By Ryan Jones

Company branding, making sure customers have good image of you instead of a bad one, is an important element of craft marketing. Here’s a quick way to positively influence people’s attitude of your work: Make sure you have some items that are out of most customers’ price range. This does four things:

  1. It increases the perceived value of your work. A customer’s assessment of the quality of an item is determined by its price point. Most artists who have been around for several years discover that they actually sell more when they increase the price of an item. I recently spoke with an artist who said, “I’m a firm believer that if a product isn’t selling, double the price.”
  2. It gives collectors something to aspire to. If most of your customers are buying in the 50-to-100-dollar price range, make sure you have some items to catch their eye in the 150-to-200-dollar range. They may not be ready for it yet, but it gives them a compelling reason to come back.
  3. It establishes your reputation as a craftsperson. When you compare yourself to others who work in your medium, it’s easy to develop a negatively skewed view of your ability. But in the eyes of Jill Tourist or Joe Collector, you are a master. They expect to pay for a particular level of craftsmanship. Unjust as it may be, you appear to be a better artist when you have higher priced work.
  4. It establishes that your main asset is your craftsmanship. Your time is probably worth more than you give yourself credit for. If a piece takes you twice as long to create, what does it say when you price it five or ten times more instead of twice as much? It says that the worth of the piece is determined by your skill level. Some, maybe even most, will balk at the price. But imagine the satisfaction you will feel when the right person pays your full asking price, thrilled with the quality piece she’s getting.

If your craft marketing is strong and you continue to focus on the other key areas of product, administration and finances, your business will be successful, even in a down economy. The effort you expend is worth it. Because you’re reading this, you’re probably hard wired to be a craftsperson or a marketer of fine art. And nothing—and I mean nothing—beats doing what you love!

This is an excerpt from Perceived Value, in the June 2010 issue of The Crafts Report.