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 week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares creative strategies to sell online and ways to bring new business to you as an artist.

New in 2023: this podcast has been named one of the “Top 25 Art Business and Marketing Blogs on the web.”

The Art Marketing Minute Podcast has been named one of the 2023 “Top 25 Art Business and Marketing Blogs on the web” by FeedSpot.

Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 124 >

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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, the place to go to learn more about marketing. Now, here’s your host, art magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads
So there’s poetry in marketing you know, it’s it doesn’t need to be ugly, it doesn’t need to be manipulative. It doesn’t need to be awful you know, you’re not selling used cars, you’re selling beauty and if you can use your marketing to help people find you and and if they can find you, they can have the pleasure of having your artwork hanging around them. And so that’s why marketing is so important. So if you have questions for the art marketing minute, email me, [email protected]. And remember Feedspot just gave A high marks top 25 Art Marketing podcast. Let’s strive for number one. Amandine, my producer, what is your first question?

The first question is from Greg Mayer from Wisconsin. I am following your book as closely as possible. It is now time to set up a website. When doing so I plan to send original watercolors with an option to buy two different sizes of limited edition prints. What I’ve noticed is that many many artists may have a price listed for their original art, but they do not have a convenient way to purchase the art online when the potential buyer is interested. They add an extra step of contacting me to purchase this art or something similar? My question is, is there a compelling strategy or tactic behind this in art sales? Like negotiating the price? Or upselling? Or are they just too hesitant and don’t want to deal with managing technology? And online sales?

