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Obstacles Artists Face in Selling Art

Art Lovers | 16 September 2016

Obstacles Artists Face in Selling Art (Part One)


If you look for advice on overcoming obstacles to selling your art work, you will find plenty of advice on changing your ‘mind set’ and yes ‘mind set ‘ is important but what about practical advice? Something you can take action on? That’s what I’m interested in and I think lots of artists are too! In fact taking action is a great way to change stuck ‘mindsets’.


Obstacle 1:  Connecting with the right audience


The greater your audience, the greater chance your work will find its ‘right’ audience. It’s simple mathematics really.


To give yourself the best chance to connect with the ‘right’ audience you have to get your art ‘out there’, whether that is in galleries, social media, magazines or competitions. If you are represented in galleries they will do some of the promoting for you. That is certainly what we do at Art Lovers Australia with our online gallery. But you also need to actively build your own following, this is where social media is invaluable.


So here is a summary of suggested actions to build your audience

  1. Set up an artist Facebook (separate from your personal page) and  Instagram account. *you can simultaneously post from Instagram to Facebook now, so it is even easier
  2. Try to SHARE something every week (every day is even better). Sometimes only 10% of your page likers get to see the post so they won’t be overexposed. Get your images out in the world (inspiration material, studio, materials, news, inspiring quotes and of course new work). This will be deepening your relationships as your audience gets to see how you work and what inspires you. If nothing else it is a fabulous record of your creative process. *Fb lets you schedule posts so you could do all your posts in one afternoon and then let then roll out during the week.
  3. Don’t be shy, invite all your personal Facebook friends to like your artist page.
  4. Observe your audience interactions and take note who is attracted to your work –male/female, age group, and interests.  This will be helpful when you pay for promotions later.
  5. When you have interaction (likes) on your posts, invite these new people to follow your page. There is usually a high conversion rate as they have already engaged with your post. And so your community grows.
  6. Use Facebook to PROMOTE special events and offers. Choose your audience wisely so it is cost effective.  Start with a small amount ($10 is a great start). Review your promotions after a day and narrow the target audience to what is performing the best. Sometimes you’ll hit a sweet spot in your target marketing and it can be 1 cent/ interaction!


Obstacle 2: Selling your own artwork can be difficult


Selling your own work is difficult! Most Australians find self promotion distasteful, even arrogant, this is where a third party is helpful.


The third party could be a friend, agent, gallery or magazine. When they write or talk about your work, an audience is more engaged. A third party also takes some of the pressure off the buyer. The buyer is free to like the work or not, without hurting your feelings.


Now I’m not saying leave it up to the third party to do all the promotion, you need to make yourself easy to promote. Write about your work and process. Be as clear as possible so that others can easily pass that information on. It is good to have a ‘long in depth version’ (great for your own website) and a short version that can be used for promotion (concise for social media). At Art Lovers Australia we find 200 words digestible for the audience after all they can always get more in depth info from other sources. We prefer that you tell us about yourself and your work rather than a list of exhibitions (unless they are significant like the Archibald).  Once again, your CV and exhibition history is best left on your website rather than your ‘store’


Of course when someone does promote your work – SHARE, SHARE, SHARE – especially with your social media community.  It will legitimize and validate your work and you may be surprised how many followers that have liked your work for a while, finally feel confident enough to make a purchase.


Don’t ‘wait’ to be discovered! Take action to build your audience and start selling your artwork. Join Art Lovers Australia’s online gallery today and start selling your art.


Join us for Part Two, coming soon!

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