Plein Air Podcast 250: Exclusive Dreamliners Q&A With Eric Rhoads

In this episode, Eric Rhoads opened the floor to our friends in the Dreamliners* group for a special Plein Air Podcast that focuses on art marketing and the eternal question, “How do you sell your art?”

Listen as Eric shares his answers on:
– How much of your gross income you should spend on marketing
– The American art market versus the European market
– How artists and galleries can protect themselves during a recession
– The benefits (and precautions) of joining a mastermind group
– How to use social media to your advantage

*The Dreamliners group was started by fans of Eric’s Art School Live program in 2020 and has grown to 3,700 members. As a listener of the Plein Air Podcast, you’re welcome to join the “Dreamlineartists” group on Facebook.

Listen to this special episode of the Plein Air Podcast:


Related Links:
– Plein Air Magazine:
– Fall Color Week:
– European Fine Art Trip:
– Pastel Live:
– Submit Art Marketing Questions:

The Plein Air Podcast has been named the #1 Painting Podcast by FeedSpot for two years in a row. New in 2023: FeedSpot has named Eric’s Art Marketing Minute Podcast as one of the Top 25 Art Business and Marketing Blogs on the web.

FULL TRANSCRIPT of this Plein Air Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Plein Air Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.

Eric Rhoads:
This is episode number 250. Drumroll please. And to celebrate this 200 and 50th episode, I thought I’d do something a little bit different today. What better than helping you make more money as an artist helping you sell more, helping you market more and so even though we typically do the art marketing podcast by itself at the end of the plein air podcast today, we’re going to make an all art Marketing podcast. And we’re going to answer your questions and you’re going to hear live questions from live people will tell you more about that in a minute. Anyway, welcome back to the plein air podcast.

This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast, we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher, and painter, Eric Rhoads.

