Sell more art with these seven smart strategies

The global art market is growing robustly, with a record $65.1 billion in 2021 art sales by dealers and auctions. Women artists in particular are experiencing strong sales, according to a Bank of America report on the art market.

And with the gift giving season upon us, artists are looking for ways to connect with buyers – some of whom seek gifts and will end up purchasing for themselves.

An artist’s attitude and environment will help or hinder her sales. So cultivate optimism and creativity and use the savvy advice Mint has compiled to help improve sales.

Keep sold art on your website. Show the work that has sold and give potential buyers a confidence boost, writes Renee’ Phillips in The Artpreneur Coach blog. If the piece sold to a museum or corporate collection, get permission to list them as the new owner. Identify it as sold and invite visitors to commission a piece from you, Phillips suggests. Or indicate that limited edition prints will be available soon.

Know your customers Your purchasers are an elite club – and yet too often, they leave before you get their name or give them a real thank you. Some artists do this by photographing every buyer of their art – and then posting them on social media or placing them in a buyers album. Others offer buyers a coupon or insider information about new prints – or an invitation to a buyers-only Studio event. Start by collecting their name, email address, zip code and a few other details – and then plan a quarterly or semi-annual e-letter to give them news and invitations.

Show your art in a smart setting. Borrow a friend’s mansion and hang and photograph your art there. Or work with a real estate broker to showcase your work at a luxury condo that’s having an open house for buyers. Create a corner in your studio or home where your art looks enticing, and then change it up every three months. Good locations and great photography will help sell your work.

Practice the art of recommending. Instead of trying to close a sale, think of the joy your art will bring the buyer. And then act as if you are recommending the piece to a friend, the same way you’d recommend a wonderful restaurant or an excellent massage therapist. “Start recommending it instead of trying to sell it by focusing on why they might like it and why it would make their lives better,” Corrina Thurston, a wildlife artist, wrote in an Artwork Archive post.

Showcase some of your work in an environment that makes buyers see it in their homes. (Photo: Alexandra Born / Unsplash)

Select your venues wisely. During the holidays and at other times, everyone holds art markets, auctions and pop ups. And many are quite honestly very slow or marginally worthwhile, even if you are invited for free. So ask the organizer questions about the promotion, attendance and who their target audience is. Then talk to other artists to get their opinion. First-year events are dicey and so are those where the audience is coming for food or fun, not to shop. A holiday pop up in a hospital could be a smart choice, as long as covid numbers stay low. Check out our limited pop up and art fair schedule here.

Encourage purchases. When you talk to guests who seem intrigued by your work, gently ask questions that encourage them to buy. “Do you see this hanging in a living room, bedroom or somewhere else?” “How do you see this piece in your life?” Or perhaps “Why does this piece appeal to you?” Prepare answers to art buyers’ common questions and share them on your website – or in your booth. Use a call to action in your social media that invites buying your art. Mint uses two regularly on our Instagram and Facebook posts: “Stop by and buy art” or “Browse and buy something beautiful.” Also encourage well-heeled collectors to buy two pieces and donate one to a local charity auction or museum. Some 45 percent of collectors say they intend to donate to a museum, according to Art Basel / UBS.

Some artists may want to consider Buy it or burn it art sales in December or January. (Photo: Marvin Meyer / Unsplash)

Create urgency. Find ways for ‘Fear of Missing Out’ to encourage purchases. This may mean creating a smaller edition of prints, so that you can say there are only seven of these that ever will be available. When you write about your art on Instagram or your website, be clear that this is one-of-a-kind piece. More than half of collectors buy art online regularly, UBS reports. Or you could stage a Buy it or Burn it Sale of your old art, provided you’re willing to torch a few tired leftovers. Learn more about FOMO marketing in this blog post from Drip, which uses data to enhance e-commerce sales.

And most of all, make the most of every minute you are at an art event or pop up by being in a friendly, engaging mood and ignoring your social media and phone.

We’d love to hear from Midwest artists on their smart ideas for selling more at events, online or in studio visits for a future blog post. Share your ideas in a comment or drop us a line and we’ll create another post on this important topic.

© Vickie Elmer, 2022 for Mint Artists Guild; lead photo by Harry Cunningham / Unsplash