14 Oct 2020 03:15

Virtualize Your Art Career: Part 2

In the second episode of this two-part podcast, Carolyn Edlund weighs-in on how artists can shift their sales strategies and build an art business that will weather these tough times, as well as being resilient to future changes. Contrary to popular belief, collectors are buying art right now, and artists can zoom in on their relationships, update their platforms, and define or redefine their target markets to make this work in their favor. Carolyn is Sales & Events Director at CHF and our faculty subject matter expert on Sales Strategy. She is the founder of ArtsyShark—and brings a background as an artist, former ED of the Arts Business Institute, years in art-publishing and licensing, and extensive experience in curriculum development and seminars for artists. https://clarkhulingsfund.org/conference/start/ (Work with Carolyn & the CHF Faculty online at the Virtualize Your Art Career™ Conference October 19-30.) What a Sustainable Art Business Looks Like In Today’s Environment“There are opportunities to really grow your business. I’ve spoken to several artists lately who are making more sales than ever before. Now, how in the world is this happening? I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘What!? Who’s doing that?’ The artists who are making these sales have given some deep thought to how they are going to go virtual with their marketing and sales strategies. And they’re going 100 percent in that direction, using tools online that are helping them reach an audience who is actually very hungry to buy right now.” “Everybody is sitting at home, people are bored, they’re shopping and they are buying art. We know that’s happening. We know there has been an uptick in art sales. So the people that I see who are succeeding—when I get down into the weeds with them, like, ‘What are you actually doing?’ It turns out that they’ve got systems built into their business that are very methodical for drawing an audience, introducing them to their work, getting them with a hook, and then selling their work. And then selling more work to them. They’re building a very sustainable business with repeat sales, which is what we want to do in any environment. It is possible to do that during a pandemic.” Leverage Your Art and Your Collectors For That Repeat Sale“I love repeat sales because it’s easier to sell to an existing customer. They’re the foundation for an ongoing business—where you have existing sales that happen again and again. Part of that is leveraging the work that you sell. I talk about that when I teach sales strategy, and I’m going to be talking more about that in our conference: are you leveraging your collector by selling to them over and over? Are you leveraging your work by selling the next piece in a set? It’s a way of thinking: what do I have that’s going to appeal to people? What can I offer them if I want to keep them as customers, and as eager customers, who will want to own more of my work?” Embrace Your Power as an Individual Artist“The market has evolved over the last 20-25 years toward the empowerment of the individual artist. We’ve seen it in other industries. If we look at, for example, the movie industry, back in the day the studios owned all the actors and they would say, ‘You’re doing four movies this year,’ or ‘I’m going to loan you out to Warner Brothers.’ And they would direct the career of the ‘stable’ of actors that they would control. Nowadays, we see actors who are now directing their own production companies. They have their collaborations. They are free, they are empowered. They can do the projects that they choose to do and they’re setting their own career paths. Visual artists are in much the same position. It is not always emotionally easy to step up and say: ‘Yeah, I’m going to be the CEO of my own art business.’ It might be your personality to say, ‘Gee, you know, I wish somebody else would just sell for me.’ But there are advantages to being...

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