Day 42 of #100daysmarketingcreatives - Will Your Art Or Craft Sell Online?
Today I want to return to something that with hindsight I should have introduced much earlier in this project. I am thinking about this today because just recently @tabathgell who you may be following in this project recently completed her first art exhibition at 15 years old exhibiting with @hpyoungartists here in Derbyshire UK! This got me thinking about what I look for in customers before working with them, something that is essential to them being able to sell work successfully online.
I read lots while researching this project and am constantly listening to podcasts to inspire content and help improve my own skills. I have seen this issue addressed a number of times and in one instance the content was titled 'Does My Art Suck?'. A bit extreme perhaps but I think that title came about to create a reaction. After all beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say and never is this more true than in the art industry. The real test that you need to do BEFORE trying to sell your art or craft ONLINE is to prove that it sells OFFLINE and that means to Joe Public! Of course your mum, dad, brother, sister, next door neighbour and lots of others that know and want to support you will buy your work but what about the general public? How many shows have you done? Did your product sell? If not why not?
You also need to understand during this process that it does not mean that you are a bad artist or you are not good at your craft if it does not sell. It could be down to your target audience, product pricing, presentation and many more things but it could also be down to the fact that there is not a market for what you are trying to sell or not at the price that you can comfortably sell it at. This may need to be a point where you simply pivot and try a new style or a new type of product to prove that product in the market place.
Also consider if your product is manually intensive how will you deal with more sales and a larger customer base? Will you be able to cope? Is the product margin so narrow that increased sales volumes will run you ragged rather than make you profitable? Do your research, start with friends and family but then go further afield, chat with contacts on Instagram and Facebook, other exhibitors at shows, customers. Work out what you need to do to sell your product offline before putting your energy into online sales.
Obviously it helps if I like the products of customers I am working with but what I am really looking for is a proven track record selling OFFLINE. Do you just have 1 or 2 products or a whole range of products? Have you got your pricing right? How are your presentation skills? If your product sells well offline then yes of course it will sell online and there is a formula and lots of building blocks that you need to put in place and it will take time but it will sell. If it does not sell offline then selling online will hit the same if not more obstacles so don't waste you energy spreading yourself too thinly.
My advice is before trying to sell ONLINE, prove your product OFFLINE first. Talk to your customers (its much easier face to face offline), get other exhibitors to share their experience with you, ask your family and friends to be brutally honest with you. Get people to share how they feel about your prices, presentation, product, range. Do your research well.
I just knew looking at Tabatha's products that they were going to work. She was only exhibiting 3 original images (which she sensibly decided were not for sale at this early stage) in an exhibition of young artists locally. Tabatha did, however, decided to get prints done of 4 pieces of here work. Her mum @lucygell was able to help with mounting and framing and we both helped with pricing advice based on our own experience. Tabatha took 8 mounted prints to the show and sold 7 of them! A print of the image above was the first sale of the entire show! I think she proved herself and is ready to develop more work and start promoting it online although she needs to compliment online with offline marketing for the foreseeable future in order to be successful. I will be covering several aspects of bringing those 2 together in the next few posts. One shouldn't exist without the other and the crossover opportunities are huge if you use them.
If you have found this free advice useful, please return the favour by following me on Instagram or Facebook liking my posts and mentioning me to your friends! Thanks.
Where was your first exhibition? Was it successful? What did you learn from it?