Five reasons people give away their art

Back in the day I was the Director of Market Research at BYTE magazine.  My job was to prove the value of our readership for the ad sales staff.  I used to cringe when the young, inexperienced sales people used to come back to the publisher with some truly awful deals that would basically be giving away ad space.  Any fool can give things away for less than their value.   A seasoned professional or informed amateur recognizes the value of their work and the market needs.

The Line Up
The Line Up – call in the usual suspects – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/the-line-up-edward-fielding.html

Why do people give away their photographs and art?

The global art market achieved total sales of $63.8 billion in 2015.  People want to buy art and photography for their home and office.  They need to purchase art and photography for commercial purposes such as advertising, web pages, brochures, magazines, books, etc yet some people continue to give away their artwork and photographs or seriously undervalue their work.

Why is this?  I can think of five reasons:

Ignorance – They don’t understand the value of images in today’s marketplace and don’t realize the value of what they have. I recently sold an image for $360 profit a friend gave me. He didn’t understand the value of the image he had and I offered to sell it for him.  Images have value in the fine art market and commercial market.  It is just a matter of realizing it.

Exposure – Photographers and artists are often under the impression that giving away their images will somehow lead to future sales or recognition. The problem is that millions of images are given away every day on social media and there isn’t enough “exposure” to go around. What’s the value of this exposure? Perhaps 1 cent in today’s market. People value what they pay for – no one brags about art they got for free. And no one who has gotten something for free is going to pay for it the next time. They’ll just look for another free source the next time. And the value of someone looking for freebies as a “collector” is worthless. You want to cultivate a follow of people who value what you are offering, not people looking for freebies.

They are amateurs or hobbyists – The amateur or hobbyist is not looking to make a living on their photography or artwork.  They simply enjoy producing images for fun and are happy enough for others to look at their images.  They don’t want to the pressure of having to ask for money and would rather just give away their images.  They live for likes and shares.   The problem with this mindset is that it brings down the over all market and prevents the amateur or hobbyist from ever becoming a professional.  After being conditioned with instant success from likes and shares of their freebies, they are unprepared with standing up for the true value of their work and asking for money for their time, skill and effort.  The advanced amateur or hobbyist is setting themselves up for being asked to shoot weddings, soccer games, portraits for free.

They want to build up a portfolio – This might be the best reason to actually giving away services for free.  If you need to create a portfolio and need access to models or locations or maybe even a good project idea.  But there is no reason to give your time and effort for nothing.  Barter and exchange services instead.  Trade headshots for modeling time.  Create a video for a local business in exchange to some free time at the gym or on the massage table.  Don’t work for free, instead exchange one valuable service for another.

They don’t know how easy it is to take their goods to market – Some artists and photographers simple don’t know how easy it is to participate in the art and photography markets.  In the old days perhaps the only way to sell your art and photography was to take your portfolio around to galleries or sell directly to the public.  But with the Internet there are countless markets amateurs and professional photographers and artists can participate .  Stock agencies cater to professional image buyers and online galleries and print on demand sites sell directly to the public.  I explain how to sell via POD sites in these blog posts:

How to Succeed in Fine Art Photography

How to Succeed in Fine Art Photography with Brooke Shaden plus further reading.

“Anyone can become a fine art photographer, but not everyone can become a gallery-represented artist.”

Talent alone will not bring you recognition as a fine art photographer. For that, you need exposure to collectors and museums. Galleries can give you that exposure, but first you need an effective marketing plan to reach the galleries. You will find that plan in From Photographer to Gallery Artist.

Author Kara Lane conducted hundreds of hours of research, and contacted over sixty galleries, to find the best strategies for getting your fine art photography into galleries. Now she is sharing the secrets she discovered with you.

In this complete guide to finding gallery representation, you will learn:

  • The criteria galleries use to evaluate fine art photography
  • Three primary resources for identifying the best galleries for you
  • The tools you need to showcase your images and experience
  • Six major marketing strategies for attracting gallery representation
  • Key issues to discuss with galleries before agreeing to representation
  • How eight famous fine art photographers achieved their success
  • Self-assessment questions to help clarify what you want from your life and art
  • Lists of recommended portfolio review events, art fairs, juried shows and competitions, art magazines and blogs, artist websites, and other resources to help you become a gallery-represented fine art photographer
  • With your talent, effort, and persistence…and the research and marketing strategies in From Photographer to Gallery Artist…you can achieve gallery representation!

