1. You say that it’s important to learn about marketing. Can you give concrete examples of things you learned about marketing that you apply and see a benefit from? Or marketing concepts you’ve tried to apply that didn’t work so well?
The biggest thing I learned was understanding your target market. We seem to all start off thinking “I want EVERYONE to love my work”. They won’t. Just give up on that. Instead of trying to please everyone and getting nowhere, figure out who exactly your work is for. Imagine them…everything from how they dress to where they live and what their hobbies are and what sort of sense of humor they have. Create a sort of avatar of who your target buyer is. Then create for them.
Now I don’t mean create based on what you think will sell. You don’t need to do that. You need to create what you’re passionate about and then find the right audience for THAT work.
When you’re posting something on facebook or writing a blog on your website, write it for that avatar. You want your target audience to feel like “this artwork is FOR ME!” or “this blog post was written FOR ME!”. Yes, you will have spill over and have fans who don’t fit your avatar but defining your target audience will help you to really connect with the right buyers.
2. Do you have any tips regarding growing an audience on YouTube, other than posting videos regularly over time?
Of course being on a schedule is a HUGE deal with youtube. In addition to that, make sure your thumbnails are interesting and really capture what your video is about. The same with your description. You want those to be interesting and accurate (don’t post things to get attention with that are not in the video).
Collaborations are a great way to grow your channel faster. The mistake people make is starting off trying to get more established youtubers to collaborate with them. Usually you will just be ignored. Instead find other youtubers who have about the same amount of subscribers as you do and whose channel is similar enough to yours that your audiences will be interested in each other’s channels and collaborate with them.
3. Why did you decide not to take commissions anymore? I see a lot of artists doing that and it gives the impression that commissions are not as fun or as lucrative as the non-commissioned work.
I am on a VERY tight schedule with my videos. I have to have a new painting video up every week. Commissions are SO time-consuming. Not really so much in the painting itself but the back and forth with the client. Setting it up, getting the deposit, having the initial design approves (or make 20 changes depending on the client), painting it, getting approval, getting the client to pay the final bill, getting the painting packed and shipped. Most clients are awesome to work with but not all of them are. The whole process can end up being a bit of a headache and I just don’t have time to deal with that right now and get videos done.
I realized I had to stop taking commissions when I stopped having time to even respond to those enquiring about having them done. It was then that I removed the commission page from my site.
4. What do you think about selling through a gallery versus selling online? Specifically, if submission or participation in the gallery costs money (in addition to the commission once a painting is sold) which you have to pay even if your work doesn’t sell? Is it worth trying to get into an exhibition in a gallery, or is it better to focus on selling directly online?
Thanks for all that you teach and share! I completely understand if these are too many questions to be answered at once 🙂
I think a lot of this depends on the artist, the type of work they create and the size. For example, if the artists primarily paints very large, that isn’t so practical to ship. This also likely means the painting would cost quite a bit more than it’s smaller cousins so it would be easier to sell this in person than online. Yes, the gallery will take a commission, sometimes up to 50%, but 50% of $2000 is a LOT more than 100% of nothing if you can’t sell the piece online. It’s hard to show buyers the actual impact some of these larger paintings have online. They just don’t have the same impact so getting the sale is harder.
I’ve sold in galleries and online and both have their benefits and drawbacks. I would recommend doing both and seeing what works best for you. The nice thing is that because of the internet we aren’t limited to galleries. They aren’t our only option so we don’t have to accept whatever deal they offer us. We can comfortably leave if we don’t like their terms knowing we have other venues online to sell through.