Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 54

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. Each episode answers questions from artists by host Eric Rhoads, author of “Make More Money Selling Your Art,” publisher of several art magazines and newsletters, and author of ArtMarketing.com.

In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads shares insider tips on doing market research to sell more art, and advice for artists who don’t have years of experience but still want to build their brand.

Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 54 >

 

Submit Your Art Marketing Question:

What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

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.

Announcer 0:02
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, arts magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads
In the marketing minute I try to answer your art marketing questions and you can email yours to [email protected] Here’s a question from Kelly Johnson in Omaha, Nebraska who asks, If you’re the only one doing your marketing, what are some suggestions you have on doing market research to find out what really matters to your buyers? What do you think about sending surveys for example? Well, that’s a great question Kelly. And the number one thing that most marketers miss is understanding that they need to listen to their customers, your customers have all the answers that you need. Now in selling art, it’s a little bit more difficult in that because it’s not real cut and dry, because it’s an emotional response someone’s having to a painting typically. So surveys can be great, but most of us aren’t very good at surveys, most of us are not trained in how to do them properly. And if you don’t do them properly, you get biased answers. And if you get bad information, you get bad. you respond badly, you don’t do things properly. I’m trained, I was trained in research years and years and years ago, I used to do a lot of research and I’m still not very good at it. And I don’t rely on it a lot. I do ask survey questions from time to time and I do get some answers. But I’m looking for things that are, more like what artists would you like us to do a video of or what artists would you like us to bring into a convention versus understanding the psychology of things a little bit more? You’re really looking for the things that people say that might help you in your marketing to get attention from others who are like them, like how do they talk about your work or what it means To them or why they wanted to own it, or maybe why they bought it or something, if somebody can articulate that some of those are difficult. Surveys are usually only valid with big big samples too. So usually a very small number of people participate in a survey, you know, like 1% 2%. And so you’ve got to have a big sample for it to have any meaning. Right? So, if you’ve got 1000 people, yeah, and you probably don’t, then you’ve got to have you know, 1% of 1000 people which is 100 people and or I mean, 10 people. Man, don’t ask me to do math, but that the idea is that you you want to have a decent enough survey size, most people don’t get the answers that they need. So one of the best ways to do it and I learned this a long, long time ago from a buddy of mine is that he hired somebody who called his buyers and asked them to just talk to them about their their work. Now you don’t have to do that. You can do it yourself. But people are not going to tell you the complete truth. Because they don’t want to hurt your feelings if there’s anything that would hurt your feelings. But having somebody else call for you, you know, it’s like saying, Hey, you know, I’ve got this friend, her name is Kelly Johnson from Omaha, Nebraska. And she said that you bought one of her paintings. I’m doing a little bit of market research for her. Would you be willing to spend a couple minutes on the phone with me? And I want to ask you some questions to understand it because I’m trying to help her with their marketing. Some people would say yes, some people would say no, and you’re being perfectly transparent about that. And then you can just ask them questions… I’m just kind of curious, what was it about that painting that you liked? And how are you feeling about it? And did you feel like it was a good experience and you know, things like that, but what you want to do is try to have permission to record it because you want that’s a great tool because you’re looking for terms. You’re looking for things that people say, you know, so I was doing some marketing for our real Islam live conference and I did a thing where I asked people to, to record some testimonials for me and I was listening to things they said and how they said them. And then I’m able to use that kind of language when I’m marketing it that because they’re very similar to the people I’m trying to attract. Right. So this is all very difficult, but art is you know, art is again, a little different animals. So typical research if I’m doing a widget, you know, I’m trying to sell the easel brush clipper. The value specs are something that I can do some research about, you know that a little bit more and I can apply that in mass marketing, but if I’m selling a painting, because it’s so personal, so a little bit more difficult. So, anyway, give it a try. See what happens.

