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Here Are 30 Useful Ideas How to Find New Buyers and Sell More Art


Pick Up Some Juicy Ways to Find New Buyers

Here are a few things I think nearly any artist can do for free or without spending very much money to find new buyers, generate genuine interest and make more sales. Succeed at a mere handful of these suggestions and watch your business grow.

I’m not saying they don’t take effort or some money, but what successful program doesn’t? Now is neither the time to sit it out or to hope someone will come along and make things magically happen for your career.

  1. Ask a family member to buy or introduce you to someone who might.
  2. Ask a friend or colleague to buy or introduce you to someone who might.
  3. Befriend an interior decorator.
  4. Seek influencers. You know who they are. The people everyone goes to for advice.
  5. Write a column for your local newspaper.
  6. Give a talk at an upscale 55+ housing development.
  7. Put art on consignment in alternative spaces, e.g., salons, spas.
  8. Paint your car into an art car. It’s a showstopper idea that works!
  9. Do a series of targeted postcards campaign.
  10. Get listed in every local phone book and local directory… don’t stop there… online directories, too!
  11. Go to Chamber of Commerce, or other such business social meetings… and be social. Get to know people. Not everyone is a buyer, but all are sources of referrals for you.
  12. Be involved in a local charity.
  13. Start a meetup group to visit local galleries or wineries.
  14. Have an annual party for collectors and friends.
  15. Never leave home or studio without brochures, postcards, or if nothing else business cards, to show when asked what you do.
  16. Arrange interviews with local radio hosts on a relevant subject you’ve studied, e.g., the benefit of the WPA arts projects and how it relates to today. Or, how the arts add monetary value to the community. Pick a passion project and promote it.
  17. Send a personal handwritten thank you on note cards with your art to everyone who shows an interest. Ask them to visit your website, studio, or next show.
  18. Get the email address of everyone you meet. Send themĀ a note and offer to put them on your mailing list with the chance to get an advanced purchase discount on your next new print or free quarterly drawing for a print.
  19. Host an hors d’ oeuvres, wine and art party at someone else’s home or office.
  20. Have an e-commerce means of selling your art that you control fully, i.e., sell directly from your Web site or blog.
  21. Start a newsletter about art events in your area. Get every email address you can get. Be relentless.
  22. Rent an empty retail space and have an “art happening” with other artists and musicians.
  23. Let your imagination run free and do something you would never do… discover the pleasure of amazing yourself with your possibilities once you stop getting in your own way.
  24. Find and befriend those talented people who are not interior design professionals, but who always seem to be helping others with working on their home.
  25. Pitch ideas for stories or decorating or other themes involving your art to local morning TV talk shows. Do you have any idea how many people they need to book each week to keep the content fresh and audience interested?
  26. Be interesting. Learn to tell some art-related stories. Talk about how Picasso, Frida Kahlo or Georgia O’Keefe was eccentric and creative beyond belief, or provide anecdotes about artists you admire and why.
  27. Learn to talk about how you come up with ideas for your art and how it makes you think and feel to produce the result.
  28. Don’t be shy about asking someone to buy. Often they need to be reassured it is a good suggestion.
  29. Get local picture framers to carry your work and recommend it.
  30. Be your own best agent and marketer. No one can talk about your art the way you do.

Do you have a plan to find new buyers? They are all around once you start looking.

 


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  1. I love how outside of the box many of these ideas are! Although I am surprised that networking using social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc, aren’t included in this otherwise excellent toolbox. I think the only stumbling block for many of the items on the list is the fear factor, ie easier said than done.

  2. This is a wonderfully comprehensive list, thanks so much. All really great action plans for jump starting your marketing efforts in a tough economy.

  3. I have always loved art. I became disabled in 2012 and art is my passion and a stress reliever. I have been a member of Fine Art America since 2012. I have visitors to my art work but no buyers. I have even tried to sell my art at craft fairs without success. I just need some direction cause I am running out of space for my art work. I am considering selling on Etsy. I just can’t get going. Please advise.

