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How Art Businesses Die

Though we like to think of ourselves as artists, if we’re selling paintings, we are running a business. According to trainer Tony Robbins, businesses go through the following cycle: Birth Infancy Toddler Teenager Young Adult Mature Adult Mid-Life Aging Institutionalization Death Rather than explaining these cycles in depth, I’ll just say they are much like life. Each of us and our art businesses are at a different point in the cycle. If you’re just launching or planning your art business, you’re pregnant and about to give birth. If you’re a teen, you make reckless decisions. The longer you’re in business, the more you mature, until you grow old. The part of the cycle I want to discuss today is death — when your business is no longer sustainable and there is no one to support it. My goal is to help you, or those you know, to prevent death — to keep art selling. All Cycles Are Predictable One thing always follows the other. The problem is that we often cannot see when we’ve gone from one part of the cycle to another, and if we’re not paying attention, it’s often too late. Recently I met an artist who had been a queen in the art world. She was a big seller, she’d made a lot of money, but she came to me for marketing advice because nothing is [...]

Why Shelf Life Matters to the Subconscious Mind

Many powerful advertising options exist today, which include websites and email marketing, twitter/facebook/myspace/friendfeed, etc. Though these are effective tools for branding and immediacy, we must not forget that all advertising is not rooted in immediacy.Many galleries desire instant gratification. They want their ad to sell a painting right away. You cannot blame them for thinking this way, yet decades of evidence prove that most advertising does not generate immediate results unless a foundation of awareness has been built in advance. In other words an advertiser who has been consistently advertising will usually have better success pushing something for an instant sale than an advertiser with whom the audience is not aware. Imagine that someone you have known for years calls you and asks you to do a favor. You know and trust this person (or not) and can easily make a decision based on their request and your level of trust. On the other hand, a stranger rings your door bell, introduces herself and asks for the same favor. You have no "history" with that person and therefore your defenses trigger fears. Its no different in advertising. If you do a good job of marketing you build trust over time by your mere presence. If they don't know you the viewer may ask themselves questions like Do I know this gallery? Can I trust them? Is their quality [...]

How Marketing A Gallery Is Like Football

A Message from Fine Art Connoisseur Publisher B. Eric Rhoads Last week's Super Bowl hoopla reminds me of how is great marketing works like football.Rarely does a quarterback run the field for a touchdown on the first play. Though it can happen, coaches know that success is earned one play after another, with a yard or two gained with each play. You wouldn't bet on a football game if a team had only one play to win. But this is exactly what inexperienced marketers do. They run one ad or do one mailing and expect the phone to ring off the wall. Sure, it can happen. But, like a lucky run, it's not the norm.Why Advertising FailsAdvertising works as a series of plays, making a little progress at a time. Campaigns with multiple impressions and touchpoints work best. Campaigns are a series of plays designed to score several touchdowns and win the game. Advertising fails when marketers run single ads instead of campaigns. As in football, momentum is gained with consistent forward motion. Advertisers who start, stop, and start again are losing momentum. You make the most progress when you hang on to the ball. Repetition SellsNo matter what kind of advertising you are doing -- print ads, e-mail marketing, direct mail -- you need lots of repetition. The average person needs to "catch" the message three or [...]

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The Magic Lamp: Just Rub It and Your Art Career Will Soar

  Much like the Fountain of Youth, I think we all tend to seek out a “magic lamp.” All we have to do is rub it, and “Poof!” A genie will grant us the success we dream of.   Over decades as a marketer, I have sometimes fallen prey to the belief that a magic lamp exists — and I’m happy to report that yes, indeed it does. There is a way to rub a magic lamp and watch your career go “poof” toward success. It will take more effort on your part than you might have hoped, but if you rub the lamp, it will happen.   A “magic lamp” is usually the promise of something too good to be true, raising unrealistic expectations of success with little effort or small investment.   I’m always looking for shortcuts, and even when I know something seems too good to be true, it often tempts me. So I spend my money in hopes of magical results, and poof! Nothing happens.   The biggest seduction in art marketing is the belief that big audience numbers can equal instant success from a single ad. Yet every time I fall into that trap, I wish I had realized that the physics of marketing always matter. There are things that will give you that desired success, and things that won’t. Violating the physics [...]

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