Last year after getting booted out of Meta I ran a “name your own price” painting opportunity. Here’s how that worked out.
But first, this is a portrait of a beloved Staffordshire Terrier, Quincy. I created the painting on an 8×10 canvas panel. I started by sketching in the dog’s portrait using magenta paint because it was already on my palette. You can still see some hints of magenta around the form. The background was created by mixing cold wax and varied green mica powders, scraped onto the canvas with a palette knife. After that I laid stencils on the painting and scraped copper and pearly colored mica powders mixed with cold wax over the top of the stencils using a palette knife to produce a copper patina. Next I worked on the dog’s coloring. Black dogs can be challenging to paint, so instead of using black, white, and gray, I used various blues to create his darks and highlights. It’s still obvious he is a black and white dog, but black paint was only used in miniscule amounts in the eyes and for other dark details.
While this painting is a comminssion and is not for sale, I plan to work in this style a lot going forward. You can also contact me to see about scheduling a commissioned painting. Check my work out at www.kelliesnider.com.
Name Your Own Price Offer
Last October I did a Name Your Own Price deal. My goal was to work on building my email list to provide insurance against the vagaries of social media policing. If you’re new here, that means I got kicked out of both Facebook and Instagram last fall for no serious crimes aside from Monty Python quotes and cat videos. Oh, and once joking that I was going to poke my friend in the eye. We don’t own our social media accounts so Meta, Twitter, TikTok, and all the gang can kick us off whenever they want for whatever reasons they want. It won’t always have to do with their community standards. From what I can tell it mostly boils down to AI being unable to decipher social cues and having an incomplete understanding of 1970s British comedies.
The deal I presented consisted of letting people offer me any amount of money for a small painting. They could choose from my existing works or I would create a unique commission for them. I let them know that these would normally be $200 at full price. I assured them that I was completely fine with painting something for them for shipping costs.
The catch? They needed to sign up for my email list. That’s it. They were free to unsubscribe at any time, as is the law, as well as just plain old good manners.
Within a few days 31 new people had signed up for my list and the Name Your Own Price thing. Since I had just under 50 subscribers at that time, that was a 60% increase in email followers. Not too shabby, especially in the 2 months leading up to Christmas. Having a list of 80 followers doesn’t sound like many if you only listen to the art marketing gurus who promise a million followers in a month. The difference is that my data is true. Ba DUM pum. I’m a real live artist trying to make more money and feeling quite vulnerable because Meta wields too much control over my career.
On the first day, one person paid my full, normal price for a painting. Six other people paid between $0 and $150, for a total of about $500. More than I expected, to be honest. All told, I produced the paintings for roughly $80 bucks each.
I didn’t hear from the rest of the new subscribers, so I sent out an email to them letting them know that the deal was still on, and that I honest-to-gosh would paint a painting for whatever price they offered. I got a couple more hits on that round. So, that brought my total number of paintings up to 9 and brought my cash total up to $650.
Keep in mind that my goal in this Name Your Own Price deal was not to make money. I was prepared to paint some freebies because what I wanted was email subscribers. So the $650 is gravy. Delicious, buttery, amazing, gravy.
Before NYOP Offer: 47 subscribers
After NYOP Offer: 79 subscribers (At least 30 of whom are very niche-specific)
I got a 60% increase in email subscribers. Again, I am a real live working artist who is starting from scratch because my accounts were disabled by Meta. If you are a ground floor artist, my results are a lot more relevant to you than the courses that promise a million new subscribers in a heartbeat. The latter just doesn’t happen except in those lottery-luck instances. And they don’t ever share how they did the math, do they?
I’m happy to say that I have not lost any of those subscribers in the intervening 3 months. While it’s early, this suggests to me that by specifically targeting people who want my work by saying they could have it for any price they wanted to pay, I was able to get sticky subscribers. It sounds obvious, but getting the cold, hard data points a bright red arrow at the kinds of things we should be trying.
Lesson One: Find out who your niche collectors are by offering some of your artwork at a great price and see who grabs it. Those people are your niche. They’re your tribe. They’re who you’re selling to. You don’t need 100,000 randos off social media. You need 80 followers who have already expressed a specific interest in owning your work. BOOM.
Lesson Two: The old Funnel routing. Offer something valuable at a price you can afford to offer it for in exchange for subscriptions. While I can’t afford to paint free paintings all year, I will definitely try this NYOP deal again. I was able to pull in a little money, and gain some new followers. I think this outcome will look different from when I offer something digital or a print or something of lesser uniqueness and monetary value. I will try that out and let you know.
Lesson Three: Make sure your primary goal was met in each campaign, but also look for bonus outcomes. Maybe you won’t meet your primary goal in each campaign, but you can refocus on the other outcomes.
I set a goal of building my email list, and accomplished that. But I also made a little money, and I zeroed in on my target audience a little better. BAM! I didn’t anticipate getting so much clarity on the niche issue.
Every experiment is an opportunity!
Onward and Upward!