As an artist, you’re inspired, creative and express yourself through your work.
But who’s going to buy it?
Understand who your target customer is, and you can hit a bull’s-eye with sales.
Successfully running the business side of your art studio requires that you understand who your customer is, and where to market your work. Sometimes, an artist will recount a bad experience at a show where few sales were made by saying, “That just wasn’t my market.” And they are probably right.
Learning who isn’t your customer is a valuable lesson, but narrowing down exactly who you do want to appeal to is where you will begin to gain an understanding of your audience and a direction. That will enable you to choose marketing activities to reach them.
Being as specific as possible, draw up the demographics of your target customer:
- Marital and Parent Status
- Where they live- urban, suburban, rural – areas of the country or world
- Income Level
- What else they buy
- What they value
How do you learn this information? By speaking with potential customers. Who is interested in your work? Why? Ask them about themselves, and do a little “retail research” to understand what makes your customer tick.
Does your work fit into a niche market? You may have a line that resonates with pet owners, sports fans, horse lovers, gourmet cooks, or others – the list goes on and on. Having a specific niche can be a good thing. It makes it easier to define your marketing plan.
Where do the consumers in your niche hang out? What do they read and where do they spend their money? As you learn more, take action to become an integral part of your chosen niche. You may want to approach publications and websites that are popular with your audience. Submit your products for gift guides, and contact reporters to get interviews. Exhibit at trade shows that fit your niche, or join associations that serve it. As you network with people in your particular niche market, you can form strategic alliances with other vendors whose work complements yours but does not compete, and promote each other.
Once you have identified your target market, you have a distinct advantage. You can tailor your website, your branding, and your message to reach them. Devote your blog to subjects that interest them. Listen to feedback from your audience to gain insight on what they need, and consider how your line can fill those needs.
Take a look at our article “Selling Art to the Funerary Market” to get an idea of how two artists approach a niche audience. Both take specific steps to work with grieving families to fill their needs in memorializing their loved ones. And both artists also state how they are honored to be trusted by their clients at the time of loss. They have created business systems to present their art, gain trust and deliver work that their customers love.
Getting that type of response from your audience has an important impact, in that it can drive referral business to your studio door. Once you have become well-networked into your target market, you will often find that business seeks you out, and sales are easier to close.