Ahhh… target demographics… the most elusive of all magical creatures in the forest. Not really – it just seems that way when you throw your work out there with fingers crossed, hoping someone will buy it.
Before you launch or show or exhibit… take some time to sit down with your imagined potential buyers and start a dialogue with them. They’ll give you insight into who wants what you sell and why, and how you can better communicate your value to them.
Find people you WANT, not who you think you can GET
We are always more likely to 2nd guess ourselves and devalue our work… especially in the early years of getting our art out in front of the public. There’s the sense that any sales are better than no sales, so very little thought goes into discerning your best customer and developing ways to communicate your best value to them.
When you just accept what you think you can get, it’s like communing with the lowest common denominator. Instead of building the business you want and directing it’s movement, you’re in a constant scramble to try and be all things to all people. This will really dilute your message and it leaves you open to the commodity shoppers who will just try and get the best price.
As a working artist it’s in your best interest to develop your style, your unique perspective and your signature techniques specifically to differentiate your art from the masses.
Be Prepared to Repel
You can’t be all things to all people and you don’t want to be. The more fully you develop your distinctive artist’s voice, the more likely you will repel a sector of the viewing public.
This is good and fine. You must be willing to repel.
You will repel the commodity shoppers and the bargain hunters. At the same time you will begin to attract more valuable people who resonate more truly with your mode and your message.
Right Now, Talk With Those People
Imagine it – you’ve just repelled a whole sector of people looking for cheap and acceptable and bland and safe… who’s left? Who are these people edging closer to your work with big smiles and feelings of the familiar? Who are these people approaching your art with connection and understanding? Who are these people who are thinking,
“Yes, yes… finally – this is perfect… this is awesome… I love it, I LOVE it – I want this. I want this right now.”
These are your perfect people – everyone else can take a flying leap. These are your perfect people who get you, get what you do, love it, love you, feel at home with your way and will support the shit out of everything you do.
They are real. They exist. They are out there. And they are waiting for you to find them.
Imagine them right now. Imagine them reacting ecstatically to your art.
Now, have a conversation with them. Yes, right now.
Yes… in your head. And write it down – this stuff is gold.
Stop arguing, just do it.
- Ask them what they love in art, what they hate
- ask them how much they’re willing to spend on art…
- ask them where they’ll put it
- ask them what your art means to them
- ask them how it makes them feel
- ask them where they spend their time online
- ask them where they hang out offline
- ask them what is most important to them
- ask them how they want to be contacted by you
- ask them how you can make them feel special and important.
Then tell them thank you. Tell them how grateful you are. Tell them how important this is to you. Tell them how glad you are that they took the time to speak with you.
Voices in Your Head?
Kind of – it is an imaginative exercise. But I guarantee you’ll get way more understanding about your right customers through this dialogue technique than you will trying to dredge up who they are from scratch.
This type of visualizing and dialoguing technique is perfect for the visually and artistically inclined. It’s allowing you to access wisdom and knowledge that you already possess about your collectors and what they want and need. This information is more easily accessed through imaginative role playing in your head than a left-brained bludgeoning to create a spread sheet or point form list of criteria.
Go try it. The mythical creatures exist. Go turn your unicorn into a living, breathing, perfect right person who is emotionally attached and committed to your art.