Did you know? Fine Art Photography – Known also as “photographic art“, “artistic photography” and so on, the term “fine art photography” has no universally agreed meaning or definition: rather, it refers to an imprecise category of photographs, created in accordance with the creative vision of the cameraman.

“Fine art is about an idea, a message, or an emotion. The artist has something that they want to have conveyed in their work.

That idea or message may be something small, a single word such as abandon, or it may be a whole statement, like exploring the way the moon affects the tides. It is a start. It is like a hypothesis.”


In recent years as the field of photography has exploded, many photographers consider selling their work to make a profit and to help defray the high costs of equipment. But, many photographers don’t have the business and marketing knowledge required to successfully sell fine art photographs; and many of those who have tried have been met with disappointment. Until now, little information of value has been available.

In Marketing Fine Art Photography, Alain Briot offers practical, up-to-date and field-tested marketing techniques from the viewpoint of a fine art landscape photographer who earns a living from the sale of his fine art prints.

Briot teaches that by taking control of the selling process, you can increase your profits and, ultimately, direct your own destiny. Briot’s approach is based on offering quality not quantity; and offering something unique, rather than something that is mass-produced. Though directed toward selling fine art, this method can be applied to other products.

After a series of trials and errors, Briot devised a marketing system that allowed him to get out of debt, pay for a state-of-the-art studio, and purchase his first home, all from the sale of his photography. Briot has taught fine art photography marketing to numerous students in seminars, through one-on-one consulting, and through his Marketing Mastery tutorial DVD.

Topics include:

Defining fine art photography
Wholesale, retail, and consignment
Knowing your customer
Where to sell and how to price fine art
Fundamentals of marketing and salesmanship
Profitability and honesty in business
Packing and shipping fine art
Common marketing mistakes
The unique selling proposition (USP)

Ideas for making money with your camera

The market for photography is $10 billion dollars in the United States and is expect to grow at a rate of 1.8 percent annually.

Still images and video are needed more than ever in the digital age in portraits, business promotion, product photography, food photography, event photography and editorial photography to illustrate articles, news sources and websites. While the costs of photographer and the fees paid to photographers have decreased due to easier to use and process digital photography the need for images is always increasing.

The Photography industry has experienced several changes as digital cameras and post-production technologies have increasingly affected operators. While photographers are benefiting from the changes by increasing their efficiency and availability, consumers are now able to take professional-quality images without the need of a specialist.

Revenue is expected to improve slightly in the next five years as photographer focus on niche markets, such as events, sports and church directory photography.

Common industry services include school and family portraits, special events photography and sports’ photography. As consumers make up the largest buyers of these services, photography studios tend to be concentrated in densely populated areas.

Cities, in addition to being densely populated, have the largest amount of business activity. This leads industry establishments that focus on commercial and industrial photography to also concentrate in densely populated areas although the web allows photographers to find International and Domestic markets.

Top Ways to Make Money With Your Camera

1 – Sell Prints – I talk about how to sell prints of your photographs in my series on Print On Demand sites – http://www.dogfordstudios.com/understanding-print-demand/

You can also sell prints locally at galleries and  arts and crafts fairs.

2 – Stock Photography – You can upload your images to a stock photography agency who will then offer them to image buyers and designers to be used in publications, on the web,  on products etc.

Example of a licensed image.
Example of a licensed image.

For example the above image title “Wash Day” and which I sell as prints has also been licensed for use on the cover of a pet magazine in Florida.  https://edwardfielding.me/2014/02/07/wash-day-makes-the-front-page/

A few things to remember about stock photography:

  • Fine art photographs are not always suitable for stock images and conversely not all stock images make great fine art photographs.
  • Stock photographs need to be useful for the business buyers/designers.  They need copyspace, they need images that will illustrate the products and services they are selling or support the editorial in a magazine or on a blog.
  • A stock portfolio needs to be diverse, constantly updated and have a very large number of unique images to get noticed.  If you think you’ll upload 40 images and then kick back and watch the money flow in, you will be disappointed.

