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  • Writer's picturerahul sriskanthan

Introduction to Marketing in Art : Connecting to Art Lovers with One Killer Question!

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

"What do you want?" Tyrion Lannister's Killer Question.

In the series Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf, thrives, despite having no military skill, army, riches or magical powers because he use a process vital to marketing. He makes sure he know what his target audience wants.

Mapping out and grouping your customers, and then understanding what your customers want, is vital to succeeding. If you can talk to people about things that they care about and address their most pressing issues they will automatically move towards you.

There is one thing all Art lovers love more than Art!

People don’t really flock to the Louvre in Paris for Mona Lisa, or to the Prado in Madrid for the Guernica, or to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for the Nightwatch. They come to see Leonardo, Picasso and Rembrandt. They are interested in the artists and curators, they are interested in people, they are interested in you!

You don’t have to be fake - just tell your story with IMPACT!

Artists who succeed, like Warhol, Dali, Hirst, Abramovic and Banksy have perfected the art of showcasing themselves as a brand. They remain authentic and true to themselves, but they also have a deep understanding of their public and their customers.

All the successful art professionals I know, whether they are artists starting out, curators, galleries or commercial photographers, instinctively understand this and tell their stories with a real punch!

Unfortunately, I often see artist websites, where the artist and their story, their brand, is entirely missing. But what should you be communicating?

Why it’s all starts with mapping out your clients

Marketers talk about creating a customer/audience avatar or profile or persona, that embodies the characteristics of different types of buyers so you can craft your product, selling process and messages to them. It’s a really useful tool to help you reframe your thinking from the perspective of your clients.

You can go into a lot of details and map out hundreds of different things (goal, values, age, drivers, barriers, objections, pain points, challenges, life stage, gender, age, education, political views, marital status, age of children, location, the books they read….) get started you can keep it simple -

Be ambitious in who you target! Organize your clients by budget.

Art is high value businesses where customers pay artists huge sums for your taste, your eye, your ability to do something extraordinary as you interpret color and light.

A top photographer or artist can charge more than100x as much as someone who hasn’t yet established their reputation.

One of your objectives is to attract high paying clients, so begin by breaking down your current and potential customers by their budget, how much they are willing to spend. Make sure to include budgets that may be beyond what you are achieving right now. The sort of customers you might want to attract.

Also, use common sense to group target clients

Include at least one other characteristic of your target clients that makes sense for your situation. Perhaps there is a difference between couples and single people, or tourists vs locals, (if you are an artist) galleries vs collectors, or maybe you sell fine art photography and also works as a commercial photographer (very different markets).

Now you have enough to get started. Identify the most important groups (so perhaps medium spending tourists and high spending couples and commercial work) for whichever groups you think are most important, ask yourself two questions.

How do your target collectors/customers see themselves?

Understanding how collectors see themselves gives you an insight into their motivations for buying art. Someone who see themself as a savvy investor will be looking reassurance that the price of the art they buy will rise. Someone who see themselves as a taste leader will seek out art that is new and through provoking, others may be loyal supporters and cheerleaders for artists, and still others may see themselves mainly as home-makers, looking for something that fits their general aesthetic.

What experience do your target collectors/customers want?

Every major purchase is a journey, and understanding what kind of experience your customers want can help you deliver the experience they are is seeking. You just need to be aware of it.

If your collectors are looking for an intellectual stimulation then write copy that speaks to them, if they are fascinated by the creative process then maybe use video to bring them into your studio, if they want to become part of a community invite them onto relevant Facebook groups.

Go online to get inspiration from great artists and galleries!

Identify successful artists, galleries, magazines and businesses that are targeting the same kind of clients you are targeting. If you are looking to build a following amongst young professionals, check out the feeds of magazines that they read or artists that appeal to them. If you are targeting high-end art collectors then look at the feeds of the top auction houses. If you want to be a fashion photographer check out the feeds of fashion photographers.

Get a sense of how they are keeping their customers engaged and active, what they are posting. You will begin to see some patterns.

Art only takes up a small part of the messaging - it’s not what really engages buyers - the want to get. Art is not enough,

People connect to people - help buyers connect to you! Photographs of you in interesting locations and videos of you communicating your passion can help you really connect to collectors. Get in front of the camera.

The buying experience is important - the buying process can be memorable, story-worthy, exotic. You can showcase this with interiors and other shots of your gallery. Is it intimate, efficient, professional, luxurious, let people know.. Show people what they are missing out if they don’t buy from you.

Followers like special treatment and access - providing behind the scenes access to exhibitions, sneak previews of new works, videos from inside the studio of your creative process, Let people in they will move closer automatically.

Sometimes, shock, intrigue and surprise followers with the unexpected - out-takes, bloopers, candid moments, slow motions videos of you working, performances, carefully crafted videos. Going viral is very difficult - but - worth it (in small dose - too much crazy.

Social Proof is vital - discussion by experts, Images of you at awards, events, being interviewed, at openings, events, with clients, celebrities. This can helps buyers understand that you and your work is prized by people like them and/or people whose taste they respect. Make people desperate to buy.

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