Can Copywriting Principles Work for Visual Artists?

image by Clarita

image by Clarita

Recently I received an email from a subscriber who had just downloaded my Creative Rebel Guide to Writing a Client-Attracting About Page and thought it was “just fantastic!,” to use her words.

But there was a small problem.

She mentioned that as a visual artist and not a service provider, the suggestions in the guide wouldn’t really work for her, because, as she said, “I don’t offer solutions to peoples’ challenges or other services like design or advice.” 

Here’s the thing, though.

Anyone selling anything, online or elsewhere, can benefit from using tried-and-true copywriting and marketing principles to win clients and buyers, and make sales.  It all starts with getting clear on who your ideal buyers are – whether they are collectors, clients, customers or whatever you call them in your world based on what it is you provide – and what they want.

Because I know there are other visual artists out there who struggle with how to apply copywriting and marketing principles in their business, I thought I would share my response to this lovely reader so those of you in the same position can start thinking of how you can do the same:

Thanks for getting in touch, and thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it!

Let me just say I still think you could adapt the advice in the Creative Rebel Guide to Writing a Client-Attracting About Page to your work as a fine artist.  Once you get clear on why your clients buy art from you, you can tap into that to write your About page. [And any other copy on your website.]

Mainly, the advice in the guide is about focusing on your clients and customers in your website copy and on what they are seeking, then positioning yourself as someone who can deliver that to them. You are delivering the *experience* of art to them, and they will have all kinds of motivations for buying art from you, so the key is to figure out what those motivations are and tap into that in your website copy.

So although you create fine art, that IS the solution some people are seeking — they want to experience beauty, or create a beautiful home – and fine art is part of that – or maybe they collect art because it makes them feel “special.”  There can be many motivations for why people buy your work, and if you can home in on what those reasons are, you can write your About page, or any other copy on your website, to focus on those needs and emotional drivers in a way that really connects with your ideal clients and customers.

I hope this makes sense, and I wish you the very best of luck!

Cheers,

Kimberly

So, for you fine artists and other visual artists out there, what are your thoughts? What has your experience been with using copywriting and/or marketing principles to attract clients or collectors and sell your work? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Let me know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. This might be a retarded question, but if I am already subscribed how do I get access to your CREATIVE REBEL GUIDE TO WRITING A CLIENT-ATTRACTING ABOUT PAGE ???????

    • Hi Merry,

      You would have gotten a link to download it right after you subscribed. If you go back and find that email, the link will be in there. If you have any trouble, email me and I’ll make sure you get a copy!

      Cheers,
      Kimberly

  2. I am a visual artist and on my “about” page I talk more about my client than myself. Here is an excerpt:
    “I get that you are a busy professional with a demanding career, with a growing family or maybe a new empty nest, college tuition, vacationsscheduled and investment programs that you are financing. I also know that your home is your haven. A place where at the end of the day you put your feet up, grab a glass of wine and relax. You want this space to speak to your personal aesthetics and don’t want the typical home art décor that most designers suggest or provide. You want your art to be as unique as you and your home are but…you don’t want to spend thousands for that statement art piece. This is where I come in. I am Jane Robinson and my paintings are original AND affordable. By purchasing directly from my studio you avoid the 50% gallery commission. I believe that every person should be able to create interiors that luxurious yet within your means. Your home’s artwork is the signature of your style aesthetic. My work has been sold globally, won awards and can be found in hundreds of private homes, corporations, businesses, hotels and institutions of higher learning. My style works well in Classic Contemporary to French Modern. My own retreat is a log home with modern, eclectic furnishings and design. I believe that you should surround yourself with items you love and not be restrained by a specific design style. I also believe that you can achieve this without breaking the bank. For these reasons I have created work that makes a statement AND you won’t need to sell your first-born child. I get it, that sometimes buying artwork online can feel risky so I offer a no-risk guarantee. Try any piece in your home for one week and if it doesn’t work the way you envisioned it, return it for a full refund… no questions asked. “

    • Hi Jane,

      I like what you’ve done here. So many creatives aren’t focusing on their clients and customers enough in their web copy, but you’ve done a good job here of making it about the client/customer — way to go! 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.