Sell Art Online

3 – Event Photography – Capturing images for an event such as a wedding, party, club, or special occasion is a great way to make money with your camera.  Even though everyone has a camera these days on their smart phone, smart people and people with money to spend on the good things in life know that it better to leave important things like capturing the event in pictures to the pros with the good equipment.  The pro might be the only one not drunk and certainly the only one in the room fully concentrated on getting the job done.

4. Portraits – From Headshots to Mugshots – the ability to photograph people well is the ticket to success.  Landscapes are for the hobbyists and amateurs.  Professionally produced portaits are money in the bank for the professional photographer.  Learn how to make people look good and you will have a successful photography business.
Sell Art Online

About Fine Art America and Pixels

Fine Art America is privately held company that provides a market place for artists to sell their images.   Artists offer their images for sale, provide the mark up and Fine Art America and its sister site Pixels handles the sales transactions , printing and fulfillment.

Fine Art America started out as a popular artists forum in the early Internet days and then morphed into a marketplace over time.  Its  small company, mostly the brain child of computer engineer, Sean Broihier and a small support staff, but they manage to be the small business engine for thousands of artists and photographers.

There is currently two “flavors” of the Fine Art America POD marketplace.  One is the original Fine Art America that promotes fine art prints and original artwork.  The prints are handled by  Graphik Dimensions Ltd. of High Point NC who has been serving the artist community for over 50 years with printing and framing.

With these guys as the principal framing and print shop, FAA offers the most framing, printing and mounting options of any online POD outfit.  You can choose from thousands of framing options including metal, acrylic and new wood prints.

Pixels on the other hand is more of the gift shop to FAA’s gallery or museum experience.  In the Pixels store you will find an expanded collection of gift items like t-shirts, mugs and throw pillows.

Sample Artists Storefront

http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/
http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/

Fine Art America in the Press

Sean Broihier the owner of Fine Art America seems to have done a round of press back in 2012.  More recently he’s kept more tight lipped about the business maybe because of all the competition that has entered the POD market place over the last few years.

Here is some of the press on Fine Art America and Pixels from past articles.  Note that the sales figures certainly have increased from the 2012 numbers.

Doing $5 Million A Year With Three Employees: FineArtAmerica CEO Sean Broihier (Part 1)

http://www.sramanamitra.com/2012/03/22/doing-5m-a-year-with-3-employees-fineartamerica-ceo-sean-broihier-part-1/

Sramana: What is the business model behind FineArtAmerica?

Sean Broihier: The business model is to create a marketplace of buyers and sellers. We allow artist and photographers to upload their images to our site. We then offer them for sale as framed prints, stretched canvases, acrylic prints, greeting cards, and so on. We have a print-on-demand business model. Independent artists and photographers all over the world can open an account on our site and upload their images, and our software will determine what sizes and products we can sell based on the size of the image. The artist or photographer gets to name exactly how much they want to charge for each product or size of the print that is made available.

When a buyer comes along, he or she can pick the print and size. We allow buyers to choose additional features such as colored mats and frames. They can customize the entire picture via our website and place the order. FineArtAmerica takes care of the entire transaction for the artist. We print, frame, package, ship, collect payment, and send the profits to the artist.

How Fine Art America Built Its Business by Bootstrapping

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222670

So how does Broihier do it? Here are his five tips on how to bootstrap a business:

  1. Be lean. He started out by keeping the overhead low — working alone on nights and weekends. He generated a $500 profit his first month in business. In 2010, he hired his first employee, and in 2011 he added another — both of whom work remotely.
  2. Generate buzz. Fine Art America didn’t advertise until late 2010. Instead, it took advantage of word-of-mouth through its artists via email, Facebook, Twitter and more. Customers, it turns out, are your best lead generators.
  3. Outsource. Fine Art America builds great online software and outsources everything else. ADP handles payroll. Amazon manages its web servers. WebmasterChecks.com pays the artists. A company out of North Carolina handles its printing, framing, matting, packaging and shipping.
  4. Don’t follow the leaders. Small firms often compete against well-funded corporations with millions of investment capital that can afford to throw money at bad ideas. Don’t copycat all of their decisions.
  5. Resist taking on investors. Once you accept investment capital, you’re no longer the boss and you’re on a path to sell your business or go public. Unless you’re struggling with cash flow or preparing for an exit, accepting outside money makes no sense.

