Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to sell bullets

Here's some ammunition I worked up for my own use, and yours too, if you like. I've gotten some good response on LinkedIn from what started as a visit to a new post asking "How do successful artists sell art?" This bullet list is chock full of familiar buzz words, condensed down from a dozen sources.

Make distinctive work - develop your brand

Determine your audience, your target market

The work you like might not be what sells. Satisfy your customers. Get a sense of who likes what and why

Listen to customers, both buyers and browsers
    learn how to present and market your work
    practice presenting and marketing your work
Create big and small items, something that appeals to everyone

Galleries and agents only show art they think they can sell.

Consider all opportunities, even if inconvenient

Use social media, coupled with a website
    Blog; Facebook; LinkedIn

Copyright work before posting online

Send out a newsletter

Find an art writer to work with you on PR and promotion

30% - 50% time spent on marketing

Or go with an agent and pay extra fees

Persistance - rejection is part of the game

Patience - learn from failure

Find the right market for your work, what sells in one venue, may gather dust somewhere else.

Think outside the box - look for new applications for your art. Possibly Corporate sales?

Start and maintain a permission marketing list. Always get a name, contact information, and notes on what they liked from those who take an interest in your work. Send them more images, notes, news.

Work in groups, collaborate with other artists, writers, poets, musicians. film directors, photographers, philosophers

Cut down on costs. The kitchen table will work until you HAVE to dedicate space.

Barter or trade your art for goods and services

Make a plan. To make your art into a business, think like a business
with short and long-term goals, operational plans, finance procedures

Create a portfolio of prints, not slides, send it out to galleries and art dealers (artdealers.org)

Provide good-quality images of your work, and a short bio.

Design promotional materials such as business cards, postcards and catalogs for handouts or to be mailed.

Decide when you will have enough art and enough of a selection to start showing and selling your art.

Set reasonable prices, and be ready to answer how you do it.

Enter art and craft fairs, but choose wisely. Make sure your work fits, and that there isn't so much competition you are lost in the sea of work

If you must work, get a job with a flexible schedule

At art fairs, be personable. Smile. Getting to know the artist sometimes means as much to the buyer as the art.

At art fairs, learn to show your work in ways to make it appealing to potential buyers.

Talk and write about your art in ways people understand, regardless of how little or how much they know about art. This includes learning how to convince people to appreciate your art and feel like it's worth owning.

Document your work in ways to increase its appeal to potential buyers.

Decide how you will respond to criticism of your art, role-play it.

Discover where to send those press releases by raiding the resume's of all your favorite artists. Chances are that if a journalist writes about one artist, they might write about another.

Resume's are also an excellent resource for potential venues and grant opportunities.

Openings and receptions are a great way to reconnect with past clients and to meet new people, and to learn how well your work is communicating. It's disappointing for your audience to attend an opening and not have a chance to speak with the artist. Get out there and shake hands.


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