Monday, August 1, 2011

Marketing for your “ideal” customer

In today’s economy and digital age where you have to do more with less, it’s important to focus your marketing efforts to be most effective. Marketing and sales are all about: People. Since you are marketing and selling to people, you must understand who you are talking to and what they want.
Start by determining your target audience. “Target audience” refers to anyone you want to see your work, including current and potential buyers, collectors, gallerists, curators, arts professionals, journalists and art lovers in general. Depending on your goals, you may have several different targets and for different reasons. By figuring out your audience(s), you can focus on picking marketing and sales strategies that work best for them.

Do you know who your target audience is? Ask yourself these questions to figure out:

1.   Who is buying your work now? Start by determining where you sell and to whom. You may have multiple “types” of customers. For example, perhaps you discover that you sell most of your lower-priced works and prints at local Art Fairs to middle-class married couples, between the ages of 30-45. Then you determine that most of your higher-priced works sold at your openings are to business owners and executives over 50. This gives you an idea of who to market the next time you are showing at an art fair or holding an exhibit. (Note: the demographic figures can be estimates) 

2.   Who has purchased your work in the past? Go back through your old records and accounts and try to come up with a list of your old customers and any similarities among them. Your work style and sales approaches change over the years, so you may have attracted a different clientele in the past. Dust off that old mailing list! Maybe one of your old customers is interested in your newest body of work.

3.   Who asks about your work, but has not purchased? This can be in person, through email, social media or other means. Perhaps you get a lot of interest and compliments from female, businesswomen. Then you know this group may be a target for future sales or referrals of your work. 

4.   Do your customers have any shared interests? If you look at factors such as age, gender, socio-economic level, profession, etc., your current customers may have none of these in common. Perhaps they all just enjoy a certain theme in your work or share a similar philosophy. For example, one artist I know paints Harley Davidson motorcycles; this series appeals to idealistic bike lovers of all ages, socio-economic levels, races and nationalities. This can provide insight into how to reach these customers.

5.   Outside of your current customer, who might buy your work? Think corporations, associations, hotels, office buildings, government/public agencies; these groups have a tendency to purchase larger and more expensive pieces to fill open spaces. Interior designers, decorators and realtors also are constantly looking for pieces to stage properties and decorate homes and businesses.

6.   Who is your “ideal” customer? If you’ve looked through your customer database and figured out that none of them is your ideal customer, who is? Suppose you have a new series of sculptures you’d like to sell for $50,000 and above. You’re probably not going to have much luck selling to the same folks who buy your work at the art festivals. Instead, figure out who you’d want to buy your work. Is it affluent professionals and young collectors for their private collections? Or office buildings and cities for public display?

Once you’ve figured out your target audience, find out what they want, what they care about and their interests. Then you can create strategies that best reach each group. You don’t have to sell to everyone every time. The point of targeted marketing is that you are most successful in marketing your work and finding the right buyers. This also becomes more cost effective!

Updated 8.30.11:*If you’d like to learn more about marketing your art, join us for an online Webinar Training Series "Masterful Marketing for the Arts" starting this Thursday, September 1, 2011 with "Target Marketing for Your Ideal Audience." If you haven't registered yet, Sign Up Now for a discount on purchasing all 4 trainings for a great deal by Wednesday, August 31!!*  

*If you need additional help on your road to success, check out these additional resources: my new book Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece(TM), check out the Masterpiece Guild or one of my DVD Training courses.

**Do you enjoy these articles and would like to be kept up to speed on more tips, strategies and upcoming events? Please subscribe to my blog in the upper right-hand section of the page. I also love reading comments, feel free to leave your thoughts on what has or hasn't worked for you. Please share this article with others who may benefit from it. Cheers!

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