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Darrell, do you have any suggestions on getting more expossure when we’re trying to sell our paintings. I just don’t want to go to a flea market to try and sell my paintings. People are looking for Flea Market prices and my work is not flea market valued products. What do you suggest? Andrea.
Andrea, don’t even begin to think of selling your work at Flea Markets.
Go to places that establish you as an artist.
But first, you’ll need to sit down and think about your niche. Focus on who would buy your paintings. All battles for selling paintings are won and lost on the first day you pick your market. Successful marketing of your paintings is not so much about “What” you market or “How you market as it is about “Who” you chose to market to. If you get the “Who” right, than everything else will fall into place.?

If you don’t, not even the greatest marketing in the world will help you.

When you go about determing “Who to chose, remember some markets are hard and some are easy. I prefer easy. If given a choice between hard and easy, I’ll chose easy anyday. But just what do I mean by an ‘easy’ market?
How can you easily identify an easy market? Well, they typically have three characteristics, and once you find a market that has the following three characteristics, the easier your life will be in marketing and sales.

1. The market is easy to reach.
2. The market has a burning “need” for what you’ve got
3. The market has demonstrated through past behavior an ability and willingness to spend money on the kinds of things you plan to sell.

This is why flea markets are the ideal example for the wrong ‘Who’ for oil paintings.

1. Out of all of the attendees, how many really came to buy an oil painting.
2. Flea market is synonomous with “Cheap prices”, “bargains”, impulse buying and so forth. No ‘burning desire, no quantifiable number of people specifically within your market area,
3. Flea markets have typically demonstrated that $100 paintings are not frequently sold.
4. So the 3-point test is not passed at all by the Flea Market.

Most people make the mistake of approaching selling by creating a product that they’re sure the world will love. Or they simply hear that the Internet is a great place to make money. So they pour tons of money into developing an award winning, graphically inspired web site.
Ken McCarthy, a dear friend of mine and author of the book, System Secrets, says, “….these approaches remind me of the old expression ‘putting the cart before the horse.’ The fanciest cart on earth – the best product, the slickest web marketing campaing – won’t get you anywhere without a good market ‘horse to pull it.
In contrast, with the right horse you don’t have to worry too much about the cart. Nature will take care of itself.”
Richard Sears, founder of the Sears Catalog said, “If its the right offer to the right person at the right time, I can write it on the back of an old paper bag in crayon and it will sell.”
The most critical thing you can do is pick the right market. Not the paintings, not the website. But to whom would buy your paintings.
The best thing to do is to focus on one type of painting for that market. Do several paintings for that market with a specific theme. Write articles that go into depth about the reasons why you painted each particular painting. Share the story behind each of your paintings. Publish these articles on-line through article directories. Put them on your website and send them as press releases to traditional media as well as on-line media.
Talk to the people in your market. Find out what they like, then pull their heartstrings with your paintings.
For example, I had a student artist who loved golfing and wanted to paint his favorite golf holes. He also wanted to sell his paintings.
So he went to the club, talked to a lot of members and ended up identifying the 6 favorite holes that excited members.
He then composed paintings of each and offered them for sale. He wrote articles, and shared the stories he heard around the watering hole by golfers who’d conqured or been defeated by these golf holes. He than began painting. His paintings covered the gamut of emotions known so well by the lamenting and cheering club members. He made more money on his paintings than any student I’m aware.
My advice for you is to go back to the fundamentals and figure out WHO is your market.
Resolve to put at least half or more of your time and energy into studying specific markets and once you’ve addressed ‘Who’ is your market, than the What, How’s and all those other questions become real easy to answer.
Find the easy market …. the groups of people you can easily reach, that have a burning ‘need’ for your paintings and who have already demonstrated their willingness and ability to buy paintings. All you have to do then is present your paintings to sell to them. Back at the golf course, who were the first to line up and buy Sid’s paintings…….those who told them stories of their successes and failures.
Let me know how you do. Darrell