    • I am beginning to understand the idea of creating my “ideal customer” or who I want to sell to. It will be to this person/type of persons that I will focus my communication/marketing message to! Light bulb goes on so bright! ; )

    • Hi Jane,
      I am struggling now to write my About page! I wanted to tell you what a great job you did in addressing a specific client and I hope you get many commissions and other sales from this!

    • Yeah, this is great, Jane. I especially love how you address your art collector’s fears with a guarantee. Perfect!

  3. Hello Kimberly, this is a great post and I love your response. My question is what if your ideal audience doesn’t exist? What do you do then?

    • Kimberly says:

      Hi Melissa,

      Good to hear from you, thanks for stopping by to comment!

      I’m not 100% clear on your question — do you mean you created an ideal client profile and none of the people in your current audience fit that profile? (I actually dislike the term “profile,” but you know what I mean)

      I’d have to know more about who you’ve determined your ideal audience is to be able to answer your question. 🙂

      • I think what she might have meant is that she doesn’t know who her ideal audience is. If that’s not what she meant, sorry, but that’s the problem I’m having now myself.
        I generally paint landscapes, tree portraits, and some surreal and just whatever interests me enough to paint. I don’t know who my ideal client is, so knowing where to put my art so it’ll be seen and bought is hit or miss and not fun. I tried creating an ideal client profile and got stumped, so I walked away from it and started painting instead. I’m so frustrated with my recent lack of sales and I don’t know if I’m painting the wrong stuff, or it’s the right stuff but I’m not effectively selling it with good copy, or not putting it in front of the right people because I don’t know who the right people are. I don’t know wtf I’m doing, right or wrong!
        I just wanna paaaaaaaaiiiinnnnnt!!! Ugh! This other crap is too hard and complicated and I just want to make art and get paid for it, not worry about storytelling or branding or target marketing and omg I’m having a temper tantrum. lol Sorry.
        Love your blog and your way with words. Any help or insight you can give would be much appreciated.

        • Kimberly says:

          Hi Jenn,

          Thanks for your comment.

          Finding who your ideal audience is can take lots of time. I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but that was certainly my experience. And it’s something you will hone in on and reiterate over time as you make more sales and get feedback from the folks who buy your work. Do you keep a document with feedback from people who buy your work? I keep a Word doc with info from people I’ve worked with, people who email me, and even blog comments — it’s all good research into my ideal clients and their challenges.

          In fact, because I know people have such a hard time figuring out who their ideal audience/clients/collectors are, I’ve been putting together some info for a free email course on the topic I plan to create over the next couple of months. If you’re on my email list, I’ll be sending out word about it when it’s ready. Believe me, you are one of many folks who are frustrated with figuring out this exact dilemma! 🙂

          I feel your pain about just wanting to paint and not have to do the other stuff. I would LOVE to just write, and not have to market, or do promo & outreach, or pitch myself to clients, or write up proposals, or keep up with my analytics, etc., etc., etc. But those are the things that keep my business running, and I most emphatically DO NOT want to go back to work for “the man,” so I do it, because I know I have to. And when all those things are working to get me clients and new business, I even find it — wait for it F-U-N. It’s true! I wish the same for you. 🙂

  4. I’m a visual artist too, and I think copywriting helps, especially storytelling. But the way the advice is often directed at coaches, we need to twist and turn it a bit to make it fit.

    • Kimberly says:

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Linda!

      I agree with you — much copywriting and marketing advice online is geared to coaches and those in similar fields. I write copy for all kinds of creatives: artists, photographers, jewelry artisans, etc., but also for coaches, health professionals, and others in the service professions, and the approach is different for artists than it is for service providers. That said, one of the reasons I wrote this blog article is to show where there is some overlap, as in the case of solid principles. 🙂

  5. Hi Kimberly, thank you for your great advice.

    I’m half way through the HTSYAO course by Cory Huff and was directed to your blog. I signed up immediately as I love how you write and your advice is brilliant.

    Now to put it into practise 😉

    • Hi Laura,

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind words. 🙂

      I hope you get tons of value out of the blog & newsletter!

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