- by Barney Davey
What Is Your Vision of Success?
Whatever vision you have for your career it is personal. You can be a serious hobbyist, have high ambitions for a full-fledged career, or something in between. As long as you are satisfied with your goals and achievements that is all that matters. However, if awareness and sales are part of your plans then mastering art marketing is essential.
What Is the Business Success Formula?
A description of the success formula in its most simple form reads like this. “Make or distribute a product or service. Then sell it to new and existing customers.” It universally applies to large and small businesses, including visual artists.
Running a successful small business is a challenge
You instinctively know a simple formula is more complicated when as you go deeper into its intricate parts. Likewise, you know worthwhile achievements or activities are rarely basic or come easy.
Adding to the problem, business owners deal with these vexing issues:
- Too much to do
- Too little time
- Sparse action on important things that lack appeal to get done or training to do them
You are not alone
If those bullet points hit home, don’t feel alone. Most artists have the exact experience. It’s how the catchphrase, “What they don’t teach you in art school” entered the lexicon.
What separates successful artists is how they adapt to their circumstances. Do they have a pity party and assign blame? Sometimes. We’re all human. But, top producers get over their difficulties and rise to the occasion.
You don’t have to accept your situation. You can exercise free will and choose to act and see things differently. The only stopping you is you.
Going solo is a hard path to follow
Getting help on how to act and choose differently makes a positive difference. Fortunately, knowledge, insights, and inspiration are available. You will find working within an encouraging environment is helpful and rewarding.
Art Marketing Mastery Is a Key to a Rewarding Career
Incorporating the 8-steps to art marketing mastery will improve your career. It does, however, come with expectation. That is, please only start using the steps after you have your art-making process under control.
Gain mastery over the creative aspect of your art career first. Only then start to market your art. For the record, marketing includes everything you do to get your artwork seen and sold.
Control of your art making process is a two-fold proposition:
- You have a recognizable style of art people want to buy
- You can produce enough art to meet the demand your marketing will create
The 8-Steps to Art Marketing Mastery:
- Set Achievable Goals
- Make them believable and achievable
- Set stretch goals to pull you beyond your normal range
- Realistic Resource Assessment
- Honestly evaluate your art and business skills, production capabilities, finances, personnel and more
- Understand the weaknesses that need shoring up and strengths you can rely on
- Branding – Self-promotion
- Create an online & offline identifiable persona. Control what people say about you when you are not there
- Take charge to develop a unified image, message, and perception
- Local Marketing / Networking
- Fully use hometown advantage of built-in contacts and familiarity
- Realize selling local is easier and less expensive than going long distances to sell strangers
- Online Marketing
- Gain an understanding of all available online marketing tools
- Determine and use the best tools for you
- Traditional Marketing
- Gain an understanding of all available offline/traditional marketing tools
- Identify and put the best tools to use for you
- Project Planning / Synergistic Marketing
- Focus marketing efforts on high-value projects
- Create an overlapping marketing agenda to reach targeted audience with consistent messaging frequently
- Develop Direct Patronage
- Research to find who are your ideal buyers and how to find them
- Use customer hunting techniques to associate, connect and become known to them
The 100 Collector Theory
The rise of the internet and the evolution of consumer buying habits due to it changed things forever. Many industries, including the art business, were affected. The trade magazine business where I made a living for 30 years was flattened. And the art print market and the art gallery business were hit hard, too.
Before these changes, galleries were how most artists got their work seen and sold. Yes, there were exceptions. But marketing to collectors was expensive. And, collectors were not open to buying from artists as they are now.
There never were enough galleries to go around
There are fewer galleries now than in the past. Those remaining have less influence in how art gets sold. Artists must find ways to sell to patrons and collectors now. You can still work with galleries, don’t use them as your sole way to sell your art.
Technology and social media make this possible. First, the that ruined my trade magazine business while making helping artists. It is affordable and easy for artists to market their work to collectors. Second, consumers are buying expensive items online unlike the past. For example, Costco.com is one of the largest online diamond retailers in the world.
What Is the 100 Collector Theory?
There is a rule of thumb an average artist can make 1,000 originals in a lifetime. That is producing 33 pieces a year over a 30-year career. Without question, your mileage will vary. But, with appropriate modifications, your results will fall within the concept of the 100 Collector Theory.
The rules have changed for artists
Artists can sell to patrons as never before. Imagine you have 100 or more collectors who buy many pieces of your original work. It’s not a stretch to think they would account for as much as 300 – 500 artworks from your original line. That’s a third or half if your lifetime output is 1,000 pieces.
You learn a lot by watching what people do
As a sales and marketing executive for 30 years, I closely observed human nature. As a result, I know sellers who have a long-term relationship with a buyer will make referrals for them… often without being asked.
It’s a nice, profitable benefit of developing direct patronage. The shame is too few artists tap this profitable resource.
A top priority is for artists is to collect 100 collectors. Human nature dictates they will know and like your work. Upi can be sure this small, mighty group will assist your career in countless ways.
Among your benefactors, some will know influential people. Perhaps with contacts in museums, galleries, or important cultural organizations. They may know developers who can suggest your work for public or private buildings. Those are top of mind examples of many beneficial things to come your way.
How to build a buffer against problems you don’t control
By selling to collectors, you create a buffer against invariable setbacks. Things like third party distribution channels failing. Facebook might fall from popularity. Or, it could change policies that hurt you or raise prices. Galleries are a high-risk business. Only the best stay around for a long time. The gallery horror stories from artists are too many to count.
Don’t get me wrong. Selling to collectors is not all artists need to do to get seen and sold. Having a mix of collectors and third-party distribution channels, including galleries is the way to augment direct patronagle sales. You want a mix of ways to sell your work, and to grow and sustain your art career.
A book and workshop based nearly 30 years advising artists
I wrote Guerrilla Marketing for Artists: How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof your Career with strong conviction and firm beliefs. Its concepts come from my extensive personal and professional marketing experiences. The book gives artists all the steps they need to take to set themselves up for lasting career success.
I am aware from my personal example that the learning from books does not translate well into action. I can read a book and love the ideas in it, but will not take all the steps the author had in mind for the readers. It’s how we humans operate.
A path for artists today
I know excitement from reading a book rarely causes massive action. That is why I created the 8-Steps to Art Marketing Mastery Workshop
You always will get more done when you commit to taking action as part of an organized program. There is nothing like the boost you get taking action with others who are on the same path. Top results happen.
The sum of the parts is greater than the sum of the whole.
In those situations, a group dynamic happens. The participants gain from the encouragement and knowledge offered by the other members. The dynamic is the sum of the parts is greater than the sum of the whole.
Now you have my theory and beliefs on how visual artists today can take control of their careers. Get a copy of my Guerrilla Marketing for Artists book. It might be all you need to set you on a path to art marketing mastery.
If that’s the case, I’m proud of you. If you grasp the concepts, have a buy-in they will work for you, you can use them to create your success on your terms.
Go it alone or get some help.
If you want to register or learn more, CLICK HERE