Artists work hard!
They not only have to hone their craft, never quite hitting perfection as they constantly strive for improvement and deeper meaning and connection with their art, but they also must learn how to sell it.
Selling might seem like it goes against the heartfelt, soulful world of art but that’s simply a point of view.
Let us leave how to sell your art to the right person for another post.
This time let’s talk about art galleries.
An art gallery is a fantastic way to get your art in front of the eyes of a one-of-a-kind loving audience, but I need to remind you, the art doesn’t sell itself.
And, although an art gallery should have its own marketing plan to bring people in to view all the beautiful pieces they have on display, it’s not entirely their job alone.
It’s well known that people need to see something more than once before buying if it’s not in front of their face (or in their hands).
This means using your resources to build your audience and get your art in front of them.
Having your art in galleries and shops is just part of that. A person may see your work online and want to see a piece in person before buying.
So, here are some recommendations to help guide you.
Now, before you start saying that you’re not techy or you can’t afford one, keep in mind that there are many options these days, including free ones and many, many tutorials.
And there are many very good reasons to have your own website.
- Having a home base.
While Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms are still necessary for reaching your audience your website is your owned media.
Social media platforms can go down or even cease to exist without your control or the ability to interfere. Your website, on the other hand, is entirely up to you.
- Full control over branding, content, and look.
Social media platforms have their own branding and give you limited options for content types, layout, and capabilities. And while those options are especially useful, they are not entirely what you need.
On your website you can collect email addresses, choose what products you highlight, get more visitors through search (Google, Bing, Yahoo), and direct potential buyers as needed.
One such way is to have a list of galleries or shops your work is displayed in so they can go see it in person.
Another is to list events you are attending so they can plan to come visit and explore your skills.
Don’t forget to link the events and shops/galleries to their own websites so you are assisting them in selling your work as well as boosting your own site for search engines.
Instagram is fantastic for the visual medium of art!
I have heard a lot of ideas of how to use Instagram but one that has stuck out to me is that your feed should be used like it’s your magazine.
It is your portfolio.
Make it fit your style. Make it beautiful!
Don’t forget to share behind the scenes and some of your personality, but use the same filters so the images blend in.
And, of course, video.
Be sure to use IGTV and Stories. Go live to show your work and talk people through it or post short snippets of each piece.
Lastly, don’t forget your call to actions. Always say things like “DM me for more info if you’re interested in buying this piece” or “click the link in my bio to visit my shop/website”.
I will start this by saying that I am not a fan of Facebook, however, it does have its uses.
While it hosts the largest social media presence still and a great targeted way of reaching them with ads, it makes it hard for entrepreneurs and small businesses to reach their audience without paying.
Some recommend using your personal profile as a business profile instead but I warn you, this is against Facebook’s terms of service and can have you shut down.
Instead I feel that Facebook Groups and their newer video platform are fantastic uses.
You should still have a business page and post to it but you should use groups to collect and interact with your best fans and buyers.
Video is becoming popular on any platform so it’s never a loss to post the videos you do on Instagram on Facebook as well.
When you do a live on Instagram also do it on Facebook to sell your products.
Now while I am not a fan of Facebook, I am definitely a fan of Pinterest and boy are they making new updates that will help sellers more.
Pinterest, being visually based, is a fantastic platform for artists to share their work.
They now allow sales directly from their site as well.
- Here are some tips:
- Always watermark your images so someone can’t steal them and if they do viewers know who’s work it is anyways.
- Link directly to the piece in the image not your whole site.
- Create multiple boards based on keywords and share the same image to all of them, not necessarily all at once as pins have a 3-month lifespan.
Participating in events is a great way to not only sell your work but also to build brand recognition.
We have already covered the idea of listing them on your website and It’s already well known that participating in events is good for gaining customers so how about some tips to make the most of it?!
- Have a newsletter sign up list or form ready (or if you’re techy use a laptop or tablet with a keyboard)
- Give a business card to every buyer and those checking out your table
- Have clear signage so people can see your brand from the other side of the aisle.
Go to every event with the plan to build your brand audience even if you don’t make sales that day. And remember, every event is a treasure trove of information and experiences that you can learn and grow from.
Okay, I know no one wants to hear about paying for attention but the reality is that we live in a pay to play world.
While there are more and more ways to reach your audience without paying (organically) none of those will be as direct as paying for ads on social platforms or in search engines.
The two most popular ad platforms are Facebook and Google.
Facebook has fantastic targeting tools for getting your ads in front of your audience based on age, gender, location, interests, and so on. So you need to know or have some idea that can be fine-tuned of who your audience is.
Whereas I do suggest you do keyword research before getting into Google ads.
So, in short, you can’t rely on galleries and shops that carry your work to do all the advertising for you then become disappointed when it’s not flying out the door.
Gallery and shop owners should have their own marketing plans and methods but as the artist, you should never stop marketing yourself.