In the Art Marketing Minute Podcast with Eric Rhoads, 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:
What can you do to attract more out-of-town buyers?
Are there ways to vet potential buyers so you don’t waste your time?
Listen and learn!
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Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode #133 >
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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, it is sometimes 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.
This question comes from Mark Reynolds in Quincy, California. Mark says I own a frame and gallery shop in Quincy. In 2024. I’ll be organizing my third plein air festival. Congratulations on that Mark, it’s pretty cool. The first year 23 artists attended and 2023 there were 38 artists in 2024. I’m expecting 60 artists. I advertised in two magazines, plus Facebook and Instagram. And I need to attract more art buyers to attend the reception and the street fair. What else can I do to attract out of area art buyers? The area’s full of artists but not very well known? Well, that’s a big question Mark first, congratulations on doing that. I think it’s really important to to start plein air events. You know, there are, are now hundreds of plein air events around the world. And there were none. When we started this magazine are very few maybe maybe under three or four. So it’s really changed a lot and people like you are important to us. And thank you I know one of the advertising places you spent money on was plein air magazine, thank you. It’s a good place to be if you’re selling a plein air event. Many galleries have tried to avoid things like what you’ve done because they think it hurts their business. Because we had a gallery say to us, you know, I don’t I don’t want to be a part of a plein air event because all these people are gonna come to town, they’re gonna buy paintings at the plein air event. And they’re not gonna buy paintings from my artists and from my gallery. And I said, Oh, contraire, they will because they’re in there. They’re here to see art, they love art, they go see paintings they want, they’re gonna wander into every gallery in town, they’re gonna buy paintings. And sure enough, that turns out to be true. So I applaud you, because a lot of galleries might have just rejected that whole idea. So that’s really nice. People get this art buying dopamine high, and they like to buy art. And so when they come around for a plein air event, you know, especially if you’re sponsoring it, you’re gonna sell art, you’re gonna have a big, a big success. And I think we all need to approach things with an abundance mindset instead of, you know, a protective mindset. Now, you say you advertised in a couple of magazines that you need to attract more art buyers to attend? Well, let’s take that. Let’s take that question. First. I think that the question is, how did you advertise in those magazines? I know you advertised in one of ours. Plein Air magazine, I don’t know if you advertise in Fine Art connoisseur, which is where all the collectors are. And I think you advertised in one of the Western publications, all good, all good decisions. But the things you’ve got to ask yourself is did I have enough frequency? Frequency is the repetition of ads? And did I have an ad that really stood out that got attention that made people slap them in the face and made them pay attention and get their attention? I think everyone in the plein air world needs a dual strategy. And the dual strategy is a local strategy and a national strategy. Now, a national strategy would be something like plein air magazine, right because you’re reaching a national audience. And it’s important for a lot of reasons. First off, it reaches art collectors who are specifically plein air collectors. And it reaches people who oftentimes traveled to shows especially if it’s a regional thing you know, if it’s a couple hour drive three hour drive a weekend away, then it’s cool say hey, I’m gonna drive up to your town to Quincy and experience this event. But the other reason it’s important is because the key to a successful plein air Event is the artists. And because the chatter from artist goes like this, Hey, I went to this plein air event and they didn’t have any good artists and they didn’t sell any work, I’m not going back. So the other artists, when they get the opportunity to go, I’m going to skip that one. And to make yourself known. So what, what we typically say is, you want at least three and one is a call for artists early on at the time, you’re getting ready to solicit artists to have them come in. And then the second one is about a month or two months before the event, and you get and then the third one is right before the event. And then we recommend also, that you get on our newsletters and things like that. So that it’s a reminder, hey, next weekend is this and make sure you come to this, make sure you schedule this, that kind of thing. I think that’s really important. But you know, you really need to reach local people, because anybody