Marketing can be a difficult concept to get your head around. Particularly if you are an artist who is relatively successful at selling their work, marketing can seem like a waste of time and money. Or, perhaps you feel that being commercial about your art is anathema to what you want to represent as an artist. Here’s why you might reconsider.
First, let’s acknowledge that sales are invaluable if you want to keep your studio lights on. And perhaps you are great at selling your work and closing a deal. But what happens when those sales opportunities dry up? How do you keep your pipeline flowing?
Nobody likes to receive a call only when you want something from them. There are only so many artworks you can guilt-trip your friends and family into buying, particularly if your prices are at the higher end of the spectrum. The solution? Marketing. You need to create something bigger than you, and then communicate it, so that you can grow your audiences beyond your immediate circle of friends and family. We’ll get into the branding aspect of it in a later post, let’s focus on the mechanics here.
The benefit of marketing as opposed to sales is that marketing, when done well, is consistent. It is about building a relationship with your audiences, allowing them to get to know you, rather than just calling them when you want to push a work. By consistently communicating with collectors, gallery owners and critics you involve them in your world and give them confidence that you are invested in your art career. In other words, putting money into your art or even recommending your artwork to friends seems like a safe bet for collectors.
If you don’t have a gallery to do your marketing for you, you’ll need to tackle it yourself. With social media you can achieve a lot on a small budget, but doing it well is highly time-consuming. You can outsource the work if that’s in your budget or systematize it so that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel every day. So prepare and schedule monthly e-blasts and weekly Instagram & Facebook posts, as well as regular website updates in your calendar. Having a consistent marketing strategy will free up your time to build meaningful, personal relationships with collectors, galleries and curators without you feeling that you always have to push your art.