Eric Rhoads
Okay, well, Greg, thank you for that. Thanks for getting my book. Glad to see you taking action, glad to see that you’re paying attention. Action is the key to every problem, you know, and, and you just got to be proactive, and you’re being proactive. So I think that’s good. I can tell. Look, there are no right or wrong. Like painting, there really are no right or wrong. It’s about feel it’s about testing. I test everything. You know, what may work for you may not work for me, vice versa. So you have to test everything. There’s not a right or wrong, but I do have an opinion, because you know, usually I do. So just for kicks, when I was preparing for your question, I went on Amazon and I actually Googled, what is the most expensive thing for sale on Amazon. I was just curious. And what do you think the most expensive item would be? Well, turns out from what I found, it’s a rare one of a kind hockey card, kind of like a baseball card. That was $818,000. Just click here to purchase? Hmm. Yeah, you wonder if those things sell or they’re there just to create attention? I would imagine they sell. So imagine if every time that you decided you wanted to buy something from Amazon, you had to call them first. You go, oh, you know, I like this color wheel. Instead of clicking to buy, you have to call them first, would you do it? No, of course not. You wouldn’t do it, you would never buy anything. So there’s a big debate about this. And it goes something like this, an artist, or a gallery will say, Well, I don’t want to list the price because I need to talk to them first to find out if they’re a legitimate buyer. Or if they think the price is too high. I have to help them overcome their price objections on the phone. I think this kind of thinking is completely like antiquated. It’s 1920s thinking. It’s like the early days of the web. I had a friend who worked for a newspaper. And he started the websites for his newspapers, a major newspaper in America big name. And they said to him, don’t put the story on the website until the newspaper has been out for two hours. It’s like, Yeah, but we haven’t now and we can beat everybody to it. And no, you gotta wait for it to print overnight, and then it gets delivered. And then you know, and so like, he couldn’t make them change their minds. So he left them and went to somebody who would say, look, let’s put these stories out now. So that’s kind of antiquated thinking, right? It’s the same kind of thing. So I am sitting up at two o’clock in the morning, because I can’t sleep and I see an ad for your gallery or for your artwork in let’s say, in Fine Art connoisseur magazine, which I own. And you want to buy that painting or you want to learn more about the painting or something so you don’t want to wait till midnight to buy it I mean until daylight to buy it right. So I want it now I want to buy it now I don’t want to go to any effort. I want to buy it my change, my mood might change by morning, right? So this is called creating friction. Don’t make people think or work. Have a buy button have a buy this now button. You can explain the shipping or it is or isn’t included. Or you could say ally any purchase over a certain amount of money, you’re gonna have to wire the money if you’re worried about that. But quite frankly, if their credit card goes through, why do you worry? Then they have a way to buy it. You solve all their problems, don’t make them work. Because if you do, you’re going to increase the friction and you’re going to lose more sales than you gain. People are impulsive. Use that to your benefit. I if I’m watching a television show, and I google something, or I’ll see something I was watching a show the other night I saw something I thought well that’s cool. And I put I put it into Amazon and I flipped through and I found it and I bought it. You know if that had been the next day I would have never done that I would have not waited I would have forgotten about it. I would have lost interest. So I know this dealer no names. This dealer had a call me policy online. Now this was kind of early stage of internet, so I understand it. And he was dead set against the idea of a direct sale online. So I challenged him, I said, Listen, this is a stupid policy, no offense in the nicest possible way. You’re not stupid. It’s a stupid policy. And I said, you need to put the price of your expensive paintings on the on the website and have a buy now option. He said, I will never work, I got to talk to these people. I said, Look, just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s always going to be that way. So to his credit, he said, Well, I’ll test it. So he went in, and he put everything available online for sale, including some very expensive things a week went by, he did not get a single purchase. And so we talked. And he’s like, Oh, this isn’t working, you’re wrong. I said, just give it some time. Just hang in there. Let’s see what happens. A week later. He came in in the morning, and he found an order for a piece of art. Get this a piece of art, it was a piece of major sculpture from a major sculptor, it was $650,000. And the email up and he had put it on there, you have to wire the money, the email came in, that they had wired the money overnight, he had $650,000 in his account, because he had a buy now option, he would have never got that never would have gotten that or might not have gotten that anyway. And so you know, you’ve got to find a way people do not worry about that today. Now, there’s one thing that’s really, really important in this messaging, and that is, if I’m going to put my credit card in or if I’m going to wire money. And by the way, I don’t want to wire money. Because that’s too much friction. But if I’m going to put my credit card in, I need to know your legitimate. I need to know you’re not a scam. And that’s why you need to have things that are credibility builders and testimonials on your website. give people confidence. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this. But there’s a term called the term is con man. Do you know what con man stands for? Confidence man, they would build confidence with people so they could fraud them out of their money. Now you’re not a scam. But competence is important. You need it no matter what you’re doing. So you need to send things that show that you’re being trusted. So sell online direct be where your customers want to be, you cannot buy a Tesla by going into a dealership unless it’s a used car dealership. You can’t buy a Tesla by calling. You have to go online, you go in and you pick your colors. You pick everything, and you click the button and you put a deposit down. It takes 10 minutes to buy $120,000 car. Why would you make me go through something for a piece of art, that’s a fraction of that price? Probably. Now, don’t assume there’s a limit on prices online. If I’m a billionaire, and I have a platinum Amex card and I can buy a Bentley online, I should be able to buy a Sargent painting or a Rembrandt for millions. And if I know who I’m buying from if it’s a trusted source like Sotheby’s or Christie’s or bottoms or heritage. I’m not going to have a problem with that. All right, next question.

The next question is from Gary from Minnesota. I have a prospecting question for you. Since we’re all basically in sales, we should be continually prospecting, as you say, stand in the water where the money is flowing. I have an idea to approach the high end homebuilding arena, upscale homes are in a nice river of flowing money. I’m connecting, I’m connected with a few artists and home builder here in town. They build big, beautiful homes with blank wells walls just begin from my artwork. My thought is, the contractors pride themselves on really getting to know their clients on a personal level. Many clients are art collectors, what a perfect personal gift it would be to purchase art from an artist to present at the final walkthrough of the home. Since it takes several months of or more to build the home. It could also be a good opportunity for commission work as well. My question is, how would you approach contractors for an idea like that Do you have a script or an outline for setting such a conversation?