who’s within a, let’s say, an hour or two hour driving distance is the most likely to come to your event. And so where do you reach people like that? Well, the first question is, you know, are you a suburb of another area? Are you isolated in the middle of nowhere? I don’t know the answer to that. Because I don’t know where Quincy is, I should know. I’m sorry. But I think the the idea here is there are lots of ways you can advertise locally. And there are local, you know, websites, newspapers, magazines, tourism, books, things like that. We have up here in the Adirondacks, we have a very successful plein air festival, it’s it’s in its 20th year, and you know, they are everywhere, they have banners on the streets, they get the local community to put up banners. So it’s talking to the tourists, you know, they’re there in all the local magazines, their stories in the newspaper, they’re really working the PR angle, they are advertising, they have posters all over town that you know, they do all those things, all of those things matter, not one works independently. So you want to make sure that you’re getting out and having a local strategy. But you also want to have that national prestige because you need those, you know, there sometimes it’s one collector who sees that ad who comes in and buys you know, six or eight paintings, and spends $20,000. You know, that’s, that’s what you hope for. And so make sure that you’re doing both of those things. I think that’s important. The other thing I like media partners, I like collaborations, media partners, would be you know, you go to the local city magazine, in the surrounding area, or the local TV station, a local radio station, you say, Hey, I’m gonna put your logo on the posters, you’re gonna have a presence, you’re gonna have a booth, a table, whatever. If you promote it, we’re gonna get you involved in it, you could do you get the exclusive on the local story, you know, those kinds of things, that stuff works really, really well. And that’s how I would do it. And the other thing that’s really important is who you have involved in your event, most of the successful events in America, and there are lots of successful events. But the ones that are the biggest and most successful, surround themselves with really, really smart local people who they get involved as volunteers and all kinds of different levels. And you want smart people who know lots of people who can invite lots of people, smart people who know how to encourage people to buy, know how to run auctions, because you can’t just assume they’re going to buy, you need to nudge them a little bit, you need to help them along, you need to have somebody standing there by the booths and saying, Hey, let me tell you about this painting, you know, there’s a lot of different things you can do that will really help this. And remember, the artists component is really, really important. There’s a show, I won’t mention names, but there was a show it was really a big and prominent show. And they decided in their infinite wisdom that they were going to be a little bit more equal and sensitive to the needs of the local community. Make sense? Right? So they said, All right, we’re gonna make 50% of the artists, local artists and 50% national artists. And so they did not jury in the local artists, they just put in the squeaky wheels, the ones who, you know, always were asking, and as a result, they brought the overall quality of the show down because some of the artists that they let in were not very good. I happen to be at that show. I happened to be judging that show was a almost an embarrassment. And the thing that happens is the the good artists who come in say, wait, wait a minute, I’m showing with other artists, they should all be good. It shouldn’t be a bunch of good artists and a bunch of lesser developed artists. I mean, every one of us was a bad artist at one time. So I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, but you’ve got to have good artwork. And so the key to that is to have an independent third party juror who juries in it’s fine. have local people, it’s fine if you want to have 50% local people, but make sure they’re juried in and, and that you’re not doing favors for somebody who, who you know you like them, but they’re not a very good painter. And I know I’ll get emails about this, I’m sorry, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. But the reality is if you’re trying to build a reputation for show, you need to have good painters and and so the good painters would not accept the invitations for the show when they were invited back. And the word got out that the show didn’t sell well. And because people saw, I don’t know something about bad paintings brought things down, I suppose. And as a result, things changed pretty dramatically. And so what you want to do is focus on getting really, really good painters in there, Quality Matters, local Quality Matters, National Quality Matters. But make sure that it’s good because word spreads, and artists don’t want to come to shows where they’re not going to make any money.
