How can a gallery and artist work together to maximise publicity and sales? (from our article in March’s The Artist magazine)
There’s a saying I love: A rising tide lifts all boats and I believe that to be true of any partnership. The closer an artist and gallery work together for the same aims, the artist, that gallery, and the other artists within that gallery all benefit. Imagine too if every artist within that one gallery worked in the same way… the sky’s the limit for them all!
Of course, any artist can reasonably expect a gallery to do all the work for them and not get involved in sales at all: it’s what you pay us for. So if you’re an artist that doesn’t want to get involved in social media or self-promotion and wants to leave the selling entirely to your galleries, that’s perfectly fine. This article ends for you right here.
For the rest of us, let’s have some fun together… because that’s how I see the social media experience: fun, and a way of us all benefitting not only our own careers, but of those we’re associated with, too.
Selling art for me isn’t just about hanging it in my gallery; it’s about creating desire for art. No one needs art on their walls, but the more we work together to create a lust for it, that’s where the real value lies and social media, when used in conjunction with a great website, I believe is the future: like it or loath it.
When I have a new piece of work in my gallery or I sell a piece, I gush about it on our social media feeds. Not only that, I tag my artists in. They, in turn, cross promote that good news on their feeds. Several of my other artists also participate and cross post or comment, celebrating their peer’s success so others see it on their timeline, too. Why? Because when everyone reciprocates in that success, we all benefit… it’s called social media, after all!
In those posts, I add a link back to the artist’s page on our website so those who missed that sold work can easily find another work from that artist and snap it up. They may also use the tag I added to visit the artist’s social media page and scroll through their work there too. In doing this, we’re creating a desire for any artist’s work… or to use a marketing mantra: The more you tell, the more you sell!
These days, I believe galleries should be much more than a physical shop front for an artist’s talent. They should be exploiting the digital realm to sell their artist’s work. My online sales have steadily grown over the last 5 years and last year constituted a massive 35% of my sales. For a Cornish gallery, that’s so very important, especially in ‘down season’, and it’s proof of just how social media and good websites can help drive sales all year round.
Additionally, I like to do pop-up meet-the-artist exhibitions. Like the success of Open Studios, it’s no surprise that art lovers like to meet their idols and my artists, too, enjoy the interaction and praise of one-on-ones with their fans, so facilitating that for me is also a must. If your gallery doesn’t, why not suggest it?
If you have your own website, make sure there are clear links to all the galleries websites you work with. You may or may not sell from your own website, but diverting customers back to a gallery’s website allows them to facilitate a sale for you and shows professionalism!
Keep feeding your galleries regularly with new work. When I get something new in from an artist, I enjoy enthusing about it on social media and in my newsletters. If you don’t give us something to talk about, don’t be surprised if you fall by the wayside here.
Customers like to see a flow of work. After all, who wants to go into any shop and see the same stock they did last time they went in? So give us a reason to promote you further by refreshing your work regularly and even send us pictures when new work’s on its way. This means we can promote you twice: once when it’s ‘easel ready’ and once more when it arrives.
However you decide to work with your partners, I’m a great believer that in giving one receives… or to quote Charles Darwin: “In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”