Now here’s a question from Ryan Davis in Cape Coral, Florida who says, when you look at the great contemporary master artists, it seems to me that that time is the only way to build a big brand. What advice do you have for those of us who don’t have so many years of experience? Well, first off years of experience are invaluable. Of course, and big brands are built over time, of course, but it’s not always just time you see, I can tell you I could probably name a lot of people I know, who have got a lot of time but don’t have a lot of success, and, they’re good artists. And so why is that? Well, it’s because they’re not combining time with repetition of message and they’re not doing the right things that are going to get them noticed and known the one thing that the people who are contemporary masters who are well known understand is that these are that you have to do certain things on a regular basis you got to be doing shows on a regular basis got to be doing books or articles you got to get exposure you got to do advertising got to do things that draw attention to you and and it’s never just one thing. You know, the tendency today is to make it about well, I’ll just do social media. Well, social media is the most misunderstood advertising medium around, it can be very effective. I use it, but I don’t use it for all things. Because first off, I would never do only social media, because you don’t want to have everything reliant on one particular thing. Because if that one thing changes, or there’s laws passed or whatever, then it’s no longer going to work for you. But also, because there’s a lot of different things that you would that we as artists have to do. And so look for the things that are going to move the needle forward, and that’s marketing in different ways. Remember, also social media on a typical Facebook account. For instance, I’ve got my max which is 5000 on my Facebook account. I know that every time I tweet something out or post something as it is in Facebook’s world, I know that only 2% of my audience is going to see it now. That means only 2% of that 5000 are ever going to see what I post now, I have some tricks that I have learned about and employ that get me actually pushed out there to a higher percentage, but it’s probably still only six to 8%. And that’s because I work very hard at that. But, you’re not necessarily going to accomplish your marketing with social media. The other thing was social media. And again, I’m not anti social media, I use it a lot. But most of us as artists don’t have most of our followers are not collectors, most of them are fellow artists. And that’s so you’re kind of preaching to the choir, the people who may or may not be buying art from you. And so there’s a lot of things that you’ve just got to do. So, Ryan, I think the answer to your question is, it’s not time, it’s time plus time plus repetition of advertising of messages. You know, I just had a situation where a an artist had been advertising with us decided to move all of the the advertising dollars out and move the advertising dollars into social media because that artists didn’t feel that the results were there. But the artist got into several galleries as a result of the advertising, the artist got invited into several shows as a result of the advertising. And as a result, the artist is feeling well, I haven’t been able to track direct sales. Well, the direct sales may not be happening. And usually if something isn’t happening, it’s because you’re doing something wrong. I can have two advertisers. And I can have them do the same amount of advertising. And one advertiser will get really brilliant results, another advertiser won’t get results. And it’s because of what they say in their ads, how they structure their ads, what the call to action is, what are the things they’re trying to motivate people to do. Of course, it also has to do with the art Is the art any good? And we all believe our arts good, but not everybody else believes that. And so, we kind of have to fight that battle. But the idea is that when you’re when you’re in a group of let’s say, you’re in a cluster of the right kind of people, so I’m in a cluster Fine Art Connoisseur magazine last month went out to 500,000 people, big audience, very unusual. We normally don’t have that big audience, but we did it for that one issue. And, but the people we typically are going to if somebody came to us and said, We want to send this magazine to, you know, a bunch of school art teachers, you know, we might, we might say, yeah, that’s nice. Maybe we’d like for them to have it but they’re not going to do any good for advertisers, because advertisers know that those people are not likely to have the income. No offense to anybody just being practical here might not likely have the income to buy a you know, a five or $10,000 painting. So you know, when you You look for targeted clusters, you know, like Fine Art Connoisseur, for instance, has a targeted cluster of people who are known to spend a lot of money on paintings are known to be collectors they known, they are known as a concentrated group of collectors, it’s very desirable. So it’s not about big numbers as much as it is about the right people who can buy the right thing from you. And that’s what you always want to be focusing on. So I’m not sure I answered your question. I probably got to it in a roundabout way, Ryan. But if you’re seeing great contemporary masters. And they’re succeeding. Yes, they have been around a long time and time is one thing that, you can cheat time a little bit, you can speed things up a little bit. But, time is on your side, but if you’re not doing the right things that time isn’t going to help. So I hope that helps.

