I write about art marketing—a lot about art marketing and being an artist. Between my six books, 600 blog posts, and thousands of social media posts, I’ve penned more than 2 million words on the topic. That’s enough to fill two-dozen 300-page books.
Despite all the content I publish about art marketing, my business and marketing interests are much broader. I avidly study digital, ebook, and affiliate marketing, online course creation, traditional marketing, public speaking, and more. It all helps make me a better art marketer and adds fuel to projects beyond the scope of being an artist.
You Must Find Your Way. Having Help You Can Trust Hastens Your Success
By pursuing those topics, I encounter lots of folks offering and selling their advice and help. Their services range from the mundane to splendid, effective to wasteful. Consequently, I’ve paid my dues to find the best among them. Please keep reading to learn about one whom I admire and recommend.
Avoiding Pills and Potions – Taking the Direct Path
Many gurus are selling magic pills and silver bullets. Their advice comes in a wide range of courses, coaching, software, apps, and competency. It makes sense that not all their suggestions apply when it comes to selling fine art. That’s because fine art is unique.
Consider original art is a one-of-a-kind item that is rarely purchased. It is often so expensive its acquisition requires spousal/partner approval, among other things. As such, much of conventional digital marketing wisdom doesn’t apply to the marketing of fine art. As a result, even the best advice from the most genuine gurus is not much help.
The good news is you are in a small channel. The bad news is you are in a small channel.
For reliable, long-term success in selling fine art, the best method is the direct method. Direct sales to patrons are how you gain control, make more money, and own your outcome. Use direct sales to turn the fine art channel’s small size to your advantage.
Have You Heard of Clickfunnels?
Russell Brunson has catapulted himself into the top ranks of internet marketers. He has made millions pedaling his Clickfunnels page builder digital marketing service. A recent tag line for Clickfunnels goes like this:
Everyone is just one funnel away from something… financial freedom, time freedom, a vacation, a dream home. It’s different for everyone, but all it takes is one funnel. – Russell Brunson
While I suppose one can prove the one-funnel-away point, I also find it disingenuous because I live in the internet marketing world and know that building that “one” funnel takes tremendous time, energy, knowledge, patience, and capital. It never just happens. I prefer getting advice from people who give honest assessments and set realistic expectations.
Enter Mark Thompson.
He’s a down-to-earth ex-pat Brit living in Marbella, Spain. Mark has done quite well in supporting himself for the past 15 years through internet marketing. Now, he’s focused on sharing his wisdom and helping others to succeed as well.
His method is to cut to the chase and provide solid suggestions with actionable ideas anyone can follow. He seeks to get great results with the fewest and least expensive tools necessary.
Read on to learn Mark’s thoughts about the latest “One Funnel Away” promo.
Let’s start with a few facts of life…
You probably aren’t just one funnel away.
(I HATE very few things, but that phrase is one… It’s Vampire Marketing!)
You probably don’t have enough subscribers to create a “value ladder.”
You probably don’t have enough daily conversions for Facebook’s or Google’s algorithm to kick in and do all the hard work for you.
That probably isn’t a bad thing!
I’d go as far as to say it’s a good thing if you do things logically and you’ll have something that none of the gurus have.
You’ll have a genuine relationship with your subscribers.
Engagement is the only thing you need for now.
Think about this for a few minutes.
Focus on engagement, not sales. Sales will come if you do that.
Reverse it, and sure you may get conversion rates of 1 or 2%, but I’ll tell you what, life becomes much easier if you have conversion rates above 20 or 30%.
(If you are in Serious Marketers Only or purchased Big Income Small Lists, have a quick skim though BISL and remind yourself of the principles)
If you engage and promote one niche or product as an affiliate (or create one product of your own), you can quickly become an expert in that product.
Become the expert on on-page SEO, Clickbank products, WordPress Themes, Page Builders, Intermittent Fasting, Sewing Machines for Beginners, creating unboxing videos, using Google drive, etc.
Become their go-to guy, (or gal).
You can create content about all aspects of the product/tool/niche you are promoting.
You can build a small list from that content.
You can engage with that list on an almost one-to-one basis.
In your subscriber’s minds, you can become their guru on all things related to that product/niche
That’s when the magic happens.
It will surprise you how many times you get messages that say.
“Hey, do you have an affiliate link for X Y Or Z” even though you haven’t promoted those products.
It’s a Beautiful Thing
Fifteen years in this business and I still try to keep my list below 1000. (This email is going to under 850 people)
I always get subscribers to reach out with questions almost every day.
I know many of my subscribers by first names and I’ve probably met over 100 over the years.
The message today is don’t pay attention to the “Gurus.”
Focus on building something that will help you engage with people then have an offer that will help them achieve their goals!
A Simple Stack
Here is a bonus bit that I didn’t intend to add.
If you adopt the approach above, this is all you need:
– A blog or a landing page.
– A way to add subscribers to a list
– An email service provider
– A way to take payments
– A way to deliver content.
You can spend a lot or a little; it’s up to you.
P.S. I wrote something related to this yesterday about Cause and Effect Marketing.
You can find it here in the Foundation where your free membership awaits.
Have a read … it may go some way to changing your outlook.
Two Takeaways for You
I have two takeaways for you from Mark’s comments. The first applies to my ongoing crusade to convert artists to make direct patronage their primary marketing channel. By that, I mean to connect and engage with those people who are most likely to buy from you. It’s the same principle Mark talks about above. Engagement.