Eric Rhoads 0:00
Welcome to the plein air podcast, everybody. Man. I have not done the podcast for a little while. Normally I do it every single week. This is episode number 250. Let me tell you where I’ve been since we did it last first off. I was at the plein air convention plein air convention has been a wild ride. We had our 10 year birthday celebration at our guest Jane Seymour. We did lots of prizes. I had my family there on stage with me. We gave away a $15,000 grand prize and the cover of plein air magazine for the plein air salon art competition. Kimball Geisner was our winner. We painted outdoors every day. We had of course, indoor sessions, but everybody painted throughout beautiful Colorado, it was spectacular. And it’s really fun. When you have a lot of people painting together, we happen to have several 100 Not exactly sure the number but I want to say maybe 800 ish painting together at the plein air convention. So it was really a lot of fun. And we painted all around Colorado in some incredibly beautiful spots. We had faculty members who wore the pink hats and would be there to help people so that they could get you know, you just flagged down a faculty member and they give you help. And that’s a lot of fun. So we painted along rivers and mountains in a lot of different places. And then of course, we had onstage teaching every day at instructors. And we had our big birthday bash celebration party at the end of it all. So it was a whole lot of fun. And then from there, I I left, went back home, and then got a couple things together and waited for my son to leave for New Zealand, which he was doing an internship in New Zealand. So we spent a couple of days back in Austin got him off to New Zealand. And then we drove to upstate New York to the Adirondacks and I’m in my Adirondack studio right now. And then we had as soon as I got here we had my Adirondack event, we had 103 people, and we just it’s a retreat. We painted together every day in the Adirondacks. So it’s kind of like Colorado, you know, similar scenery. Absolutely stunningly beautiful painting along rivers and so on. And we just had a really terrific time we saw some old friends. And that was really fun too. So anyway, since then, quite frankly, I haven’t done a whole lot of painting. I’d like to be doing more I did go out. I wish I had some videos to show you. I posted it on Instagram. I went out by my I have a little wooden electric painting boat, and I went out to paint the pagoda on our lake which was built by Frederick Vanderbilt. And it’s a true Japanese pagoda and we call it the tea house. And unfortunately there were a lot of ski boats going by and so I was just rocking like this. And so my lines were all wonky and did not really have any opportunity to do a decent painting from all of that, but it kept me loose, that’s for sure. Anyway, today is an interesting day because we’re going to be doing art marketing questions and the art marketing questions come I’m from the dream lenders group, which is kind of a group of people who who were founded during COVID. Because they liked our daily streamline broadcast, which we’re still doing on YouTube. Anyway, they’re going to be answering questions in just a minute. I want to thank everyone for making us number one podcast two years in a row on feed spot. That’s always kind of nice. It’s uh, you know, it’s just nice to be recognized. Right? What can I say? We have a couple of things coming up. I will tell you about real quickly, before we get going. First off, Fall color week is my next artists retreat. It’s September 29. For a week, and it’s the last year we’re doing it in the Adirondacks. We did it here once before we typically last year we were in Maine, we’ve been in New Hampshire, we’ve been in Canada, we’ve been all over the place. Next year, we’re going someplace completely different. But this is our last year. And the color of the Adirondacks is spectacular. And we have last I checked exactly 22 seats left, which is pretty low number for this time, because usually people book a lot later. But anyway, things are happening faster. So you want to do that. The next thing I want to tell you about is I’ve taken a group of people to Europe to we’re going to be going to Stockholm, and then to Madrid. This is my fine art trip. And we do a lot of behind the scenes things. We go to museums, but oftentimes behind the scenes, we go to artists studios, and this is more of a collector trip. It’s not a painting trip, but we have a lot of painters who go and I always take my paints and I always squeeze some painting time in and I’m not sure yet but I’m thinking about doing an advanced trip a couple days before up to Mora, which is where Anders Zorn was born. And we’re, we’re not sure about that yet. I’ve got to try to work that out. But if you have interest go to And last but not least, the big enchilada coming up in August on the 17th. We have essentials day for pastel live on the 17th. And then the 18th 19th. We have a pastel live, pastel live has about 25, top tier instructors in pastel, you get to learn everything there is to learn about pastel pastel, including, you know a lot of different styles approaches and so on, you know, some are loose, some are tight, everybody’s got a different thing. We cover a lot of different topics and portraiture and landscape and everything else. So that is coming up pastel live, and you want to make sure that you check that out. And one of the things I’d like to say, I’ve been an oil painter, most of my oil painting time, which is about 22 years, and not full time certainly. And I started painting in pastel because I thought I should because we have Pastel Live. And I found a few things out about it that I never really understood. First off. Pastel is really really convenient. So sometimes when I don’t want