“It’s just for the Internet!”
I hear that all the time.
No one says,
“Oh, it’s just a postcard. It doesn’t need to look great.”
“It’s just a magazine ad. I’ll just take the picture myself with my little point-and-shoot.”
Yet, for some reason, we think that a medium whose views could easily dwarf these other venues, isn’t worthy of the attention to quality and detail of the printed page.
Graphs depict the cost per view of a thousand postcards, a full page ad in a large national art magazine,
and a 1,000,000 impression Facebook campaign.
Cost of postcard is $500 including design and postage, cost per view… $.50
Magazine Ad cost of $5000 based on published rates and includes design services cost per view… $.10
Facebook costs of $130 based on sample CPM rate of $.13/1000 impressions. Cost per view … $.00013
With the growing importance of the Internet for marketing and sales, it's crucial that any representation of your work be as accurate and positive as possible. 5 or 6 years ago, one could rightly say, "It's just for the Internet" and not worry at all about the quality. After all screens varied widely in quality, age and condition. There even were a few monochrome screens around! Today however, the Web is viewed on far better screens, on tablets and phones with amazing clarity, fidelity, and resolution, and on laptops with screens that rival the best desktop monitors. The Internet is potentially, your biggest marketing asset. The small file size is not an excuse to provide a poor quality reproduction, in fact they require and deserve far closer attention . If you do it right, the Internet can and will provide thousands of potential customers their only chance to view your work.
It’s not hard to get great photography for Web use. In fact it’s more a factor of planning and choosing the right photographer. You should be getting every piece of artwork photographed in the first place. Even if you don’t plan on doing prints immediately (or ever!), you’ll need accurate , high quality scans for submissions to galleries, promotional pieces ( postcards, brochures, gallery guides and ads) and for use on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and of course your blog and website. A good photographer will provide you with properly optimized versions of your scans to fill these needs. They should be willing and able to work with you if you have a special need, too. If you wait until your painting is sold, you miss out on much of the potential value of a properly captured image, namely it’s ability to help you sell the work faster by expanding fan base.
So don’t skimp on your photography. Your best chance for a sale might be spoiled by uneven lighting or a bad exposure!
“It isn’t art if it matches your couch!”
“It’s much better in Europe. They have a tradition of buying art!”
“I kicked someone out of my studio once because they brought a fabric swatch in to match to!”
We’ve been having a discussion around the office with our clients, and these were just a few of the similar statements made. In fact one was on a t-shirt!
It centered around…
“Why is it so hard to sell artwork?”
My friend, Ron Pomeroy, has blogged about it. I promised I’d say a few words, too.
I took an informal poll… nothing scientific about it, I just asked friends.
The question was, “What are you more likely to spend $500 on, a piece of art or something to decorate your home?”
First, we guys didn’t fair well. For the most part we just stared in disbelief, deferred to our “better half , or professed a preference for a 60” TV.
Amazingly, very few people viewed art as decoration. Somehow art has become a different class of possession … one that is considered a super luxury. While that may allow us to command higher prices for our work, it also suppresses demand to the point that few talented artists actually make a living selling their art.
Just as you can charge anything you like for something you don’t have (lack of supply), you can also charge what you like for something that no one is buying (lack of demand). The general public’s perception seems to be that art is superfluous for all but the wealthy… even though those same people will spend thousands of dollars on “Home Decor.”
The Home Decor market is orders of magnitude larger than the fine art market, yet the potential customer is the same and the amount of money charged is similar! Price is not the issue, perception of value is.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”
As long as we relish the difference between fine art and decor, we will be separated from that market and more importantly, the general public will continue to value the money in their pocket more than the artworks we produce. In essence, this is why “starving artist” is a cliché. It’s all about perceived value. At present, the average Joe would much rather spend $500 on the new TV, his wife might opt for a piece of furniture or a framed print from IKEA (or maybe it’s the other way around) but it is highly likely that both would vote to keep their money in their bank account instead of buying that wonderful piece of art.
