The best customers are not just the ones who buy your artwork once, they are the ones who will continue to buy your artwork for years to come. But, how do you reach more of these die-hard customers if you do not know who they are yet?
Reaching the right collectors at the right time is key to the success of any art business. As a professional artist, finding your ideal customer is key to effectively promoting your work. Here are three steps to finding your ideal customer and keeping them.
Create Work With Someone Specific in Mind
Who are you making work for? If you have probably been asked about your target audience at some point and maybe even done some audience building where you created a list of characteristics where your potential buyer is an affluent female between the ages of 30 and 65, owns a home in the city etc.
Ditch the imaginary audience.
Think of one specific person that you are creating this work for. What are they struggling with right now? What keeps them up at night? What do they find side-splittingly, absurdly funny? What have they gone through recently that they might need some comforting about?
Ask yourself these questions and then pick one to address in your work.
The beautiful thing about being human is that we all share certain commonalities. It might not resonate deeply with everyone, but if someone feels it strongly, chances are, there is a whole group out there who is also going to feel it strongly.
Make this Person Your Customer Profile
Creating a customer persona is a tactic most sales and marketing professionals frequently use.
A buyer persona is a fictional customer you create using what you know about your previous buyers and your best guesses. Using the answers from the first section, build out this persona based on your real life example.
Extrapolate your answers from the real person and build out a new fictionalized person. What is their name? Where do they live? What do they do for work? What about for fun? How much money do they make? What do they read? How much education do they have? The more details, the better.
If you are active on social media already, take a look at the insights about your followers. Is there a trend? Are they mostly women? What age are they? Most social media platforms have insights as part of their business account, take advantage of it.
Create a persona that matches that trend closely. Here is a great guide to creating buyer personas:
Cultivate Personal Connections to Your Artwork
Now that you have an image of your ideal customer, how do you connect with them and attract more?
Start by making real connections with your buyers. You might not care if people personally like you or not, but connections mean more than just a sale. These interactions lead to repeat purchases. Plus, these are the fans that will often praise and spread the word about you and stick around in those times when your creativity slumps.
Connect with your customers by sharing things about your inspirations and creative process or things going on in your world. If you have done a good job in creating your ideal customer, the content you share should align with the things they would be interested in.
Luckily, the internet makes connecting with and targeting your customers easy once you have defined them. Stay up to date with your social media, build out targeted ads based on your audience profile, and engage online with your customers. Find out what social media outlets your buyer persona prefers and connect with them there.
Don’t Try to Be Everything To Everyone
By creating a strong and consistent brand for yourself, you will become recognizable to your buyers and stand out from your competition. Part of having a strong brand is having a consistent look and feel to your website, materials, and social media posts. People like familiarity and will be more likely to connect with you if they know what to expect. This does not mean your creativity and work can’t have variety, but try to promote them in a similar fashion and style.
The main point here is that you don’t need to please everyone with your artwork. If you try and sell to everyone, you waste your energy and time on a large group of people who may never be in the place to buy your artwork, no matter how great you are. Focus on your buyer persona, do the work to reach them, and stay on their radar.