Connecting Emotionally with Your Customer

This post is an excerpt from The Arts Business Institute’s popular e-course “Marketing for Artists & Craftspeople.”


Making the Sale


Most artists are inspired to create art which is very meaningful to them and that they enjoy making. But that doesn’t mean that anyone will want to buy it. This then becomes a reality check.

Customers buy what interests them. If what they want to buy doesn’t coincide with what you are making, obviously sales will be lacking. The ideal situation is to love what you are making, with customers who are eager to buy from you. If that’s not the case, you must adapt and conform your product line to meet demand in order to increase sales.

Is it “selling out”?

Some artists feel they would be “selling out” by tailoring their line to what they think will sell rather than what inspires them and makes them happy. That is totally understandable. If you aren’t producing work that inspires you and makes you happy, there is little point in doing it. If you connect with an audience, they will expect consistency in your work, which means that you will need to keep using the same signature style. This can be frustrating.

How do artists resolve this?

  • Create more than one collection so that you can work in different styles
  • Schedule time in your studio where you can work on solely what inspires you, not what you make in your production line
  • Work on product development, blending in new ideas with your existing look

Why do products sell?

Customers purchase art for emotional reasons. Knowing this, artists and craftspeople should be very aware that their product line will sell best if they make an emotional connection with their potential customers.

Making an emotional connection can help you:

  • increase customer loyalty
  • get more repeat sales
  • charge more for your work



5 ways to make an emotional connection:


1. Tell your story. Skillfully create a compelling narrative about yourself and your work in a way that relates to how others feel and what they value.

2. Partner with a cause that is important to your customer. “Cause Marketing” is a great way to make a feel-good sale that might give your product priority over your competition. There is a section on this concept later in the course.

3. Use a photo of yourself on your website and in communications. It helps people feel that they know you, and helps you become recognizable to them.

4. Smart packaging. Your packaging tells a lot about your product. If you make a luxury item, how could you design your packaging to convey this? What images or information would you use for a spiritually-inspired object? A humorous one?

5. Talk about the benefits of your product in your marketing, and how they will make your customers feel.


Marketing for Artists & Craftspeople is a 133-page online course with comprehensive information about developing collections, pricing, building your brand, traditional and new ways of marketing. Chapters on Social Media, Networking Strategies, Getting Publicity, Working with Reps and much more. Self-evaluations, templates and six videos on many topics important for artists who want to launch or grow their small businesses. Find out more about this course here.


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  1. Terri Lloyd says:

    I’m going to argue a cautionary thought. Watch that “personal image marketing.” You don’t always have to have your personal photo on your material, unless you wish to resemble a car dealer or worse, a real estate agent. Your brand is not about you, you, you.

    Remember that there is a place where people expect to see a photo of you, on the “About XYZ” page of your website.

    • You do not always have to use your own photo, but it is extremely helpful in marketing. People buy from others they know, like and trust. Part of getting to know an artist is seeing their photo. We suggest this on hangtags, in press kits and other places.

  2. your headline caught my attention! this has always been a conundrum for me as an artist…altho i believe i am getting there! i personally can not produce art that does not emotionally touch me, i would just lose interest trying to create a “product line” (i’ve tried)…personally i’d rather have fewer sales. kudos for artists that can produce the same thing over and over and have high sales…that’s just not me tho, as i bore easily!

    and i agree fully about the photo…i hate when artists don’t have at least one photo of themselves on their website or blog…i can’t seem to connect with them if they don’t have one….even if i love their art!

  3. thank you for this outline, very straightforward.
    i take it as an ’emotional guide’, a balanced pathway to keep in mind once out there (outside the studio) and possibly another ‘tool’ to master and use. then finding that balance, how small or big or absent we want that picture of ourselves to be, in the studio or other setting. i tend to wanting to put out an image of a piece of my work first… but i agree, a personal photo does enable a person-to-person ’emotional’ connection and is worth honoring.

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