 

Keywording 101 for Art Sellers

Selling Online Requires Keywording

What if you had a great product to sell but it was invisible?  How would you describe it to potential buyers?  How about you get them to see how the wonderful qualities of the product?  How would you attract potential buyers to said invisible product?

Selling products like artwork and fine art photographs online is much like selling an invisible product, because people search the Internet by using text based search engines.  Sure there are image search features on search engines like Google but for the most part buyers search using text.

Even within an online gallery like Fine Art America, text searches are used to bring up a selection of artwork and fine art photographs from the massive database.

If a buyer can’t find your art, they can’t buy it.  It’s as simple as that.

Keywords are the key to buyers finding your work

One of the most basic ways for your artwork and fine art photography to be found is via keywords.  Keywords are descriptive words used to describe the image.

In essence  you are trying to guess what word or words a potential buyer would use to find your artwork.

Another word for it:  Index term, a term used as a keyword to retrieve documents in an information system such as a catalog or a search engine

Usually online art galleries or databases require anywhere from 10 to 50 keywords.  You should start off with the first words that come to mind when looking at an image.  What words would you used to classify the image on your computer to find it again in the future?

This quick, top of mind words are going to be the most valuable.  For example, this photograph of a dog taking a photograph in the studios.

Art Prints

Right off the top of my head I’m going to think: dog, camera

Then I’m going to start getting more detailed and try to describe the image further with more detailed description words like:

studio, Westie, press camera, vintage

Then I’ll start to think about the mood of the image – funny, humor, photographer

And I’ll use descriptive words about the medium: photograph, black and white

I might add framed, print, fine art, poster and other more generic descriptors.

Basically you want to cover the who, what, where, when, why and how of the image.

Pho Dog Grapher Coffee Mug
Pho Dog Grapher Coffee Mug

If the product was a coffee mug I might include: ceramic, coffee, java, mug, tea, beverage, gift, household.

Keywording is an essential component of selling online so be sure to take the time and effort to do so!

 

Selling artwork to friends and family

Quick make a list of 500 friends and family connections

Back in college during career days, I recall the Insurance Companies sniffing around for potential sales position hires.  If you interviewed  for one of these insurance sales positions,  the first thing they have you do is write down a list of 500 people you know. Seriously 500 hundred people!

Coincidentally I’ve heard it said that 500 people is the most anyone can seriously maintain as a social circle.  People with over 500 people on their Facebook accounts can not really know all of those people.  Or at least in any meaningful way.  Try selling insurance or Amway to some distant cousin twice removed or someone who you only know because they like to share funny cat photos.

Photography Prints

Anyway, the insurance companies  expect you to sell people you know to get started.   Your friends and family will be your base pool of sales leads.  In other words, by hiring you, the insurance company gets 500 leads.

Its not unlike the modern art world.  In the old days, the artist just needed to get into the gallery world and then the gallery staff would sell to their carefully cultivated list of buyers.

That is the fantasy world that a lot of today’s artists still cling too – if only I could get into a gallery all my troubles would be over and I wouldn’t have to market myself.  I could just create all day long….

But nowadays, galleries and even art shows expect the artist to provide the bodies.  They expect the artist to pull in the connections and bring in a following.

New Limited Edition Release Vintage Typewriter
New Limited Edition Release Vintage Typewriter

Friend and Family – Gold Mine or Fool’s Gold

Everyone needs and understands the basic value of life insurance or home owners insurance – but do they need or understand art?

This where the idea of selling to friends and family falls short of the goal of becoming a successful artist.

