10 Dec 2010

How Does an Artist Develop a Niche?

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article was published on FineArtViews blog on December 2, 2010

How Does an Artist Develop a Niche?

by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article  is by Moshe Mikanovsky,Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  An emerging artist searching his way in the art world, he loves to share what he learns.  With over 20 years of technology experience, Moshe combines his technological background and his passion for the arts with the goal of “working his dream”.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

When I started my journey in the art world, not just as an art lover or observer, but actively trying to make it my business, I actually stumbled upon Art Licensing via licensing my artwork to a company who specializes in selling online artistic Ketubahs(Jewish prenuptial agreements, a tradition that started more than 2000 years ago). In the first year, I designed four Ketubahs for them, and as time went by, I added more to the collection.

One of the problems with being a licensed artist is that you have no control over who will buy your art, or who will see it. And one of the limitations in the Ketubahs market, is that usually people will buy one Ketubah in their lifetime – assuming they will stay married with their first choice of a spouse – and one Ketubah is bought for both married individuals. The market size, which used to be limited to only Jewish couples, is actually growing because now also mixed-religion couples, as well as non-Jewish couples and same-sex marriages, are adopting this beautiful tradition.

So I decided that I had to increase my market visibility, and not leave it to the hands of my licensee. That was before my conversion to the dark side (see my last post), and I focused my efforts using SEO, directed to the Ketubahs market. This was the niche I was aiming for. Today I want to share with you some of the things I did, which you might find useful and apply to your niche.

Indeed, identifying your niche is the first thing you should do. To help you identify your niche, don’t think only about what you are painting, sculpting or taking picture of, but also who will buy it. If you paint the romantic streets of Paris, your niche might be tourists who travel to Paris, or owners of French restaurants. These could be very distinct niches and you could decide to focus on one rather than the other.

So for me, trying to increase my Ketubahs sales, my niche was couples shopping for their wedding. Here are some of the things I did. Everywhere I mention “Ketubah” and “wedding” you can replace with your niche. See if it applies to your art as well:

1.      Blog about Ketubahs. Unlike other Ketubah bloggers, who usually write about what a Ketubah is, I preferred to focus on the art itself. I first wrote about my own Ketubah designs, but then started introducing unique Ketubahs from around the web, not necessarily of Ketubah artists (those whose focus in art is only on making Ketubahs) but of artists who created one or two Ketubahs. I keep finding some great designs all the time and it’s a great source for new posts.

2.      Follow wedding professionals on Twitter- coordinators, wedding bloggers, wedding officiants and rabbis. I made several connections this way and asked these professionals to mention my artwork to their clients, if they like it. Word of mouth can never hurt. Another very useful way to utilize Twitter is by searching for keywords. I have a constant saved search for the word “Ketubah”. This way I can find couples who are on the hunt for a Ketubah and I can contact them to check my designs.

3.      Created the Ketubah group on LinkedInand connected with other Ketubah designers. I was lucky that the group name “Ketubah” was not taken, and I could create it. I approached other Ketubah artists, and all other wedding professionals I contacted on Twitter, asking them to join me at the group. Initially this created a small community, but one of the challenges with it is that each of the Ketubah designers likes to stay for himself, rather than join a community.

4.      Places paid ads on wedding blogs. I have tried this in few places, but didn’t see much traffic coming through, so I decided not to continue that route. Might be a mistake, but I can always start doing it again.

5.      Exchanged links with other wedding providers. There are tons of different one-man-or-woman businesses related to weddings. From decorators, party favors and cake makers, to photographers, fashion designers and specialty items providers. Make the connections, exchange links or put a good word about them and they will return the favor.

6.      Created special promotions for my Ketubah buyers. One of the challenges facing artists that license their artwork is that they do not know who their clients are. Most licensees will not share this information with the artist. In order to convert my Ketubah buyers to become my art buyers (after all, if they find my art appealing and beautiful enough for this special, most important event of their life, they might like my other art just as well), I have to find who they are. So I created a special lifetime promotion to incite them to approach me, and give them lifetime discount on my art. I then published it on my blog, social media and newsletter, but so far didn’t attract anyone. I am not giving up on this just yet.

So, did I do everything I could to penetrate my niche? Probably not. But did this efforts helped? Definite yes. I have seen steady increase in my Ketubah designs sales, and regular increase in people finding my art and Ketubah artwork via search engines results, searching for Ketubahs, artistic Ketubahs, Ketubah artists and similar keywords.

Can you do it too? Of course, and probably even better than I did. What other ways did you use to penetrate your niche market?


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One Response to “How Does an Artist Develop a Niche?”

  1. [...] is the purpose of your artwork. Is it to make someone happy? To illustrate an important document (such as in my Ketubah niche)? Or is it best suitable to set a dramatic and expensive tone to the executive offices of a Fortune [...]


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