Well, this has been the art marketing minute with me. Eric Rhoads. My goal in life is to eliminate the idea of the starving artists to help your dreams actually come true. So if you want to submit questions, simply email [email protected] And to learn more about marketing ideas, you can visit Artmarketing.com. Thanks for listening.

How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

By |2021-01-21T09:27:37-05:00February 8th, 2021|Art Marketing Minute Podcast|0 Comments

Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 47

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. Each episode answers questions from artists by host Eric Rhoads, author of “Make More Money Selling Your Art,” publisher of several art magazines and newsletters, and author of ArtMarketing.com.

In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads explains why it’s important to “build your brand,” and what to do if your sales have slowed down.

Click Here to Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 47

 

Submit Your Art Marketing Question:

What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

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.

Announcer 0:02
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, arts magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads
All right, well in the marketing minute I try to answer your questions and you can email me anytime [email protected] By the way, that’s a great resource. Lots of articles there. Also go to YouTube and search streamline art video, I’ve been doing marketing videos every day at noon live and you can listen through the announcements and then get to the meat of it. There’s a lot of good stuff there. Lots and lots of new stuff that I’ve never published before or talked about before. So here is a question and this question comes from Tony in Newport, Rhode Island who says we hear a lot about building brand and I don’t think most artists consider themselves a brand. Why is that really important? Well, ask yourself this question quickly. Tony, who is the top actor in Hollywood who’s the top Female Actor in Hollywood? Now ask yourself who’s the top actor, male actor You know who’s the top leading man? You’re probably coming up with just one or two or three names, right? I’m guessing Brad Pitt or maybe George Clooney, you know, something like that. Right? So now let me ask you this, who’s the top guitarist in the world? Or who’s the top blues guitarists in the world are Who do you think of as the best motivational speaker on earth? You know who gets big crowds and motivational speaking? When I asked you about a TV to host who teaches cooking? Who do you think you see professionals in various categories have become brands, not only is McDonald’s or Coca Cola, or subway a brand so as Tony Robbins or Eric Clapton or Martha Stewart or Brad Pitt, you know some of these kind of people, and you see people become brands even without trying. Now most of the brands have been built by excellent marketing and excellent professionals. Most of these Hollywood people have really terrific marketing people behind them. A And so on who worked with marketing people, but you get known as a brand, whether you like it or not you, you need to be able to control that brand so that you are controlling how people think of you, hopefully. And of course, a lot of that depends on your work. But it also depends on your behavior. It depends on your comments on Facebook and your you know, all the different things. And I see artists making that mistake all the time, destroying their reputations because of things they’re saying on social media. And so you got to be careful about that brand is about trust, it’s about standing for something, it can be standing against something, you know, your brand might be, you know, you’re very political and you want to be talking about politics all the time. Well, you can do that. And that will become your brand and that’s standing against something but you also have to know that that could hurt your brand. And so people who do branding tend to stay away from polarizing topics because they don’t want to hurt any they don’t want to lose business. But I guarantee you if the great artist Howard Terpening, the western An artist who sells for you know, million dollar paintings. If he painted something, signed a different name onto it, put it into an auction, it would sell for a fraction of the price of the work with his name on it. You see, quality doesn’t always rise to the top alone. Quality is important and I want to re emphasize that, but you become known for your quality and then your name helps sell. Now Jeremy Lipkin, for instance, is one of those names. He is the john Singer Sargent of our times. He’s incredible. And I know artists who paint almost equally as good as Jeremy. They copy his style, they copy his work, they even copy his signature, but their work doesn’t sell for a fraction of the price. Why is that? If I can get a painting that’s almost equally as good. Well, it’s not as good because it’s not a lip King. It’s just the same as if somebody says to you Well, I you know, I can give you a car that looks exactly like a Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz But it’s not a Rolls Royce. It’s the name the brand matters. It’s It’s It’s about quality, but it’s also about status. Smart artists understand that if you don’t let others control your brand, it will be controlled for you. You’ve got to take control and make sure that you’re known. build your brand. And it impacts everything about you impacts where you get invited, what shows you’re in, your collectability your value, the articles, you get the prices, you get, all of those things contribute to your brand. So you’ve got to be thinking about your brand is simply not paying attention to just the way that artists sold. I you’ve got to think in terms of how my brand impacts my sales. You know, I know lots of brilliant artists who are absolutely completely unknown and they can’t sell anything and they don’t understand why and I keep telling them, you got to build a brand you got to get known. You know, there are people who will buy quality, but they like to buy quality that’s associated with a big name. So have your name become Your brand. I also know brilliant artists who sell well, because of their branding ability in their art isn’t necessarily as good. But the best combination, of course, is to be a brilliant artist with a brilliant brand. And then that’s the best thing of all. Hope that helps.

