Shifting your focus to sell your artwork – a handy exercise

You know how it is.

If you are longing to make a living from your art, you think about what you need. How many pieces need to sell, and how much for, so that you can go part time, or quit the day job, or earn enough to make more art.

Especially if things are tight, it’s hard to think about anything else!  Trouble is, a desperate ‘need to sell’ approach does not come across very well in communicating with people.  Have you ever been in that place where you just want to say ‘buy my stuff plllleeeeeeaaasse’ but you know that’s probably not the right approach?

You’re right, it isn’t!  Whilst supporting artists can be one of the reasons people buy from you, it isn’t a good basis for all your marketing.

Here’s a different approach, whatever business you are in.

Shift focus to your customer.

I don’t mean some artificial marketing ploy where you use a script to write about how your ‘product’ ‘solves a problem’ for your customer.  I really, really don’t mean trying to second guess what your customer may want to buy.

I mean getting a real understanding of how your art will make your customers life richer.  

Here are some questions to prompt you in your thinking about this:-

Who buys your art?  

Get an accurate idea in your head of some of the people who love what you do (and can pay for it!).  Draw an image if it helps, or just describe them in words.

Why do they buy art?

Does it inspire them?  Support them spiritually or emotionally?  Cheer them up? (I know Kate Burrows work cheers ME up, go take a look at it – I dare you not to smile).

What will they use art for?

Does wearing something you have made help them define who they are in the world?  Give them pleasure, joy, satisfaction?  Boost their confidence? Will it have personal or ritual significance to them?  Will they be giving it as a gift and why will it be extra special?  

Where will they wear it, use it, hang it?  

Imagine what else they may be wearing at the time, or have in their home.  Imagine what occasions they may wear something to, or give something as a gift.

How will they feel?

When the package arrives in the post, or they walk out of a gallery or craft market clutching your work?

When they get it home?

When they see it every day?

When they wear it?

Another good question to ask is:-

What worries may they have about making a purchase?  (for example, will the piece be the right size, easy to hang, robust enough….).

Take some time to think about what having art in your life means to YOU.  Then, write some ways that your art can bring positive lovely things to the person why buys it from you, using the questions above as prompts.

Forget about what YOU need, or your own ego-worries about your art not being good enough.  This is about how your creative gifts can serve others.

Think about what your customer needs and wants from the experience of browsing, buying and owning art.

Now, write the customer you imagined a gorgeous letter, telling them all about your work and why you’d love them to have it.

This letter can form the basis of a blog post, advert, page text or artist’s statement to communicate to your followers why you want to share your work with them.

Let me know what comes of this exercise and feel free to post your ‘letters’ with links to your blog, Etsy shop or Facebook page in the comments section.

Blooming Creatives 3 month programme – do what you love, earn what you need

Want support with selling your art?

My ‘Blooming Creatives’ business program starts in July 2013.  This will be a group, limited to around 30 people, working together with me facilitating, going through the stages of growing a creative business.  The programme lasts 3 months, with a bonus month at the end to catch up and move ahead!  
To apply and get your name on the pre-registration list for this, please fill in your details on the form below.
Fill out the online form to apply and pre-register.

Not quite there yet starting a creative business or getting more art into your life?  Follow the Butterflies is an 8 week eCourse, to support you in reaching your creative potential, using a fun adventure!

Find out more and join the next journey here.
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    Shifting your focus to sell your artwork – a handy exercise — 2 Comments

    1. I like your suggestion of writing a ‘letter’ to your ‘customer’ Jani, I think that is excellent – I’m going to give that a try – all too often I feel as though I get stuck and tongue tied with words when wanting to sell something, but a ‘letter’ might just help. I also read that people like stories about art they may by, something short but that gives background or more meaning to the piece.

    2. Yes, a letter just sounds so much for friendly than ‘advertising copy’ or ‘product description’, right?!