  • Friends and family are a finite market
  • Family and friends may or may not be your market
  • F&F get annoyed

Your closest friends might be a nice way to get a few sales in pocket to start you off, but come on, you will need to sell a ton of artwork over your career to survive as an artist.  You are not going to do it by selling to friends and family.  Unless you are developing an ever increasing, dynamical expanding universe of friends.

But this will probably only occur after you become more successful and everyone wants to get in on your success.  Suddenly when your artwork becomes valuable, then you’ll find relatives that you never knew existed and friends coming out of the woodwork trying to get some deals on investment quality artwork.

Photography Prints

A better strategy is to make your work and you as an artist and individual creative person more accessible.   Let people get to know you as a person and as an artist.  It doesn’t require friendship just a bit of access to how you think, your process and your mindset.

Selling Artwork Online  – Cultivate a new family around your artwork

Online you have to do things to connect with people online. That means getting out there in cyberspace and communicating. Not just spamming people with “look at this” stuff over and over.

I wrote about this on my blog – Don’t Become Human Spam – http://www.dogfordstudios.com/dont-become-human-spam/

For the record, I ran a t-shirt business with an artist friend for 10 years.  I don’t think any friend or family member of ours ever bought anything.   It was funny fishing related line with crass humor.  We sold mostly to bass fishermen in the south.  Our friends and family are mostly non-fishermen living in the north.  Or fly fishermen, not bass fisherman.  Would be try to push our products on friends and family? Nope.

 
Art Prints

With my artwork and photography, I have only sold a few items to friends and family.  The other folks haven’t bought any art since the 1970s and even then they bought it at Sears.  Not exactly the market I’m striving for – I’d rather try to cultivate a following online consisting of people who understand and appreciate fine art photography.

Selling Art – Search Engine Optimization SEO

Selling Artwork with Search Engine Optimization

Advice on selling artwork online by successful artist/fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding – www.edwardfielding.com

In order to buy art, collectors must first see it so the can fall in love with it.  In the brick and mortar world this means putting your wall art up in places frequented by potential collectors such as galleries, cafes and exhibits.

The Nest by Edward M. Fielding
The Nest by Edward M. Fielding  http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/the-nest-edward-fielding.html

Selling art online requires putting your artwork in online galleries but mainly creating content that will be collected and indexed by the major search engines.

When someone is in the mood to search for art to buy, you want your artwork or photography to pop to the top of search.  That is what the term “SEO” or “Search Engine Optimization” means.  Making your content (in this case your artwork) optimally positioned to be first found by the search engines and then ranked as high as it can be the search results.

Search engine results are the result of a constantly tweaked formula or algorithm.  A behind the scenes math equation that weights all sorts of variables to bring about the final result.  Elements such as popularity, readability, length of time people spend on the page, number of links going to the page, how many ads are on the page etc etc.  All of these measurements go into the formula to create the final page ranking.

Red Neck Moving Day
Red Neck Moving Day http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/red-neck-moving-day-edward-fielding.html

While search engines such as Google and Bing won’t actually reveal the methods they use to rank websites on their search results, those responsible for the practice of SEO have a pretty good idea which tactics are most effective – and research repeatedly confirms it comes down to just a handful of factors.

Relevant Content Creation

RCC or Relevant Content Creation is considered the most important way to achieve SEO.  You have to think of the search engine as a product.  The goal of any search engine is to be the best product in its class. It does this by satisfying the customers need for fast and relevant results.

The better job the search engine does of bringing you the results you want, the better the product.  So the search engine strives to bring up results that have actual useful information and it does this partly by measuring the amount of time the users spends on the page and the number of links from other sites that lead to this page.

Dirty Dog Laundry Soap
Dirty Dog Laundry Soap http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/dirty-dog-laundry-soap-edward-fielding.html

You can’t really fake good content.  In the old days, you might just fill up a page with keywords and the search engines would send customers to that page.  But now all kinds of other factors are considered such as readability, time spent on the page, other links to the page, social media interaction etc.

