Sell Your Art to an Affluent Audience

by  Carolyn Edlund

Price your work and position yourself in the market to reach your target audience.

 

paintings hanging in a gallery

 

Are you underpricing your art out of fear that it won’t sell? It’s not uncommon. Many artists have chosen to price their work quite conservatively out of concern that sales will go to their competition. Or, they may hold the opinion that they will sell more art if they offer bargain prices. But does that make sense? Setting prices from a mindset of scarcity is unhealthy for your business.

Instead of pricing your art artificially low and chasing bargain shoppers, you should price correctly for the market you want to be in. You might be under the impression that customers choose you, but actually, it’s the other way around. You have the power to choose your customers by positioning yourself in the marketplace where you want to be. This gives you an opportunity to develop business with a higher-end customer base.

The art or fine craft you make will be perfect for certain people, but not suitable for others. Let’s say you make stunning one-of-a-kind serving pieces that are perfect as wedding gifts. Customers who can afford this type of gift may be members of an affluent circle of friends and peers. In all likelihood, these people are not your peers, and you may have a very different lifestyle. Many successful artists will tell you that they are nothing like their affluent collectors, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you understand them and that you know why your work is a good fit for them.

Identify Your Customers and What They Want

First, get a handle on your target customer. Where do they shop? What is an affordable price range for them? What brands do they buy? If you aspire to have your work considered alongside expensive brands that are familiar to these shoppers, your price points should fit into that world. In fact, you should make sure that your prices are not too low. If they are, these customers would probably not consider buying your work, and instead search for something that fits the budget they have in mind. When they purchase a gift, they often want to show the recipient that they have great taste and are quite generous. Would your work send that message? Or are you still trying to cater to the bargain shopper?

Study your target customer’s habits and learn what motivates them. When you know what really matters to them and what they value, you’re in a good position to reflect that in your marketing messages. Speak their language; relate to their lives and their world.

Next, brand your art business and present your collection as professionally as possible. These buyers have come to expect a polished presentation, excellent customer service, and VIP treatment. Does you currently offer this? Are you presenting your work beautifully, using high-end packaging, or offering personalized services like delivery and  installation? Do you offer a premium unboxing experience that helps them remember you? These tactics, along with strategies that increase the perceived value of your work, sends the message that your art is worth the price.

Shopping is fun for most people, and making a purchase of art or handmade work is an enjoyable experience. Every effort you take to make your work appealing and to connect with the customers you have in mind will work towards turning them into buyers. When you reflect the look, sensibility and price range they seek, you will have found the right market for your work, and can price your work accordingly.

 

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YES PLEASE!

Comments

  1. HI Carolyn,
    This is so helpful right now as one of the international galleries I am with has suggested I up my prices. I am happy to do this but they had suggested a helluva price leap as they say they have customers who search in that price range for work like mine. I was skeptical until I read this.

    • Julee, Thanks for your comment on the article. There are ways to meet the needs and wants of high-end customers. You may design and create specifically for a more affluent demographic, pricing your work in a higher range. That might look like work that is larger, more complex or uses other materials that would be differentiated from collections that are less expensive.

      I don’t advocate for massive price increases of existing work – I always suggest that artists gradually increase when their sales history demands it. If you price your work through a “per square inch” or “per linear inch” formula, you can keep pricing consistency.. If you are being asked to make giant leaps in your pricing to suit a particular gallery, then to maintain consistency you would increase similar work across the board. Does your sales history and demand warrant that?

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