to put up my oils, if I don’t have my paints out, you know, I can just grab pastel sticks, whether it’s pastel painting, or I mean plein air painting or studio painting. The other thing I’ve learned is that I can get unbelievably brilliant color from pastel painting. But the thing that I think was the most amazing thing for me is when I started attending pastel live watercolor live some of the other events that we do. It started making my oil painting better. But first off, I got reinvigorated I got excited again, because I was learning new things. But also I would take techniques that I learned on pesto live and think about how can I apply that to oil and things that I had never tried before and it works pretty effectively. So anyway, our third annual Pastel live is the largest pastel event in the world. It’s huge. We have a worldwide audience. We have people from all over the world teaching and people from all over the world attending. We actually have people who attend live from places like Hong Kong and New Zealand and Australia will always have a lot of people from Australia. And they’re up in the middle of the night watching which is pretty cool. But some of them watch only the replays but when you’re on live, you get the benefit because on live you can win prizes you get. You have the interaction with other people. And so that’s always pretty cool. So that is coming up. That’s Pastel live. You can learn more about that, of course, at And most importantly I want to talk to you about today you know 250 episodes of the plein air podcast. I started the podcast 250 episodes ago because I really my my whole goal in life is to teach people painting and to teach people plein air painting. Plein Air painting changed my life. I started doing it I don’t know what age I was, but the kids were just born or right about to be born and my wife said get the smell of the paint out of the house, I had to go outdoors and I fell in love with painting outdoors. I didn’t know there was much going on. There wasn’t much going on, you really couldn’t learn much about it. There weren’t very many events, maybe two events, three events tops. Today, there are two 300 events. We of course started plein air magazine started plein air convention started these retreats and we have a whole bunch of training videos and other things that we do. And it’s just been very satisfying to watch the explosion of plein air. And the plein air podcast. I don’t know the numbers, but I heard numbers like 1.5 million downloads. You know, that’s a lot of people downloading a lot. It doesn’t mean that many people listening all the time. But we have I looked one time at the stats probably two or three years ago, and we had 90 Different countries that were listening. And so what seems to be happening, and I certainly don’t want to take any credit for this. But what seems to be happening is the plein air movement is really spreading throughout the world. And that’s a beautiful thing. There are events that started out in Europe that didn’t exist 10 years ago, there are events starting out, in a lot of different countries, people are picking up everywhere. And we’re one big family and it’s really wonderful, you know, people will show up at the plein air convention and they’ll say, hey, you know, I’m from Russia, or I’m from Ukraine, or I’m from England, or I’m from France, or, you know, I mean, everywhere in the world. And then on the daily broadcast, you know, we’re getting people from all over the world, it’s really satisfying to see this whole world of art come together. So I’d like to select to personally say thank you, thank you, if you’re somebody who’s been a regular listener, thank you for tuning in on a regular basis. You know, it really means a lot to me. You know, these things are a whole lot of work for a lot of people involved. And it’s just really wonderful to be able to do something and see the stats and see that people are listening and most importantly, that people are beginning plein air painting, and also learning a lot about plein air painting so they can take it to the next level. I started a few years ago, I started adding art marketing to the end of the podcast because I want to help people because I always get questions about that. And so we always add it to the end. And today as a special 250 anniversary. We are doing art marketing for the whole podcast. And what we did is we went to the Dreamliners group, Dreamliners group started when I started art school alive. And they started talking every day and kind of became this club. And, you know, it was just a few members here and there. Now they’re up to about 3700 members. And you can join the Dreamliners group on Facebook at dreamline artists, I have nothing to do with it. I don’t control it. They’re their own thing. They have their own hierarchy. And, you know, I couldn’t control it if I wanted to. Not that I want to. And today though what I did is I contacted them and I said hey, I’d like to get everybody on a broadcast and asked me our marketing questions and I’ll give you depth. You know, in the art marketing minute I kind of don’t give as much depth as I’d like to because I want to keep it moving. But we went into depth with the Dreamline artists on Facebook for the art marketing segment for this thing. So let’s get started. I hope you enjoy it.

Announcer 13:31
This is the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the number one Amazon bestseller Make More Money Selling Your Art – proven techniques to turn your passion into profit.

Speaker 3 13:44
I’m Pat White. I’m from Louisiana. And I’m a been a professional Realtor for 40 years and been painting for about 13 years. So I have a lot of experience in marketing. So as an artist, what percent of our gross income should be spent on marketing for budgeting purposes?

