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.
In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads shares thoughts on understanding your strategy for advertising through social media, and how to market your art online without distressing your gallery.
Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 118 >
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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.
In the art marketing minute, my goal is to answer your questions so that you can get answers. Right. Okay, so upload your questions at artmarketing.com/questions. Or you can email me [email protected]. Or just send me a note at Eric at plein air magazine, whatever cranks your clock. Amandine, my producer from France, who probably enjoyed the segment because she probably felt like she was at home. Amandine is going to ask our first question.
The first question is from Anthony Mankey, Jr. from Michigan. I’ve been advertising through Facebook ads at $10 a day for a little over two months now with no sales. I am advertising in multiple countries. My question is, should I advertise in America only to get better results?
Well, this is a loaded question. And one of the things that happens, Malcolm excuse me, Anthony from Malka, Michigan Sir, one of the things that happens Anthony is we oftentimes will pick a tactic before we pick a strategy. And a tactic is advertising on Facebook or Instagram or advertising in a magazine or advertising on a website or sending a direct marketing piece. Those are tactics. But the strategy is where you need to start, you need to ask yourself, What am I what is my primary goal for the year? What am I going to accomplish? And then once you understand that, it changes what your tactics will be. Because let’s say you said, my goal for the year is to get a list of 5000 people who are interested in taking workshops from artists, that would be one strategy another might be I want to get a list of 5000 people who are interested in my paintings. So if you had, if that were your strategy, then your Facebook ads would be all about that it wouldn’t be about trying to sell them a painting, it would be trying to get them to you would be trying to sell them a click, click through for my free my free ebook on the 10 best painting tips I’ve ever done or ever had or the 10 best paintings I’ve ever done. So then if you have the ability to build your list, then you have the ability to talk to your list more frequently because you have their emails. And then from that you have a chance of repetition. And we all know that. If you’ve listened to this a lot, you know that repetition sells products. So but why did it not work? Well, first off, let me answer your question, Should you concentrate on America only to get better results? Yeah, probably, as a matter of fact, I would concentrate. If you take your $10 a month, I would can’t concentrate on one small area. And because that way, you get an opportunity for more repetition. But let’s let’s go back. And let’s talk a little bit about Facebook advertising. I do a lot of Facebook advertising. I spend so much money on Facebook, that when I had a problem with Facebook, they fixed it real quickly because we’re a big advertiser. So that’s I can’t tell you the amount but it’s hundreds of 1000s of dollars that I spend on Facebook and Instagram, I spend money on tick tock, I spend money on everything. Because it’s important to me, but I only spend money if I’m getting a return and a return means I’m getting at least breakeven and hopefully at least one times more, you know, in other words, a two to one on my spend. So if I spend $10 I want to get $20 back, that’s not easy to accomplish, especially with a first order. And there’s a lot of sophisticated technology and a lot of sophisticated algorithm and a lot of other things that get behind this. That will really be important to understand if you’re going to be a Facebook advertiser, in my particular case, I, I study this stuff all day, every day, I focus on it, I learn about it. And yet I still employ experts, either in my own company or experts outside of my company who have skill sets that I don’t have, because somebody who lives in that world all day, every day, might have a chance of doing better for you. Now, I have had agencies that have completely ripped me off, I’ve had agencies that have made me a lot of money. I’ve had agencies that have gotten me no progress, but their intent wasn’t to rip me off. So you got to be careful about that kind of a thing. And you’re in a little different world than I am. Because, you know, my numbers are a lot different. But start with your tactic, I mean, start with your strategy, and then move to your tactic. Now, there’s also a lot of other things, Facebook is not working for you for probably a couple of reasons. First off, I believe that you have to have multiple impressions on something, before someone will buy it. Statistically, someone needs to actually physically see something seven times before they’re willing to buy it. There