    Thanks,
    Brenda Harris

    1. Dear Brenda, Thanks for your reply. I’m sorry you are having problems finding buyers for your work. It’s not always easy. The reasons can be many. Things that can affect your ability to find buyers start with your art. Is there a viable market for the work you are making? If so, who are the ideal buyers? What is their demographics including age, gender, income, interests, and more? Do you have a method of gathering email addresses and then staying in touch with your potential buyer pool? Are you communicating with your prospects on a regular basis? FineArtAmerica is a great site to drive traffic to it for fulfillment. But, it nor any site like it has the means to create interest for all its members. Etsy is going to be more of the same as with FAA. With all these sites, the marketing needs to be done by the artist. Wishing you all the best!

  4. Hello Barney, …as an interior designer that is now transitioning into a studio artist, I may offer a little different advice and information when it comes to working with interior designers. Long gone are the days when artists or art reps make in person appointments with designers to show their portfolios. Designers are inundated with marketing and sales from company reps from all aspects of design. Time can be very tight, and even an email with links to an online portfolio gets quickly overlooked. I recommend first sending a full color post ocard that will grab attention and then follow up with emails.

    Designers want to know what is out there in the market and galleries…but quite frankly, art can be one of the last things purchased, depending on what is left in a budget. Additionally, each project is unique, so searching for a particular piece of art for a specific room and wall means the designer is probably narrowing down their search with known sources that can offer several choices by different artists to choose from.

    Occasionally I’ve had a client commission a piece from an artist that the client likes their work, but nothing that fits currently into the project. Commissions can be time consuming for a project.

    Abstract art is very popular with residential design right now…and large canvases are in big demand. Depeion the designer, pieces are often bought to fit into a color scheme. Personally, I always insisted the client be involved in the art search and to look at and buy art that they felt a connection to…not just a piece of art that they will tire of when they update their Interiors.

    When it comes to commercial design, budgets are usually very tight, so reproduction pieces are typically bought..and usually from a large selection of artists works on line. There are companies that do a great job with semi-custom matting and framing…at very low cost.

    I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying to work with the design trade, but it isn’t so open as you would like or think. As far as upscale retirement communities…when I have worked with clients in these situations, they are usually down sizing and are already having to eliminate many of their “treasures”…so this is not really a great market for selling to new artwork.

    As far as HOUZZ…this is a very good resource. My work is on there for interior design. They have a marketplace where you can set up a store for products. This is a good platform to reach potential clients and perhaps grab the attention of designers.

    Hope my insights are helpful…

    Terri Symington, ASID

    1. Hi Terri, Thanks for your insights. I agree with you that getting traction with interior designers is not always easy. But, that’s the case for nearly all venues where artists are seeking to get their work sold. Dick Harrison, my co-author or How to Sell Art to Interior Designers, made a very nice living selling to designers for more than 20 years. He did this by establishing relationships with them, learning what they needed, and being available to them when they called. He found ways to get 15 minutes of a designer’s time and knew how to make the most of it. Your postcard suggestion is a good one. But, if an artist has art that is suitable for design market then being politely aggressive in making contact is going to work in their favor most often. As the saying goes, “Fortune favors the bold.”

  5. I enjoyed reading your suggestions for finding buyers. I was an art teacher for twenty-three years in VT. I taught Oil, Acrylics, and Pen & Ink Drawing. I retired and then opened an advertising company called Graphics Plus although my first love was fine art. I realized that although I was known in the all the surrounding towns, I needed to expand my work. I used the newspaper, and found that everyone owned a pet. I had rendered several friends pets in pen & ink and then from local art shows I began taking commissions. That was very accepted by many people. I ended up with thirty-five breeds. I then posted them up on ebay and sold close to 300 of them with 100 present positive feed back. I had to be careful to maintain a copywrite on all commissions. Also Cats magazine gave me a full page for a print I called Friends, a Kitten sleeping on a Golden Retrievers head. This all was many years ago now. It does show if your an artist one thing leads to another. I could go on but I think maybe some artists might be encouraged to try some of your ideas.

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