Relevant content creation, of course, is what SEO’s most often believe is the most effective SEO tactic. Recent research from Ascend2, in fact, found that 57 percent of respondents say relevant content creation is a highly effective SEO tactic. Other top tactics mentioned in the study include keyword/phrase research (49% cite as highly effective), social media integration (39%), and external/internal linking (36%).

Old Train Bridge
Old Train Bridge http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/2-old-steel-train-bridge-edward-fielding.html

Selling Artwork With Context

To attract search engines to your work you need to surround the work with words.  Visual images can be searched but usually its by people looking to grab a photo for a school report or presentation or something.  Art buyers are going to be searching within an online art gallery or via a search engine. You need to surround your visual artwork with relevant words or in other words put it in context.

Context – the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.

In the SEO world, context is king.  Context can be keywords, a description of an artwork, the biography of the artist, the process behind the artwork, a description of the framing process etc.

In other words tell the story of the artwork for the potential buyer and the search engines.  Give the buyer and the search engine bots that index the Internet, multiple reasons to find, index, discover and learn about your artwork.  Provide interesting details about the work that will entice others to share and link to your work.

The more context you place around your artwork, the more likely it will be found and purchased.

 

About the Author

Before returning to fine art photography and art, Edward M. Fielding had a career in the high tech computer magazine and online content provider world including being the Director of Market Research at BYTE Magazine.

Currently Fielding’s work can be seen on bestselling book covers and in magazine’s around the world as well as in galleries and in the home’s of private collectors.

See more at: http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/index.html

More articles on selling artwork online here.

selling artwork buy smart doggie Art Online

Best of: Selling Artwork

A Collection of the Best Articles on Selling Artwork by Edward M. Fielding

Selling Artwork – Long before I was a best selling fine art and stock photographer, I was a little elementary school kid trading and selling marbles on the school yard. Later I bought a badge making kit from the back of a comic book and started selling buttons and badges to my classmates.  Selling was in my blood.

Inside The Horse Barn Black And White
Inside The Horse Barn Black And White – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/inside-the-horse-barn-black-and-white-edward-fielding.html

In college I had a couple business schemes going – a dating service for my fellow students (this was in the old school, pre-Internet days, matches were made by paper survey and intuition) and a party promotion/DJ/Booze Cruise company. Neither one was properly capitalized or successful but I did graduate from Boston University with a degree in Marketing and had a successful career in the publishing and web-zine industry specializing in market research. Needless say I know how to analysis a market and study consumer behavior.

Sunset over the old red barn.
Sunset over the old red barn.  http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/barn

I left the publishing world after the big dot.com and computer publication crash (anyone remember BYTE Magazine?)  and became a stay at home Dad supporting my wife’s career and work with a partner on a venture called “Fishboy Art and Design” which sold t-shirts and accessories to fishing fanatics and tourist locations.  The artwork was done by my partner Paul Ocepek, I handled the website and marketing.

Lobster Landing Sunset by Edward M. Fielding
Lobster Landing Sunset by Edward M. Fielding http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/lobster-landing-sunset-edward-fielding.html

As the kid got older I started having some more free time to dedicate to my own artwork, specifically photography.  First with re-learning photography in the digital age and then figuring out how to sell my work so I wouldn’t have to go back into the rat race.

It took me about three years of research, practice, exploring, testing, discovering and daily work to start to see some consistent results, but eventually all that work started to pay off.

Free shipping
www.edwardfielding.com  http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/

This collection of articles represent some of the best tips and advice I can give on selling artwork.  I can’t create the artwork for you.  I can’ t force you to work hard, work smart and put in all of the time and effort it takes to get your work seen in front of the millions of other people trying to sell their own artwork.  But perhaps these articles will you a sense of how to get started and will provide a chance for you to skip ahead of some of the pitfalls I found along the way.

Will this advice work for you?  Each artist’s journey to success takes its own path but some selling truths are consistent.  Good luck Grasshopper. — Edward M. Fielding 

Selling Artwork – Plan Ahead

Selling Artwork – Christmas 2017 Art Selling Season Starts Now

Sell More Artwork By Planning Ahead – One of my families favorite Christmas season movies is “Elf” and there is a scene at the end where Santa tells the elves “congratulations for a great Christmas”.  They all cheer and then get back to work on next year’s Christmas!  No rest for the weary at the North Pole.

