In the Art Marketing Minute Podcast, you’ll learn how to sell your art, how to market your paintings and everything else you need to know in order to have a successful art career. Each episode answers questions from artists by host Eric Rhoads, author of “Make More Money Selling Your Art,” publisher of several art magazines and newsletters, and author of ArtMarketing.com.
In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads discusses why website traffic might not be as important as you think; and the top art marketing lessons of 2022.
Have a question about how to sell your art? Ask Eric at artmarketing.com/questions.
Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 114 >
Submit Your Art Marketing Question:
What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.
FULL TRANSCRIPT of the Art Marketing Minute:
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Art Marketing Minute. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
This is the Art Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the Amazon best-selling book, “Make More Money Selling Your Art.” In the marketing minute, we answer your questions to help your art career brought to you by artmarketing.com, the place to go to learn more about marketing. Now, here’s your host, art magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.
The marketing minute I try to answer your art marketing questions. Sometimes I fail. We’ll see what happens today. You can upload a video question to art marketing.com/questions. Or you can email me [email protected] Amandine, my producer is on it. She is gathering questions and she’s going to tell us what today’s question is.
So the first question today is from Rick Pearson from Jacksonville, Florida. I have kept a website for years. But other than traffic, I deter it from my own social media and email, it gains very little traffic, how can I create interest and raise the level?
Thank you for that, Rick, you know, so this is? It’s a similar question. This woman came to me. And she said, I want a website. I said, Okay. And she said, I said why? And she said, because I know that if I build a website, you know, the world’s gonna be the path to my door, I’m gonna get rich, I’m going to sell lots of paintings. And you’re going to sell lots of workshops and everything else. And I said, Okay. Do you think that’s going to work? She said, Yeah, I do. I think it’s going to work. So she builds her website, she calls me six months later, and she said, I haven’t really had any visitors. What am I doing wrong? And I said, what you’re doing wrong is you’re assuming that a website is a marketing tactic. And it’s kind of like having a website is kind of like being listed in the phonebook. Anybody remember phone books, you know, there, there are some, some ridiculous number like 190 200,000 new websites every single day, you know, there are billions of websites, and to think that somebody’s going to discover you, and come to your page and spend money. It’s just it’s folly. And so what you have to do is you have to, you have to drive the discovery, you have to have a very specific purpose. Now, you mentioned that, you know, other than social media and email, I gained very little traffic. So this this case, Rick Peterson from Jacksonville is using email, probably sending out a newsletter or something like that using social media to drive traffic, but it’s not driving enough traffic. Or, and the reality is, I mean, if you back this up a little bit further, when how many people do you really need? How many visitors? Do you really need? Do you need 100,000? Do you need a million? Do you need 10 million? It kind of goes back to how many followers do you need on social media? You know, the reality is if most artists who are active and generating paintings are not generating a whole heck of a lot of paintings, and if you want to sell let’s say your number is 50 paintings a year? How many people do you really need? You need 50? People actually, you probably need 25 people, you just got to sell two paintings, each one of them. So you got to think a little bit differently about this. Rick, I think that I have a gut feeling that this concept of websites is going to change pretty considerably. Because the reality is you need to be where the traffic is. And the traffic is not on your website. So where can you be where the traffic is? Well, there, there are lots of options for you there are there people who sell art online and you can become part of an art online community and sell your work there. A really great example of that is Etsy. Etsy is a site for crafts people. Amazon also has a craft site where you can put your craft, in your case your paintings, or photography, or whatever it is on those sites. And you might have a chance of getting discovered a little easier in there. Because you know, somebody might search a term that will pop up one of your paintings in the search, or you have the opportunity in some case is if you want to put a little money after you can kind of stimulate how you can get featured on a page or how you can show up a little faster and so on. But you know, the reality is, is if you want to drive traffic, you have to be willing to spend money. Now you can do it organically. But you said you’re doing it on your on your social media, and you’re not getting a lot of traffic. And that’s an issue. Now, a lot of us have social media followers, who are our own tribe, not the people that you want to sell paintings to. And so you might want to start there by saying, Okay, how can I make my social media more about the people, I want to sell paintings to how do I get art collectors there? To my, to my site? And then what else can I do to drive them there? You know, so how do I drive people I drive people. First off, I use everything, you know, it used to be, there was a single channel for marketing. Today, there’s 100 channels for marketing. And, and there are channels within channels, for instance, magazine advertising, which may seem old school is still working very effectively, because there are people who like to have that tactile paper in their hands and the images and, and they’ll rip pages out and hand them to their assistant and say, Hey, call and find out how much this painting is, you know, really, really rich people think like that. And you want to be in an environment where you can get to the people who are likely to buy your paintings and doesn’t necessarily have to be really, really rich people. You know, my magazine Fine Art kind of service, you know, like three 400 billionaires and a lot of upper one percenters and really, really