"Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art." - Andy Warhol
Perception is reality so make sure that the perception others have of you and your art is not distorted.
I have written about this before but I just cannot emphasize it enough because there is such a common and unnecessary disconnect.
Selling art is serious business, requiring more marketing savvy than most businesses. If you want it to run a profitable art business then understanding that “perception is reality” is even more critical.
Just like framing a painting, you want to frame your professional image. You want a frame that that doesn't look cheap. You want a frame that's simple so that the focus is on your the work. And you want a frame that is carefully considered so that it elevates the art that it protects.
This means that you need to manage every touch point that patrons and prospects have with your business so that you convey a positive and professional image.
Some of the ways that you can convey your professionalism are:
- Answering the phone professionally. For example, "Hi, Jane Smith's studio. This is Jane. How can I help you?"
- Your recorded phone message.
- Your website, actually your eCommerce site. It should read visually like an art gallery or museum. Too many artist’s sites are over- and ill- designed. Don't distract from your art, elevate it. Hire a professional. You and your business is worth it and you'll sell more work online.
- Your business cards. These should be professionally designed, including the logo. Don't skimp.
- Your promotional photo. This should also be professionally shot. And no sunglasses or berets, unless you really are French.
- Your personal style/dress. I’m not suggesting that you purchase business suits, simply that you look and feel your best.
- Your email address. For example, what’s more professional? email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
- Your email signature. This should include a link to your website, social networking links, and all of your contact numbers.
- Your Facebook fan page. This is a huge and free marketing tool. Link to it from your eCommerce site.
- Your LinkedIn profile. Take the time to complete this. And follow the rules. Only ask people to join your network if you actually know them. Take the time to write a request for others to join your network. Don’t use the default message. It reads. "Here, join my network. I’m too lazy or I don't care enough to actually write you a simple message." It's not a contest to get to "500+" contacts.
The bottom line is this. When you're selling art you're asking patrons to part with their money. So give them reasons to feel confident with each transaction. Professionalism is not an area that you have creative license.