1.2 Get ready to sell your art

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#day2: This week is an easy one for me but it may be a big deal for you. This week’s task is to decide what you’re going to sell using the Transform programme, and get it all ready online.

Obviously, you know your own art and you’ll make your own decisions but here’s what I advise.

In my experience, most artists have a range of things they are up to. Creativity doesn’t lend itself to doing one thing. So for one artist there’s a nice series of lino prints, some animations and some sculpture. For another it’s landscapes and songwriting. Another .. interior products and a brilliant idea for a series of paintings and a book.

The main problem with publicising your entire catalogue is that we’ll end up talking about you because you’re what joins it all together. That’s not what Transform is about. The whole point of the Transform programme is to train ourselves to talk about what your art does for the buyer. We want to talk about them.

People are interested in themselves. That’s just how it is.

So I advise that this week, you work out what coherent collection of work you would like to sell in this pass through the Transform programme.

AND THEN .. get it all set up, all working, ready to sell.

Most artists will have a website with a shop facility, or maybe Shopify.

Perhaps you want to sell prints, and that would be through a print on demand service.

Maybe you’re on Etsy or on the Saatchi website.

With most of those you should be able to tag .. well for example my last coaching call was with a pop artist .. so pop art might be a tag to gather connected works under. They had quite a bit of Star Wars stuff, so .. could have a Star Wars tag. And then Carrie Fisher, so that might be the theme. I like getting specific .. a Carrie Fisher art sale is going to be super motivating to a Carrie Fisher fan. As it gets wider I feel it dilutes. A Star Wars sale may not be specific enough to get clicks from hardcore fans who know exactly what they want. And pop art could be all sorts of things. So getting specific is good. 

You might find that hard because there are a lot of connections in art, but this is prep for discovering who we want to sell to and what messages work with them. If we have a big cloud of various people to sell to, we’re not going to get much useful data. If we have someone specific and we hit them with a few different messages to see what gets them to click .. we’ll learn something we can repeat.

Practically, if you have a WordPress website you can create, let’s say a Carrie Fisher tag. All the works you want to sell this time you can tag. And then if you go to the Carrie Fisher tag page, there’s the opportunity to write about the collection and then all the art is displayed below. You get the chance to order it and I suggest by popularity so the most striking image catches people first. So then when we go out to sell, we point people to this page, not your home page.

What to say about the collection on that page? I know this course is about what to say to sell your art, but for now since we haven’t tested anything, do what you would normally do. Write what you would normally write. We’ll amend it as the data comes in.

What if you haven’t got a website, haven’t got a shop. That’s partly what this week is about .. this is the week where you make a decision and get set up even if your decision is perhaps the simplest one .. get a Facebook Page, upload the images there, ask people to message you with questions and to buy. Like I listed earlier there are other options.

One that I rather like is the idea of having nine images to fill your Instagram home page. So you’d need eight artwork images and a central image that tells people what to do, how to buy. Normally it would advise they go to your website but if you haven’t got one, perhaps just ask people to email you.

The other side of this week is pricing. Until I see other evidence, I’m always going to say put your prices up. Maybe not shockingly all at once, but take the opportunity this time to raise by 10% and do the same next time and again until you’re actually making something reasonable from your art .. you have taken a lifetime to build up your skill, after all, and art isn’t like baked beans. If you raise the price of your art you may even sell more of it.

And finally .. I mean there’s no guarantee you’ll sell anything so I wouldn’t advise you stock up on packing materials but at least know what you’re going to do about postage and packing.

And while we’re talking about guarantees .. create pages about .. for instance insurance during transport, what happens if it arrives damaged. Can local people come and pick up? What if it looked great on screen but doesn’t match the sofa (returns policy)? Do you take commissions if they like your style but can’t see exactly what they want? If you’ve seen me present the Major Sales buying cycle, there’s a moment just before they buy when the buyer wants to reassure themselves. Testimonials and photographs of happy buyers with your art on their wall all help along with your guarantee, your privacy policy and all that.

Next week is all about who wants what you’re selling. Don’t worry, we’re not going to go through the whole avatar thing, it’ll be more fun than that. But we need your key value and your collection ready for next week. I’ll see you then.

Stay safe, sell art

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