rich people who read it. And I had I had an incident where somebody said to me, Well, you know, I’ve advertised in there, and I’m not selling, and I looked at their ads, and I looked at their website, and I said, Well, you’re too cheap. And they said, Well, how could that be? And I said, well, because people with money want something that is not cheap. And so I recommended actually considering raising his prices. I don’t know if he did or not. But you know, I always tell this story about this art show. I’ve told it 1000 times probably told it here. But this guy at the plein air convention told me the story said he was at an art show, lady came up to the booth said I’d like to buy that painting. She said, How much is it? He says it’s for $4,000? She writes, she said I’ll take it, she writes a check handsome a check for $40,000. He says, oh, ma’am. It’s not 40,000, it’s 4000. And she said, Oh, it must not be very good. And she ripped up the check and left. So you’ve got to understand how people think. And just because you think a particular way doesn’t mean that’s how your buyers think. So you’ve got to ask yourself, How do I drive them their ads, social media, et cetera. But the real real issue is, everybody is focused on selling a painting. And I think that’s the wrong focus. You see, selling a painting isn’t necessarily what it’s all about. It’s, it’s ultimately where you want to be. But what you want to do is sell a painting at a higher price, you want to get your prices up, you want to get to a point where collectors are collecting you buying multiple pieces of work. And the way to do that is through branding. I’ll talk about that a little bit more in a minute. But I think the idea is you want to be capturing names, you want to be contacting those names with, with some, you know, some newsletters, and there’s a whole different way to do that. You know, most people do newsletters wrong. I talked a little bit about that in my book. But the idea is, if you want to drive traffic, follow what the big boys do. And the big boys spend money to drive traffic. And they do it in a lot of ways. Sometimes it’s social media advertising, sometimes it’s traditional advertising, sometimes it’s direct mail. You know, there’s a lot of different things don’t poopoo the old things just because, you know, they’re not cool and modern, because they still work. And those things can be very effective for you on Monday. And our next question.
I actually have a question for you. We are now one day away from the end of 2022. And I think it’s a good time to look back at the year and remember what we accomplished and learned. So share with us the marketing lesson that helped you the most in 2022.
Well, I’m not sure I could tell you a specific marketing thing that I learned and 22 I I study like a madman I read everything. I’m a member of some mastermind groups. I you know, I buy courses I am obsessed with learning, because everything changed me Everything changed. After COVID, the way people buy today is different than the way they bought two years ago. And everything is always changing. So you got to stay up on the changes, and it’s hard to stay up on top of it. And, you know, I probably spend at least a couple hours every single day trying to stay on top of this stuff, because I teach it, I got to make sure that I know it. But you know, it always boils down to the basics always has even the things that are changing boiled down to the basics. What I do, and what I would recommend for most people to do is, is you’ve got to make a plan for 2023. In this particular case, it’s kind of late, right? Because you’ve got to make a plan, then you got to implement the plan. And I usually try to, you know, make my plan in the early fall, usually September, and I plan out my whole year, my company, all the things that we’re going to do, and and we have meetings, and you know, we do all that kind of stuff, then. But you know, it’s the second best time is now right? So what you want to do is sit down and I recommend go into a quiet room with a pad of paper, and just sit down and dreams start with a dream. And start with asking yourself, what do I want out of my life? What do I want my life to look like in 2023 2425? You know, be thinking a few years in advance? And what do I don’t want? What do I not want to do? Because that’s important? What do I want to do more of one of the things I love doing, what do I need? What are my my financial needs? What are my family needs? You know, what, what are you dreaming about having? You know, is it something you want to have build a new studio or build a house or own a house or, you know, whatever it might be? And so you start out by you lay all that stuff out, you get it all on paper, and then you go through and you say, Okay, let’s come up with a priority, what is the most important one thing on this list? That if I if I managed to do this one thing, then I will be further along. So you figure out what that one thing is. And then you say to yourself, Okay, I have the one thing now I gotta build a plan. So I you know, I usually have two or three things, but one thing makes up 80%. Right? So what is the one thing that makes up 80%? That’s going to move the needle the most in my life? And then you say, Okay, what do I need to do to get there? Now? If it’s financial, then you say, Okay, well, the number is $100,000, or 500,000, or whatever your number is. Now you say, Okay, how much is that a month? I just wrote an article that’s going to be in the OPA newsletter, maybe it’s been there already about this, but you know, you start looking at your your needs, what do I have to have in order to hit this goal? What do I need? On top of what I have to have? How many paintings do I have to sell in an average year to get there? And how do I get that many paintings sold? And then you know, it’s a process of, alright, if I’m selling two to a month now and I need to sell for a month, I’m doubling my business, how do I do that. And so you go through this entire process of thinking through it, and you’re going to be thinking about your advertising your social media strategy, your tactics. But first off, you think about things like your branding, because as I mentioned earlier, you know, branding is really, really, really critical. Because branding, puts you on the top 10 list, or the top five list or the top two lists. You see, here’s what happens. Let’s say that somebody decides to leave me a big amount of money. I don’t know what a big amount of money is. But let’s say it’s a big amount of money. And I say to myself, you know, I have enough