Good art marketing is often said to be a budget issue. Where there is no budget for a marketing professional, good marketing cannot take place. However, this budget is missing for smaller galleries.
In addition to the countless daily tasks that business managers, sales directors and/or gallery assistants must acquire, marketing is another competence that has to be professionalized. How is this supposed to work?
The good news is that marketing is not a science that one has to have studied.
Marketing is not magic. Yes, it requires work, but, above all, a good strategy!
With a good strategy, you can do good art marketing without professional staff and large budgets – and grow sustainably.
What many teams however do wrong: they lack this concrete strategy!
They do not know their goals and simply try to keep up with the rapidly moving market and digitalization. TikTok? Big museums are doing that now, we need that too! Instagram? Must Have! Virtual gallery tours? Absolutely! But what specific goal are they pursuing with it?
Let’s take a quick step back to ask ourselves one important question:
What is marketing actually about?
No, it is not about stocking an Instagram channel with appealing pictures, regularly organizing exhibitions and sending an invitation to the existing customer base.
Marketing is about reaching more people, converting them into new customers and bringing existing customers back to purchase!
The first is called “generating leads”, the second is called “retention”. To do this successfully, you have to know your goals exactly. Generating leads, for example, works very differently from retention marketing.
If you know your goals, you can more easily break down the required measures necessary to achieve your goals.
From top to bottom! Without a strategy and goal agreements, which is what so many companies do wrong, marketing will be empty.
For example, a new customer is much more than a achieved sales of X euros. Would it not be exciting to find out how much it costs to acquire a new customer? How much marketing budget is needed? Would it not be interesting to find out where the new customers come from, what their interests are, how old they are, how they are socialized? And would it not be especially interesting to find out where and how to reach these new customers?
For example: If you know that you have never sold art on Instagram, but that art sales are usually generated through the website; if you know that the process of the transaction on the website is cumbersome and involves a high organizational effort for the team … then it makes sense to set the goal of revising the website and prioritizing this process – before caring for an attractive Instagram channel.
If you know that you attract many visitors to the website, for example, through Google search, links or social media – but that these leave again without making a purchase – it makes sense to set the goal of improving the conversion rate on the website.
Or, if you know exactly who your top customers are and what artists or art they are interested in, it makes sense to inform these top customers individually about current works rather than sending them general newsletters. What I mean by this:
Every company, every art dealer, every gallery is different: the goal is therefore to find out which marketing tools work for your own company.
And professionalize them. A continuous, goal-oriented optimization process leads to long-term success and revenue, rather than having to dance aimlessly at all weddings.
These are my tips for a good art marketing strategy:
1 – Be open to change
The rapidly moving art market and rapid digitization require quick adaptability. I still frequently observe a lack of willingness to change on the art market. The excuse “we’ve always done it this way and it’s always worked out well” no longer applies. At the latest since Covid and the loss of fairs and gallery visitors, it should be clear to everyone that it is an advantage to be able to respond quickly to changes.
2 – Know your customers
Customers are the A and O of successful marketing. The better you know them, the more precisely you can address them and do good marketing. Their data, their purchasing behavior, and their “user behavior”, meaning the way they move around your gallery, on your website, in your newsletter, give insight into possible re-purchases and possible new customers.
3 – Solve concrete problems
An example: you observe that your high-priced works are only bought by existing customers? That the majority of your address data is art lovers who regularly come to openings and visit your newsletter, but never buy? Then you should think about a low-priced “entry-level product”.
4 – Develop a clear positioning
… to stand out from the competition! The clearer your customers know what they get from you and nowhere else, the better!
5 – Analyze your data
As mentioned above: the behavior of your customers, your “users”, allows you to draw valuable conclusions about your marketing strategy. You don’t have to subscribe to expensive tracking tools and be a Google Analytics expert! Simple data such as the opening rate of the newsletter or the duration of the website visit are already a very good start.
6 – Define clear goals
Based on the information and data you collect and analyze, you can formulate clear goals that will help you plan concrete measures and their scope, and calculate the resulting costs/budgets. They will help you plan the business year in advance.
7 – Develop a marketing plan
Does everyone in the team know what to do? A good plan is not only the A and O for good marketing. But also the A and O for a smooth and organized workflow. This saves time and resources and ensures that everyone is on the same page.