Sell Art Online

A friend of mine is a product designer for the electronics industry.  Early January he is always crushed with business producing mock ups for the February trade shows.

All across the toy industry, designers are finalizing their designs for next year’s toys which will be manufactured all summer.  Cooking magazine art directors are putting the final touches on their Halloween photoshoots right now.  Book publishers are meeting with Christmas themed book writers in late winter.

Art Prints

The point is that the Christmas selling season starts now – not in December 2017.

Missed Out On The Christmas Buying Spree? What Are You Going To Do About It

Ok, many of you are not experiencing a jump in sales this Christmas season and perhaps are discouraged by hearing about other artists enjoying increased sales this season. Let’s face it the moment after you congratulate someone on a sale, the first thought is what do they have that I ain’t got?

So what are you going to do about it to build your business up to be ready to take advantage of more sales next Holiday season? Are you just going to droop your head down and say whoa is me? Or are you going to make a plan? How about a real business plan? For many of us this is a business, its time to start acting as such.

Art Prints

1.  Are you going to analysis your offerings and offer more of what people want to buy and less of what only you like?

2.  Are you going to increase your social networking efforts?
3.  Are you going to get an artist website and blog?
4.  Are you going to increase the number of markets you participate in?
5.  Are you going to improve your skills and offer better work?
6.  Create more places where people can buy your work?
7.  Communicate with potential buyers?
8.  Stop spending valuable time commiserating with others who are not selling?
9. Stop blaming your lack of sales on things like the economy, or slow networks, or Amazon, or the world that is conspiring against you?
10. Are you going to DO SOMETHING about it?

How about it? Anyone got any action plans for 2017? You better because your competition does and they  working hard to create great art and marketing for the upcoming Christmas season that starts today.

Pugs Book
Pugs Book by Edward M. Fielding http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/

 

About the Author

Artist Edward M. Fielding is a successful artist/designer/photographer on Fine Art America, Pixels and other POD sites as well as an International stock image supplier whose work has been featured in magazines and on book covers around the globe.  His whimsical books of dog photos can be found on Amazon.com.

https://www.createspace.com/4070210

https://www.createspace.com/5240200

Generating traffic to your artwork

Getting more people to see your artwork and hopefully purchase it

Art does not sell within a vacuum.  And art can’t be purchase without first being seen.  The more people who see your work, the more potential your artwork as to being sold.  How do you get more people to see your work?  Are all viewers equal? How do you generate organic traffic? What is organic traffic?

Art Prints

In totality there are lots of ways for people to see your work:

  • Gallery visits
  • Art festivals
  • Galleries
  • Museums
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • On the street
  • On the Internet

Online there are two main ways to generate “traffic” the generic and cold term for web site visitors (i.e. people who might buy your work).  Offline at retail space this “traffic” might be referred to as foot traffic.

The presence and movement of people walking around in a particular space. Foot traffic is important to many types of businesses, particularly retail establishments, as higher foot traffic can lead to higher sales. Strategies businesses can use to increase their foot traffic include holding grand openings and other promotional events such as demonstrations, giveaways, sales and charitable fundraisers.

Photography Prints

First the terms: organic traffic vs. paid traffic:

Organic traffic generally refers to non-paid traffic, so includes traffic from:

  • Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
  • Referral traffic from other sites – visitors arriving at your site after clicking on a link on another website.
  • Direct traffic – someone typing in your URL into a browser.
  • Blogs – links from blogs describing your process or artwork
  • News – links from press releases, news articles and other press about your work.
  • YouTube – referrals and links from your YouTube or Vimeo videos.

Such traffic is all achieved organically, rather than through a source of advertising or paid promotion of some kind.

On the other hand…

Paid traffic is where you are spending money to attract those visitors to your website. This might include:

  • Using paid listings on search engines.
  • Paying to promote your content/link on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and give it a much wider audience.
  • Showing ads on other sites around the net, usually using an ad network like Google’s Display Ads within Adwords.
  • Visitors arriving at your site because of an affiliate program you run, i.e. incentives others to link through to your site in return for monetary compensation of some kind, usually either on a sale or some other user action after they arrive.