Due to their weighted importance, with a small engaged group, it’s realistic to imagine 20% – 30% of the prospects on the list to buy from you repeatedly. Perhaps not monthly, or even annually, but frequently as far as original art sales go.
If you choose to sell without engagement, your list must be enormous. Your conversion rates are likely to be in the 2% – 5%, or less, range. It’s harder all the way around. You spend more time and money building and maintaining an extensive list, which takes time away from engaging on a personal level with your audience.
KNOW THIS: Above all, your best place to begin making quick, easy sales is through your local, warm, natural, networked market.
Engagement Does Not Require Physical Interaction
Engagement doesn’t mean having tea or a beer with someone. It means you have created a one-on-one dialog with your prospect. Mark and I have never met, although I’d love to visit him in his Costa del Sol surroundings someday. We’ve had a few consulting sessions and conversations; he knows about my business. When he makes recommendations to me, they are relevant to my art marketing operations. He has and continues to engage me in meaningful ways.
Semi-anonymous marketing is very hard. That’s where you are pitching out to a huge group who only knows about you because they responded to your marketing. Or, maybe they reached out to you on social media. You’re a Facebook friend with people who are essentially anonymous to you. So, a pitch like, “Hi, I’m an artist. Would you like to buy some artwork?” will fail you every time. A rushed, desperate attempt to persuade a potential buyer is a waste of time.
Engagement earns you the right to ask someone to buy your art.
Getting Past the Know-Like-Trust Hurdles
The mission of a funnel is to help replicate the steps of familiarity we all pass through when making relationships with others. You’re single and meet someone. You shake hands, make eye contact, and take notice. That may evolve now or later into a conversation, which can lead to a date to meet for coffee, and so it goes. When your online prospects encounter you and your artwork, they go through similar phases of awareness, interest, desire to learn more, and finally, action leading to an art purchase.
Google Says Sales Take 21 Touches
Google recently announced it take 18-21 touches to influence a sale to a conclusion. That’s way up from seven in the days of direct mail to 13 or 14 just a few years ago. Blame it on advertising saturation and social media. In direct mail heydays, there were three television channels, no FM radio, and no social media, internet marketing, and retargeting software marketing tools. It’s no wonder we require more contact and engagement than in the past. We have so much more to process every day
Sure, you fantasize about making a sale on the initial encounter, and that can happen at shows or in galleries. However, it’s rare enough that you can’t make a living selling art that way. It’s too random. You need a viable list of potential engaged buyers to keep the sales coming. As you read above, it can be a small list like Mark Thompson’s or a large list of informal, semi-anonymous contacts. You may wish to try both methods simultaneously. That’s very hard to do without tremendous resources available to help make things happen.
I mentioned having two takeaways for you above. Here they are:
- A small engaged list gets better results and is easier to build and maintain. Learn how to get started with the Art Marketing 101 course. Use this link to save $100
- Join “The Foundation” by Serious Marketers Only – it’s 100% free to join! You’ll get great advice and become part of a community of marketers dedicated to upping their game and sharpening their marketing techniques.
You can keep casting about hoping galleries will support you, or that you can somehow get 50,000 Instagram followers, or build a mailing list of 10,000 or more remotely-potential buyers, but I don’t recommend it as your principal way to create sales. Use them only to support your direct marketing efforts.
Instead, concentrate on getting 25, then 50, then 100, and 200 ideal buyer prospects on your list. Get to know them and find ways to communicate with them in the way they like. You don’t have to shut down gallery representation or ignore social media marketing. Just make doing those things secondary to your top priority of building your small, mighty list.
It’s a process. With incremental believable, achievable goals, you will make steady progress — plan on growing both incrementally and exponentially. The latter is a natural occurrence of having an engaged list. They will do beneficial things for you. They will buy more art and services from you more frequently and will do so cheerfully. What’s better than that?
Your Pathway to Success
When you hit some career milestone and look back, you will find your path to success came through your local, warm, natural, and networked connections. Invariably, someone you know somehow someway will be in the mix of important people in your life. If it’s not a mortal lock bet, it’s a pretty darn close bet that some in your tribe are ready to lend a hand right now. Engage them to get started.
Reach out the best you can. Never think of networking as a waste-of-time, glad-handing strangers at Chamber of Commerce meetings exercise. Keep it simple. Keep in mind, your mission is to find ways to exchange digital pleasantries over some shared experience, thought, emotion, reaction, and so forth with your ideal buyer prospects. That’s the start. Build from there.
Comment on a post or article. Send an appropriate congratulatory note. Volunteer for the same committee. Serve and support the same charity or cultural events. Join the same online groups. Ask a mutual friend or acquaintance for an introduction. As you regularly work through your options your ability to navigate such opportunities will improve with each step. That leads to speeding up the process and increasing your results.
Oh, Wait! Maybe Engaging People Does Sound Pretty Good by Comparison
If you are holding back because meeting people, even online, makes you uncomfortable, I’m sorry about that. But, I also want to ask you if meeting people is the worst part of being an artist? If you agree, I say that’s great! You only need to conquer one tiny fear to light a fire under your career. If lack of engagement is your real hurdle to success you have an easily fixed problem.
YOU GOT THIS! I know you know in your heart you can conquer mountains with determination. If you want to progress your career, you can learn to reach out and network for yourself and your art. It’s a package deal with you. Right! 🙂 It should go without saying when you really want something you can make extraordinary things happen through you.
Kick things off fast! Join Art Marketing 101 today! Use this link to get a great price.