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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weekend Chat Line...Are you changing with the times?


The internet has caused business to change the way they market themselves. The old "bricks and mortar" establishment is no longer enough...not enough for Starbucks and certainly not enough for us as artists.

We are living in a time of "instant gratification"...we no longer have to get into the car and travel store to store to research an item before purchasing. All this can be done over the internet or through catalogs. Why wouldn't this also apply to purchasing art?

I understand that the collector of high end original art will no doubt want to see the piece in person, but many customers today are simply decorating their homes. In today's economy, these customers are going to be looking for lower priced originals and prints. Lets face it, most artists never get into the higher end markets...but this doesn't mean we can't experience a reasonable amount of success and produce a viable income for ourselves.

I've always believed that the collector wanted that personal connection with the artist. I believed that if they were interested in purchasing art from my website that they would contact me. I'm no longer "certain" about this and I KNOW not everyone who buys my art is a "collector".

I have a few customers that I would categorize as "collectors", but the majority of people who purchase my art are commissioning special pieces or decorating their homes. They buy because they like the image and they have the perfect place for it...it "matches their sofa"! I know it's hard to swallow, but it is true.

So...what am I going to do. Well, after much deliberation within myself...the BuyNow buttons are going up on my website. I never liked the way they looked or what they stood for...feeling those obnoxious buttons lessened the perceived value of my art.

But you know, I see "buy now" buttons on more and more artists sites. I see how other artists are using Ebay, Etsy, and other internet retail sites to sell their art.

Times are changing
and I want to be part of the change not stuck in the past wondering someday if it would have worked. Yes, I believe this is a step forward and my hope is that by making it easier to purchase...I will see an increase in sales.

So I ask: Are you changing with the times? How have you diversified your internet marketing? Have you succumbed to the instant gratification of the "Buy Now" button?
The "Chat Line" is open...I look forward to your comments and please feel free to comment on what others have to say. Remember...when you share, others are blessed.

Sometimes change is difficult...sometimes we think change is impossible...but we must always remember that change produces personal growth.

Sincerely,
Marsha


Links:

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment

10 comments:

Jimmy Springett said...

Hi Marsha,
Not long ago, probably about 8 months, you know how time can fly, I was signed up to get going on a new web site. It took me all year, and this week starting Monday with Marge's gentle push I dug in and tackled getting online--I'm still working--yes I use the "buy Now" button. My site is a work in progress and I'm glad to say I've had some nice traffic for just starting up this week. I spend a fair amount of time now improving the web site but as the web site smoothes out I expect the time needed to maintain will be more manageable. I like your artistic work--your drawing is a real gift and I thought adding your web site to my link page is a good thing. Business flows in all directions and many folks here in the WI area will appreciate the skill and quality of your drawings, so networking is important now that I'm on the web. Your suggestions were helpful, others have helped, especially my wife Marge-- so I say thank you. Now back to the next elk painting more art shows coming in November and December so I'm not sitting on my hand because I need to continue to paint. Keep up the great work--best to you--Jimmy

Terry Rafferty said...

Interesting question, Marsha. I don't have a buy-now button; I did have a link to my Etsy store which I was happy with, but haven't put any new work up because my life has been in such upheaval. I will return to it soon I hope. I experimented with ebay, with no positive results.
As far as the philosophy is concerned: yes, we would all like to be in museums. But few of us will. We also all want to eat - and I think that a buyer will like a work for many reasons: the inherent quality, but also because it reminds them of something, or the colors are appealing or it simply "matches the couch". All are legitimate reasons I think - and as artists we can increase our buyers awareness of quality and depth in art.
Personally, when I go to a website or blog and want something I find it a stumbling block to not see a price and purchase link - I just want it simple; I don't want to have to ask. So, I think you are doing the right thing, and that you will see sales increase!
Good Luck :-)

Dianne Mize said...

Marsha, I hate those BUY NOW buttons, too, but I'm using them for the same reasons you've spelled out here. And they do pay off. But I can't ditch the old art purist that's so deeply ingrained and I don't really want to. So I put them on my site, but I don't have to like them. Dianne

Marsha Robinett said...

Jimmy,
Realizing that your site is a work in progress is a good thing...the old "build it and they will come" attitude only works for baseball fields! You will have to keep us updated on how your 'buy now' buttons are working.

Terry,
Thank you for your usual very insitefull remarks.

Dianne,
I've read your reply several times and every time I have to chuckle. You expressed my feelings precisely.

Wouldn't you think they could develop a more attractive BUY NOW BUTTON!!! I bet you and I could take care of this in a snap!

KeRobinson said...

I LOVE the "BUY" buttons!
Ever walk around a dept. store looking for an attendant to ring you up? Ever just put the stuff down & leave?
BTW, thanks Marsha for your blog, I had forgotten how beautiful using charcoal was!

Jeanette said...

Marsha, I think we all have to move with the times or risk being left behind. So yes, I too, have a BUY NOW button on my dedicated sales blog. I agree that the particular PayPal button isn't esthetically pleasing, but it has to be generic I guess to be recognizable.

Yes there will always be the traditional routes for marketing and selling art, but the electronic world has a good toehold in the universe and people expect that goods and services of all kinds are available to them at the push of a 'BUY NOW' button.

Instant gratification is also very prevalent in this current 21st century lifestyle. That applies to anything from food to service, to even art. I can attest to the latter as when I teach drawing, individuals expect that they will turn out an intricate masterpiece in a two hour session!

Karen Hargett said...

Hi Marsha,
Times are a changing aren't they?! I don't have the typical buy now buttons but do have a little more subtle button on each of my pieces on my website that takes you to a PayPal page. It makes it easy for people to buy what they want when they want instead of waiting for a reply from an e-mail. It works for me. On my blog I have the original PayPal buy now button. My blog is more informal so the ugly PayPal button doesn't bother me there.

As always I really enjoy your blog.

Marsha Robinett said...

Ke,
In answer to your questions, YES, YES, YES.! I've known for some time these UGLY buy now buttons should be available...I just balked at putting them beside my art!!!

Jeanette,
Like you I, I believe the traditional markets for our art will continue...I look at internet sales as the NEW venue.

As for the buy now buttons...I believe they look the way they do because PayPal wants their service to be recognizable.

Karen,
Yes, the times are changing rapidly. I like what you have on your website...definitely more eye appealing. (I will just have to settle for what I have for now)

Deborah O'Sullivan said...

This is such a timely post.
Buy It Now buttons are definitely the way to go! My business is doing very well and it not because people are buying originals..they are buying prints. I read somewhere where someone said that if your originals are not selling than you have no business making prints. Well my prints have made me much more money than the originals! Once that original is gone...it's gone. I have prints of one body of work that I did that have sold 8 times more than the originals prices. And I still have the originals.

Marian Fortunati said...

Good luck to you Marsha!!
Let's hope our economy turns around... Maybe you will be the catylist that gets things going!! :o)

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