Beginning today, metropolitan Phoenix will join other metro areas around the country by implementing a shelter-in-place order. As COVID-19 cases increase in Arizona, it seemed such an order was inevitable, but until the order actually came, our gallery was left in a strange limbo. Most of the other galleries on Main Street had already closed down, and there have been, of course, very few visitors out wandering around.
We’ve been open largely because it’s easier for me to work from my office at the gallery than it would be to work from home, and if I’m here, I’ve felt I might as well have the doors open. Our gallery director had the gallery open this last Saturday and had several visitors and a small sale. Traffic has been so light that social distancing has been easily maintained. We have been regularly sanitizing and disinfecting the gallery.
We’re now having our staff work from home on reduced (temporarily, I hope) hours. We’re focusing on social media posts, our e-newsletter, and follow-up with our existing customers.
We had a significant sale last Thursday, the result of a collector having watched our video gallery tour . We’re very grateful to our collectors who are continuing to make inquiries about art in the gallery and are making purchases, and our online outreach will continue ramping up.
We’re also gearing up to start layout of our upcoming Art Catalogue, which we’ll be expanding and redesigning. We expect the Catalogue to become even more important in our marketing efforts as our clients spend more time at home in the coming weeks.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is going to be to keep ourselves in front of our clients in the coming weeks. I’ve seen a number of comments on this blog and on social media from artists and galleries who are nervous about marketing during the current crisis. Those making the comments are concerned that marketing, and attempts to sell art during this period may be perceived negatively by customers.
I am not perceiving this to be the case at all. The feedback we’re getting from our clientele is overwhelmingly positive.
Make no mistake, we are all fighting for our livelihood right now – we can’t afford to sit back and hope for the best. More importantly, art has a calming and reassuring quality that the world needs more than ever. Even if your clients aren’t ready to buy something today, they will appreciate seeing what you are working on.
Keep your email newsletter going out
If you have an email list, keep sending out your email newsletter. If you’ve been lax about sending out your emails, now is the time to recommit. We’ve had a number of sales over the last week that were a direct result of our email newsletter. Even if you don’t generate sales right away, your newsletter is a great way to keep your art in front of your followers.
There’s no need to spend a lot of time talking about what’s going on in the world, or explaining why you are sending out the newsletter, just talk about your art and what inspired it. Keep your message upbeat and positive. Share a lot of images of your art.
Post your art to social media
According to reports, social media engagement is through the roof over the last several weeks. Even people who had sworn off social media are return to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other service to stay in touch with family and friends.
Consider creating a video
Video content is getting a lot of engagement for us. You can create your own videos to connect with followers. We created a video tour of the gallery. You could create a similar video tour of your studio, showing people where you create and what tools you employ in your craft.
I’ve seen artists offering live video classes for children on FaceBook Live. You could set up a camera to broadcast while you create.
Don’t worry about the quality of the video, or how natural you are on camera. Set up a camera and start shooting!
Share your story with the press
If all goes well, I’ll soon be sharing the results of our efforts to reach out to the press (stay tuned!) Send a quick email to local reporters or magazine writers with a brief account of how you are continuing to create art during the crisis, and how people are responding to your efforts. Include a photo of yourself at work.
Publications are looking for positive stories right now – give them one!
During times like this, it’s hard to stay focused and productive, when that’s really what is probably going to most help us make it through. Even though sales may slow during the crisis, building some excess inventory will help you prepare to expand your reach and sales once the crisis passes.
What are You Doing Now that We are Several Weeks into the Crisis?
What are you doing to keep your art in front of your collectors? Have you been able to successfully close a sale in the last couple of weeks? What other ideas do you have that might help artists market their work? Share your experiences and ideas in the comments below.