are exceptions to that rule, I have seen an ad on Instagram and bought it instantly. But I’ve also seen things hit over and over and over and over again. And I wasn’t interested. But the more times I saw them, the more I got interested and then maybe eventually I bought something. And so that’s the idea of multiple impressions. And that’s true for any form of advertising is you’ve got to get multiple impressions. And so if you’re, if you’re spending in a wide area, $10 a week, or a day or whatever you’re spending, you’re not likely to get that concentration. So if you have a concentrated audience, and you spend more in that concentrated audience, you might get more Impressionism, more impressions. But it’s hard to accomplish that. And Facebook, it’s hard to control it. Facebook works essentially, on a bidding system, whoever spends the most money to get in front of a category, or a keyword is the one who is gonna get seen the most. And so, right I did a campaign the other day, and the price to get in front of someone was $100, to get in front of one person. And if I spent $10, that $10 would never get in front of them now. Not since not everybody’s got to buy, I got to spend, you know, 10 times that or 20 times that to be able to make it effective. So you know, if your cost to acquire a customer is $100. That’s okay. The goal really is to outspend everybody else because if you can outspend them as long as you’re getting a return on your money, then you’re going to get more business. But most of us look at our most of us should look at this as a marketing budget, how much are you willing to spend? Now, if you had let’s say you’re selling a painting for $2,000? And you say to yourself, how much am I willing to sell that? How much am I willing to spend to get a $2,000 sale? Well, a typical in marketing, depending on what industry you’re in, is to spend 10%, some people spend 5%, if you’re in the cosmetics industry, you might be spending 30% Because you have more to spend because the cost of the product is lower, and you want to develop customers. So you might be willing to get some customers early, by spending more, and then turn them into secondary customers write it meaning, sell them a second piece, the third piece, and that’s the way advertising really should work anyways, as is get them out on a kind of a loss leader, so to speak something that is affordable, and get them in love with you and then offer something else to them. So you can get your money back that way from the second purchase or the third purchase. You know, you spent 60 days at $10 a day $600. It’s a lot of money. If it’s not working in Facebook environment and Instagram environment and probably in Tiktok environment, you can actually spend 10 or 20 bucks in 124 hour period of time and find out if people are clicking on your response and on your ad and responding to it. You don’t have to take two months till you change things. And so you probably maybe throw away a little bit too much money there where that the thing that makes people click through is Do I have a compelling offer. And that means that the ad that you write has to be something that people are interested in has to get their attention. What’s the headline that’s going to get their attention if the headline is is about, oh, you should see the work of Eric Rhoads artists they’re going to be like Yan boring. If it says look at the compelling images this artist is doing Then you’re gonna want to click through, you know, and then you’ve got to try to figure out how to convert them to a sale. Typically, in a Facebook environment or an Instagram environment, a low cost under $25 is the best way to get somebody to buy something free is even better. But then you’ve got to get them free. And if you spent if you have free, sometimes free people who buy under, or take something free, don’t spend money to get something for $5, at least they’re willing to spend money, then you get them out on a $5 sale for a brief view of something, and then maybe you sell them something more. So there’s a lot to all of this, chances are, it’s about copy. It’s about concentration, there’s always problems. But focus on reinventing yourself and seeing experiment, you know, we sometimes will run 30 or 40 or 50 ad campaigns, and they don’t work and we try to fix them fast. And, keep testing things till they work. Testing is always the key. I love concentrated off audiences because ultimately, if I can get more repetition in front of somebody, they’re more likely to want what I have to offer. And that’s what it really boils down to, is, you know, you can’t force anybody to want something, you can put something in front of someone and hope that they have the desire to buy it. You can’t force them to buy. And so you’ve got to make sure that it’s a group of people who are gonna want to have that desire. And that’s tricky. Okay, comedy. And what’s our next question?
The second question is from Christina from Chicago, Illinois. How do you market your fine art online without distressing your gallery?
