One of the most important aspects of making a living as an artist is not taught in art school. I am talking about how to sell your art online.
Artists often have trouble selling their own work, and that goes double for selling art online. The Internet seems like an intimidating place if you are not familiar with how it works. Buying art is an emotional purchase for a customer, and without the ability to see, touch or feel the art in person, it is difficult for the artist to convey the visual and tactile details. However, if you have experience selling art at a show, you will find that selling art online is not as intimidating as you think.
Take a moment and think about what you do to sell your art at a show. When preparing for an art show, you decide what you will sell, and how you will approach potential customers. You have a limited size booth space, and a short amount of time to sell. If you imagine your target audience, the type of customers that usually buy your work, and how they normally shop, you can start to create a marketing plan for your online art sales.
Start With Your Own Artist Website
Not all artists have a website. This is actually detrimental to your bottom line. If you take a minute and think about how people search for information, you will realize that for most clients the Internet is the first place they look. Therefore, it is vital that you have at least a one-page website that displays basic information–pictures of your work, your artist bio, and your art shows for the current year. If you do not want to have your own e-commerce site, you can link your site to Etsy or another art-selling venue for actual sales.
Take Excellent Photos Of Your Art
Since online prospects cannot see your art in person, it is imperative that you give them the next best thing–excellent photographs of your work. If you are a 2D artist, then a clear, true-to-color shot of your painting will suffice. If you are a 3D artist, then you need pictures of your art from several angles. Customers will get a better understanding of your artwork if you can show it in context. For example, you can show a 2D painting in a frame on the wall next to a small table. This helps your potential customer see in their mind’s eye how the painting might fit in their own decorating scheme.
Most websites that sell arts and crafts online have room for at least three photographs. This allows you to show a close-up image, your art in context, and a shot of the back of your piece. Your potential customer will get a 3D feel of what you are offering.
Build Your Artist Reputation
If you give your customers your contact information at shows, they will find your website. However, to draw in new customers from the Internet, you need to market your site.
There are a few simple techniques that can help your site get found in search engines. The idea is to place teasers or small amounts of information that leads potential customers back to your main website. If you follow these ideas, you will have a good start:
- Join Etsy.com. This is a low-cost e-commerce website for artists. You can list just one or two of your pieces on Etsy, create a profile, and put your website address in your profile for more information. You may sell your pieces on Etsy, and you will drive new traffic to your main site.
- Incorporate a blog into your website. A small business blog will increase your following if done correctly.
- Post pictures of your work on Pinterest. You can list the price and link to where they can contact you to buy it.
- Write short tutorial articles about your method of artwork. Link back to your website from your article. Check out Zujava.com, Wizzley.com, and Squidoo.com where you can post articles for free.
All of these methods will bring new traffic to your website and help people discover your art online.
Make a Video
Videos are a wonderful way to show off your art. Videos are very popular and you don’t have to be a filmmaker to shoot one. The best videos are less than two minutes long. You can have your best friend shoot video of you working in the studio. Afterward, create a voice over telling how you create your work. This personal insight into your creative process is interesting to potential customers. You can upload the video to YouTube for free, and post it on your website. At the end of the video, list your website and upcoming shows.
The bottom line is that sales are created from marketing and traffic. Art sales are no different. Think of your website as an online business card. Even if you don’t sell your art directly online, the more people that discover your work through the internet, the better chance you have of selling your work.