Part II: One Artist's Marketing Success Story on How She Sold 225 Paintings in ONE YEAR!
Here's MAYS MAYHEW in her studio working on the 40" x 60" EVE in graphite. Mays generously shares her marketing ideas for a successful art career with our readers in this 3-part series. Scroll down for more of her artwork...
Second of a three-part series.
The art marketing success of Mays Mayhew has not happened by chance, but by planning. In 2021, she sold 225 paintings. In this series she generously shares her marketing tactics. Be sure to read PART 1 in this series, if you missed it. (One Artist's Marketing Success Story Here's How She Sold 225 Paintings in ONE YEAR! (foxvalleyartbeat.com)
Here are this week's tips shared with Art BEAT (AB) by Mays.
AB: What social media platforms do you use and why?
Mays: I use Facebook / Instagram daily (FB/IG).
I view FB/ IG as the top part of my sales funnel.
My goal is creating traffic for my website.
Facebook is great for engaging with my audience via romance marketing. Romance meaning not trying to sell anything.
Facebook and Instagram are a great way to engage with art lovers via romance. The posts are more like a day in the life, what’s on my easel, more a conversational, this is who I am, this is what I do, and this is where you can buy it. I think it’s important to show the work and get engagements. But with FB / IG, my goal is to get people into the sales funnel.
I do 25 events a year and it’s great for getting the word out. FB Business Suite is quite good to plan posts, events, and get insights.
Facebook/IG are risky. They are volatile. They could kick you out, cancel you, spam you, hack you. It’s a risk. So be careful.
MAYS ADDS THIS WARNING ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA …
Mays: A word of caution about FB for artists seeking sales. TIME IS A RESOURCE. DON’T WASTE IT.
That is to say FB tries to engage readers by making them angry. So be focused on the goal to use FB as a tool to sell art…. Don’t get political because it’s not worth it. Be focused when you’re on FB because they are trying to derail you to spend more time on their platform. That’s not productive for you as a business.
Use Facebook Business Suite to plan your posts. Seek out your clients or leads and engage with them. FB is not a toy, it’s a tool. Get in, get out.
Instagram is a harder algorithm to work with in my opinion. It is extremely time-consuming if you want to do it right and build your business. If you don’t put in the time, Instagram will bury your posts and… well, that’s another topic. The main point is -- if you want to make it work on Instagram, you need to put in the time.
I think all other platforms are a waste time if you want to actually sell artwork.
AB: How and where do you receive publicity for your artwork? Or your upcoming appearances/sales?
Mays: I don’t (currently). In the past, I used to seek out interviews and publicity, but it turned out that artists were the audience, not collectors. There’s only so much time in the day, and trying to gain recognition is not productive versus being at a place where art collectors purchase art. (like art fairs, art galleries, etc.)
Social media/Mailing list
Regarding getting the word out as a ‘call to action’, I use FB, Instagram, email, texts, phone, & Eventbrite.com, local ‘What’s happening’ pages, etc. Of those, the most effective has been 1:1 calling or texting existing clients.
AB: What type of publicity brings the best results for you?
Mays: 1:1 email, texts, calls, DM’s work the best.
& In-person events
Art fairs because they are in-person, for opportunities to talk, discuss, answer questions, and build a relationship.
My Email list is the most reliable and responsive.
I don’t think publicity I received gave results, sales-wise. For me, I didn’t see any difference in sales at all.
In my mind, the better thing to do is create leads, and foster them. I don’t see publicity as a way of finding those leads.
AB: Have you built up a customer base and how have you achieved this? How do you regularly communicate with your customer base? Email blasts?
Mays: Yes. This past year (2021), that approach was my primary focus. The best strategy I’ve used is being where collectors make purchases. I also use contests. I offer enter-to-win painting giveaways at each show. I’ve grown my email VIP list by 80% by being at shows and offering giveaways. I have 1000 on my email list, 1000 on my FB business page, 2500 of FB personal, 2800 on IG.
Mays: My secondary focus has been client engagement. This is one of my favorites. I love people. I’ve really worked hard to create conversations with customers and to get to know them. I do regularly communicate with my VIP’s and social media following. I send out an email two times a month to announce shows, giveaways, and behind-the-scenes information. All my VIP’s get first dibs on all my sales and new artworks. A lot of clients have become friends.
I also go LIVE on FB and Inst 1 – 2 times a month. I find that the more people who can see me LIVE, the more familiar they are with me. I answer every single comment on social media. I want them to know that I care and that I read their comments. I also engage with their social media posts by responding.
NEXT WEEK: Part III -- Explores May's advice on the pros and cons of working with art galleries.
ONLY ONE 16" x 20"
CROWN, 24" X 36" graphite paint
PEACEMAKER, 24" x 36"; graphite, watercolor