Many artists don’t really know what it means to “market”. This article will dispel confusion you might have about marketing your artwork.
The most important thing to understand about selling art is that it involves marketing. Marketing and selling are related, but they are not the same thing. Marketing is all about making people aware of your product, while selling is about getting the to actually buy your product. After all, customers can’t buy something if they aren’t aware of it.
Marketing includes the pricing, location, advertising, public relations, and display of your art products. Marketing is about helping your customer find your product. Selling is the final step in the process – when the customer whips out her credit card and buys your art.
One word you hear quite a bit about in relation to marketing is “demographics”. That’s a jargon word to describe a practical issue: who are your customers? What gender, age, and race are they? What income and educational background do they possess? What kinds of jobs do they have? What are their hobbies? Where do they hang out?
Marketers typically combine the answers to these questions to answer the question “who are our customers?” A demographic profile (often shortened to “a demographic”) provides enough information about the typical member of this group to create a mental picture of this hypothetical aggregate. For example, a marketer might speak of the single, female, middle-class, age 18 to 24, college educated demographic.
While you probably aren’t interested in getting quite so technical (and you probably don’t need to), it is useful for you to put some thought into the “who are my ideal customers?” question. The answer to that question will help you market your artwork, which in turn will help you sell your artwork.
The reason why it’s important to understand marketing as well as selling, is that if you don’t market enough you won’t sell enough. Too often, artists just thing about selling, which is actually the last step in a multi-step process. They realize too late that they should have done more promotion. They feel so disappointed when sales are slow and it’s really discouraging. The solution to that is to educate yourself about marketing and selling, and create success the next time.