Do you long to create work that comes from your soul without concern for its commercial value? I understand. If you want to sell your art, though, you need to find the sweet spot—the overlap between what you love to create and what your audience wants to buy. Why not ask your audience what they want?
To find out what art your audience wants to buy, come right out and ask questions—and pay attention to what people say when they’re talking about your work, in person and online.
This is market research, and it works! When you ask your audience what they want, you’ll know how to find that sweet spot, you’ll know what kind of language to use on your website, and you’ll know where to focus your artistic and marketing efforts.
Are you up for the challenge?
Here are some ideas for asking your audience what art they want to buy:
Run a contest: On your Facebook business page, your personal page, or on other social media, post images of several different pieces and ask your audience to vote on what work they think should be turned into prints. As an incentive, offer a free print as a prize to a randomly selected participant.
Run a split test: Design two or more Facebook ads and run split tests to see what images are the most popular with your audience. Here’s my post about using Facebook ads: When and How to Use Advertising to Skyrocket Your Art Sales
Ask for feedback: Create a poll in Instagram Stories. Share images of your work and ask your audience to vote on which they like best.
Your website: Use Google Analytics to see which pages on your website get the most traffic and the longest retention times. This is best for understanding how popular certain categories of work are; it can be hard to track analytics for specific images.
Emails: Send emails to your subscribers with links to particular images. Look at the reports to see which links get the most clicks—or better yet, include a survey in the email and ask them which images they like best.
Social Media: Look at social media analytics on past posts to see what images get the most likes, shares, and engagement.
Via email: Send a question to your email subscribers and ask for their input. With most email platforms, readers can simply click on their preference on a survey within an email, and their choice will be recorded for you.
Using Google Forms: Create a survey with Google Forms and ask your contacts (via email and social media) to take the survey and to share with it anyone they think might be your ideal buyer.
Write an intro paragraph to the survey describing who you’d like to take the survey and explain why you’re doing it. That way you’ll get more relevant responses.
Have a follow up phone call with anyone who’s willing (ask in the survey for their email or phone number if they’re willing to do this).
Live events: Pay attention to what people are most drawn to when your art is on display. Ask questions of potential buyers when you’re talking to them in person.
Coffee dates: Identify people who best reflect your ideal buyer, invite them to coffee, and ask their opinion on what art they’d be most likely to buy.
Use your network of connections to get you introduced to your ideal buyer. For more on networking, see this post: Grow Your Art Business by Building a Network
Galleries and business people: Approach a gallery or other business/person in the industry and ask them. Again, use your network of connections to get you introduced to people who can help you.
To build a successful art business, embrace the uniqueness of your own style, AND do some market research to find out what your audience wants to buy. Find that place where they intersect, and you’re in business!
P.S. In my Create a Marketing Plan for Your Thriving Art Business course, I've got you covered on market research! Add your name to the waitlist and I'll let you know when registration opens.