The next question is from Sarah in Salt Lake. Sara says my sales have been slow recently. Is there any reason anything special I should be doing? Sarah? Let’s assume you go to the doctor and you say, Doc, I’ve been having headaches lately? Is there anything special I should be doing? A good doctor is going to ask you a series of questions to get to the root of the problem the cause, she wouldn’t just say, well, you’re having headaches, you must be smoking too many cigarettes. Or she might say you’re eating too many minutes? No, she’s gonna find out what’s causing the headaches because there could be 1000 different answers to that question. So when I hear a question like that, I know it can be a lot of things and you have to ask yourself questions and dig into your So you’ve got to ask yourself what is what has changed? What am I doing differently? You know lately because of COVID you know COVID has suppressed art sales and some people and made it bigger and others it might be related to that you know so what am I doing differently? What am I not doing that I was doing? Am I promoting or advertising how I stopped doing that was a you know, what did I have articles and now I don’t have them has my presentation or my work changes? My painting is good. Am I overworking things are under working things. If I change styles, I watched an artist who was known for a particular type of painting, he decided he didn’t want to do that anymore. He did this big art show and nothing sold. So because people were used to kind of what he became now he ultimately overcame that but you have to understand sometimes you’re going to go backwards before you go forwards especially if you’re changing things up. If you don’t put gas in your car, it will eventually sputter and then it will stop if you not putting gas in your marketing. It too will sputter and stop your sales will stop as an artist you have to adopt a lifetime of marketing. You know that as long as I’m here to sell paintings, I’m here to do marketing. It’s a reality you may not like it, but it is a reality. And I know that as long as I’m in business, if I’m not telling people about my events like the plein air convention or plein air live, or the figurative art convention, or my magazines, planner magazine, or Fine Art connoisseur magazine or my newsletters, you know, fine art today or plein air today or realism today, or American watercolor are my videos you know from lilla dollar streamline, or creative catalysts, then they will stop selling it’s a constant game of putting it out there repeating it telling people about it, never backing off, always continuing to keep it out there and you always have to look for new and creative ways to get noticed because people get used to the same things all the time. So if I need to speed something and sell more than I have to add more gas to the fire. The same is true marketing is pretty easy when you think about it. It’s about making the invisible visible. And it’s about keeping it visible most artists, and I don’t like to categorize anybody in any way, but most artists tend to think, you know, they put themselves out there one time and that’s enough. Well, you know, having one show isn’t usually enough, you got to do a lot of things. You got to build a lot of awareness. You got to invite a lot of people, you got to stay in front of them all the time. Always ask yourself questions. The answers are always in your questions. Anyway. I hope that this has been helpful.

Well, this has been the art marketing minute with me. Eric Rhoads. My goal in life is to eliminate the idea of the starving artists to help your dreams actually come true. So if you want to submit questions, simply email [email protected] And to learn more about marketing ideas, you can visit Artmarketing.com. Thanks for listening.

How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

By |2020-11-25T08:56:14-05:00December 21st, 2020|Art Marketing Minute Podcast|0 Comments

Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 29

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. Each episode answers questions from artists by host Eric Rhoads, author of “Make More Money Selling Your Art,” publisher of several art magazines and newsletters, and author of ArtMarketing.com.

