First Steps on How to Sell Art Online

The first steps on how to sell art online is to understand who your ideal collectors are, what makes you unique from other artists, and how to get your target audience on your mailing list.

Develop a list of goals in order to keep yourself on track. This way when look ahead to your end result you can figure out what it will take to get there.

Note: I use the word “art” a lot in this article, rather than “products” and this is on purpose. Whether you’re selling t-shirts, canvas prints or jewelry, you are indeed selling art. I make this note so you realize that your art is subjective and requires a specific taste to gain interest for your brand. 

Start with confidence.

The truth is, you can absolutely make a rewarding living selling your artwork online. As an artist you have a valuable outlook on life that others lack talent to express. So, it’s not whether you can make a profit, it’s whether you’re willing to work hard so you can do what you love and make money.

Know your audience.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no harm in diving head first in creating a website and selling your artwork online right away. But if you don’t take the time to get to know your audience, you could be looking at a website with no visitors. Begin with asking yourself who your ideal customers are, start by answering these questions:

  1. How will your audience find you?
  2. How much additional income does your audience have to spend on your artwork?
  3. What age is your ideal audience?
  4. What other products and hobbies does your audience enjoy?

Don’t blend in, stand out.

Good art makes you feel something, so what makes you different from the other three million artists in the world? You need to start off and carry through with a human-focused approach where you develop a genuine relationship with your audience. Find a niche market within your artwork in order to set yourself apart from the masses of other artists online. And remember, standing out will reveal why your artwork is one of a kind, so the more unique it is, the more profitable it will become.

Learn from other’s success.

Thanks to Google, you now have the history of every successful artist at your fingertips. Take advantage of all your resources in order to prevent learning things the hard way. I encourage you to find 20-30 artists that are similar in style or subject manner and learn from them. By investigating other artist’s success, you can figure out what tactics are best for you.

  1. What e-commerce platforms are they using?
  2. How much are they charging?
  3. Do they have a strong following? If so, why?
  4. What social media platforms are they using?
  5. When you search their business, what blogs are they on?

Make a brand for yourself.

You’re not just selling your art, you’re selling yourself. You need to build an online brand tailored specifically to your audience so that you can stand out from your competitors and make a lasting impression. I highly recommend getting in touch with a professional branding consultant that can put your business on the right track before you even begin thinking about selling your products online.

Build up your list.

Before you begin a single line of code for your new e-commerce website, you need a mailing list. Sign up for an email list management service like Mailchimp and put up a straightforward signup form on your ‘Coming Soon’ page. Set up an email marketing campaign that creates consistent value for your customers that helps you get noticed. This way, your audience will be invested in your artwork right off the bat, so that when you launch, your customers will be lined up before you even get to the sales pitch.

Think quality over quantity.

You don’t need a huge audience to make a living as an artist. Contrary to popular belief, most art sales do not happen in the shopping cart. Only once someone has gotten to know you by your mailing list or via social media, do they feel comfortable enough buying from you. Developing a relationship with your audience beforehand, will allow you to produce art that is targeted to your specific following. Once you get that first purchase from a new customer, you’ll have a fan for life and you’ll be surprised how quickly your products will start to sell out.

Determine your pricing.

Selling your art online is a business, not a hobby, so it’s important to put professionalism in everything you do. Art fulfills a deep primal need for expression and beauty within people that they themselves don’t have the ability to create. You make your own story and you deserve to have your art shared with the world while getting paid for it appropriately. Learn about value-based pricing and don’t be afraid to sell your art for what it’s worth.

Follow these helpful tips and I promise that you will be on the right track to selling your art to the right people. If you have any questions or recommendations for topics moving forward feel free to comment below so I can cover them in my upcoming articles and blog posts!

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