Last week's Artists Helping Artists show was all about Art Trends and what's hot in 2017. I believe that trends are something we should be aware of and understand. They should not influence what we create.
So don’t change what you are painting or how you paint. Rather, just be aware of the trends. You should be aware of what the world is being told they want and need. Trends help the fashion industry and home goods industry plan and manufacture goods a season in advance. They don’t necessarily mean it’s what the public wants. But the public does listen to all advertising and often think it's what they want. Get it?
One trend that I do think you need to pay attention to is online sales. Last November, a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat was sold on Instagram for $24 million, an unprecedented event that probably announces the new era in online auctioning and sales. The painting was sold for more than triple the $7.3 million it fetched at auction in 2007. To date, the annual increase in online art market sales has been 24 percent, and it is expected to reach $9.58 billion by 2020. In 2016 internet buyers spent $155 million which is 20 percent increase from the previous year.
If you aren't selling online you need to take advantage of this amazing sales opportunity. Don't miss out. Seriously.
Once you have an idea who your customer is, how can you actually find them? It's not difficult if you ask the question, "Where does your audience get their information"?
More than 60% of the people living in the USA are using social media on a daily basis. That’s 180 million people who are messaging friends over Facebook, following the news on Twitter, and scrolling through Instagram wishing they were somewhere else.
Your next advertising campaign must utilize that prime real estate.
During the middle of the day, millions of people around the world are picking up their phones [more than seventeen times per day](65% of adults now use social networking site "Americans spend an alarming amount of time checking social media on their phones") because they fear missing out on something.
By focusing all of your efforts onto the social media each of your demographics uses you can spend less time trying to be everywhere and instead create a singular cost-effective campaign on the one network your focus niche uses the most.
For example, if your core demographic is black females between the ages of 18-29 then Instagram should be your primary network.
If you’re looking for leads for your new range of children’s art then Pinterest — with a large audience of 100 million active female users (many are at-home mothers with a household income of over $30,000 per annum) — is a perfect network for advertising.
To find which social media network your demographic is using compare it to google “The demographic of social media users” to find the right fit.
Which Type of Content Works Best for Your Audience?
Short videos on Facebook have become an increasingly popular method of advertising for many brands, but what if you’re target audience doesn’t use Facebook?
You’re needlessly spending a fortune creating incredible viral content that’s not being seen by the people that matter most.
With just a few moments of thinking about the habits of your future customers, you can understand and put into action a social media strategy that works. Even the simple step of uploading the same videos to Instagram instead of Facebook could be all you need to change to reach the right person at just the right time.
For my next few blog post I am going to address the issue of how artists can find or enlarge their audience. It's tricky because the common question is "so how can we understand our customer even if we have never met them?"
It's not as difficult as you think. By asking yourself a few questions you can determine who your audience is and where you should be aiming your social media marketing strategy.
1. How Old Is Your Audience?
If you’re selling a high-end oil painting it’s unlikely that people between the age of 10-18 are going to be interested in your social media updates. Alternatively, it’s unlikely that many of customers between the ages of 55-65 are going to be interested in purchasing street art either.
Understanding the age range of your current and soon-to-be customers will help you to know which demographic has the most interest in your art and the financial ability to be a repeat purchaser.
2. Where Does Your Audience Live?
Understanding the location of your prospective customer isn’t an insight that only local small and medium-size businesses need to be aware of. Artists selling their art both offline and online need to understand where their customers are in order to better target their advertising and engagement through social media.
As a local business owner, you’re obviously keen to target and acquire customers within the workable radius of the service you offer. If you’re holding an art show in a small town in Florida this weekend it’s unlikely that people viewing your social media updates in Los Angeles are likely to call you anytime soon.
Rather than spending all your money on Pay Per Click and social media ads that target worldwide, you can instead narrow down the range to only the most suitable locational demographic, thereby increasing your conversions and saving you money in the process.
3. Is Your Audience Mostly Men or Women?
As important as how old your audience is and where they live is their gender.
Targeting your floral paintings at men isn’t necessarily a bad choice in the month before Christmas, but throughout the rest of the year it’s unlikely that those ads are going to convert into a sale.
By aiming your updates and ads at women only you can decrease the waste expenditure of your advertising campaign and reinvest that money into re-targeting the customers you already have for a repeat sale.
Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have in-built advertising networks that are increasing in depth every day. Today you can create an ad aimed solely at the right gender — plus age group and location — for a much cheaper cost per click.
4. How Do You Promote Your Art To Those Individuals?
Understanding your demographics greatly aids you in creating better social media updates and ads that convert.
Some people need to repeatedly see a product through photos and videos over the space of a few days before making a purchase. Networks such as Facebook Live, YouTube and Instagram Stories are perfect for demonstrating not just how your art looks, but how much better it makes the lives of the people who have purchased it.
Others need to see a product over time before they feel like making a purchase.