Eric Rhoads 14:05
Well, I think that’s a loaded question. Everybody’s going to be a little bit different. Everybody has to spend marketing money based on the timing of their marketing. Right so let me give you an example of that Pat, the if you’re a brand new artist, you have no brand whatsoever people don’t know who you are people need to discover you. You’re going to spend a higher level of money on your marketing to build yourself up at that time. And that will probably last for potentially a few years because it takes a few years to really properly brand yourself as an artist. Now it depends on where you’re branding yourself to so branding yourself in a what Where did you say you live?

Unknown Speaker 14:55
Baton Rouge Louisiana

Eric Rhoads 14:57
Okay, so and Baton Rouge If the cost of marketing is going to be a lot different than the cost of marketing in, let’s say, San Antonio, or in New York City or something, so if you’re focusing on local marketing versus national marketing, etc, then it changes. So I believe that every artist should have at least a dual strategy, and probably a trio. And that would be a local marketing strategy. Local, meaning local and regional, and a national marketing strategy, meaning reaching the entire US if you’re in the US, or whatever your country is, and then potentially an international strategy, if that makes sense for you, it does for some artists, I was talking to TL Lawson, yesterday or the day before, and he’s doing a big show in London. And about last time, he did a show in London, about 50% of the audience bought from Europe, and the other 50% bought from the United States. And so that that would be an example of someone who has an international strategy. He has a Gallery in London, he probably has them in other places as well. But this gives you an opportunity then to grow in other markets, if you feel that need, most of us aren’t going to need that. Because we’re probably likely to sell all we need in either our local or national strategy. So if you’re brand new, then you’ve got a lot more marketing expense than you normally would. And there is there’s the there’s the issue of time versus money. So in the case of time versus money, a lot of us don’t have any money to market. But we have plenty of time. And so you can make up for a lot of the lack of money with time, by you know, even if you’re hand addressing envelopes by yourself and taking the time to do it, versus paying somebody to do that or paying a service to do that. It’s going to depend on you. When I started my business, I had no money. And I had a lot of time. And so I did everything imaginable for a number of years, probably for I went seven years without a paycheck. And when I first started my business, and so I think the idea is, you know, you’re contributing what you can give of yourself towards that marketing effort. You might not be able to afford advertising in the beginning, you might have to do you know, list building or other things, which we’ll probably talk about.

Speaker 4 17:42
Good to see you. I’m Linda Marie Crab. I’m always here in Italy. And yes, and my question is a lot of what’s in the book, and I love the book, but it doesn’t work. Over here overseas, for example, you just mentioned, I believe you said he’s an American artist who shows in London. But in Italy, the market is totally different from what it is in the States. And so I was wondering if, if you make a new addition, will you include more for an international artist or or perhaps, like a small chapter where there are other things because here it’s marketing is if you go up to an Italian and you ask if you can have their email address, if they’re watching over your shoulder while you’re painting, they’re going to be thinking that you have other motives. And so some of the things just don’t work in Europe. And so that’s my question.

Eric Rhoads 18:57
Well, I let me answer that in a couple of ways. Linda, Linda, Linda Marie, you want to be called Linda Linda Marie and Linda’s fine. Okay. So first off, Europe is different. And different areas of Europe are different. I’ve been told that the way I do marketing would never fly in England, for instance, because it’s just too abrupt to direct to in your face, so to speak. And yet, I remember a story about a friend of mine who is a world famous marketing guy, consultant. And he was told this, he said, you know, he wanted to do a series of seminars in England. And the his advisers said, No, you can’t do that. You can’t use the same kind of headlines, the same kind of copy the same approaches. And he said, Well, I don’t believe that for a minute. He said what works works And he says, I don’t think I need to change my tone, I don’t think I need to change anything. And while they battled on that, but he decided that he was going to do it the way he wanted to do it anyway. And he had a partner in England, and in that partner was the one saying, you know, it won’t work over here. Well, it, not only did it work is that he sold out everything, and he sold it out fast in his partner, living there, realize that what he’s being told about what you can and cannot do in England is only opinion. And so his partner now has built a thriving business using same same type of marketing that this fellow, Dan Kennedy used. And so I would caution, you know, we hear a lot, Linda, not just in Europe, but throughout the United States as well. We hear people say, Well, I could never do that, or I can’t do that, or people don’t want that, you know, you’ve got to be thinking about really understanding your audience. And sometimes we think we understand our audience, and we don’t understand it. So let me give you an example. I work with a guy who is a world class marketing consultant, who built a company from zero to $400 million in two years. And he did it using certain types of marketing. And he was told, you know, this, this type of marketing, you know, lots of frequent emails, that type of thing is just too much never worked, and that he would completely lose his list. And so he went ahead with us anyway. And he would send emails daily, sometimes two or three emails daily. And he lost about 2% of his list, and the rest never left him. And he gets massive amounts of response every day. So I think that there’s a rule in marketing that applies really, to everything, and that is to test everything, you know, maybe giving, asking somebody for an email, when you’re out, you know, painting and somebody talks to you maybe that that is something you’re not comfortable with. And if you’re not comfortable with Don’t, don’t do anything in marketing that you’re not comfortable with. But there may be a way and you want to test different ways, you know, maybe it’s having a little card that you hand out that’s got a QR code on it, or maybe there’s a QR code on your easel, or maybe there is some kind of an explanation that makes it in the eyes of the beholder, and an acceptable thing. So those things might might work, they might not work, you know, we all have to adapt. And I, you know, I’ve been doing marketing now in the United States and a little bit in some other countries from time to time I did marketing for I can’t mention the name, but a world famous Watch Company, out of a foreign country. And so what you have to do is you have to kind of figure it out, you have to try things you have to adapt, you have to, you know, things that are hot, one minute change. You know, two years, three years ago, Facebook, you could do almost anything on Facebook, you could do retargeting on Facebook, that would get to all the Apple phones, and then Apple changed it. And so now you can’t do retargeting on those phones unless those people have given you permission. So that killed a lot of businesses overnight, I hurt my own business. Thankfully, we knew it was coming. We had planned for it, we had some other things ready. So you’re gonna be experimental and just try things, you know. But be careful about what you tell yourself, you know, we give ourselves messages. And those messages might be true. They might be you know, if I were to ask my friends, I have an employee, a guy who works for me. And he’s, he’s always saying, you know, this won’t work. We shouldn’t do this. We do too much of that, you know, on and on, and on and on. And for him, he’s right. I would never respond to that I would never do this. And but the reality is what we’re doing is working. It’s, it’s working well. And we have tested the ways that he suggested because we obviously you know, somebody says, hey, try this. We’re going to try it. And you know, there are there are people who believe that long emails are necessary. There are other people who believe that short emails are necessary, or other people believe no emails are necessary. So we test it and we test it all the time. So if we’re sending out an email We have taken a certain number of people, and you know, maybe a small group of people, maybe it’s 1000 people. And we’ve sent half of that group one way and half of that group and other way. And then we track the response. And so and whatever wins, that’s what we end up doing. Sometimes it’s a short email, sometimes it’s a long one, sometimes it’s no email, sometimes it’s an image. So you just got to try everything related to the book. I’m working on another book. I don’t have any plans to update the current book, although I might at some point, I’ve updated at one time. And the next book, I’m not going to get too much detail about it yet, I would say it’s about a quarter of the way done. And it’s just kind of trying to reflect some new things that I’ve learned some new things that I’ve discovered. So we’ll talk about that when the time comes.

