Storytelling might be as old as time, but using it to sell art is relatively new. This is because in the past, artists were reliant on traditional marketing platforms like art dealers or advertisements which do not have the time or space to convey their artist’s stories. But now, because the internet has changed everything, it has become easy for artists to share stories with interested collectors.
Kudos to you if you already know why you should use storytelling to market your art, as well as how to do it. Even more kudos if you’ve been practicing lately.
But there’s just one problem. People have mastered the art of ignoring anything that does not excite them. We’re all guilty of it – we read a few lines of a topic we are researching, yawn, and then click away to see if the next listing/article/social media post is more interesting.
Because of this, it is necessary for artists to avoid mistakes that might ruin their storytelling efforts. There’s no point in spending the time crafting a wonderful story if you loose your reader in the first few lines, right?
Here’s what you should avoid:
Avoid Focusing Too Much On The Features of Your Art
Of course you should mention the features of your art. Things like size, medium, and whether it’s an original are important. But these features are rarely the deciding factor in purchasing your art.
Instead, focus on sharing a story that is relatable to your target audience. The best art marketing stories are based on the benefits, interest, values, wants and needs of the collector.
Here’s an example:
Your new collector values the natural environment and is an avid hiker. When you tell stories about the hikes you take to get to hard-to-find natural scenes where you do your plein air painting, you connect to your collector’s interests and values. Automatically, your collector relates to you and trusts you a little more than other plein air painters because you have the same interests.
And another example:
Your new collector is remodeling her living room She needs something to put the final touch on the redesign. Enter the artist that tells stories of a recently completed work that helped one of her other collectors create an elegant and unique space. Your new collector will immediately identify with the desire to transform her remodel into a finished space because your story speaks directly to her wants and needs.
Avoid focusing too much on your art’s feature, and instead share a story that is relatable to your collectors.
Avoid Telling A Story That Does Not Interest Your Collectors
Have you ever told a child a bedtime story then over all a sudden he jumped in to control it to direct the story? This can happen in our art marketing story telling too.
The collectors, designers and deals you are targeting have a stories that they would love to hear. If you deviate from the story; you are likely to experience reduced engagement – the dreaded click-away.
Avoid persuading people to believe a story that they do not connect with; it will not work.
Avoid Telling A Story That Does Not Evoke Emotions
How emotional your story is determines its possibility of going viral. Several types of emotions such as anger, excitement, happiness, or sadness trigger your audience to share your content. The best story should be more than just an explanation of your art piece. It should evoke emotions that align with the current situation and the message you are passing.
Avoid Letting Facts Ruin A Good Story
First, let me say, I’m not suggesting you lie or spread false information. But I am suggesting you be selective about what information goes into your story and how you will present your story so that it has maximum impact.
It’s Saturday morning and you just received an email that your artwork will be included in a book that will be released next summer. You’re excited and can’t wait to share the news. If you were to blast out this wonderful news on your social media channels right away, you might not draw the attention you need. Wouldn’t it be better if you did it on Monday during the lunch hour when your followers are online and let the excitement flow during the entire week?
Most beginners make the mistake of inconsistency. Do not promise anything in a story if you are sure you will not honor it. It is advisable to stop the whole idea of storytelling if what you say in a story is extremely different from what you are doing. Your words and actions should align in passing the intended message.
Using storytelling to market your art is one of the best ways to sell your art without selling out. It takes the “ickyness” out of making sales because after all, everyone enjoys a good story. As you practice, try to avoid these most common mistakes and your storytelling will continue to get better and better.