Guest author Rachael Page is the Founder of Artfuly, provider of artist publicity services such as online artists profiles with cart and delivery services & art magazine features.
But what does success mean to you? It’s important to define what that is for your personal situation. There are plenty of articles on the internet to help you with defining success, however I’m going to assume for the purposes of this article that success means ‘enough art sales’.
If you have a day job, that might mean enough to cover your art material costs, enough to bring in some additional income, to gain recognition or even to be a full-time artist and cover all of your living expenses. It’s up to you to define what ‘Enough’ is. Some artists just want to focus on the enjoyment of creating and that in itself defines success. It’s been proven repeatedly that a defining trait of successful people is that they start out by writing down their goals clearly (See S.M.A.R.T goals).
How to sell more art
What I’ve learned from running Artfuly for the past 7 years, is that the artists who do well, approach their art as a ‘business’. They tend to have:
At least one recognisable, appealing, contiguous series of artworks
A knowledge of marketing and a well-thought out approach i.e. A well-defined ‘brand’ or ‘story’
Connections with a lot of people in and outside the art world e.g. via a web-presence, on social media, and at events.
No-one gets successful/famous in a vacuum. *See this Moma diagram showing how successful abstract artists were far more closely connected than previously thought.
Successful artists are committed. I’ve watched new graduates evolve from artists who produce very original (which is important) but less technically proficient artworks, to seasoned artists making a good living from their art with a well-defined style and artworks with high technical proficiency. They define their niche and cultivate their following.
The Psychology of sales
Our research has revealed that there are many levels which need to be right to make an online art sale - from having trust in the website, to being able to clearly see the artwork and feeling connected emotionally with the artists story.
Often, people buy artworks when they’ve seen the artist a few times, not the first time. I’ve often heard it said that artists are ‘selling themselves’ rather than their artworks, and I believe that is largely true, so you need to lose that shyness and start sharing and connecting. Eventually, many art buyers have ‘favourite’ artists who they buy from again and again, and so it’s important that you as an artist understand that this is the holy grail of having a self-funding art business (repeat business) and that to achieve this you need to become great at communicating who you are and why your art is valuable.
Our knowledge in sales psychology has lead us to create a strategy called ‘Best Practice Art Marketing’ and this underpins everything we do. We have designed the Artfuly site around this strategy in order to support artists in running a successful art business and that is also why we launched our magazine last year which helps art buyers connect with the artist. After launch we noticed that people who read the interactive magazine then click through to the artists profile and spend 2.5 times longer browsing around than anyone who didn’t come via the magazine, on average 8 minutes browsing the site, which believe me, is huge in internet-land! We are working hard to be at the forefront of art sales with increased use of video, and several other innovations which are under wraps for now.
The key is to tell you story interestingly and regularly to a large audience
How the Artist First course and Artfuly work together
Being in marketing for 20 years, it’s often a challenge for me as the founder of Artfuly to help artists to help themselves. Many artists don’t have a background in marketing, websites, PR or advertising - but they need to.
What the Artist First course will do is give you a good grounding in Marketing for artists so that you will understand the context and relevance of all the marketing activities available to you. The full course content can be seen here, we have reviewed every page, and completely recommend it.
After the course, I’m sure you’ll understand the difference between Artfuly and other major art sites like artfinder and saatchiart, who don’t provide personalised, artist-focussed marketing (which is why only a tiny fraction of the artists they list get sales with them)
When you’re ready, you’ll want:
Your online presence at Artfuly [such as Trisha Lambi] with secure global cart, delivery organised & paid for (€1 per week). Why Artfuly is a great choice as your online & publicity partner - read this.
Instant personalised e-commerce website Your own web address (domain) such as ‘www.artbytrishalambi.com’ which can be set to show your artfuly artists profile when your domain is typed into a browser.
Publicity - a 3 x double page spread in Artfuly Magazine, with social posting Artists can optionally feature in our monthly contemporary fine art magazine - read the huge list of what you receive in this great publicity package here.
For any other questions about how Artfuly can support your art business and assist you in becoming a successful artist selling your contemporary fine art, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and join our free Artists Marketing Advice Group on Linkedin!
Also feel free to connect with me on Linkedin too :-)
Rachael Page, Monday 11th March 2019.