Doing Business: Targeting Your Market

There is a difference between a viewer who is casually looking at your art and a viewer who is head over heals in love with your art. That is the viewer that will become your buyer and ultimately a collector. Do you know who that viewer is? What do they like to do? What makes them tick? If you want to be successful it’s important to find out and focus your marketing efforts to the viewers (audience) who matter most. This is called Niche or Target Marketing.

You might think that this investment of time is not necessary but I can tell you that it will ultimately save you a lot of time and result in sales. Whether that’s selling prints online or pursuing a gallery, the kind of gallery that carries and sells your art. It’s important to know.

A word about galleries – do your research! I once met the owner of a gallery that carried Primitive and African art. She showed us a stack of slides that she had recently received from artists. It was a waste of her time and a waste of the artists time and money. You can guess where those slides went. That’s right, in the trash. The artists didn’t take the time to find out where their art belonged.

Back to target marketing, in order to find out who the audience is that loves your work you must do some research. Research is so easy with the advent of online media. You can create surveys with websites like Survey Monkey or Constant Contact and send them to your existing audience. A much easier and free way is to interact on Social Media. Notice what your audience is posting? What are they saying? What groups do they participate in? What are their political views? Take the time to view a few profiles and you will see.

Typically businesses that are targeting their markets will try to discern certain qualities about their prospective customers. The first is demographics – quantifiable statistics about a given population. The other is psychographics – personality, values and interests. Here are some things to consider when you are trying to figure this out. Some may sound invasive but remember that much of this can be done anonymously on your part. If you are asking direct questions, through a survey for example, your audience will be answering voluntarily.

Demographics

• What is the primary age of your audience?
• Where do they live?
• Are they male or female?
• What is their income level?
• What is their highest level of education?
• Are they married or single?
• What do they do for a living?
• What is their ethnic background?

Remember, that in most cases, the sale of your original work will be for a luxury market – a buyer who has a large amount of disposable income. However, you may want to find a secondary or third market online by offering prints or products-on-demand. Another term for this is expanding your revenue streams.

Where they live and how old your audience is will help you figure out where you should market your art. If it appeals to a demographic of 40-50 year olds, for example, you will want to look for the places where you can specifically market to them.

Psychographics

• Personality
• Attitudes
• Values
• Interests and Hobbies
• Lifestyle
• Behavior – in terms of what inspires them to purchase a work of art.

Another question that fits into a unique marketing category is where does your audience find your art? Is it in a gallery, a publication or online? This will tell you even more about where to market your work.

Another way to figure out your target market lies right in your studio. It’s your art, your message. Take a good look at your art and think about who you would like to reach with it. Is there a message that you want to get out into the world? Which part of the world is that?

Remember that it is very important to do this for your success. As a small business, it is important to make sales, especially if you want to make art full time.