In this Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads explains where you should advertise your art when you’re ready to start selling it, and he gives a quick overview of the complicated subject of “branding” and how it affects selling your art to the right buyers.

Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 29 >>>

Submit Your Art Marketing Question:

What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

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.

Announcer 0:02
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, arts magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads 0:23
Thank you Jim Kipping. And thank you for joining us today. My goal is to eliminate the idea of the starving artists. So let’s get right to today’s questions.

Eric Rhoads 0:35
Here’s a question from Kevin in Nashville, Tennessee. Kevin says Eric, I’ve been working on art and finally have decided to start selling it start marketing it Where should I advertise? Well, Kevin asking me that question is probably not very objective because of course I’m going to tell you you should advertise in plein air magazine Fine Art connoisseur artists on art American watercolor plein air today and fine art today. Lots of good stuff. options. But quite frankly, even though they’re good options and very targeted to very specific artists like fine art connoisseurs very targeted collectors, plein air reaches the plein air collectors and the artists. But I have to tell you that most advertising dollars are wasted, right? Because many people don’t understand advertising. And one of the things that happens is when you’re first learning advertising, you’re going to easily get seduced by things that people tell you which may or may not be accurate, but most importantly, not necessarily effective for you. Most people spend their time and money where they are comfortable and where their friends are. Let me give you an example of that. For instance, I have this guy named Murray, whoever, I tried to get to advertise with my radio stations one time. He owned a clothing store in Salt Lake City that appealed to teenagers. And I owned a top 40 stations that appeal to teenagers and it was a perfect fit yet he wouldn’t advertise with us. He advertised the Have a local Elevator Music station. And when I asked him who his customers were, he said their teens. I said, Well, why do you advertise on the elevator music station that doesn’t have any teens listening? And he said, Well, it’s where my friends are. It’s the friends at the country club. And it gives me a lot of status at the country club. And I said, Well, is it working? Is it bringing in teensy says no, but it’s making me very popular at the country club. His goal was ego and popularity for that it was a good move, but it wasn’t necessarily about selling product. If you really want to sell product, don’t worry about where your friends are. And if your friends are seeing your ads, what you want to worry about is are you in the right fit, for instance, if you want to reach wealthy collectors, then you want to go to something like fine art connoisseur, which has ultra wealthy collectors, lots of billionaires, lots of really, really wealthy people. If you want to reach people who collect plein air paintings and people who go on the plein air circuit, then you want to go to Plein Air magazine. If you want to reach people who are artists and specifically You want to talk to them about something that is you’re selling to artists, and you want to be in plein air magazine, or artists on art, etc. So think about that. But good advertising is about good targeting, pick a place that matches what you’re trying to accomplish. And of course, if you read my books and you watch my videos, I always am talking about how you really need to figure out what you want to accomplish. develop a strategy before you start doing a tactic. advertising is a tactic, an important one no less, but you have to be ready for it. And advertising takes some time. You got to do it right. We can walk you through how to do that. Anyway, I’ve got a section on that in my book.