Well, Christina, that is a terrific question. And distressing, is a really good word. So imagine this, put yourself in their shoes for a minute, you rent a space, a beautiful storefront, in a nice part of the community. You haven’t remodeled you put lights in, you haven’t lit you make arrangements with 20 3040 Top Artists. You get their work and your gallery you spend money advertising to track people you hold shows you hold cocktail parties, you hold openings, and then suddenly find out your artist is selling online direct, often at a lower price, how’s that gonna make you feel? You want to think about the big picture here, you know, if you’re wanting to sell through galleries, you need to be thinking about long-term relationships versus short-term game. Really top top top-tier galleries will not allow their artists to sell direct. And if they do, they kick them out of the gallery. Now, if this gallerist, I can think of a gallery in New York, for instance, that, you know, they’re selling 50 and 100,000 $200,000 paintings, they’re going to make your year for you if they’re successful. But you could blow it all by selling direct because you decided to get greedy. And so that’s something you got to be careful about. Now, some galleries will tolerate a little bit of direct sales in certain conditions. For instance, I have an artist friend who has a deal with his galleries, that he will only offer things online in a daily painting environment that are unframed, and that are under a certain size, maybe under eight by 10. And within a certain price range. But the bigger things always go to the gallery, and he never sells direct in those cases. Most artists I know, still don’t sell too much online, some do, but not a lot. You know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as many as you would think we all hear about these big success stories and, and we all think, well that’s gonna happen to us. There are there are certainly ways to do it. And I teach that in some of my courses in my book, but you know, selling from a gallery gives you an advantage because they are talking about you. They’re building your customer base, they’re building a collector base. They know the market, they they’re advertising and promoting bringing people in, are spending money, they’re talking to customers, they’re shipping paintings, they’re collecting the money, they’re dealing with refunds, they’re selling, they’re following up. And those things matter because you’re gonna have to do all of that yourself if you’re selling directly and then you’re not doing what you should be doing, which is painting. That’s how I feel about it. And when I’m in some galleries and they do a lot of work for me, and there’s still work I have to do like shipping and so on but the one thing I would say is never ever ever ever sell direct to a galleries client. I was in a gallery show I was only in the show for two three weeks. I sold a painting several paintings, but I sold a painting to this guy, and he contacted me He on Instagram and he said, Hey, I bought some paintings from you at the show. Do you have anything else I can see. And so I sent him a note. And I sent pictures. And I sold him, three, four or five other paintings. And when the money came in, I contacted the gallery. And I told him Listen, even though the show was over, and even though technically, I’m not in your gallery, and even though I don’t technically owe you any money, I would not have that customer if it weren’t for you. So I’m going to send you a commission. In my particular case, I gave an option. I said, I’ll send you a cash Commission, or I’ll pay you in some other way, offered something to them. And they ended up picking one of the two. And they were happy that I did that. And they said, Gee, nobody does that. You have integrity, we get screwed over by artists all the time. Now, I’ll tell you another story. I was at a gallery in Tucson, and I was sitting there meeting with the owner. And I said, Do you mind if I take these paintings down? While I’m talking to you? I said, Sure. Why are you taking them down? He said, well, a guy walked into the gallery. He said, I love that painting. But here’s how much I’m willing to pay for it. I said, No, the guy walked out, he contacted the artists direct, the artist called me and made up a story about why they needed that painting back. And then the guy ended up calling the gallery and said, hey, just FYI, I just want you to know, I bought it direct from the artists for 50% off. So the gallery fired that artist, and the gallery told all his friends at other galleries in town that the artists had wronged him. And that gallery was sending back all the paintings and no longer representing that artist. And that artist is probably blackballed among that those friends don’t play those games, they’re short-term thinking they will hurt you. You know, the reality is that art galleries do a lot of work, maybe they’re not doing the work you think they should be doing. But they’re doing all the work that I described, they’re spending money, they’re promoting you, or they should be promoting you. And ultimately, they will help you sell now, if they’re not selling after a while, then have a discussion with them move out of the gallery or something else, but don’t violate them. That’s, that’s tricky. So lots of things you can do to sell direct paintings or direct prints or other things, but you got to be really careful because some galleries look at that as poison and they don’t want to deal with it. Just a thought, if you’re gonna do it, then maybe I have friends who are not in galleries at all, and they do direct selling, and they’re very effective at it. So there’s a lot of ways you can do it. So just consider the options because you don’t want to hurt your reputation. I have stories of people who have done things like this 10 years ago, 15 years ago, that people still talk about, they still won’t touch because they were burned. You don’t want to be that person. Okay, that’s today’s art marketing minute.
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at artmarketing.com.
How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Submit it at artmarketing.com/questions to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.