by Carolyn Edlund
As an artist, you’d like to find potential customers and sell your work. But do you know what inspires them to buy?
Artwork doesn’t sell itself. That is a common misperception, usually resulting in low sales volume. So, what is the magic that will cause buyers to commit?
I recently had a conversation with Ashwin Muthiah, CEO and co-founder of art website Easely about motivating buyers to make a purchase of your work.
“Quite often, making an art purchase makes people feel ‘cultured.’ They love the idea of acquiring art, and even becoming an art collector,” he says, “But intrinsic to the sale is understanding the story behind the artist and the work. Customers are not just buying something that looks good (although that’s naturally still important.) They are buying an experience, and that experience involves feeling that they understand and connect to the artist.”
“Furthermore, many times people don’t truly know what they want, and they appreciate receiving recommendations,” he adds. “We have found this to be key in driving sales. Our team of five artist/curators ensures that art on Easely is of high quality, and our artists know that their work is shown in an elegant context, unlike unfiltered sites that sell art. It’s much easier to be directed to a particular work or section on a page rather than just having to browse everything. Our curating team reviews collectors’ preferences and makes suggestions tailored to their interests.”
Being consultative is also a powerful way for artists who are selling directly to customers. After all, you are the expert on your work, and customers will appreciate your input on their selection. That conversation also indicates your interest in them, and your concern for the buyer’s wants and needs.
Is price the deciding factor when buying art? Actually, no. People who only care about price can simply buy wall décor at a discount store. However, it’s a good idea to spread your price points to appeal to a wider audience. This allows prospective customers to “buy in” and start acquiring your work at a more reasonable cost if they simply don’t have the budget to start purchasing your higher-priced art.
Then, keep those customers and build your art business by encouraging repeat sales. Those important names should stay on your list, and receive news about your new work and your events frequently.
Make the whole process of acquiring your artwork a very special event for your new purchaser by including extras that add value to the experience.
“Making buyers feel valued turns them into repeat customers,” says Muthiah. “If the experience of opening the package and seeing the artwork seems special, they are much more likely to make other purchases because they feel good about collecting your works. A letter to your new ‘collector’ with a Certificate of Authenticity, along with your artist statement, goes a long way towards making an acquisition of your art a memorable experience.”