Eric Rhoads
Gary, you’re a good student, you’re paying close attention. Thanks for reading my book, let me talk about the concept of the river. So everybody understands it. You don’t catch fish in a dry riverbed, I always say stand in the river where the money is flowing. Or the equivalent would be stand in the river where the fish are flowing a fish are customers in the art world, and all world’s rivers dry up, and new rivers flood. And what I mean is that, let’s say you’re in an area where business is booming, people have more money than ever imaginable, money’s flowing, you know, it’s 1980, again, and you need to be where the money is flowing. So, sometimes you have to move to a different river, you know, like, the money could be flowing. So let’s use an example. I don’t know if it’s a relevant example, I’m just kind of making this up. But let’s say you live in Silicon Valley, and everybody in Silicon Valley is just flush with cash, everybody’s making money, there’s tons of jobs, everything’s happening, people are buying everything, right. They’re just buying lots of stuff. So if that’s where the money is flowing, then I want to be in an art gallery where the money’s flowing, or I want to be an art gallery, where they’re going, you know, if they’re going to why I want to be in that art gallery, right. But six months later, there could be a crash in that sector and people getting laid off and massive layoffs and nobody’s spending, maybe the billionaires are spending. But do you give up? No, you move to a different river, you might keep that river, keep fishing there, but you move to a different river. So what if all the rivers dry up while they never do? Even in the past recessions, I had a friend at a New York gallery, he said, you know, the billionaires are still buying paintings, they’re just not spending as much on paintings. They’ll only spend 50, or $100,000 instead of $500,000. Okay, so he had to adapt, he had to have a lot of $50,000 paintings, people who have money, still have it add in recessions. There are people who get really, really rich. Not everybody is struggling. And not every community is struggling, some parts of the country are fine. Some people spend crazy money. And so you know, there’s like, there’s a movie, I can’t think of the name of it. But it’s about the wealthy people, and how they live in China. And these mansions in these Bentley’s and fancy cars and fancy art, and they’re spending money. So you know, one of the places where the river is flowing in money is China. Right? So how do you get yourself into that river? How do you stand in that river? How do you get there? So I like the creative thinking that you’re you’re coming up here with Gary, and I think you’ve got a great idea. I think it’s not a new idea. But I think you’ve got a new twist on it. So let’s say that, first off, there’s an old marketing principle principle, it’s Zig when others zag. So if everybody else is standing in this river, you know, how do you get? How do you get the fish, when you go up river before the fish get to them, you know, a more inconvenient spot, you have to work harder, you have to work differently. You Zig when others are zagging. You don’t want to be in the same place everybody else is, right. So you know, if you’re in if there’s a millions of fish in the river, and there’s 5000 people fishing for him, you’re not going to get as many fish. But if you go up river, you’re going to be all alone. So you want to be upstream, you want to be standing in a different place, so to speak. So I’ve advised some artists to do this exact thing. And here’s exactly how to do it. First off, study your market and the builders. The level of cost matters because if it’s $100,000 House versus a million dollar house versus a $10 million house is a big difference. And so you talk to some builders and you ask their advice. Don’t try to sell them right now. Just say how much do you spend you give gifts to homebuyers? How much do you spend on that? What do you give them? What have you done in the past? What do people love? What do they not love? Trying to understand your marketplace. Understand the level of spend, you know, some will do $100 gift basket. That’s a whole lot different than a $2,000 painting. Once you’ve identified your prospects, figure out who your best prospect is, and have a painting delivered to that owner of that company. In gift wrap, the big beautiful bow around it beautiful, elegant gift wrap with a note attached. And it says in the note, dear Mrs. Builder, I’ve been studying new home developments in the area and have chosen you because of the quality of your work and your design. I’ve taken the time to visit homeowners in your community to find out about their art preferences. And I’d like to give you this painting as my gift. And I’d like to propose a meeting no more than 20 minutes. So I can show you how I can help you stand out over all the homeowners in the area and sell more houses and create buzz. And you can keep the painting no matter whether you take the meeting or not. I painted it just for you. But I would love for you to take the meeting, I’m going to show you how you can explode your business even more. Now, if you really have your act together, then you’ll actually find out where the builder lives and do a painting of his or her house and send that to him, that’s going to really get their attention. Because you know, not everybody likes what you’re going to paint. But they’re all going to like what you’re going to paint if it’s of their house. Now, there’s a couple of things going for you here. First