In the world of selling and marketing your art, there are obvious tactics and subtle tactics. Obvious are things like marketing plans, and all the tricks and techniques I talk about in my Art Marketing Boot Camp series. But there are also many subtle things that we rarely think of as important in selling art. One such subtlety is the impact a frame has on the sale.
Years ago my wife asked a couple to spend a holiday weekend with us at the lake. When the power went down on Friday afternoon and we realized we’d blown out the breaker box, the husband, an electrician by trade, generously offered to fix it. So we went to the local hardware store to buy the parts.
Pricing is the least understood facet of any business, but it’s one that can easily be fixed — without a negative impact. Most of the artists I know are underselling their art, struggling, having to paint too many paintings to keep their heads above water. They are on an exhausting treadmill because their prices are too low.
Dear Artist Friends, I hate marketing. There, I feel better now that I’ve said it. I hate marketing when it’s sleazy. I hate marketing when it’s dishonest. I hate marketing when it exaggerates. I hate marketing when it lies or it misleads. Most of the artists I know also hate marketing. They think it’s dirty. In fact, most of the artists I know believe that art should sell itself. That someone should see it, respond to it, and buy it. I’d like that too. I’d also like it if I sat down at the counter of a soda fountain in Hollywood and had a producer walk in, discover me, and make me famous. That’s what supposedly happened to Lana Turner, a 1940s Hollywood star. But it turns out it’s a myth — it never happened. It was crafted by a Hollywood PR agent so people would feel more connected to this new star as “one of them.” Tens of thousands of young wannabe stars show up in Hollywood hoping to be discovered. And those tens of thousands get whittled down to a few hundred who ever get a part, a few who become famous, and a tiny number who stay famous. Though most in Hollywood want to believe that luck plays a role, most Hollywood agents will tell you that the ones who succeed make their own luck [...]
Louise Murphy of Fredericksburg, Texas, asks, "What one marketing method would you use if you were just getting started?” Well, I know you’re eager to get out and start marketing. But Louise, before you do anything, before you get your work out there and start selling, you need to know where you want to go — before you go there. You don’t get in your car and start driving before you have a destination in mind. Same for this: Before you start marketing, you need to set your goals. Then you’ll build a strategy and tactics to get you to that goal.