Marketing Art Through the Internet

When I closed my physical gallery in 2008, it was with great trepidation that I made the decision to continue marketing art on the internet through a virtual gallery on Ruby Lane. Art is such a personal decision; I was concerned that viewing an image on a computer screen would not be sufficient to move potential collectors to purchase. What I have experienced has been contrary to my fears.

In my physical gallery, it was necessary to hold events and advertise in order to give exposure for my gallery artists. The expense of these events ordinarily exceeded any return that I received from the sale of the art and when you include the overhead expenses of rent, insurance, etc., this was not a good business model.

Unwilling to abandon my goal or my artists, I took the plunge into “cyber world”. Fortunately, I found Ruby Lane as well. An online mall is like a co-op that gives the advantage of spreading your costs and resources across a group of like-minded people so that it is less expensive for each business individually. Because of the lack of physicality, the internet is well-suited for this type of endeavour. Ruby Lane is run like a well-oiled machine. It is like having an experienced back office, a marketing/advertising department, an idea generator, a technology expert for a fraction of the cost of bringing together your own team or attempting to do this all yourself.

The reality of working through the internet is that now, rather than the 30-50 people that I could reach through a show once every 3-4 months, I am reaching and selling art to collectors in California, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington in the U. S. and Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia. Rather than spending $1,000.00 per month on advertising, I am spending less than $100.00. I can contribute to Ruby Lane’s blog regularly and they will compensate me. My artists are having their work viewed by visitors from the United States, Canada, Hungary, Ukraine, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Indonesia. Through working with local framers and galleries in each area where I have sold art, I am keeping as much business as possible in each community. The relationships I am building with each of these framers and galleries in invaluable.

The current economic and business climate is tenuous and in a time of great change. My experience of working in the investment industry for many years is that it is these times when there is also the greatest opportunity. Creativity and courage are the most valuable commodities now. Yes, we have high unemployment, political stalemate, a healthcare crisis and the list goes on and on. However, when in the past have we had a tool like the internet to connect to potential customers at such a reasonable cost? This is a time for entrepreneurs.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” - Albert Einstein

Val Romanow
Visit: Garry Street Gallery


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