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, addresses whether or not you should do art prints, and why or why not you’d advertise in group ads.
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Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 126 >
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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.
Great living as an artist, the thing that every artist needs to understand is that marketing and understanding marketing and understanding the business aspects is really critical. Because like it or not, you are a small business and you need to develop some muscles in different areas of business. Like you know, like you’ve had to develop muscles in shipping and framing as an artist, right? Same thing. You can send your marketing questions into me email [email protected]. And the first question comes from Kate. I’m gonna botch this name Kate, ha run tests in Garden City, New Jersey. She says I’ve been invited to place an ad in a magazine because my work was accepted into a juried exhibition. I think it’ll be part of an article talking about the participants in the exhibition. And the ad will cost $550 For a quarter page ad. I’m new to this, and I’m not entirely sure can I afford to lose $550 Yeah. But however, I’m not at the point in my career where I will start advertising on a regular basis. So my personal goal at this time is to build up my name, my brand, and I’m listening to your podcast and reading marketing books, I’ve entered my most recent drawing into four competitions I’ve placed in all four of them, which I’m so grateful and happy about at this time, I’m looking for professional validation, and recognition that hopefully will play into my success in the future. That being said, I do not wish to waste my $550 I understand that you do not possess a crystal ball and obviously cannot guarantee anything. What would you do if you were me? Well, I do have a crystal ball, actually. What’s your name? Kate. Kate. Okay. So my crystal ball is called experience. I’ve been marketing for decades doesn’t seem like that’s possible. I started marketing way before I got into the art world, building businesses and learning how to market and I did that by making a lot of mistakes. And by spending a lot of money I didn’t need to spend. But you know, the problem is you don’t know what you do. And you don’t need to spend which is what you’re going through right now. I’ve wasted a lot of foolish money. But I’ve also made a lot of money based on some things I thought were foolish. That turned out to be a good thing. So I’m very qualified to be the closest thing to your crystal ball. Before I answer this, though, I want to tell you one thing and that is you know, my business does this. We sell ads. We sell ads, my company streamline has fine art connoisseur, plein air magazine, multiple newsletters, you know, et cetera. And so we you know, I have a conflict of interest. So if I tell you something that favors my feathers, my own nest, you’re not going to believe me anyway. So I have a bias. I’ll tell you that upfront. I’m going to tell you this and my sales team would probably shoot me Don’t do it. Yeah, don’t spend the $550. Why? Because you do not yet have Kate, you don’t yet have a marketing plan or a specific strategy. So running an ad with no strategy has no value to you, or anyone else. If you run that ad and you have high expectations, you’re going to be disappointed. And then who are you going to blame? You’re going to blame me or whoever you’re advertising with. The reality is that publications like mine, always, always, always deliver the audience that we have, we always deliver them. But we can’t control if somebody picks it up and reads it. And we can’t control if they’re going to respond to it, we can’t control if they’re going to flip by it. And so there are a lot of things that we can’t control. But there are things you can can do that will help you control it. Typically, ads fail, because there are no readers. That’s why you got to be careful who you’re buying. Ads fail because they don’t stand out, ads fail because you don’t have a specific strategy. Ads failed because they lack a call to action. And ads fail because they don’t get enough repetition. All advertising requires repetition. Otherwise, you would see an ad on TV One time, and you never see it again yet, you know, you see a Nissan ad over and over and over and over and over again, you’re sick of seeing it, they keep running it. Why because it works for a certain group of people every time you know, I don’t know how many times I saw my pillow ad probably 1000. And then one day, I picked up the phone and bought one. And so I mean, you know, you just you got to reach people at the right time, you never know when the right time is you got to be in the right mood, you know, repetition sells single ads typically do not. Now, if you had a strategy, maybe you could run an ad in a group session. Or maybe you could run it to support the group to show your support of it to be visible in there. But let’s dig a little deeper. This is nothing about more than an ego stroke. At this point. If you buy an ad, you’re thinking, wow, you know, I’m in the head and then 10,000 People are not going to call. That’s the reality. So you got to have a strategy. So the other thing you need to know is who’s the audience? Who do they reach? Is it part of my strategy. For instance, let’s say you know that all your buyers are muscle car buyers, maybe because you paint classic market muscle cars, I just made that up. Anyway, if you advertise in a gardening publication, you’re not likely to reach a lot of muscle car buyers, right. But if you advertising a muscle car buyer publication, then you’re likely to reach him. Alright, so that’s where the audience fit matters. There’s a thing called Media Marketing, media fit, marketing, fit and message. So, you know, you’ve got to know where you’re advertising. And you got to know what the topic is. Now, we do these special sections. They’re designed to sell ads, and they’re designed to also help people get highlighted after being in a group show. And that’s good, because sometimes people will track a group show they liked the show, they want to know more about it. But there are a few things to think about if you’re going to run it. First off, what do you want in return for your $550? And what is the realistic possibility you’re going to accomplish that goal? Now, the reality is, you don’t really want more than one buyer, right? You want to sell that one painting. So even though there may be you know, 10s of 1000s of people who see it, you really only want one of them to buy it, but you got to help with that process. Most of us will convince ourselves that we’re going to sell several paintings from one $500 