Speaker 5 26:03
It’s great to be here. Eric, I can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done. And if not for COVID, I never would have found this wonderful book. I love this book, it is filled with so much good information that I always keep it nearby. And if I could show you the highlights, it’s practically all highlighted for important information.

Eric Rhoads 26:29
Okay, I’m going to put you on the spot, show him to show me the highlights.

Speaker 5 26:34
Okay, so I got tired of highlighting every line. So I just put a yellow line down the entire because just putting a few here and there wasn’t cutting it, it was all important. So I’m Elaine Miller, and I’m an artist I’ve been painting for about eight years. And I’ve owned a series art gallery that I created seven years ago. And I am just so thrilled to have your guidance in all that we’re doing here. My question is, with all the news about the economy coming up, and I’m trying not to listen to news, but the economy goes in a roller coaster, and we might be coming into a recession. What is your advice for artists and galleries to protect themselves during a recession? What’s the best advice to give?

Eric Rhoads 27:30
Well, I first off, I think we’ve been in a recession for several months. And I think that, you know, the news media tries to control the narrative or somebody tries to control the narrative. We’ve been in a recession for a long time, we, you know, we’ve seen indicators of business changing substantially for at least six months, maybe maybe eight months. And so I think that, you know, we’re in it. And I talked to a lot of artists every day. And many of the artists that I talked to are feeling it. They’re not, they’re not seeing the level of sales. They’re worried or concerned. And I’ll just tell you a couple of stories. In the Great Depression. Now, the Great Depression was worse than any recession that we’ve seen in the United States, since although there’s been some that have been close. The Great Depression. I’m hearing feedback. Did somebody unmute? Okay, so in the Great Depression, there was a dominant cereal company, it was called post. They did post toasties. They did post them they did, you know, all kinds of things. You’ve heard of Marjorie Merriweather Post, it was her father that created that company became General Foods. And during the Great Depression, there was a startup company called Kellogg’s ke Double L O, double good, right. And Kellogg’s started advertising when the Depression started. And board of directors at post, one of the people that post cereals, went to the board of directors and said, Hey, there’s this young startup company, and they’re advertising a lot. And we’ve cut all of our advertising because of the depression because we’ve believed that, you know, we’re number one, and we’re going to always remain number one. And the board met and they said, Yeah, yeah, we’re gonna keep that. Keep that philosophy. Nobody’s going to beat us. They’re a gnat. They’re a little company just ignore them. Well, by the end of the Great Depression, and post cereals at the beginning of the Depression had a 90% market share. At the end of the Depression, Kellogg had a 75% market share, they beat post and And to this day, post is never recovered to this day. And the reason this is an important story is because a recession or a depression is the biggest opportunity to grow. Because you can grow with almost no noise. So what happened to Kellogg, they dominated at the time newspapers and radio, they were advertising heavily, I’m sure it was really hard for them to put that money out there. But it was working, they were they were winning. And nobody else was advertising, or very few others were advertising. So not only were they advertising, they were getting great rates, because the media was desperate. And so this is the message. And that is to always remember that if you’re gonna go down, you go down in flames. And what that basically means is you’ve got to try everything, you You never give up 50% At least 50% of your success or failure during any time is about your attitude, your mindset. And it’s also about your mindset in a tough economy. So here’s what happens. I was in the radio broadcasting business for a number of years. And I was always able to say, Oh, the recession is right around the corner, because we saw trends when everybody started canceling their radio advertising, and the TV stations, but it had not been publicly announced yet that it was a recession. When we see people cutting expenses, you know, there’s a problem. And so what’s the first thing everybody cuts? They cut advertising because they look at advertising is an unnecessary expense. When in reality advertising is the opposite of that. It’s it’s it’s a total important expense and something that they do all the other times, why would they do it here? So there’s a gallery. I think it’s okay to mention a name, but I you know, I better not, there’s a gallery that started up in 2008. And all of a sudden, they just appeared on the scene. And they had all these major artists, they appeared on the scene in 2008. And I was in the advertising business at the time, I have fine art connoisseur in plein air magazine. And I noticed that we were losing a lot of advertisers. But this advertiser was, instead of buying one page, they’re buying 5678 pages of advertising. And they were just blown everybody out of the water. And so a few years later, had dinner with his advertiser. And I said, Okay, what’s the deal here? You know, I think I know what was going on. But you tell me, because he had since sold to Gallery. He said, Well, I used to be a consultant for one of the major, major consulting firms. He said, I know that the best possible time to make a business is during a recession, because everybody’s gonna stop advertising. He said, All of my competitors, all the ones that I had targeted and cared about all of them had either reduce their advertising or stopped altogether. He said out of the, he said, I got 10% 10% of the customers from each my top 10 customer, top 10 competitors. He said, several of those galleries don’t exist today, because they they stopped advertising. He said that 10% of there’s always money that will buy those 10% will always buy said My goal was to get all those 10 percenters that are going to keep buying. And so a lot of galleries went away during that period of time in Santa Fe, I’m, I think I remember there were 210 galleries, something to that effect that went away. I may be wrong about that. And yet, the ones who survived are the ones who kept their face far forward. They were out there. They were doing the same disciplines that they were doing before. And in some cases, like this guy, they were doing more. So you know, what happens when, when you’re trying to cut expenses, you start looking at the things and saying, Oh, these are unnecessary? Well, I won’t do any shows for a while. I won’t do any gallery shows because that Wine and crackers and cheese are too expensive. Or I’m not going to do any advertising or, you know, whatever the the promotional, I’m not going to do any direct mail or any postcards or any books or you know, whatever they normally do. And so what happens is that you’re out of sight. You’re out of mind, people forget about you. There’s a concept in advertising called momentum. And it’s true with all things is once you build momentum, you know You’re really crushing it, you’re just driving through, but the minute you stop putting fuel in the airplane, the airplane starts to glide down, and then that airplane eventually crashes if it can’t land. And so the same is true for momentum. You know, when you’re building up your brand as an artist, or you’re building up your brand as a gallery, you know, there’s this, this theory, you know, that post serials took on, which is, well, we’re so big. And, you know, if we stop for a couple of years, it’s not gonna matter. I had an advertiser. Again, no names, I had an advertiser who called me up and said, You know, I’ve been advertising consistently for five or six years. I’m gonna stop and, and move my money somewhere else for for a while. And I said, Well, I think that’s mistake. And I know you’re gonna believe I’m just saying that because I don’t want to lose your business, which is also true. I said, but the problem is that I have you have built up momentum with my audience, and you’re deciding, you’re gonna go to a completely new audience that doesn’t know you, they don’t know you exist, there’s going to be some overlap, you know, two or 3%, probably, but they don’t know you. So you’re starting from scratch. So you’re gonna get out there, and you’re going to spend your money and you’re going to have to spend more money than normal? Because you are trying to get known? Oh, no, no, that’s not true. Everybody knows me now, everything’s gonna be fine. So person left, about three, four months, six months, tops later, person calls and says, my phone stopped ringing. I, you know, I stopped hearing from people I will I’m not top of mind anymore, I’m coming back. So what ended up happening is, the ads in the beginning of this other publication weren’t working yet. It takes time, you got to build up momentum. And not only that, but this person was out of sight, out of mind with the audience that that had been built up. As a result, the, you know, things go down pretty fast. So you want to, you always want to maintain a presence. I’ve always believed that. To some extent, any presence is better than no presents, you know, I do have a caveat to that. And that is, if you’re a full page advertiser, or you’re a double page advertiser, or what we call a double truck. And all of a sudden, you become a quarter page advertiser, you’re sending a signal to your market, that something’s wrong. And so if you’re a quarter page advertiser, and you maintain a little smaller ad, that we don’t sell them, but if you had a smaller ad, that it’s probably not as dramatic as moving from a three times the size four times the size. So you know, there are a lot of things like that. Do you have to keep in mind? I’m not sure I answered your question.

Speaker 5 38:06
Oh, you did. You did marketing, maintain the marketing, and don’t disappear. I mean, the serial story is proof that it works, it worked in the Depression. And so if we can all hold on to that idea, if we’re in a dip, then we put all of our money that we can and just stay invisible, and not drop out with the rest of them, because the people who are the survivors are the ones who are going to be successful. So thank you so much.

