Where Are Your Collectors Hiding?

Ever feel like you’re playing hide-and-seek with people who might like to buy your artwork? You’re putting your work out there, you’re promoting yourself, but no one is biting? Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and figure out who it is exactly that you’re trying to reach with your art marketing efforts.

Fairly often, when I ask artists who they’re trying to reach, their answer is something like “everyone who likes art.” Friends, that’s too broad of a definition, which makes it too hard to do. Think about this: If you were selling mini-vans, you wouldn’t try to promote your vehicles to all the people who buy cars, right? You’d probably focus on the parents of young families. Or if you built a business fixing Mac computers, you’d focus on promoting your business to Mac owners, not all computer owners. No matter what it is you’re offering, only a small subset of “everyone” will be interested, so you’ve got to identify them clearly so you can go after them. Even if you’re an artist.

So let’s try to identify some of the basic characteristics of your ideal collector with three essential questions:

  1. Does your artwork appeal more to women, or more to men, or to both equally?
  2. Is there something about your work that makes it especially appealing to a younger audience, or to an older audience, or is age not a factor?
  3. Can just about anyone afford your work, or would a person need to earn a fairly healthy income in order to afford your art?

Once you’ve got these three qualities nailed down, you can probably narrow the field even more by thinking about qualities related to your style and favorite subject matter, such as:

  • Is your artwork best suited to environments that are traditional, contemporary, or whimsical?
  • Does your favorite subject relate to a common hobby or interest (think pets, ecology, or travel)?

Okay, you’re starting to paint a pretty detailed picture of the people who are most likely to be interested in your work. So now let’s think about where to find those people, be it locally, regionally, or nationally:

  • Where are they most likely to live and/or travel?
  • What do they probably like to do in their free time?
  • Are they using social media? If so, which social media platform do they use? 
  • Are there online groups or forums where they might be inclined to go to connect with other like-minded people?
  • What publications do they read?
  • What organizations do they belong to?

I honestly do appreciate how challenging this task can be, but give it a try. The more you can narrow down your target audience from “everyone” to a specific subset, the more likely you will be to find them “hiding” in plain view. With your collectors in sight, you can be very strategic with your promotional actions.

Want to give it a whirl? Use the comment box to tell me about your art so we can work it out together. Let’s connect!

P.S. I’ve got a NEW complimentary gift for everyone who signs up for my FREE weekly e-newsletter loaded with great art marketing tips and techniques: a PDF download called 5 (Almost) Free Ways to Promote Your Art. Click on the blue triangle above to subscribe today!


  • Hey Graham, looks like you found a way to subscribe. Yay! Thank you for being part of this community! Jennifer


  • Where is the blue triangle???

    Graham Flatt

  • Interesting and rapid synopsis that most of do not consider. Many take a wallpaper , shotgun approach and precious fee are targeted in their efforts.

    Looking forward to the opportunity to refocus my sights and energies. Thank you!!

    Graham Flatt

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