This isn’t something we can solve as a group, changing perceived value is something we must work on as individuals and constantly. Perhaps we should start by finding out what color our potential client’s couch is.
twitter is much like a radio station where the user gets to determine who listens. Most folks who are planning on using it to promote their work start off in a sprint, following people as fast as they can, welcoming those who follow back and desperately hoping that those who aren’t returning the favor will see the error of their ways and shortly come aboard. 1000…1500…2000…only to hit a wall at 2001! Suddenly you get a message from twitter saying that you can’t follow anymore people! Thoughts race thru your mind, “What did I do wrong? Have I offended someone? Am I in trouble?” Don’t worry, none of those things are true. twitter built in follow limits to keep marketers from monopolizing the system and to guarantee that human beings would have to be involved.
OK, so you’ve hit a total follower limit, what do you do? Well, just like at home, there comes a time when you have to take out the trash!
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the folks who don’t follow you back. There are many following philosophies, and they are as varied as people are.
For example they might…
- only follow close friends. Often people use twitter as a mini email between friends. “let’s have lunch on Friday.”, “My vacation was killer!”, “@Bob check out this pizza!” To these users, communication with friends is the key reason to tweet. If they aren’t following you, don’t follow them- they will never see your tweets.
- not be very active on twitter. Give a prospective follower a couple weeks to follow back and if they don’t, cut them loose. There are at least 50 Million active twitter users- there are plenty of fish in the sea.
- be a celebrity. I don’t follow celebrities, period… well, unless they reach out to me, of course.
- be an expert, guru, an authority who thinks there place is to dispense advice and wisdom not to listen to it. They tend to be people you’ve never heard of that are overly taken with themselves. That may be grossly unfair in some circumstances.
- be a tricky marketer who follows you, waits ‘till you follow back, then unfollows you. I’m not fond of this practice and unfollow them as soon as I find out about it. What you do is your concern, but these are often the buzzards of the twitter flock and it doesn’t do to encourage them!
So… you’ve raced forward , followed 2000 people, gotten 250 followers in return. you’ve waited two weeks to give everyone a chance to follow you back. Time to cull the following flock and start anew. It is possible to go thru your “Following” list, individually, and start removing those who have yet to discover your genius, but it is an incredibly time consuming process. Instead, consider a 3rd party twitter management software. I use JustUnFollow because it allows me to easily find those who don’t follow or have recently unfollowed me. It also allows me to look at those Who follow me but for some reason I don’t follow back, just in case I’ve neglected someone!
Oh, and it is free for most users!
Step 1- Sign in using twitter. They need to have your particulars so they can process the data.
Step 2- JustUnfollow will present you with a list from oldest to newest of those who you follow but don’t return the favor.
Step 3- Go thru the list and unfollow as desired. I usually seek out those who have a large discrepancy between the number of their followers and the those they are following. It is highly unlikely that they will ever follow me, so I hit the unfollow button. Next I look for those who have only a couple tweets but hundreds+ of followers. Third, I look for accounts that repeat the same message or a similar one over and over again. Tweeting “Buy my book” 50 times a day, is not only annoying, but shows that a human is not manning the ship here so there’s little chance that my message will get a hearing! Finally, I go to the very oldest and remove until I reach the quota. The free version of JustUnFollow limits you to 100 unfollows a day. You can opt for a very reasonable paid version that is unrestricted.
That’s it. Do a little every day and within a week you can be following more users- and gaining more followers- to your heart’s content!
It’s always a pleasure to tell you about a show that features a client, even more so when it features several and takes place outside the conventional venues in Portland.
The Gresham Art Committee is presenting “Wings”
It’s an exploration of things aerial, and highlights the work of some 33 artists and photographers including Michael Anderson, Mark Fitzgerald, Scott Shuey, and Josh Kulla. It should be a great show!
The show runs from December 4, 2012 thru January 31, 2013
December 11, 2012
5:30 - 7:00p.m.
Gresham Visual Arts Gallery
Public Safety & Schools Bldg
1333 NW Eastman Parkway
Occasionally we hear about opportunities for Photographers, Painters, and other Fine Artists to display (and sell!) the fruits of their labors. We like to pass those along to you. To that end, we have created a blog page just for these notifications. Be sure to check it out and sign up for the RSS feed! Call to Artists