If your product is slightly higher that the purchase range of the customer they may take up to 12 weeks to save or be convinced to purchase a really expensive piece of art.
These customers are just as valuable as immediate spend customers if their lifetime customer value is worthwhile.
Over the course of that period of saving and indecision, you can subtly target them through regular and engaging updates on the social media network your intended demographic uses the most, such as Facebook or Twitter.
In these instances one ad running throughout the period, plus irregular engagements with them through social media, could be all that’s needed to secure a sale that might otherwise have been missed.
I will have more about this tomorrow ...
I asked all of you last week to answer the question, "What do you struggle with most?". I am thrilled that so many of you left comments on my blog. Over the next few months I am going to try to respond to all (or most) of you comments. So let's get started!
Here was the first comment:
"I've been selling my art for 17 years. I own a gallery. I have a website. I'm on Facebook and Pinterest. I did give up outdoor art shows, too much work. My sales have been declining for the past few years. Please help me find a new audience and new customers."
To be honest, this comment was the most common of all. It appeared on my blog over and over and over. I think this is a great question!
The honest truth is this ... most artists have no idea who their audience is. So you can only imagine how it is to find your audience if you have no idea who you are looking for. So the first thing you need to do is look at your existing audience. Who has already bought your art? Who has shown interest in your art. Do these people share any characteristics? Age? Employment, Geographic location, etc. If you don't really know who your audience is then you need to create one. Think long and hard about your art and who it is created for. Who likes your art? Is there an audience that you are very comfortable with? You really need to be serious and "create your perfect customer". If you are still not sure then just makeup an audience. It's not that hard to do.
Then once you have defined your customer you need to start thinking about where they go and what they do. Only then should you spend any time or money marketing .
One of the things I would like to do more on this blog is to provide guidance to make your lives easier as an artist. But the only way I can do that is with your help. I need to know what you would like me to talk about! What do you struggle most with as an artist? Is it finding your audience? Is it marketing your art or perhaps even finding motivation to paint?
My background is in marketing so I am hoping that will be the main focus. If not then I will try to find the answer to help in the best way I can!
If you don't mind sharing then please leave a comment here on this blog post. I promise to start answering your comments right away.
I am back. Finally!
I know I have been absent from posting on my blog for a few weeks. And thanks to so many of you that reached out looking for me. I have just been buried with commissions and a new focus and unfortunately this blog was the one thing that was put on the back burner. I am sorry it happened but I needed to free up some time in my day for a few new projects.
I am sorry that some of you weren't happy with me. The important thing to remember is that it is ok to take a break. We all need to shuffle things around and change our priorities from time to time. In fact I encourage you all to challenge yourselves. Stop for a minute and evaluate how you spend your day. Are all of your priorities aligned? More specifically, are you spending your time doing the things that are most important to you? If not, maybe you need to make some changes.
That doesn't mean you need to give up anything. Maybe you just need to change how much time you spend on your daily tasks. I am not giving up this blog, rather I am going to commit to posting here three days a week, instead of five. I have a lot to share with all of you and I just need to get a little better at how I spend my time here. You would be shocked if I told you how long it takes me to write a blog post. It's way longer than you think!
So no more long breaks. I promise. I am here to stay. Because my life as a working artist is more crazy than ever. Go figure.
One of the most important aspects of having a perfect studio is being able to find exactly what you need in a really fast amount of time. There have been times in my studio when I was in the groove, painting along and creating a painting I was really excited about. Suddenly, I need something. Maybe it's a tube of white paint, my tube wringer, a new palette knife or more wet wipes. Regardless, I stop what I am doing and start looking. And looking. And looking. Of course I can't find it because it's not where it is supposed to be.
Minutes later, regardless if I have found the item or not, I am out of my groove and not feeling creative. What a wasted opportunity!
It’s really important to keep your studio organized. The purpose of having a studio is to paint and be creative. It's not a storage room for absolutely everything that has to do with your art. It should be a clean and well lit space that has everything you need to create art at your fingertips.
It is especially important to be organized if your studio is small. It might be time to take a day or two and re-organize your studio. Take the time to plan out a very logical and organized plan. Create “areas” in your studio based on the flow of how you create your art. I have a dry and wet side in my studio. My painting supplies are stored and I actually create my art on the right side of my studio. That's what I refer to as the "wet side". The "dry side", or left side, is where I do my computer work, marketing, framing and mailing.
You need plenty of storage, both flat and vertical. You also need a place to write and a place for your computer. But do these need to be located in your studio? Absolutely not! If you have the space then go ahead and create storage and a work station. If not just locate them somewhere else. It's not likely to need to do these two things simultaneously while creating your art.
Finally, add some creativity to you studio. Take some time to scour flea markets and tag sales to find some really fun but inexpensive storage containers. Re-purpose things to use as bins, baskets and shelves. Build some small shelves on the walls to hold your paintings. Especially the wet ones!
