"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art." - Andy Warhol
Do you want to sell art and make the most money you can.
Do you want to sell art for higher and higher prices so you can live the kind of life you really want to have?
Making the most money and living the kind of life you want as an artist is largely just a matter of working some very basic business and marketing strategies.
I've put together five very solid and sound business principles you should be following to grow your name and build your brand as an artist.
The smart artists today who follow sound business principles will emerge as financial leaders when the recessions end and the global economy stabilizes and returns to a growth cycle in the near future.
1. Create a Blog or Website to Sell Art
There is nothing more positive or powerful you can do when it comes to marketing your art than having your own website or blog.
You want your site chocked-full of relevant content for your readers. This is the groundwork and basis for your entire selling and marketing program. And you want lots of relevant keywords associated with your blogs so search engines can find you.
Please note that I say "your own" site. Stay off group artists sites where you have little control over the total selling process. With your own site or blog you will have complete control over the creative and financial aspects as you grow them.
2. Get Mainstream Gallery Representation to Sell Art
This is a tough one, I know. But even in this day and age of virtual galleries, you still need to have exhibitions in real brick and mortar galleries. It's still part of the way the real art world works.
Select your galleries carefully. A good, well-connected mainstream gallery will be able to have your exhibitions reviewed by art critics from major art publications. This is key.
The best galleries are in the major markets like New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, London, etc. Do not overlook promoting your work to galleries in these markets.
If you are unfamiliar with the New York City art world, please read my article Top 3 Ways to Meet New York City Art Dealers.
3. Connect to Social Media to Sell Art
You should be using every social media platform that you have the time to develop. Facebook and twitter are easy and fun to use. Youtube is a great way to showcase your work through videos.
Read everything you can about social media and become your own expert in promoting yourself this way.
I highly recommend Social Media Examiner. Following this website can put you on the fast track to becoming a highly successful social media expert.
But do not let social media be the hub of your internet presence. Your website or blog should always be your hub. Remember MySpace? If your total internet presence is tied up in one of these social platforms, you will disappear if it disappears.
4. Network with Other Artists
Networking is one of the main ways that business gets done here in America and around the world.
You can't overlook the power of networking with other artists. It is a fact that 60% of all artists that are currently being represented by galleries were referred to those galleries by other artists. Artists who become your friends can invite you to gallery exhibitions and even introduce you to gallery directors and owners.
I have, on many occasions, introduced new artist friends to gallery owners and directors that I know in New York City.
As artists, we need to help one another.
Be the first to reach out to other artists. Be unselfish and ask them how you can help them with their career. Link to artist websites and blogs that you admire. Help promote their work unselfishly. If they admire your art, they may link back to your blog or website. Everyone is helped here. Do you see? Search engines rank websites and blogs with links higher than those without links.
If you like an artist's blog or post, share it through facebook and twitter. Be the first to reach out and do this. The viral effect can help the artist. If the artist likes your work, they may do the same for you.
5. Create a List of Your Subscribers and Buyers
Your website or blog should have a widget for collecting email addresses. The addresses you collect could be from subscriptions to your blog or people who just want to keep up with what you are doing.
An email newsletter is one of the best ways to sell art online.
Also, keep an email list and address list of anyone who has ever purchased a work of art from you.
Someone that has purchased once from you is very likely to purchase again in the future.
Create relevant and related offers and send them to your buyers on a regular basis. You will need an auto-responder to manage sending out your offers as your email list grows.
Some final thoughts.....
I don’t think there’s an artist in the world who hasn’t been frustrated at some point in their career when things just aren’t moving as fast as we want.
It takes some time to build your skills and create a following, and momentum is your friend. Most of us don’t take off like rockets. We build slowly at first, then the snowball starts to grow.
Are you honestly working hard at doing the 5 things I've outlined above? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to cultivate a little patience. Maybe even a good dose of stubbornness. Trust me, I know it isn’t easy. Read Seth Godin’s The Dip to keep yourself motivated while you get there.
If you have other ideas about selling your art, my readers and I would love to hear about them in the comments below.