one is the law of reciprocity. If I give something to you, you’re gonna feel obligated to give something back to me. So I give you a painting, I’m probably going to feel obligated to give you a meeting, right? I’m not going to maybe nothing more than that. But I’ll probably give you the meeting. So here’s what you do. You go in you say listen, I have a lot of big corporations that buy my paintings as retirement gifts. Now I have friends who have this happening. And my friend, I can’t mention the company because he asked me not to. But there’s a big corporation in his town, he went and did exactly this, he sent a painting to the CEO of the Corporation. And he said, This is my gift to you. And I want to show you how you can use paintings as retirement gifts. People love them. And so this company, as 30, or 40 people retire a year, and every single one of them at an executive level gets a painting with a little plaque on it say, you know, to Bob and Mary, thanks for 30 years of working at a company X will remember you always and you know signed James Jones, the CEO of the company, right? So that, you know, he’s leaving them with a nice memory and nice gift. People love it. People love it. And no, of course words travels to other employees. So you could say, you know, I do this for corporations, if you do, we can do the same thing, somebody buys a house, they get a painting with a little plaque with your builder name on it. So it says to camera commemorate the roads, new home at 123 Green Street, presented by XYZ homes. All right, that little plaque goes on that painting. And you hand it to them when they turn over the house. So imagine how it feels to a customer, you say this to the client. Imagine how they feel when they close on a house and you hand them a wrap box. And you say I want to thank you for your business and congratulate you on your new home. Now you don’t have to have them open it in front of you. But when they open it, they find a painting of the new home that they bought. And you’ve done it in advance. And then they say to you, Hey, listen, you might stay in this home forever, or you might move on and a few years, but you’re always going to remember it with this painting. That is so cool. Now, here’s the other thing I have taken, I’m the home builder, I’ve taken the liberty of emailing you an image of the painting, and with the artists name and contact information. So you can post it on social media and say, Hey, here’s our new home. Here’s a painting of our new home. And here is a beautiful gift box with 50 note cards with a picture a painting of your house on the cover. And on the back. It says you know the new so and so home at 5311 Indiana Avenue. That’s my old address. And and you know, built by just so and so builders, right so now they’re sending cards to their friends, thank you cards, they’re sending invitations to their parties, because what do people do when they buy a new house? They have parties and they invite their friends and their friends get to see the new house and they get to talk. They see the painting and they’re going to talk about the painting. How do they get them in the house they send them an invitation on the painting card right? They put the image on the cards and so when you send a note cards, your names on it, the builders names on it your names on the painting, you’re creating buzz and your career getting more customers because they now want to deal with somebody like, you know, I visited a new home of a friend. And everybody was buzzing about the new flat screen TV, which was a big deal in those days because nobody had them, the real estate agent had bought them a new TV for their new house. And everybody’s like buzzing about this real estate agent. And they, they contacted that real estate agent we did, we contacted that real estate agent to list our house, right. So that’s a really cool thing you could do. Now, you could also do just paintings, instead of customized paintings. But you’ll have a higher likelihood of this being successful if you do paintings of their new house. Second thing you can do is you can say listen, I would also like to decorate your models with my paintings, no charge as many paintings as you need. For however long you need them, all I want you to do is to have a small sign somewhere that says they’re my paintings. And, and of course, if you’re giving away paintings, I’d like to be able to send a note to them about you know, congrats on their new house, and congrats on my new painting that way, maybe they’ll buy more paintings from me. And, or you could say when they close on the house and you you could say come into the model, and pick out any painting you want. And I’ll give it to you as my gift to you. That’s another option. And of course, then the builder pays you for whatever they picked out. So it’s a way of selling paintings. You can have your little art show there your QR code and people can instant purchase. You know if they see your work when they’re going through house. Most people who go through house don’t buy a house. But you know, my wife and I are always going through houses just for entertainment. We see paintings we like we take pictures of them. Wouldn’t it be cool if we bought something people will do that? Anyway, this has been a really great discussion. I think it’s been a lot of fun, Greg, and congratulations on that. I want to hear the results and we’ll feature it in the future when you tell us. Okay, these have been good questions today. Fun stuff. That is today’s art marketing minute.

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