Eric Rhoads 3:39
Another question from Michelle in St. Petersburg, Florida. I’m not sure I understand the concept of branding, and why it’s important. Can you explain it for me? Well, Michelle, branding is a complicated subject and I’ll try to tackle it briefly. Did you know that the top line of BMW car the top line of BMW is all So the exact same car is a Bentley, same frame, same engine, same body. The style is the body style is slightly different, but everything is about the same. The only difference is the manufacturing cost. It’s $18,000 more because they put some special interior touches and they put the special Bentley grille and stuff like that on it yet, I’m told the difference in price is $150,000 more than the BMW so you could buy the BMW for $150,000 less and get about the same car yet Bentley is the top upscale brand are one of the top and you have to be very, very rich to drive a $250,000 car yet it’s still a car. Why not just buy a Kia for $20,000? Right? Well, it’s not about transportation is it? It’s about stature. It’s about status. It’s about self image of the buyer, wanting to be known for and seen with the best and it’s not just that it’s Creating a position for instance, you could buy a Trac phone for about 100 bucks. Why bother with an iPhone? That’s 1000 bucks? Well, it’s because you want the cool stuff but you want the status with it. Most of us don’t think about the status, but there’s kind of a little hidden thing in the back of our head that we want the best right? Price appeals to certain groups. high price appeals to other groups, low prices appeal to certain groups ultra high, ultra high prices appeal to certain groups. So the brand you reinforce, helps people to determine if you fit into their world. I’ve told many times about the lady who tore up a check when the man said she asked them the man How much is this painting? He said? $4,000 she wrote a check for $40,000 he said no ma’am, you misunderstood 4000 She said it must not be very good. She ripped up the check and went away. Right. So the brand you reinforce helps determine if you fit in their world. She didn’t think a $44,000 painting fit into her world but A $40,000 painting did we can’t relate to that, because we don’t necessarily have that kind of money. But that’s how things work. And so a brand creates what people’s it reflects people’s self esteem, you got to figure out where you want to be seen. You want to stand for something. And a brand is also about developing trust in the minds of your target customers. We know people, I know people in a way you probably do too. We know people who sell their paintings for a million dollars, or for a quarter of a million dollars. And we also know paintings that are the same size, and maybe pretty close to equal quality that are a whole lot less money. But it’s because of the brand of the artist because the artist is well known the artist has proven himself or herself and developed a following. And that’s what branding is all about. So when you have a good brand, it really serves you because it helps you get better prices but you have to build that brand. That doesn’t happen overnight. We have a whole section on the book on that.

Well, this has been the art marketing minute with me. Eric Rhoads. My goal in life is to eliminate the idea of the starving artists to help your dreams actually come true. So if you want to submit questions, simply email [email protected] And to learn more about marketing ideas, you can visit Artmarketing.com. Thanks for listening.

Remember to Submit Your Question: What questions do you have about selling your art? Email Eric today at [email protected] (include your name and where you’re from) to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.

By |2020-07-31T10:45:38-04:00August 17th, 2020|Art Marketing Minute Podcast|0 Comments

How Do I Know If My Ads Are Working?

An Art Marketing Message from Eric Rhoads

 

Screen-Shot-2015-05-21-at-2.00.34-PM

 

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don't know which half."

— John Wanamaker (1838-1922)

Founder, Wanamaker Department Stores

Advertising seems simple. Buy an ad, get results, right? Our lives are so filled with advertising, coming from so many directions, that we all feel fairly comfortable engaging in it ourselves. How difficult can it be? Especially for artists, who have strong graphic instincts, and many of whom have graphic design backgrounds. Some have even been doing work for advertising companies.

 

But when you are advertising, how do you know it's working? Sadly, the answer is not cut-and-dried.

Easily Trackable Results
In the direct marketing world (direct mail, direct e-mail, direct Internet), they test like crazy, comparing one piece of copy against another to see which sales letter or campaign worked best. They have industry standards for returns on "mailings" and are very disciplined about tracking sales as correlated with campaigns. In the direct marketing world, results are easy to track. You know what you purchased and when, and whether people purchased something after seeing it.

 

But as an artist, you're not selling widgets, gadgets, vitamins, videos, or books. If you were, the question would have an easy answer: Track results.

 

In the world of art, here is what you are selling:

 

  • A specific image that will have a narrow appeal to a small group of people

  • A brand name as an artist

  • A status item (in some cases based on the notoriety of the artist)

  • A piece of decoration for a home or office (sorry to be so crass as to bring it to the level of commodity)

  • A memory or a dream, something that represents an emotion to the viewer

  • The feelings stimulated by your painting

  • A solution to a problem (we need something to go over the couch)

  • A souvenir of a place visited

  • An investment or a hedge against inflation

 

Artists who advertise often think their primary goal is to sell a particular painting. And of course selling something is the fuel that keeps the business moving forward. Yet finding one single buyer to like and buy one single painting is a pretty narrow focus. Though you want to sell that painting, you really need to develop a deeper and wider vision.

