use Facebook for some links, but it's becoming apparent that they change their minds a lot.

Spencer Meagher
Lori, You make a keen observation 2 postings up.

Michael Cardosa

You make a great point. Everyone likes something for nothing but then, what value does it really have? I'm like you, I'd rather know someone is working for me and not using me to their own ends...


Michael Cardosa

I "believe" I've erased my presence from Facebook but since I haven't signed on again I can't really be sure. I really don't care for their privacy policy of the week policy... I think their more than apparent level of greed is going to eventually put a big dent in their business and users.


Tom Weinkle

i did that too last year, and accidentally signed in on the old presence about a year later. It was reloaded as i last left it. Even though I asked it to be deleted. Maybe they delete after a longer period, but I doubt it since it is easier to store than to erase. It does not display to anyone unless you start using it again, but your footprint is there forever.

Scary, but true.

Michael Cardosa
Hi Tom,

That's really why I haven't tried to look there again. I did go through their process to completely delete but who knows.



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