I’m a marketing coach who helps artists get the word out about their art.
When my phone rings, it’s an artist asking me to help her set up Facebook and Instagram for selling her artwork.
But before I set up an appointment, I always ask this one question:
“What’s your goal for selling on Facebook?”
What I hear back is:
“More exposure so my art will sell”
“More likes because that will lead to more sales”
“More followers on Instagram because so-and-so has 10,000 followers!”
The next question I ask is:
“Do you think if you post a photo of your art, people will just buy it?”
I can tell you, I know that is the hope, but the reality is:
People will not just buy your art when they see you post about it on FB or Instagram..
Why? Because unless you're talking with someone instead of to someone, what think is "what's in it for me?"
Artists today are struggling with declining sales and opportunities to show in galleries. Galleries themselves are facing issues; rising rents, less foot traffic, rising prices of art and a more educated art community who want larger commission percentages.
Is selling online is the answer? This is where I do most of our shopping now, right? I buy groceries, shoes, clothes, books! Even movies. Netflix anyone? (When was the last time you went to a theatre?)
For me, I love that I can order my groceries online and pick them up in a couple of hours without getting out of my car. If only I could get gas for my car this way…oh wait, don’t gas stations in Oregon still pump your gas for you? I’m moving to Oregon! (Just kidding.)
We have an “ease of shopping online” mentality that has brainwashed us into thinking everything is purchased online, including fine art.
Trouble is, fine art is not a consumable. Meaning, it’s not groceries, clothes or netflix. Buying fine art is an emotional experience, a connection, a “one to one” transaction. I like to think of it like buying a car; you have to see it, touch it, take it for a drive before you buy it. It’s an investment.
As an artist and a business owner, you may have a mental block thinking your products are consumables, that people will see a photo of it on the internet, click “buy” to spend $500 to on an original piece of art. Nope, not likely.
Some art is consumable: your prints, your cards. Many of you make handcrafted jewelry. These are the small little things you make; by hand. These are similar to the things that can be bought at Target, Walmart, Amazon…but for much cheaper.
But it’s an ORIGINAL!
Yeah? You want someone to pay $200 for an 8x10 painting when they can go to Target and get a 24x36 canvas print for the same price? Why should they buy yours? Yes, yours is handmade, one of a kind. But to the consumer shopping online, a mass produced print will look just as nice hanging in their living room for a fraction of the cost of your original artwork.
I know, it sucks.
So then, why DO some people buy original art?