Five Things (Nitty Gritty Nuggets in Disguise)
I'm fascinated with what makes people buy (or not buy) fine crafts and especially art.
Follow these five recommendations. I guarantee your potential customers and collectors will go "bye-bye" and "buy" somewhere else.
Recommendation #1. Refer to your work as "stuff" or "happy accidents."
Use the line "I love making stuff" in your marketing materials. My favorite for artists is "I create happy accidents." Often when leading a critique, I'll ask the artist about their concept for the painting. "Oh, it was just a happy accident."
I try not to waste my time critiquing those. I cringe. Most collectors will cringe. Speak respectfully, and lovingly, about your work and career, especially in your bios.
Recommendation #2. Share overly personal information about the dramas in your life (deaths, addictions, diseases.)
Everyone has had their share of personal drama and trauma, but noone has had as much as you - try using it as a marketing theme.
Don't go there - your customers want beauty and elegance, or maybe quirky, but not funereal. After my dad passed on, I worked in white Prismacolor on black illustration board for almost a year. When the first drawing sold, I shared the story of my dad and how I was grieving. The look on my customer's face said plenty. "Thanks ever so much, Cindy, for oversharing. I will now think of death when I gaze upon this drawing gracing my home - beautiful but fatal."
Recommendation #3. Market yourself as a craftmaker.
Fill your shop with lots of different kinds of crafty things. Pain-relievers on aisle 9, household goods and paintings Aisle 12. When a potential customer asks you what you do, you say "All kinds of things!" That's helpful and narrows it down quite well. I'm sure they are getting out their checkbook.
I look at tons of websites for colored pencil, pastel and oil painters. My very favorite sites are those that have artwork on their homepage with advertising for their dog-sitting business right underneath the art. Handy!
Customers HAVE to know what you do, what you sell. Don't make them guess or have to play 20 questions - they won't. Market ONE line of fine art or craft in your gallery or on your website (two if you must, but they MUST be related.)
Recommendation #4. Have an obscure shop/gallery/website name and url.
Wouldn't it be a great idea to name your shop after your favorite pet? "Augie's Playground" or "Phoebe's Cathouse" both have a nice ring to them. Or how about something equally as descriptive, "Cindy's Creative Designs."
If you are a fine artist, use your name along with "fine art". If you make fine crafts like jewelry, pottery, glass - use those descriptors in your title. Non-cutesy is best.
Recommendation #5. Open an online shop and hope people will stumble across your work.
Don't have a Facebook page, or a blog, or Twitter, and for heaven's sake don't use Pinterest. Keep your gallery/artwork secreted away on your website or online shop. Customers will find you and your special talents, right?
The Etsy forums are full of talented people who don't understand why they aren't getting views or sales. Put out your OPEN sign and provide as much exposure for your work as possible. You're selling products (paintings are products). You have to work it.