Eric Rhoads 38:35
You’re welcome. I had all my top executives fly in a few weeks ago. And I made a speech. Now we had lots of agenda items for two days, but I made a speech and I said, if anybody here is thinking about cutting expenses, just know I’m totally for cutting expenses if we need to. And it’s always better to get out ahead of it. But I am not cutting any advertising expenses. As a matter of fact, I intend to increase advertising. And you know, a lot of deer in the headlights looks and then I tell the story. So this is a really great time, it’s really a good time for an artist to launch. Now you have to have the the money to launch. Now you don’t have to do advertising, but if you’re gonna do things that cost you money, you know, you’re gonna have to have some of that and anybody who’s starting a business and you as artists or business and so on if your gallery. I mean, when you’re launching a business, you have to put money aside for marketing. Now. I didn’t answer the question about the percentage, and I will answer that. Because that was an early question. Like I said, standard is I didn’t say a standard but I said there is a is higher than normal level in the beginning. And then once you get to a point of maintenance, you probably don’t have to work as hard. I think it depends on the type of business to like, if you’re in the cosmetics business, cosmetics business has a 90% margin, glop is basically just mud with with dye in it, lipstick is just goop, right? It costs nothing to make the most expensive part about it is the packaging. And they will spend loads of money on advertising because they got 90% profit, they spend a lot of their money on advertising, they grow their business, they still got 50% profit, if you’re in a business where you have no profit, then you can’t spend a lot of money. So in in your business. You know, I don’t want to diminish this. But the reality is, at least as a as an artist, you know, it’s your time and some materials. And so you have a little bit of flexibility there you have what I would consider to be a high margin business. Now, if you have a gallery, you’re given away half of that to the gallery. So now you’re in a much lower margin business. So you have to, you have to decide. The other thing you can do is you can partner collaborate with others, whether it’s your gallery, there’s a thing called Co Op advertising, where a lot of people will go to their Gallery, and they’ll say, Listen, I want you to advertise me, and I’ll pay 50% of the ads, when you feature me as the primary artist, because now you’re buying an ad for half off. They’re they’re buying an ad for half off, you both get benefit, you’re getting benefit of them promoting you. Next question, Katie, what’s your question? I’ll tell us who you are.

Speaker 6 41:47
I’m Katie Smith, and I’m from Santa Maria, California. And my question is about mastermind groups. I’m wanting to start a mastermind group with some like minded people. And I’m wondering how you go about choosing who to be in a group with? And then also, as we get started, should we place a timeframe on our group from the get go and say we’re going to be together for one year or two years or five years? Is there some kind of a timeframe that should be established? Or do people come and go from mastermind groups and it’s, it stays as a body that changes its members over time.

Eric Rhoads 42:31
I’m gonna, I’m going to answer that first. And then I’m going to answer the other piece of it later. You know, you want to try it out. Before you, before you commit to anything, you, the key to a good mastermind group is who’s in the group and how participative they are. And if if you find somebody’s a dud, you got to move them out. So you’ve got to have somebody who’s the head of that mastermind group, who is going to be willing to make the tough decisions and call people out if they’re not participating. Now, let me just back up and say that if you don’t know what a mastermind group is, it’s a group of people who get together to share information so that you can grow. The idea is you have one mind, but if there are six of you together, you have a master mind, everybody’s working on your problem, and you’re working on their problem. I have been in and paid for to attend multiple masterminds in my life. And there, I wish I learned about him when I was 30. Because I would have done it then. I’m in one mastermind. Now, I spend a substantially high amount of money, the equivalent of a full time salary for one person to be at a mastermind. And not just an average person, but a pretty high level person. And the reason I do it is because I have 15 other people working on my business, and they can see things I can’t see. And they tell me the truth, even when my baby is ugly. So tell me your first part of your question again.

Speaker 6 44:16
And the first one was yes. How to choose who to be in a group with?

Eric Rhoads 44:21
Well, I think the first thing is to set a goal and the goal is to understand what it is you want, do I? What’s my mastermind about? Is it to sit around and chat have friends? Or is it to become a better painter? Or is it to become a better marketer or a better business person? You need to articulate that? And then you need to handpick the people that you think are the smartest people that you can get your hands on because the reality you’re starting a mastermind so that you can learn from the best and you’re going to have people who want to participate, and you’re going to have to be willing to, to in the nicest possible way, say, Sorry, Charlie. And, and that you don’t have to be rude to anybody, and maybe they don’t even know about it. But I think the idea is, you try to articulate so you, you pick up the phone, and you call one person. And you you call your, you know, one of your top targets. And you say, hey, it’s Katie, remember me? Hey, I’ve been observing that you’re doing this really, really? Well. That’s your superpower? From what I can tell, would you agree yes or no? Yes, I do this really? Well, this is my superpower. Would you say that I do that better or worse than you? And if they say, well, you’re probably doing better than I am in that say, Well, why don’t we put our heads together? Let’s meet, you know, once a quarter, once a month. And let’s just compare notes. And I’ll help you and you help me? And why don’t we see if we can get you? Would you agree to that? Sure. No charge, right. And then who, what, what areas of your life are missing that you need help with? Let’s say it’s about marketing. I need somebody really understands advertising? Oh, you know, I do too. Why don’t we call I understand that, you know, this person is really good at advertising. And so, you know, and I would start it out small, I keep it to two or three people in the beginning, see how it goes, you have to have a format, you have to follow a discipline, you’ve got to, you’ve got to have a leader who’s going to be like, we’re not going there. This is this is off topic. And I have a mastermind, actually, this week for two full days in Austin, Texas. And the guy who runs my mastermind that I pay a lot of money to, he keeps us on task, we’re not talking about that that’s not relevant. And he just kind of reigns us in all the time. Because it’s really easy to get off on stories and, and things that are not focused. And so you want to keep it focused. And if you really want to do it, you can also find a professional who can kind of guide your group, but that’s gonna cost you money. Did that answer your question?

Speaker 6 47:14
Yeah. What about that timeframe, though? Is it something that there should be a timeframe on like, when you’re in these mastermind groups? Are they open ended?

Eric Rhoads 47:24
I would say let’s try it for a year, and see how it goes. And if everybody participates, and everybody wants to keep going, and if somebody drops out, then you get to invite somebody else in, I wouldn’t necessarily make it a group thing. But you can. But the thing you got to be careful of is you’re going to have friends who want to get into the group that are not necessarily people are going to put in the work, everybody’s got to put in the work.

