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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

This is what most bloggers and other self-proclaimed web publicists are all about. These terms have been coined (here and here) by Hugh MacLeod in his blog gapingvoid.com, and the idea is to differentiate yourself (or your product) and become a brand, not a commodity.

That he says is why people write blogs and why people read them. By writing a blog you get your ticket to eternity. You get read and known by people all over the world, you’re not just another X you’re a world expert.

In terms of marketing products he talks about a concept he calls the “social object”. A social object is something that can become the hub of social interaction. It is the node in the network. His example is his “Blue Monster” branded wine. You may say “gimic”, but what’s the gimic? Not the blue monster, the wine is the gimic here. The guy’s selling blue monsters. He got you to buy one by putting it on the wine bottle. This is merchandizing.

The Blue Monster wine is also part of the “Smarter Wine” conversation. The main thesis is that it’s not the wine per se that is interesting, it’s the conversations that happen around the wine that is interesting. And that is true for all social objects. People matter. Objects don’t.

http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/004284.html

OK I sell paintings not blue monsters. How do you turn a painting into a social object?

If the blog is the social object then the painting is the wine. However the analogy is not complete. The blog is free, it is the teaser… and I get back to where I started. This is going to take some more thinking.

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Generally I have enjoyed reading articles on EmptyEasel (and I even include a link on my Blog Roll). However I just read this article and it seems to me rather strange advice.

Basically what he is saying is work out how much money you want people to pay you for your paintings and charge that, otherwise you won’t be able to make a living. Yeah… and… what if noone is prepared to pay that much for one of your paintings? Well there is an answer to that as well: start painting faster to produce more cheap work or take classes to improve your quality so that people will pay your asking price.

The basic idea of working out how much money you need to make and then making a plan how to get that income does seem a good idea. However I think that the idea set out here is kind of simplistic. Your art has a value that is dictated by how much people will pay for it. How do you find out what that price is? Well, what do people pay in your area for similar work and what have you sold for before? That marks your price point.

Prices need to be logical and you can’t just put them up and expect people to pay them because you want more money. This doesn’t work for any product and all the more so for art, which is a luxury item for most people. If you overprice then noone will buy.

What he also leaves out in his article is that a lot of artists I know make a lot of their money teaching children and adults and others make money on prints. If you need to generate income then you need to diversify and find new products and services and new markets. You will also spend a lot of time on marketing. I have seen the widely-quoted figure of a full 50% of your time as a professional artist taken up just with marketing and selling.

Personally, I did the math and realized that I cannot support my family as an artist at the same level I do now in hi-tech. Well, that’s unless I can sell several paintings every month for thousands of dollars. So far I haven’t proven that I can.

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Since I started my blog, I’m getting a lot of hits on my site from Google searches. The links in my blog page seem to have done wonders for my site’s rating and the blog itself doesn’t too bad either:

Some searches to do for fun:

  • definition of real art (blog comes out #1)
  • real art studio (blog #5)
  • Paintings by Israeli Artists (rafistern.com comes in at #3)
  • israeli artist painter (rafistern.com#8)
  • jerusalem fine paintings (rafistern.com#4)
  • שדה פרגים (rafistern.com #4 after Van Gogh)
  • בניאס (rafistern.com #6)
  • Nahlaot (rafistern.com #8)
  • חומות ירושלים (rafistern.com #3)

The downer is that if you change the searches even a little bit, then the results come out differently. Shows just how fickle Google can be.

For example while “Paintings by Israeli Artists” comes in at #3, “Paintings Israeli Artists” comes in at #11 on the second page and they say that they are ignoring the “by”.

Worse, while “jerusalem fine paintings” does really well at #4, “jerusalem fine art” is just nowhere to be seen. My guess is that the latter is what most people search for.

Oh well, more work still to do…

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I just read a thought provoking article on EmptyEasel entitled “Why Sell Limited Edition Prints? Art Should be for Everyone!”. The article challenges the practice of making limited edition prints and says that prints should be unlimited and cheap so that everyone can enjoy art.

I certainly support the idea that there should be affordable art in the market place so that anyone and everyone can buy something to add some beauty to there home or wherever. However, on the other hand I defend the artists who need to make a living.

I support a model where art “products” are offered in different price ranges to different markets. Want an original? Pay the full price. Want an almost original? Buy an expensive numbered giclee reproduction. Want one better? Have a signed, touched up and  numbered giclee. No money, but want something beautiful to put on your wall? Buy a digital print.

I have been told in the past that if you offer digital prints then that cheapens your art, because people won’t want to pay more for the quality giclees. I’m not in the print market, because I don’t have the time and I need to be there because I make my living from my day job. So while I don’t have any personal experience, that doesn’t make sense to me. Discerning people will always pay more for a quality product.

My art is priced cheaply. However, when I show my art to people it is still often more than they can spend. I offer the option of digital prints for the Israeli market (sorry, it’s in Hebrew and yes, I know I need to update the number of prints offered).

Please don’t forget the customers who don’t have big budgets. It’s not altruistic, it’s good business.

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