money. There’s an artist that I’ve always wanted to own. And who is that artists now, in my particular case, I can tell you right off the top, if I had enough money, I would buy John Singer Sargent and I would buy Edgar Payne and I’d buy Joaquin, Surya and Zorn, you know, those kinds of things, if they could be bought, you’d have to have a whole lot of money to get some of those. Well, the other thing is, how do I get on the, you know, of the contemporary artists, everybody out there? If I if I say, Who do you think of is the top landscape artists in America that you would want to own? I think a lot of people would say Clyde, ASP IVIG maybe they’d say Scott Christiansen, there might be some other names, but there’s a couple that float to the top. Now, that doesn’t happen by accident. Now, it does happen by longevity. But it’s not just longevity because there are artists who’ve been out there longer than these people have, that nobody has ever heard of. So they’re very, very smart. people and they’re very smart about keeping their names visible, you know, and finding ways that they can be, they can highly visible and build their brands. So, you know, you say, Okay, well, okay, who’s number three on that list? Is it? You know, is it George Carlson? Is it T. Allen Lawson, is it? You know, I mean, there’s, you know, there’s a lot of big names that come to mind. You’ve got to figure out how do I insert myself into that list. And the way to do that is branding. Now I can tell you that an artists like Lori Putnam, just put her money where her mouth is probably 10 years ago, and she just said, You know what, I don’t have the money, but I’m going to start advertising and she advertises and fine art connoisseur and plein air magazine, every single issue. And I think both issues are both magazines, I’m not sure. And over time, and it took time, it built, she started getting invitations to things she started getting invitations to better galleries, and then she got able to go into even better galleries, and she started a collector base, and she became very well known. And she knows that if she drops that advertising for three months, she’s out of sight and out of mind. And or if she drops it for six months, and a lot of people are like, well, you know, everybody knows who I am now? Well, no, because it’s like a giant escalator. Right? There’s people coming in, and people coming out all the time, and you got to be branding to new people all the time. There’s attrition, you’re gonna have collectors that you’re gonna lose, you’re gonna be bringing new ones on, you have to stay top of mind. And so when you’re laying out your plan, ask yourself what you know, where do you really want to be, and most things don’t happen in a year. Right, you can make some pretty big things happen in a year. But you know, to get on, get known at the level of a high level artist, you know, first off, you got to get the chops, you got to be able to paint like that. But you also have to be, you got to just be branding yourself constantly, you got to be out there, pushing it, getting your name out there. And look, look at Ryan Jensen’s ads in plein air magazine, you know, he’s flying across the air, like Superman, it just grabs your attention, it immediately says this guy is different. This guy’s a crazy man. And that’s the branding, I’m sure that he wants. And so by being out there all the time, what’s going to happen, he’s going to elevate himself into the, that list of must haves as a collector, you know, and a lot of collectors have a must have list, you know, they have the artists that they see it the events they hear about, they just got to have them in their collection, that’s where you want to be ultimately so, you know, figure out how to where you want to be what’s your strategy, what are your tactics, it’s not always about selling art immediately. It’s about planting seeds, right? You know, you don’t grow money trees, you don’t put a seed in the ground, and that money tree doesn’t grow. Immediately, you know, it’s just like you say, Okay, I’m gonna plant bananas, well, you got to, you know, I planted pineapples, it took a little time for pineapples to come up, I planted an avocado tree out of a seed, you know, in the first five, seven years, it didn’t bear fruit, and then all of a sudden, I had more fruit than I could possibly have. So I think the idea is you want to just plant the seeds for money trees, and then you want to stand in the river where the money is flowing in that in other words, what that means is, where are the collectors, where are the people buying paintings, spending their time, if they’re in Fine Art connoisseur or plein air magazine, then that’s where you need to be it because if they’re not on your social media site, and many of them are not, and there are people out there, you don’t even know who are out there that are seeing these things that are buying these things. I have a one one gallery tells me he sells an average of $80,000 for every time he runs an ad in one of those magazines so I mean it just it but he sells expensive paintings. So you just got to lay out a plan, figure out your tactics, but most important is start with a plan and get help you know, there’s lots of lots of marketing information out there. Some of its good some of it’s not good, you’re gonna have to decide, but get some help learn about this study this if you are in a business, you are expected to become good at what you do. And even though a lot of artists say Well, I’m an artist, I don’t really want to be in business. If you’re selling work, you’re in business, and you got to have the mindset of I gotta learn the stuff I got to learn. And you know, you’re still an artist, it’s not changing your identity. But you’re just putting out a different hat I you know, you have to have an accounting hat you have to have a shipping hat. You have to have a gallery relationship hat. You have to have a customer hat you have to have a marketing hat, etc. Think about the different hats anyway, that is today’s marketing minute.
Well, this has been the art marketing minute with me. Eric Rhoads. My goal in life is to eliminate the idea of the starving artist to help your dreams actually come true. So if you want to submit questions, simply email [email protected] And to learn more about marketing ideas, you can visit Artmarketing.com. Thanks for listening.
How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.
> Visit EricRhoads.com (Publisher of ArtMarketing.com) to learn about opportunities for artists and art collectors, including:
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