Speaker 3 47:53
And, and your book, great book, again, we talk a lot about social media, and this book was written a few years ago. So things have changed. But it seems like what you cover in the book is still relevant. But you just talk about that you use LinkedIn a lot, which I’ve never spent a lot of time on. And now things have changed with Instagram and Facebook to more real skinny. So you can you talk a little bit about social media and how we can use it to our advantage?

Eric Rhoads 48:18
Well, yes, I can. Thank you, Pat. The The first thing to understand about social media is that it’s ever changing, you know, Instagram and Facebook, and you know, they’re hot. Does anybody remember MySpace, they were hot. And then they were not. Things don’t seem to go in and out quite as quickly. But tick tock came on fast. And you know, there’s some talk about tick tock, being restricted in the future, etc. So things are always going to be changing. The other thing is there’s change constantly within those organizations. One minute, they’re focusing on reels, the next minute, they’re focusing on something else. The reason they’re all focusing on reels right now is because tick tock is eating their lunch in terms of time spent online. And so they want reels, they want things that are quick that people can flip through. And so they, they will reward you. And typically these organizations will tell you what they’re thinking, you know, or you can see clues, you know, like they say, Hey, we’re opening up a new thing called this or that, whenever they have a new thing, be the first to jump on it, because they will reward you if you’re putting content on their new thing, then they are going to make sure you’re getting pushed out there and you want them pushing you out there. The average if you’re on Facebook, the average number has gone down from 7% to 3%. And what that means is that let’s say you, you think you’re a big deal. Let’s say you have 5000 followers and you think every time I put something out on Facebook all 5000 of my followers see what I’m writing or posting? Not true. A year ago, two years ago, 7% only 7% See what you’re using, or what you’re posting. Today only 3% see it. So you’re talking to no one. And the only way that they’re, you’re gonna get to more people is if you do Boost Post advertising, which I don’t recommend, as I know that works. Secondly, is you have to figure out how to get Facebook to push you to other people. So when if Facebook sees high engagement, they are Instagram to, or LinkedIn really, if they see high engagement on your page, then they will reward you with more views because they want people engaging. So things like asking a question. You see, somebody asked a question about something and everybody chimes in with an answer. Facebook sees that Instagram sees that, and they’re like, oh, this person’s got a lot of people interacting, that means more people will interact if we push it out there. So now they’re going to show it to 7% instead, and it gets more action, maybe they’ll show it to another 5% and so on. You know, even the people who have 10 million followers aren’t getting out to more than a small percentage of their people. But if they get good interaction, so that’s why engaging content, things that are relevant to the audience. That’s why those things matter. Did that answer your question?

Speaker 3 51:45
Did my I guess the second part of that, again, with a social media? You said you don’t believe in boosting our our ad but don’t isn’t? If you’d run an ad, you can target your friends and friends of your friends. Right? And that would force everybody to see your your painting or whatever you’re putting out? Is that true?

Eric Rhoads 52:05
No. No, I didn’t say I didn’t believe in ADS. I said I don’t believe in boosting, there’s a difference. There are boosting ads, you get these little things to said, Do you want to boost this post? That doesn’t even necessarily mean it’s going to be boosted to your friend list, it might be boosted some to some group in Afghanistan or something it does doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to see it, it’s just that more people will see it, and not a lot of more people. And you got to ask yourself, can I spend an extra 20 bucks? You know, what is that worth? To me? Why am I doing it? If you cannot see a specific return on your Instagram, your Facebook, you know, this is a giant trap. You have all these people who believe, you know, they beat their chests because they have 100,000 followers, having 100,000 followers on Instagram is the equivalent of having 5000 followers on Facebook, it’s been proven time and time again, Instagram, it depends on what kind of following you have and where you’re being followed. But it is. It’s what we call vanity metric. And so if you’re focusing on vanity metric, I hired an agency to help me with with social media posting, and they, you know, they helped me a lot, they got a lot of stuff out there. And I was spending, I don’t know, some large amount of money every month. And I looked at it and I said, Why am I doing this because I’m not making any money from it. And I’m not trying to make money for you know, I don’t monetize my YouTube show. I don’t monetize any of my stuff like some people do. I don’t really want people drive in ads in my stuff i and it’s not worth the money to me. I’m doing it for completely different reasons. I’m doing it about my community, what I’m involved in, you know, plein air painting or realistic painting or otherwise. And so that’s what that’s more about for me, but I still to this day have not figured out how to make money with it. Now, I do know people who do, but those are not necessarily certainly things that are a right fit for me. So I’m not necessarily going down that road.

Speaker 7 54:18
Hi, my name is Gabriel Stockton. I live in sunny San Diego. And my question for you, Eric is from a video publishers point of view. What are the points that you’re looking for in artists for consideration of making videos?

