Overcome the #1 Obstacle to Art Sales By Building Your Own Art Marketing Flywheel

Why creating your own art marketing flywheel is crucial to the success of your art career.

As the Chief Marketing Office for BoldBrush and FASO, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of professional artists over the years. In that time I’ve met many artists who struggle to sell their art, and others who seem to have no problem selling their art as soon as it’s available for sale. As I dug into why some artists seem to succeed while others struggle, it was not surprising to find that the reasons behind this difference had almost entirely to do with the artist’s approach to marketing.

The successful artists that I worked with had learned how to build what I call an art marketing flywheel that had a transformative effect on their art careers. It helped them to sell their art on a regular basis and provided the financial stability that they needed to keep them focused on growing their art careers. Before I explain what I mean by an art marketing flywheel, it’s important that I introduce you to some marketing principles that will help explain why it’s so important for you to build this important tool.

The first principle that I’d like to discuss with you is what I call The 99% Rule. This rule states that 99% of the time when you meet a collector in the real world, they are simply not ready to buy your art. There’s a good chance that they will buy a piece of art sometime in the next 3-6 months, but no matter what you say or do they won’t buy from you now.

The second principle that I’d like to discuss is a corollary to The 99% Rule, and is called The Rule of Seven. This rule states that no matter what it is that you sell, it typically takes an average of 7 meaningful interactions with your brand in order to turn a prospect into a customer.

When you put these two rules together, it begins to paint a picture of why so many artists feel frustrated and discouraged by the direction of their art careers. It explains, for example, why many artists feel frustrated when they put on an exhibit or attend an art fair and end up selling very little art. No wonder, that’s The 99% Rule at work. It also explains why marketing channels like search advertising can be so expensive and ineffective for artists. One interaction through a Google search, for example, is not likely going to convince a collector to buy your art. Also, the cost of reaching that collector through Google search seven times is prohibitively expensive. That’s The Rule of Seven at work.

Now that you understand how these two important principles of marketing can work against you, let’s talk about how you can overcome them both by building your own art marketing flywheel. In engineering, a flywheel is a heavy revolving wheel in a machine that is used to increase the machine’s momentum. An art marketing flywheel is an approach to marketing your art that’s specifically designed to overcome The 99% Rule and The Rule of Seven by building marketing momentum over time. The hub of the art marketing flywheel and what makes it work so effectively is email newsletter marketing. Everything else that you may do that’s marketing related all becomes about getting qualified collectors to sign up for your email newsletter. The image below illustrates how this works.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Email is an old technology. It’s been around forever. Why is it so central to creating my own art marketing flywheel? Why not try something newer like social media or video advertising? Here are three reasons why this approach is so effective:

Email newsletter marketing is a channel that you completely own. No one can take it away from you. With other marketing channels like search engine marketing or social media, the rules often change. This makes it harder and more expensive to stay in touch with your audience enough times to overcome The Rule of Seven.

Email newsletter marketing is extremely inexpensive. Essentially, all it costs you is the time it takes to produce relevant content for your collectors. That makes it realistic for just about any artist to affordably stay connected with their collectors until they are ready to buy.

People have formed a habit of checking their email all the time. In a recent study, people where found to check their inbox over 50 times a day. That’s more frequent then they check social media, and way more frequent then they tend to visit websites and blogs. Because of this, collectors are almost guaranteed to read your newsletter, helping you to keep top of mind with them until they are ready to buy.

Success in email newsletter marketing boils down to two things, namely building your email list and producing a steady stream of relevant and interesting content. In my next post I’ll share a step-by-step checklist that you can use to get your email newsletter off of the ground and start building your own powerful art marketing flywheel.

Upcoming OPA Events

Eastern Regional Exhibition 2021 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be hosted by the ArtCenter Manatee, located in Bradenton, Florida, September 28 through October 22, 2021. Learn More!
OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase
The Fall 2021 Online Showcase is from November 1 - December 15, 2021 and will be open to Signature and Associate members only. Learn More!
Western Regional Exhibition 2021 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held October 15 through November 27, 2021 at the Mary R. Koch Arts Center (Mark Arts), located in Wichita, Kansas. More details to be announced as they become available. Learn More!
31st Annual National Juried Exhibition 31st Annual National Juried Exhibition and Convention
The Thirty-first National Exhibition and Convention will be located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Convention will be from May 31 through June 5, 2022. The Exhibition will be from June 3 to August 27, 2022.