4 Ways Artists Can Lose Customers

by Carolyn Edlund

Four potential pitfalls that could deter prospective buyers of your art—have you encountered any of these challenges?


4 Ways Artists Can Lose Customers


Launching and nurturing a business centered around your art or handmade work is a substantial commitment. It demands unwavering persistence and a deep understanding of the psychology behind why people buy. The more you delve into the realms of marketing and sales strategies, the better equipped you’ll be to attract, nurture, and ultimately sell your art to eager customers.

As an artist in business, your job isn’t only to create amazing art; it’s also to build a thriving customer base that drives financial success. Ensure that you don’t inadvertently drive potential patrons away by falling into these common pitfalls.

Lack of Clarity

Imagine this scenario–you’re at an art fair, trade show, or even sharing your work on social media or your website. You have mere seconds to captivate your audience. Is your artistic concept immediately evident, or do you rely on signage or a catchy tagline to grab their attention? If potential customers need a detailed explanation, you’re at risk of losing them. People gravitate towards what’s effortless to understand. If your work is magnetic, it pulls them in; if your presentation is perplexing, they’ll drift away. Take a closer look at your body of work and your presentation. Does it resonate with shoppers, both in person and online? Assess the reasons why or why not.

Ignoring Customer Needs

When selling your art or handmade creations, remember that people primarily care about themselves. Your mission is to engage customers in a way that’s personally relevant and establishes an emotional connection. How does your work benefit them, and does it actually provide a solution? What makes it compelling, and why should they make a purchase? Do you have the answers, and are your marketing materials reflective of this? If not, you’re allowing potential customers to slip through your fingers.

Neglecting Follow-Up

Rarely will a shopper buy from you the first time they encounter your work. It typically takes multiple exposures before most people even remember your name. And when they’re ready to make a purchase, you want to be top-of-mind. This means you must stay in contact with potential customers, and existing customers. Failure to follow up is one of the most common reasons sales are lost. If this is a challenge for you, take note and formulate a robust follow-up plan.

Inflexibility in Negotiation

Have you considered flexibility in your pricing strategy? Is there room to offer special pricing or services? For instance, can you provide a 10% discount to a collector interested in multiple pieces of your work? Would you go the extra mile by offering free shipping to a distant customer if it seals the deal? Are you open to personally delivering and installing your art in a local customer’s home? Do you offer drop shipping or gift wrapping?

Each time you accommodate a collector in a special way, you eliminate objections to the sale, potentially gaining a lifelong customer and a source of stellar testimonials. However, if you’re inflexible or unprepared to offer these services, you risk losing out on valuable opportunities.

In your journey as an artist, it’s essential to navigate these challenges skillfully to foster a more fruitful relationship with your customers and cultivate lasting success in the marketplace.


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