 

The Importance of Trust-Building

Imagine you meet someone for the first time at a cocktail party. Twenty minutes later, that same person comes up to you and asks to borrow $500. Would you give it to them? Of course not. Why not? No trust has been built.

 

If, on the other hand, you get to know that person, see them frequently, and a few months later that same person asks to borrow $500, you might consider it.

 

In fact, if you know someone well, feel comfortable with them, have known them for years and they ask, you would probably not hesitate if you had the money.

 

This highlights the importance of building trust, which is a big part of what branding is all about.

 

When someone sees your work for the first time, they may like and respond to your art, yet not take action. Why? They don't know or trust you yet. Over time, the more they see you, the more evidence they see that supports their desire to buy your work, and the better chance you have of selling them.

 

It's the primary reason I'm so insistent on focusing on trust-building through branding.

 

Branding Is Not for Wimps

I was coaching an artist on her first advertising campaign. She said, "I'll buy an ad and see if it works, and if it works, I'll buy more."

 

I said, "How will you know if it works?"

 

She said, "If I sell this painting."

 

I said, "Respectfully, that won't work. Save your money. Though you might get lucky and sell it, no one has heard of you. You have to build trust, you have to build awareness, you need to create and maintain a brand. It won't happen overnight, and there is nothing you can do to make it happen faster because trust requires time."

 

I told her she needed a campaign that would build trust by advertising consistently to a single audience (mine or someone else's) and that she would not see much, or any, result for about a year.

 

Gulp.

 

That's a tough sell.

 

To her credit, this artist wanted to be successful so badly that she found a way to commit to an every-issue ad campaign.

 

I then told her this: "Though you might get lucky and sell the paintings you advertise, your primary goal needs to be trust-building — branding. And about six to nine months into this, I fully expect a phone call with you cancelling your advertising because it's not working. The reason I'm telling you this now is that at the point of your greatest fear and frustration, you'll be just starting to build momentum, even though you can't see it. When you get to that point, don't give in to the temptation to cancel. You'll lose the momentum, and if you come back later, you'll be starting over."

 

I said, "At about the one-year mark, you'll start seeing some activity. You'll start getting invited into shows. At about a year and a half, after consistent trust-building, you'll start being invited into galleries. You'll start seeing paintings sell, and your workshops will start selling out. At about two years, you'll hear from more galleries, sell more paintings, and you'll be invited to bigger shows and have a waiting list for your workshops. At three years, you'll see your prices double, you'll see the very best galleries seek you out, and there will be so much demand on your time you'll have to cut back on shows and workshops. And you'll be selling more paintings than you ever imagined possible."

 

Then I cautioned the artist, "At that point you'll be tempted to stop advertising because you'll start believing all the press clippings and think it is you making all this activity happen. And it is, but it's because you've become like a giant magnet, pulling people toward you with your marketing."

 

Sure enough, at the six-month mark, she called to cancel. I reminded her of what we'd discussed, and to her credit, she stayed in, based on faith.

 

At the nine-month mark, she started getting invited into shows and selling a few more paintings. At the 12-month mark, she started being contacted by galleries. It snowballed from there, and everything I predicted came true, almost exactly. (It's only because I've done this so long that it's that predictable.)

Trust-building — branding — is not for wimps. It takes courage and patience. Yet if you do it, and you keep it alive, you can become a major name in about three years' time, and within five to seven years become known as a master. Keep it alive for a decade or more, and you're an icon.

 

So How Do I Know It's Working?

As you can see, all this relies on momentum building quietly in the background, and it's hard to see it and measure that. Yet it's a powerful tool and is the very reason big brands hammer their name and message in the media, over and over, forever. There are always new people entering the market who don't know your brand, and the minute you stop, another brand takes your place.

 

You'll know it's working when you start seeing the activity level rise and other signals begin to show, about a year into a good campaign.