Just remember that once you get your studio organized you need to keep it that way. The best idea is to always clean up and put everything back in it's place at the end of your painting session. Of course, that's easier said than done!
I have always had my art studio at home. I am lucky that I have the space available and have my own area, with good light in my home. I love the fact that I am often in my studio in the morning, planning my day, with coffee in hand while in my pajamas. (Ok, I am being really honest here!) I love that I can run in the house and start dinner, while another layer of my abstract painting is drying. And I love that at the end of the day I can close the door of my studio and “leave the office” even though it’s only 20 steps from my house.
Think about all of the spaces in your house that you could use as an “art studio”. It may be a kitchen counter, a table, a bedroom desk, an old kids room or the picnic table outdoors. You may share a creative space with a family member, or you may even have an extra room in your house to have art studio of your own. Size isn’t really that important. Rather, you need a space that can hold your art supplies and be accessible to paint without too much set up.
Would you consider having your an art studio located outside of the house? I think there are both pros and cons. Space outside of your home isn't as convenient and often costs money. But if you are the person that needs to "leave the house and go to work" then an out-of-the-house studio is probably for you.
Don't forget that when renting a studio, you aren’t necessarily just gaining access to workspace, but also to connections to the wider art world that you may have never had otherwise. So many artists struggle with the seclusion of working alone. A studio with other artists can offer camaraderie and tons of social interaction. You just might be happier and produce better art! Also, having other artists around causes you to become more accountable to others. And it also might offer you access to artist’s workshops, seminars, courses, residencies, fellowships and opportunities to exhibit. Many artists believe their success might never had happened if they had restricted their studio space to their homes.
So there is really no right or wrong answer. It completely depends on you. It depends on what you, as an artist, want for your art studio to be the best you can be.
Being an artist is a tough job. We work very long hours, have a lot of deadlines and need a well organized space to be creative. So when deciding on a how to create the “perfect studio” there are a lot of things to consider. It doesn’t matter if you are starting fresh out with your first studio or looking to improve what you have. Just do it. Because you really can create the “perfect studio”.
This week I am going to share a lot of tips for you to consider to make your studio perfect! So follow along with me and I think you will be happy with the end result.
Some artists have studios that are open to the public. Other artists have private workspaces in their homes. Some artists studios are located in a barn or in a boat storage space. Other studios are in warehouses, sheds, tree houses, and even out of doors. It’s important to realize that you just need a space that suits you, your art needs and your budget.
Whether your art pays the bills or is simply a hobby, you want your art space to allow you to experience creativity and inspiration. Your studio belongs to you, which means that you should decorate it however you see fit. Maybe you prefer blank walls, or perhaps you would rather plaster your area with pictures, photos and quotes that really inspire you.
The first thing you need to do is choose the right spot. As much as we would all love to have a very large and cool space with floor to ceiling north-facing windows, for many that just isn't possible. And that is fine! It's more important to have an area that is easily accessible and comfortable.
While you might not have a lot of options when it comes to choosing your studio space, consider everything. Don't discount a room, just because it's your dining room. If you consider how often you actually use your dining room, it just might be the perfect spot!
I do think you need to try to have a separate space for your studio. Eating in the same room could be problematic as some of your art supplies may contain toxic chemicals. So if the dining room looks like the right spot, don't plan on eating in there too!
Although many of us think that the size of your studio is the most important thing, don't let it play that big of a factor in choosing the location. Remember you need space to paint. You need an area to store your basic materials. Often a huge area can collect clutter and can be distracting. It's more important to find a well lit and bright room that inspires you to create!
Check back tomorrow as I discuss if your studio should be inside or outside of your house.
Whenever I go out of town it takes me a while to get "back in the saddle" upon my return. I travel a lot but it's unusual when I am gone for longer than a week. After spending two weeks in New Zealand I had a lot to do to get back on track. Not to mention pretty awful jet lag.
What are some of the things you should do to get your art business organized when you return from a trip?
The first thing is pretty obvious and that is to go through the mail, check messages and check email. Things have changed in that now when we travel we can easily stay on top of of email and messages. I barely remember the days when a return from vacation meant dealing with hundreds of emails. (Thank heavens for cell phones!)
After I caught up on mail and a few phone messages, I cleaned out my studio. Things were pretty crazy in the Carriage House before I left and by crazy, I mean that my studio was a mess! So I spent a few hours and fortunately, my studio looks great again.
The last thing I do when I get back from a trip is to schedule out my calendar. I have an editorial calendar for my blog and I am now scheduled out for five weeks. (What that means is that I have scheduled all of my blog topics for the next five weeks. I love being organized and ahead of schedule!) I also go through my calendar and schedule out projects and appointments for the next month.
Having a regular routine when you return from a trip can really take the hassle out of traveling. My only issue is that I need more time at home. I leave again this weekend. I am heading to Atlanta as I have a boot camp scheduled next week! So it looks like I get to go through this routine all over again next weekend! OMG.
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