Ninety percent of selling is conviction, and 10 per cent is persuasion. – Shiv Khera

Art Prints

Not All Traffic Is Created Equal

Of course  not all traffic is created equal.  Consider the value of a targeted mailing to active art buyers vs. a mailing to the general public.  Or the value of a person walking into a high end gallery in NYC vs. someone walk into the decor section at Pier One.  Two different buyers with vastly different sales potential and people who will most likely be attuned to a different sale pitch.

The expectations of the person walking into a high end art gallery are different than the Pier One customer.  The gallery patron is expecting artwork of a certain quality and price point, as is the random Pier One customer.  The Pier One customer is not expecting one of a kind work or a one of a kind artwork price point.  While the gallery patron is looking for something exclusive and perhaps something that will be of investment grade artwork.

But compare this to someone who simply wandered into each store randomly as they were looking to have their shoes shined.  They weren’t looking for artwork to buy and they might not even appreciate artwork.  And besides they only have $20 in their pocket to get their shoes shined and perhaps pick up a newspaper and cup of coffee.
Art Prints
It would take a heck of a lot more salesmanship to sell some art to this random person.

Creating Targeted Traffic

This is why you want to create targeted traffic to your artwork.  Targeted means you are messaging people who are in the market for what you are selling.  You can do this in two ways.  One – push messages at people who have been identified as members of your target market – usually this can only be done via demographics such as sex, age, income etc.

Art magazines are a good example of an advertising environment that includes a rich targeted audience for artwork messaging.  But you will also get a lot of people within that audience who are other artists trying to sell their own stuff.  In the magazine world they call this “concentration” and sell advertising based on this concentrated audience.  For example they might show audience stats to a gallery showing that “30 percent of readers have purchased art in the past year” or something.

But this type of traffic has several drawbacks:

  1.  It costs money
  2. It depends on the effectiveness of your advertising material
  3. You never really know if traffic you are paying for matches your artwork.
  4. There is a lot of fake traffic – bots, third world country click farms.

Salesmanship is limitless. Our very living is selling. We are all salespeople. James Cash Penney

 

Organic Traffic:  Striking Gold

Self-selected, organic traffic is the gold standard of web traffic.  People who discover your artwork on their own, from their own explorations.

Your job as an artist, small business person, entrepreneur, art marketer and art salesperson is to create material that will attract people and potential buyers to your artwork.

Ideas for generating organic traffic to your artwork:

  • Create YouTube videos showing your process
  • Describe your process, motivation,
  • Announce shows, openings, new series, sales
  • Use social media – everything and anything – Facebook, Google+, Instagram – engage your audience and build a following.
  • Teach and give workshops
  • Send out postcards and news articles.
  • Write blog entries and promote your ideas.

“If you take a print magazine with a million person circulation, and a blog with a devout readership of 1 million, for the purpose of selling anything that can be sold online, the blog is infinitely more powerful, because it’s only a click away.” – Timothy Ferriss

Build a funnel to channel organic traffic to your artwork

Sales funnel for driving art sales
Sales funnel for driving art sales

The goal is to use every avenue you can think of to attract potential customers to your artwork where hopefully they will fall in love with it and purchase a print or product.

  • Increase awareness of you, your brand, your artwork.  Make sure potential buyers understand that your work is for sale.
  • Create interest in your work by letting your follows behind the scenes so they can see how you create your work.  Show our process.
  • Help potential buyers purchase our work by explaining the various products available so they can make a decision.
  • Lastly have an easy to use method of completing the sales transactions.

How I became a successful selling artist

I sell regularly on Fine Art America but it took me many years of building up an audience and filling the funnel to get to this point.  Filling the funnel can take years before it starts paying off.  The good news is most people give up after a few months so for those who stick to it, you’ll reap the benefits.

Here are some of my funnel filling venues:

Granted you need high quality work that people want to buy.  That is the first step.  But after that, you need to get people to see it.  Good luck!

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