A Conversation with Graeme about ways to promote your art.
Transcribed from the webinar 10 art promotion tips.
There are many different techniques that can help to market your art.
1. Raise your prices
I find sometimes that artists actually undervalue what they’re doing and collectors question the situation – why am I paying so much less, or not enough for the work? In raising your prices over a period of time, you can establish yourself. After 5 to 10 years of really working hard, make sure that on an annual basis you put your prices up a little bit.
Don’t raise your price too high.
What can happen sometimes with artists is that they can raise their prices so high that they put themselves out of the market. Then when they want to sell at a future date, no one wants to buy them, and you can’t drop them down either, because the people who have paid good prices for them get quite upset when all of a sudden the same size painting is half the price that it was when they brought it 5 years before hand.
So raise those prices but raise them gradually.
Include some testimonials from people that have brought your work.
If you have a regular patron, ask them to give you a testimonial about how they feel about purchasing your artwork.
Eg. I purchased Graeme’s work last year and it now hangs proudly above my piano. It find it inspirational to my playing.
You can use these testimonials when you are approaching new clients, or galleries. Testimonials have more weight if they are written by well-known people.
Talk about the benefits of your work. Why would people buy your work? What’s good about it? Is it spiritually inclined? Are there great landscapes? Would it go well in a particular part of the home? You can do this by getting to know people quite well. A good tip is: when selling in a gallery or a trade show, don’t try to sell them the painting first. Ask them about their home, their biggest asset, and find out what it is like. Get into their head and into their home. Ask them questions about the kind of house: is it a beach house, a Spanish type home or a modern home. Ask them if they’ve got a fire place? And how big is the lounge room? Ask questions so you can paint a picture in your mind, about their asset, the thing of which they are most proud.
You can then suggest to them, this painting would go well in that section right beside the fireplace in the corner.
4. Offer bonuses or free gifts
Offer a free gift with your work. If somebody’s a bit hesitant in buying, why not say, “how about I throw in a print for you”. Or a mug, a set of postcards or something else you can make cheaply. This is a way of keeping the sale going. When they say, “I’ll think about it”. Say, “before you walk away, I’ll give you one other thing as well.”
Or suggest they buy two for a discounted rate, and reduce the price for them. Make it a win win. So you benefit and they benefiting – their spending more money but their getting more work.
5. Have an exchange policy
Some artists have got an exchange policy where you exchange the artwork two years down the line. Who the customer gets to the stage where they are thinking they don’t particularly like the art work any longer, it motivates the buyer to come back.
You can “say not a problem – you can exchange that one”.
It keeps the buyers coming back to you then. You need to keep that communication going. When the buyer comes back to exchange you have will have another opportunity to upsell and suggest they buy something else. “I’d really like to exchange this one and I’d like to purchase, that one too.”
6. Handle your art with care
It’s not rubbish, it’s something that you’ve created. Put cornaces on your art and then wrap it properly when you’re going to a show and keep it handy. If you’re at a trade show and you’re talking to people about your art, make sure that you’ve got a painting that is possibly on the floor, that’s got the cornaces on it. They can see the bubblewrap and see that this person really cares about what they’re doing.
7. Shameless self promotion
Promote your value as an artist your achievements and your awards. What have you done? Last year, I was awarded the Order of Australia Medal. There’s only six artists in the country that have this medal. Media, members, patrons and friends were all informed. Make sure people know about your achievements. It does not only have to be about your art. I have lived in 5 countries, been around the world dozens of times just absorbing art, absorbing the planet. This is that’s part of your achievement and story. Make sure you tell that to people.
8. Dress to impress
When you turn up at an exhibition opening or anywhere there are potential patrons, dress to impress. Most of the people that are going to be buying your work are going to be left brain people. They can’t paint it, but they love and admire it.
If you’re going to walk around like you’ve got your bum out of your trousers – that’s your value.
I wear a suit or a sports coat when I do my talks, or when I’m in a gallery. If I go to a client, or in a gallery setting, or a trade show, I dress to impress. Those other people that wear a suit are going to say , “he’s an artist but he’s just like me too.“
9. Explain the value of the materials that you use.
There are a lot of buyers that will look at the back of the canvas if they’re buying a painting. They’ll actually turn the back of the painting over. They are looking to see the quality of the canvas and the stretchers- the frame that holds the canvas in place.
Your canvas can look really impressive from the front, but if it is not made of good quality materials it will affect the price. A lot of artists cannot afford to get the best materials. I do it , occasionally but not always, if I’m painting what I think is going to be a really valuable painting.
Stretchers are good place to start. Get the best stretchers. The thin little Chinese ones that you buy at the two dollar shop are not good quality. If that’s what you’re putting your paintings on – you can expect to be paid a price for your art that reflects that.
Choose Belgian linen as the canvas fabric, if you want to use the best that you possibly can. There is also cost involved in the framing. I don’t frame a lot of my work these days, but if I’m looking at art work that I really like, I’m going to present it at its best. I can spend $400– $600 on a frame for a painting worth $12 000 .
10. Share your creative process
Tell people about your creative process. Don’t be afraid to do that. If you’re at a trade show or a gallery try to be there painting so the people can see you in action. Not necessarily on opening night of course. That’s when you are going to do most of the meeting and greeting. Generally exhibition openings are on a Friday night. Tell the gallery director that you are going to be working on a piece on the Saturday or Sunday. Patrons will want to come along and watch. Often, the artist is there for only one night, but if you’ve got a show on for two weeks, I’d suggest you’d be there painting every weekend. When it is advertised that you will be painting on site, I can almost guarantee that a lot more people will come in, because they want to see your techniques.
80% of the time you’re going to sell to people through the connection to the story of your art and career. So when you’re there, painting on site, you are more available to connect with them.
You can share stories and they can form an attachment to you or the painting because they personally got to meet you. You want them to really like you as an artist so they will love what you’ve done with your art and what you’ve done with your life. They will want a little piece of you.
What they’re doing is buying a part of your soul.
Use your Colour in Your Life show to share your story.
If you’re a CIYL artist, have your CIYL show playing, so people can watch it. Many of our artists have said it’s been fantastic for them. They may have a whole bunch of people in their booth or gallery talking away and if their show is there on a loop and they can see it on a little screen TV, they are more likely to say
“wow, that was really cool. I’ve got to know the artist while standing in the room and I never even spoke to them.”
That’s why it’s important what Colour in Your Life does. We give artists a tool to promote themselves for years and years to come.
Finally, be there and be available. Turn up to as many events as you possibly can, just to get to know people. People are there to buy art. Make sure you are well dressed, well-presented and have your brochures and cards with you.
Thank you for joining us this week. What are some ways that your promote your art ? What were your experiences? We’d like to hear from you. Leave a note in the comments section or open a discussion in our forums.
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