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How can I effectively promote my art business?

Nov 26, 2010

To have a successful art business, you must get your artwork in front of potential customers. Many artists believe that their work stands on its own merits and they will be wildly successful once their art is “found.” However, artwork is really no different from any other product…it must be packaged and presented in a way that is enticing so your audience will want to pursue it! Perseverance and determination are keys to success, but here are a few other thoughts to consider when building your art business.

Keep your audience on its toes!
Engage your audience with a great website and effective social media, including FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and blogs. Share a glimpse of your inspirations, passions, your processes and your purpose…allow your audience a chance to get to know you and understand how and why you create your artwork. If you have an exhibit, won an award, or just finished a new piece, send out a news release. Take informal surveys to find out why people like your work, where they buy it, and where they think you should sell it.

Successful professional artists take their businesses seriously.
This means they have taken the time to create a foundation for their business by building a business plan, have researched pricing, have an understanding specific target markets and collectors, and have effective accounting systems in place.

Find your distinctive style and do it well.
Bev Doolittle hides images within her paintings. Ansel Adams used the power of black and white photography to portray powerful landscapes. Sarah Rogers, paints “tropical western wildlife” using vibrant watercolors and a distinctive style. Whatever your style, utilize your unique creativity to make it recognizable as your own distinctive artwork.

Price your work consistently.
Consider where your artwork is selling. Galleries typically charge a commission of 35-50%, so if you choose to sell in a gallery, consider the fee as a cost of doing business. If you also sell your work on-line or in art shows, make sure your prices are the same in all venues.  The relationships built with gallery owners are invaluable to the promotion of your work…don’t risk losing their support by undercutting their prices!

Be wary of giving your artwork away.
Many people have the perception that an art is something that one pursues as a hobby and believe an artist is happy to donate work to “get their name out there.”  This assumption tends to undermine the value of the work of a serious artist. If you are asked to donate to a fundraiser or auction, ask yourself whether the audience is likely to be your target market. If your art will be sold at an auction, request a minimum bid price.

Don’t forget the power of networking!
Build those one-on-one relationships that help you interact directly with your customers. Invite your existing customers to small, private art showings.  Take time to visit galleries, attend artist receptions, teach a class, or join an artist group. See what other artists are doing and connect with their positive energy!

Category: Business Planning

Susan Jerke

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