investment, that’s a pretty big ask, you know, if if you sold a painting through a gallery, you would pay that pain, that gallery 50% of the cost of that painting. They mark it up 50% You’re paying them 50% To get you a sale. $500 is a lot less than that. 50% I’m guessing unless you sell your paintings for $1,000. So here’s what I think in terms of strategy. Artists need strategy. Ads are designed to fuel your strategy and nothing more ads can do the following. They can build your brand recognition, branding takes time takes repetition, one ad will not brand you you know like let’s say that out of 10,000 people, only five people noticed your ad or looked at it or read your name, but the other people might not see it till the next time and then Next time in the next time, one small ad, will brand you a lot less than a big ad, right? A big ad stands out more than a small ad because a big ad just naturally does. And you might not get noticed with a small ad. And you also can when you’re running small ads, you can get pigeonholed by the artists who run small ads. I know that seems crazy. But friend of mines a marketing guy, a big, big author, he says you get known for the smallest thing you do? Not the biggest thing you do. Because as you get known as the artist who runs the small little tiny ads, that’s who you become, and what does that say about you? Are you a full page quality advertiser? Are you a two page quality advertiser Are you the you know, whatever. Now if I run small ads, I by repetition, you know, so sometimes I’ll buy three or four small ads in one thing, because I want those small ads to stand out because they see him four times, sometimes that can be more powerful of a strategy. And a small ad is going to brand you less than a big ad. So anyway, in a group ad, bigger, let’s see, the group ad will bring you’re in a group,, you got a lot of artists in there. Let’s say there’s 50 artists in that group, add those pages, what do you want to do to work to your advantage? Well, the section is going to bring attention to you. And all the people in the ads, people are gonna flip through it, but the bigger ads are gonna stand out more. And you might want to make a statement that you’re one of the bigger artists in the group or you might not. But if you want to make a smaller ad stand out, then you have to have exceptional creative. You know, Debra Huse was talking about that, where she said she worked for an ad agency. In the creative department, their whole job was to get people to read ads to stand out to come up with headlines and graphics that stand out. You know, headlines make up 80% of the success of an ad. Did you know that? And you don’t want to do what everybody else does? What does everybody do in their ads, picture of painting and their name? whoring All right now sometimes you can’t do more than that if it’s a section, but you can look for ways to stand out with headlines with colorful graphics with something different, or at least a really, really, really powerful painting. Now, when I can only get smaller ads, like I said, I’ll go for repetition. Another strategy is how do I use my ad to get people to look at my work in the future. So that’s when you go into the idea of building a list. So maybe your ad has a picture your painting, and as a little tiny call to action that says, join my newsletter by coming here to this website or get a free ebook by coming here. That way they get on your list, they see your newsletter on a more regular basis, your repetition. That way, you’re getting people to join your list. And that’s going to help you a lot. That’s what I recommend in all things. But sometimes it’s so small, you can’t do it. So but usually, you need an incentive in there anyway, what can I offer to help people want to give me their name in exchange for something. So let’s do the math. Let’s say that you’re willing to spend $10 to get a name knowing that you’re gonna get that $10 back and more over the course of the next two years, how many names will $500 bring you? Well, that’ll bring you 50 names to break even if those 50 names are interested in your work, get on your list, and you talk to them more frequently, they’re more likely to get you your $500 back, it’s not necessarily immediate. It’s not about selling that painting. It’s about selling a painting that eventually speaks to them that they see in your newsletter. So that’s how a spine tiny ad space can work to your benefits hard it can be done though. Another strategy to sell paintings. Most ads don’t sell paintings, they sell artists, they sell an artist’s brand. There are very specific words you need to say to sell paintings, including calls to action to get people to buy and making sure they understand you’re assuming just because it’s in an ad, people think that that painting is for sale. But they’re not assuming that because the research has been done. A lot of people look at ads as part of the editorial content. Oh, that’s a pretty painting and they move on. But if you say this is a beautiful painting available from Debra Huse gallery, Huse Skelly gallery, that all of a sudden, they’re gonna go Oh, I thought of that. Okay, I know. It seems like people should be smarter than that, but sometimes we’re not. Anyway, the goal is build your reputation your brand, your value to the market depends on your brand. Which would you rather own? Would you rather own a job On Singer Sargent painting, are in ERIC Rhoads. Of course, it’s going to be sergeant. Which would you rather have? What are their own? Would you rather own a Debra Huse painting? Or John Singer? So I mean, John Singer Sargent painting. Sorry, Debra, you’re gonna want John Singer Sargent, but which would you rather have it Eric Rhoads or Debra Huse, you’re gonna pick the Debra Huse because she’s more visible. She’s out there. She’s known as a great painter. So the idea is you’re building reputation that takes years and lots of repetition. But that’s how you do it. Now, you can also sell your appearances at an event, you know, like your ad could say, Hey, I’m going to be at this event. Make sure you come by my booth, make sure you come visit me, I’ll be at this gallery show. is buying the smallest, cheapest ad the smartest thing? Not necessarily for me, I’d buy the biggest ad. And I’d buy a second smaller ad to reinforce my bigger ad, in case you didn’t see it, you know, just reinforces it. That’s a very effective strategy. Group ads can be very effective. But the be the biggest you can be if you can, if you can’t, you got to decide, is it going to be worth it? And yeah, it could be worth it. But it’s not always worth it anyway, I think they’re effective, but you need to know what you want out of it before you spend $1 and anything, don’t spend $1 in anything until you know what it’s going to do for you.