Eric Rhoads 54:39
Well, everything in marketing boils down to one thing, Gabriel what does the audience want? The hardest question to answer in any marketing is how do I find out what my audience really wants? Because you can ask Ask them and sometimes they don’t know what they want. And and I don’t mean that to sound rude. But let me give you an example, I had a product that I developed back in 1902 or something. It was a product that had never been created before. It was a broadcast studio on wheels that looked like a giant radio, it was called a giant boombox. And I had a manufacturer lined up, and I had this great idea. And I did a survey of radio stations that I wanted to sell it to. And the survey came back that they didn’t want it. I even put a picture of it, would you buy this, if it was available for your radio station with your call letters on it? And they said they didn’t want it. And I was pretty discouraged for a minute. And I thought, Well, I’m gonna do it anyway. Because I think they once I show them, they will want it. And I build a $6 million business on that overnight, because of my gut instinct. Because my gut because I came out of that industry. My gut told me that I I believe that to be the right time. Now I can tell you 30 Other failure stories that were my gut was wrong. So to answer your question, when we do art instruction, courses, videos, master classes, whatever you want to call it, we have, we’re investing heavily in the artist, it’s not unusual for us to invest 20 3040 $50,000 in a single production, you know, we have Hollywood level, video team, we have soundstage, we have cameras that just the lenses alone are seven grand, the cameras are 20 3040 grand, that you know, this is really high quality stuff. You know, we spend a lot of days with them. There’s travel involved, and there’s a lot of other things. And you know what I say to my team, who helps me put this together? I say, Okay, would you be willing to take 30 $40,000 out of your pocket? And roll the dice on this artists that you’re recommending to me? And there’s usually a long pause. And oftentimes, the answer is no. And you know, and I want to be able to do anybody and everybody, I love artists, I like they’re my friends, I want to be able to help them out whenever I possibly can. But at the end of the day, if I do too many failures, I’m not helping anybody. I’m not I may be helping the artists, I get a lot of publicity. But at the end of the day, if they’re not making money, they’re not going to come back to me. And if, if I’m not making money, I’m not going to want to do anything else with them. I mean, maybe other things, but not that. So that’s the problem is, you know, you have you have a big investment. So we ask a lot of questions. When we’re developing, who we’re going to approach we ask questions like, what are their followings? Like, what, what is the interaction on their following? You know, how many people do they have on certain social media? How active? Are they promoting themselves? Are they good, you know, we have some artists who work with us and promote themselves. We have other artists who they never want to help. They don’t even want to tell anybody a website, because they consider it to be evil to promote themselves. So, you know, there’s a lot of different things at the end of the day. If, if we can’t make it successful for us in some way and successful for our artists, partners, it doesn’t make sense to do it. And we get surprises all the time, we have artists that we’ve done on a whim that we’ve invested in that we have done massive sales with, we have artists that we have that are massive, big names that we’ve done things with that, you know, didn’t do as well as we hoped they would. And you know, so it’s still very hard to understand what to do with it. But, you know, at the end of the day, we shoot 2025 30 of these a year. So do the math. I mean, you’re talking about a very big investment. And though we kind of look at it, like venture capital firm would look at companies, you know, they say, Well, you know, we’re going to invest in 10 companies, we hope that seven of them make some money and five of them make a lot of money and two of them are really really big hits. But that’s not always true. I mean, sometimes we have several that don’t do well and sometimes We have some that do well, the artists always win. We don’t always win. The artists always win. Max Ginsburg called me one day. And he said, Eric, you made me famous. And I said, why? What’s that all about? He says, Well, you know, you just talked about me so much. So I’m getting invited all over the world and, and I’m getting articles about me and other publications. And, you know, so when we get behind an artist, you know, we’re if if it makes sense, I mean, we’re not going to put something inappropriate and but if we have a watercolor artists, they’re gonna go into our watercolor newsletter, or if a pastel artists, our newsletter, or our general interest newsletter, or our magazines, and on our stages at the conventions, you know, those kinds of things we we try to be as proactive as possible to push these. That answer your question?

Unknown Speaker 1:00:59
that does, thank you so much.

Announcer 1:01:02
This has been the marketing minute with Eric Rhoads. You can learn more at

Eric Rhoads 1:01:11
Well, I hope you enjoyed that. If you have questions, email me, [email protected]. We’ll get them on the art Marketing podcast. And also on the plein air podcast. I have an art marketing blog. It’s It’s really easy. And you can go there and learn a lot about it. I have videos and things like that at paint But if you’re really interested and a career and selling your work, marketing, your work is obviously an important part of it. And I studied Marketing long before I ever got into art, I did marketing, I wasted a lot of years and a lot of dollars making a lot of stupid mistakes and learning things. And I’m still up on it, I still stay very, very current. I’m in marketing groups and a lot of other things. So anyway, hope you enjoyed it today. I want to remind you guys pastel live is coming up in August, make sure to sign up for that at pastel The next artist retreat I’ve got coming up is fall color week, which is a week of painting in September into the early October. And last but not least, we still have some seats left on our fine art trip to Stockholm and Madrid. We go deep, and we get contacts that you’ll never meet on your own. We do experiences that you’ll never be able to do on your own. Because we use our Rolodex, anybody remember what a Rolodex is. And so that’s something that that we try to do want to remind you guys that we do have a regular podcast called The Art marketing minute and look for that it’s on its own. But you can also get that at the end of end of these broadcasts. I’d like to encourage you guys to subscribe to plein air magazine. That’s kind of the root of it all. And some of you are not yet subscribers. 10s of 1000s of you are thank you for that. If you’re out of the country, a lot of people just pick the digital edition. But most people pick the subscription to digital and print because the digital comes out sooner. Right? You don’t have to wait for the mail. And it has 30% more content, more images, things that we just don’t have enough paper to do because paper is expensive. Last but not least, I want to tell you about my blog called Sunday coffee. I come out with it every Sunday and you can find it for free. It’s at Coffee with So anyway, I want to thank you guys for watching today for being here for the 250th episode for listening. And remember it’s a big world out there. Go paint it. We’ll see. Bye bye.

This has been the plein air podcast with PleinAir Magazine’s Eric Rhoads. You can help spread the word about plein air painting by sharing this podcast with your friends. And you can leave a review or subscribe on iTunes. So it comes to you every week. And you can even reach Eric by email [email protected]. Be sure to pick up our free ebook 240 plein air painting tips by some of America’s top painters. It’s free at Tune in next week for more great interviews. Thanks for listening.


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