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 gallery (more timely)
3. Open studio events sell better than just "walk ins" (more timely)
4. Art sells better when the artist is in the conversation (more personal)
We talked previously about having conversations
and stories surrounding your artwork. I wrote that you needed to develop remarkable artworks that become "purple cows", and that through having smart conversations with your clan, those artworks would become "blue monsters", or social objects, that your clan talks about. I wrote about changing the world
. I had an entire post about leading your collector clan
, and talked specifically about email newsletter marketing.
But how do you START or GROW or NUTURE a clan?
By being personal, timely and relevant.
You must "be there" at the right time, and in the right place
to personally connect with someone, to start a "conversation" (online or offline) with that person, and your goal, at that point, IS NOT to sell them your artwork directly (although it's great if you do). Your goal, at that point of first contact, is to get permission
to continue the conversation. In the real world, this normally manifests itself as permission to add that person to your email list, to add them your show mailing list, or perhaps even simply to schedule a follow up phone call.
Here's an example. Let's say you paint landscapes of the New England area. A local restaurant owner approaches you and wants to display some of your art. So you hang it...and nothing (or very little) happens. Why? Because people go to restaurants to eat, not look at art. Context matters
Your message (the artwork) is not relevant at that time, it's not timely either. So instead, you decide to show your art in a local art fair over the summer. Assume there are a lot of tourists in the area in the summer (escaping to New England to get out of the brutal heat we have here in Texas). A couple walks into the art fair looking for mementos of their holiday in New England. They see your artwork and they are now engaged. Now, at this point your art is RELEVANT, it's TIMELY and it's PERSONAL to them. Your goal is to get PERMISSION to continue the conversation with this couple
. You want them on your email list. You want them to join your clan. You want their permission to keep talking to them in the future and showing them your remarkable artworks. If you get that permission you've increased the size of your clan. If you sell your painting, that's fantastic, be sure to get permission to stay in touch with them
. If they buy your painting, they'll be even more
committed to your clan. (Of course, make all reasonable efforts to sell the artwork while they're present, in your booth, but whether they purchase it or not, please get permission to continue the conversation).
Above I said that your primary goal is obtaining permission to continue a conversation with your prospect. And getting permission to send a prospect email messages is a powerful tool
. Like Alyson Stanfield says, "Your contact list is your #1 asset - if you use it
Email newsletters are so powerful because, if you send them to people who have given you permission (ie you are not spamming), then they are almost always personal and relevant
. They're not always timely. After all, you can't know when your prospect is thinking about buying art, or when they have some "time to kill" and are in the mood to stop and read your newsletter, or when they want to surf your website and look at your art. You simply can't know if your email newsletter is going into their trash folder or if it's going to be read.
That's why, and this is an important point, you've got to send your email newsletter often.
You need to use it consistently. When your prospect is
in that mood to read your newsletter.....then you need to be there, waiting in their inbox.
And the only way to ensure that you are there is to send your email blasts often
- twice a month, or every week, twice a week, or even every day.
I previously discussed Brian Kliewer's 100 Paintings In 100 Days for $100 each
. Brian's success (selling 59 of 89 paintings so far, garnering at least 3 commissions, and growing his email list) is due to the fact that he has been in his Collector Clan's inboxes every weekday during his project. When people are ready . . . he's there. Some days, when I receive Brian's email, I'm not in the mood, so I click "delete." No biggie, deleting the message doesn't mean I am rejecting Brian or his artwork, I'm just not in the mood that day. Other days, I have
been in the mood and have clicked through to look at his artwork. A couple of times, I wanted to purchase a piece....only to discover that it had already been sold. So, yes, the fact that Brian is emailing his list every day is driving sales of his paintings
. Because his messages are personal, relevant.......and on the days that I'm in the mood, they're timely
Remember, your contact list is your number one asset.....if you use it.
Here's the really sad part that I just realized as I wrote the last paragraph, I never receive any
marketing emails from the artists' whose works I already own. None of them even asked me if I wanted to be on an email list when I bought the artworks. Sure I could have gone to their websites and/or requested it. . . but I didn't think about it. That just goes to show you: do not be bashful - ask people if you can add their name to your email list.
But what if you don't have a big email list yet? (Brian didn't) Or, even if you do, what if you just want to make this strategy exponentially more powerful?
Then, ask yourself the following question . . . .
Who else reaches the same prospects I do?
One of the most powerful ways to be personal, timely and relevant is through strategic cross-marketing. Ask yourself, "Who else reaches the same prospects I do?" Make a list. Now go partner with those people.
Of course, saying "go partner" is easier said than done. But the effort is worth it, because this form of marketing is so powerful
I've always been a proponent of "partnership" marketing, however, a recent article by Kim Cady on Empty Easel, Art Marketing Through Partnerships
reminded me how well it works. Kim, who paints animals, has successfully partnered with animal shelters, mom-and-pop pet stores, and local animal groomers. I suspect veterinary clinics would be a good fit too. Her partners receive anywhere from 20%-50% of the proceeds she makes because of those partnerships. And that's an important point. You need to have a mentality of what you can give
to the partnership first. Give first and you'll "get" later. It's a lot easier to approach someone when you have something of value to give them.
Even the traditional gallery system is an example of "partnering." Galleries reach people who love art, and artists reach people who love art.
But who else could you partner with? Get creative. This may sound radical, but what about partnering with another artist whose work appeals to the same type of buyers as your artwork?
I look forward to the day that I'll receive an email from an artist whose work I own telling me about a great new artist she's discovered whose work I will love. THAT email would get opened and you can bet dollars-to-donuts that I would be checking out the recommended artist's portfolio.
You're probably already thinking how you wouldn't want to sell another artist's works to your
customers . . . . remember GIVE to get. The other artist will be offering your artworks to their customers too.
Partnering with others is a way to reach a much larger population of prospects....way more than you can reach on your own, all while keeping the messages personal and relevant.
Have conversations. Start an email list. Explore partnerships.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - You need a way to capture email addresses on your website. You need an easy way for you to add people to your list. And you need an easy way to send your messages properly to ensure delivery, avoid spam filters, remove bounces, track open rates etc. We offer all of that over at our sister site FineArtStudioOnline
. Our gold plan members enjoy an email newsletter module built right in with their website, blog and redundant image hosting. You don't have to pay a bunch of extra money to a separate email newsletter service. Come and give us a try
. . . it's the same system Brian Kliewer utilized. It works for him and it can work for you.