All right. Next question comes from Veronica Brown in Missouri. The pros and cons of licensing your work for printing. All right. So I made for prints. Okay. Veronica, one of my core principles in marketing is to sell when you are sleeping, meaning if others are selling my work while I’m sleeping, then you’re making money while you sleep right now. That’s why you want to use an art gallery. That’s why you want to have an automated online strategy. That’s why you do licensing, right? Licensing is a big deal. Thomas Kincade. I had dinner with him one night, and he told me he was the most licensed painter, artist of all times, exceeding Norman Rockwell. He, he held the licensing record at the time. I don’t know if that’s still true. And of course, Bob Ross is everywhere. And that’s through licensing. You see jigsaw puzzles. You see, bobbleheads Bob Ross company isn’t producing those. They’re licensing his name and his images. So my friend, I won’t use names, but my friend is licensed by a big printmaking company. And they also license his paintings on mugs and mouse pads and puzzles and prints and other things. And then he worked with a big licensing firm who got him this deal. And he sells images all the time to these companies. Now you don’t get much you get maybe one or 2% of what’s being sold. But so what you know, somebody sells 100,000 mouse pads. That’s real money. And so you can hire licensing firms, there are licensing lawyers there to licensing conventions that artists friend of mine, I just sent to it is going to be licensing his stuff. Most artists don’t get rich, doing licensing, but you can get extra income my friend, Charlie, you know, he’s making some extra money. And so why not make that extra money every month? Okay. Now, this brings up the subject of prints. Many print companies will license work, that’s good money for you. And then of course, there are companies that sell prints to hotels and stores and corporations, separate companies, typically sometimes they buy licensed prints. You want to reach out to those companies, should you do prints Well, you know, if you go to an art show, a tent show, you know, city city art show, you want to have a bin of prints because you got the big original on there, and a guy like me might go I really liked that. I’d like to remember that. And you don’t want to take a picture of it. And you would like to have it but you want to buy the $50 print not the $5,000 painting, so at least you’re making something off of it. And you may never sell the print the painting but you might sell enough prints to make it up. Now Thomas Kincaid told me his biggest regret ever was selling his originals and not retaining the licensing rights. That’s tricky. But he spent the last decade of his life trying to get all of his originals back for his museum. You put the time into creating an original you can sell it if you want, but you know if you get the better stuff, you might want to sell it but you want to make sure whenever you sell things, you have the proper copyright information on the back of the painting that says copyright 2023 Eric Rhoads all rights reserved that way they can’t sell the licensing on Got it. And if they do, you can go after not that you would but you might. So selling prints yourself, you can make some money I think that’s fine. But if it depends, you know some galleries don’t like it if you do it so talk to your gallery owners see how they feel about it you know there’s a whole whole bag back industry discussion going on about prints so you’ll have to find out you know, if it doesn’t work for you, you can sell Giclees which are bigger reproductions on Canvas, in a lot of things like that. I don’t know I don’t sell my prints. I mean, I don’t make prints. I don’t sell them. I only sell originals, but I don’t sell enough paintings. You know, I I have another job full time. So I only provide a few paintings to a few galleries and they sell what they get. But I you know, I don’t. I don’t want to get into prints. That’s just a personal choice, but I don’t see any downside. Anyway, I hope that helps. That’s the 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.