If you caught our webinar last week
on the 5 steps to start and grow your art business,
we hope you’re busy this week putting them into practice!
So far this year, we’ve explored 2 of those 5 steps in depth:
- Sharing your art skills for a fee
- Growing your audience so they can buy your work directly.
When those aspects of your art business are humming along,
then you’re ready for Step 3:
Strike partnerships that lead to sales in other peoples’ audiences.
Why Partnerships Work
How cool would it be to discover a whole group of people
who’ve never heard of you before
but are wildly excited about your art?
What if you could…
- share your art and connect with hundreds or thousands of new people,
- help out someone else with their business,
- and spend no more energy than it takes for a 1-on-1 conversation?
This is the power of partnerships done right.
It’s an incredibly efficient way to grow your business as an artist.
And yet, you’re not “marketing” in the usual sense.
Instead, you’re creating genuine connections —
first with the person who’s agreed to partner with you (the host),
and then with the people who they serve (their audience).
Examples of hosts with an audience:
– A podcast interviewer – focused on mindfulness
– A newsletter writer – focused on horse back riding
– A Facebook group owner – focused on Nature conservation
Anyone with an audience wants cool new stories to share.
So when you know how to pitch to a potential partner,
they’ll see value in presenting your artwork and your story to their followers.
And because that audience already trusts your partner,
that trust will extend to you as well.
They’ll feel like they already know you,
more so than if they just saw your work on Instagram or in a random gallery.
And that trust can turn into new opportunities and sales, like this:
To find the right partners, you have to know your art business niche.
A little clarification here:
What Your Niche Isn’t
Your medium is NOT your art business niche.
You may be an abstract expressionist oil painter,
but outside of other aspiring artists and a few serious collectors,
it’s tough to find many people looking specifically for abstract expressionists.
Instead, when it comes to partnerships,
your niche is defined by what makes your artwork interesting
to YOUR particular audience.
Discover Your Art Audience Niche
To discover your niche, ask yourself:
What are the 2 or 3 keywords that underpin my work?
Sure, you make visual art.
But what are the words behind most of your art?
- beauty, says the first artist,
- emotions, says the second artist,
- color, says the third.
Well… good luck standing out amongst a few million fellow artists.
Here are another three artists replying to that question:
- the beauty of nature when hiking mountains
- the feeling of being an introverted quiet woman in a busy city
- the colors of bliss, peace, and harmony that arise during your meditation
See the difference?
Much more specific, and they are not words about “art”.
There are thousands of people who can resonate with the second list,
who would love to hear or read about your thoughts as an artist on these topics,
and who by the end of that podcast/newsletter/live demo …
…would be interested to see — and then buy — your artwork.
These are your future collectors — the people who value what you create.
What is it about your pieces that they love?
- Did they respond to your inspiration for creating the work?
- Or the story it tells?
- Is it the subject matter that they adore?
If you aren’t sure why people have bought your work in the past,
get in touch with a quick note to ask them.
The answers may tell you something you never thought about.
When you know why your collectors bought from you,
you’ll gain some insight about who else might do the same.
You might find your work spans more than one art audience niche.
Here’s a quick example for some ideas.
Brainstorming Your Audience Niche
Let’s say you’re a fine art photographer
who’s created a series about connections below the surface,
consisting of unique perspectives in subway tunnels.
Your potential collectors might include:
- architects and engineers who design and build tunnels
- subway car drivers
- business professionals who commute regularly by train
- people who love the city where your tunnels are
- railroad enthusiasts (known as “railfans”)
And in addition, other collectors might be:
- people going through a life transformation, emerging from one place to another
- people who have survived a difficult time, looking for the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”
Once you’re super-clear on your niche — and who’s in it —
you can reach out to audience owners who already have their attention.