Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Poll Results: The Best Method of Promoting Art Sales

For some curious reason, The Making A Mark Poll for September which asked "What's the Best Method of Promotimg Art Sales" got a very low response rate.

The only reason I can think of is that people maybe didn't appreciate the distinction in marketing that I was drawing between:
  • the best PLACE to sell art (covered in the August Poll); and
  • the best way to PROMOTE art.
They're actually two different topics - within a model of marketing (The 5Ps of the Marketing Mix - see below) which suggests that there are a number of different considerations which need to be taken account of when marketing anything.

Below I provide the results of the poll and then go on to highlight the distinctions between where you sell your art and how you promote that sale.

Bottom line - artwork does not sell simply because it gets hung on the wall of a gallery or posted to your blog or an auction site.  First you have to get people to look at it and to find it attractive.

Results of the Poll

Only 22 responded to the September Making A Mark Poll.  The results are suggestive of good practices.

The top three methods of promoting art sales lean towards the traditional (within the context of recent developments around social media):
  • via word of mouth (collectors and family/friends) used by over a third
  • on the Internet via their own blog or website - again used by over a third
  • around a third use cards to remind people about their art - either business cards or Christmas cards
Both Twitter and Facebook were in the bottom half of the responses - as was advertising.  

It was difficult to detect any difference between artists who sold via galleries and those who sold direct to their customers and clients.

The 5Ps of the Marketing Mix

What are the 5Ps?

The 5 Ps are:
  • Product - the attributes of what you are trying to sell (eg a painting) which make it unique and of value to others. 
  • Price - how you price the product (or artwork) so it's competitive within the context of  prevailing prices asked for similar products within the marketplace -ie how you use price so what you are marketing attracts interest from potential buyers.  
  • Place - where you sell a product or service.  In the case of art this references whether you sell it in an art gallery  an art fair, your own studio, via an online gallery or through your own website or blog
  • Promotion - how you tell the marketplace about the features and benefits of a product or service and how a customer can realise these for themselves.
  • People - who handles communications about the product or service in exchanges between the place it is sold and the person who purchases it
How does this apply to an artist?

So, for example, if you're primarily selling your artwork via your blog:
  • the place where you sell art is your blog.  
  • the promotion you use would therefore be tailored to the place of sale.  In the case of a blog this might involve
    • the name of the blog
    • the design and look of the blog (its "brand image")
    • the text and image you use to describe and show people your artwork
    • alt tags for images
    • writing a unique search description for Google for each post (see How to create a 'search description' for your Blogger post)
    • other mechanisms you use to promote your artwork being found by other people eg  posting a link to the blog post on Facebook.
The bottom line is that promoting art goes way beyond simply having a blog or website.