 

Critical Elements of a Marketing Campaign

All campaigns have critical elements. If those elements are out of balance or not fine-tuned correctly, the results will vary.

 

  1. Powerful Headlines
    Lots of research has been done on this topic. A headline is designed to pull someone into your ad. Without a strong headline, they won't stop and look; they will simply keep turning the page until a headline does get their attention. I recently attended a conference where a speaker said a change of headline can impact an ad's results by 700 percent — when the only thing that changed was the headline. (The same is true for a subject line in an e-mail.)

  2. Powerful Copy
    The copy in your ad, short or long, matters. Every word counts, and every word needs to help accomplish your goal. Most ads are weak and meaningless emote-y drivel. Ever hear these lines?

    1. The best quality

    2. The best service

    3. All your ___ needs

Your copy needs to cut through.
The problem for artists is that they primarily want to highlight their name with a big image of a painting. But it's hard to stand out by doing that alone. If you study who is getting lots of attention these days, you'll notice they are writing strong headlines for their ads.

 

3. Audience Saturation and Repetition

It's important to pick a single media outlet (a publication, a website, etc.) and dominate it as much as you can, with ads as large and as much frequency (repetition of ads) as possible. Most of us are tempted to move to other publications after a couple of ads to reach a new audience. But that's a giant mistake unless you can stay in the initial publication, add the other, and dominate in both. Few can afford to do that, so stick with the one outlet. It's time + repetition of message that builds trust, which builds your brand and your sales.

 

4. Audience Target
Contrary to what others would like you to believe, size does not matter. What matters is that you reach a relevant audience for what you're selling. Though you will get a bounce from advertising anywhere because you can gain customers from any audience, a relevant audience will speed your success. For instance, if you were selling gold, you'd want to reach people who can afford gold. Being in Investor's Business Daily or the Wall Street Journal will be better for that than People magazine, even though People has a bigger audience. In your case, you want to reach people who can afford what you sell, people who are known buyers of paintings.

 

5. Emotion

All decisions are emotional and only later supported by logic. Never forget this. If your ads don't have an emotional element to trigger strong feelings in your potential buyer, you'll reduce your success. (Of course, paintings themselves trigger emotions, so you have that to your advantage.)

 

6. Call to Action

Ads that don't ask for the order don't work. It seems simple, but most people simply include their contact information and never ask for the order. Research indicates that results will increase if you simply ask someone to pick up the phone and call to make a purchase.

 

7. Overcome Fears

Ads need to overcome the fears of a buyer. What fears do people have when they buy a painting? "Will it retain its value? What if I get it home and it looks bad with my couch? What if the gallery goes out of business?" The best way to overcome these and other fears is with a guarantee, such as: "If you decide for any reason the painting is not right for you, you have 60 days to return it for a full refund, no questions asked." Of course, everyone is afraid to do this, yet this one line will put some buyers over the edge and help them pick up the phone to call.

 

There is no one easy answer to "How do I know if my ads are working?" To some extent you have to trust that they are, after you've made sure the right elements are in your ads and the repetition and commitment are there.

 

Two Ads, Different Results

Most media works, or they wouldn't still be in business. Yet I can have two advertisers call me on the same day, and one will say their phone has not stopped ringing, their sales are strong, and they are getting amazing results. The other will tell me their ads are bombing — and they'll want to blame the publication for not having the audience. What's the difference?

 

It all boils down to the elements we discussed above. A great, well crafted ad, with the proper elements, and the proper frequency over long periods of time, is the difference. Badly crafted ads don't work.

Unfortunately, everyone tends to be in love with the ads they create. But most advertisers lack deep experience in creating great copy and the right elements for success. Then when their ads don't work, they want to blame someone other than themselves.

 

In closing, before you ever buy one drop of advertising, you need to ask what your primary goal for that advertising is. If you could accomplish just one big thing, what would it be? Once you understand that, it will make the message you craft crystal clear, and clarity is critical to make advertising successful.

By |2020-01-21T12:00:03-05:00May 21st, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments
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