Marketing the Experience
We know that art patrons purchase the art they experience most deeply. That experience can be a feeling, a memory, a story, etc. It’s the “X Factor.” It’s what turns an admirer into a collector.
What can we do to make the viewer’s art experience more impactful, so they want to purchase from us? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?
I’m happy to share the things I have observed, and done over the years. You probably have many more ideas. Please reply to this email and let us know.
1. Sum up the message.
I lean heavily on the narratives in my paintings. When they are so complicated that nobody knows what I mean, people don’t relate and I have fewer sales. Design your art so it is easily digested.
2. Reveal something.
I always try to share a feeling or experience in my work, but I’ve learned this only succeeds if I don’t disclose anything too personal. My audience typically doesn’t want to buy a painting that tells a story of a dark time in my life. Know your audience, and reveal appropriately.
3. Depict something that could happen to anyone.
If you are marketing to a specific demographic, you can delve into niches. But I wouldn’t expect to sell paintings of dogs at a cat show. Of course it can happen. But keeping my pieces generic allows me to attempt sales with them in multiple venues.
4. Create art that calls to mind something of interest.
Think of the emotions your collector will feel. Is it exciting, scary, happy, sad? Does it even evoke an emotion?
5. Ideally, share something that can link to a call to action.
Sometimes I think of my art as memes. What would the words say if I took a picture and turned my art into a meme? Occasionally the words come easy in this exercise, and those are my social media post for the image.
6. Is it entertaining?
Humorous? Exciting? Is there a “hook?” A friend of mine always has good luck selling florals, so she’ll look at a composition and say “Put a daisy on it and call it sold.” While I don’t create art with a gimmick, I’m not too proud to use one if it seems like a good fit.
7. Does the experience reflect your brand or the message?
What do you want to put out in the world? For awhile, I was painting liquor bottles. I still do on occasion. But it got to where people where thinking of me every time they saw a bar scene. I don’t drink. I’m not opposed. I just don’t know anything about cocktails. I like the reflecting glass and colors, but when people started asking questions about specific scenes, I was clueless. It wasn’t consistent with my experiences.
8. Put yourself in the viewers shoes.
Would you stop and look? Is your art unforgettable? I like to look at the FASO Daily Art Stream and see if my paintings “pop.” If I can’t immediately spot my own art in the page, I wonder what I could have done to make it more noticeable. Think about how you present your art. Can you pair the art with anything that will grab attention? I am very involved in the miniature fine art shows. We have magnifying glasses available to patrons, so they can view our art the way it looked as we were creating it. For many people, that’s a fun, unique experience that intrigues them, gets them to the show receptions, and they spend more time looking.
Marketers use themes that make us viewers and make us look twice. Some of these are travel, food, cute animals or babies, attractive people. Full confession – when I think about what painting series have sold best over the years, I reluctantly admit they fit these categories. I wish this wasn’t true. I would love to paint more bugs.
Things artists often use as attention grabs are worth thinking about too. Art with a twist makes you look twice. Artists who capitalize on an optical illusion or the unexpected have a direct line to more eyeballs. This can be the art itself OR how you present your message. We’ve all seen the posts with sparkling filters or the tap a magic wand and a painting appears. Works in progress, the struggle of the process, successful new discoveries and growth, awards, sales, failures, questions soliciting ideas for titles, opinions on frames, critiques, etc. can all be presented in a way that grabs your followers and invites them to engage more with you.
Be aware that the attention and any emotions you solicit are specific to a particular viewer. The audience you attract has a lot to do with how you present your art.
Does this article make you want to consider more about the experience you are offering to collectors and viewers of your creations?