Second question comes from Scott Pinu in Dalton, Pennsylvania, he said, I just read your book. And I now have a clearer vision on how to handle social media and how advertising is a more effective tool. Each day, I spent at least an hour working on some aspects of marketing planning, Bravo on that, and I’m working to launch my business in the fall of 24. I’m developing ways to make buying my art enjoyable as an experience for collectors. My question to you is, since I’m planning on selling directly to collectors, when I’m approached regarding my works, is there an easy way to vet the potential buyer early on to make sure I’m dealing with a legitimate collector without insulting them? Or coming across? Like, I don’t know what I’m doing? We hear a lot about fraudulent sellers. We hear a lot about fraudulent buyers, but to what degree should I be concerned about potential fraudulent buyers? Well, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it? I mean, you know, we’re all getting these emails that say, Hey, it’s my, I saw your work online, it’s my wife’s anniversary, I want to buy or something special, I like your paintings, I want to buy one of your paintings turns out to be a big scam, you know, they send the painting the check bounces, you know, etc. Watch that. It’s very, very tough. But, you know, I think that first off, why do you need to find out if they’re legit buyers, you know, if if you’re doing something quality, you can kind of tell if somebody’s quality. But be careful about that. You know, I was at a gallery in New York one day, I was sitting there waiting for a meeting. And this guy walks out of the gallery, and the gallery owner says, Hey, that guy just spent a half a million dollars in paintings. He said, When he first came in, I looked him up and down. He was wearing flip flops, shorts and a T shirt, I thought he can’t afford anything. He can’t, he doesn’t belong here. Well, he just sold his company, his kids are out of college, he had plenty of money, and he spent a half a million dollars. So you can’t judge people based on the way they look. You know, you want to, you might want to have legitimate payment methods, you might want to have a credit card machine so that you can, you know, run it through the bank, if the if there’s fraud, that’s the bank’s problem, not yours. I wouldn’t you know, if you want to take checks, you can take checks, but there’s certainly ways that you can call and check those checks or deposit those checks with your with your camera and your phone instantly to make sure they go through. So there’s a lot of things you can do, you’re gonna have some risk, but I wouldn’t worry about that too much. I think the thing that I worry about more is that if you try to categorize people, you might lose people because some people might be offended by some attempt to find out if they’re if they have the money, I wouldn’t worry about that. I just don’t worry about that kind of stuff at all, you know, the majority of people who are going to buy something are going to be legit. And you know, once in a while you get burned, I got burned on something one time pretty badly. It stung but I didn’t stop doing everything. I was just one more cautious. The other thing is, I’m a little concerned about what you said is I’m only going to sell direct. Now, a lot of artists do that. And that’s a really, really wonderful thing. But here’s why I oftentimes say to people, be careful what you wish for. Because, you know, the art of the typical artists argument is well, I you know, I get to keep all the money. So I you know, now I have the responsibility selling all the paintings, I get to keep all the money, I have to do all the advertising, I have to attract all the customers. I have to deal with the customer service of all the customers I got to answer questions. I got to be on the phone. I got to be constantly reaching out to people I got to constantly advertising man, it’s exhausting. And yet if someone good likes your work like a gallerist for instance, they are selling while you’re sleeping. I mean literally in some cases because if you get a gallery in a you know Ever timezone and they’re open while you’re still in bed, you know, if they’re in New York and you’re in California, they’re open and they’re selling paintings while you’re sleeping. And, uh, you have a gallery in Alaska or you know, a Hawaii, there are a lot of different things, you know, they’re selling while you’re sleeping, and they’re selling for, if you have two or three galleries, I don’t like to have more than two or three, I have three, currently, I have an offer from a fourth I’m considering but you know, I don’t know, if I can, I can produce enough quality for that. But some artists sell direct up to a certain size, and then anything over eight by 10, or whatever they’ll sell through galleries, that’s an option. But you know, you have a lot of work to do. And I like to leverage, you know, if I can have three people, three different people selling for me, you know, if my sales skill isn’t very good, then you know, if I’m, if I screw up, I don’t eat, you know, if I’ve got three galleries and one of the three is good, at least I eat something, if two of the three are good, I might sell a little bit more, all three are selling stuff, I’m golden. Now, I don’t ever like to turn 100% Over of anything over to somebody else, I want to make sure you remain in control. I talked about that my book a little bit, you probably saw that. But you know, you could you could try a couple of things. First off, you know, direct marketing. And that’s what you’re doing. When you’re selling direct. It’s a whole different game, you have to build email lists, you have to do a lot of different things differently. And you got to stay in touch with people and there’s a limit to how much ask you can make. So you got to look for different ways to get your work in front of different people get it seen and get it seen by people that you don’t know exist because the ultimate buyer is somebody you don’t even know. So I like the idea of multiplying yourself and I hope you consider it talking about selling direct. I think it’s it’s okay, but you got to be really good at this. And I don’t know I’m pretty good at it. But I’m not selling any my work direct. So, just just a thought. Anyway, that’s the marketing minute. I hope it’s been helpful.
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.