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How to Sell Art Online? – Guide to Sell Your Art From Vision to Execution

how to sell art online and make money

Selling art online is all about your ability to find the right balance between your creative pursuit and monetizing your artwork in an effective way.

Your skillset to be creative and expressive by yourself without words can develop into a passion for art or just something you do to while away time when you’re free. But, do you know that your art can actually fetch you money? How to sell art online and make money?

Well, yes, your artworks can be converted into cool cash in your hands. Many people would love to sell their art for money but do not know how best to go about it. If you fall into that category of people, then this post is for you! 

This article narrates a detailed step by step process towards helping you to sell your art, promote your artwork and start making money

How to Sell Art Online?

Here is a list of steps to sell your art and start making money from art.

Step 1 – Define your strategy and set the objectives
Step 2 – Define your purpose
Step 3 – Create an artistic statement with a strong sense of individualism
Step 4 – Validate you Why? What? and How?
Step 5 – Define your approach and start your efforts
Step 6 – Create an artist brand
Step 7 – Decide the platforms that you want to promote your art – online, offline or hybrid
Step 8 – Create a pricing strategy around how to make money from your artworks
Step 9 – Create a marketing strategy
Step 10 – Create Social Network profiles
Step 11 – Build a Content Marketing strategy
Step 12 – Try Crowdfunding
Step 13 – Advertise
Step 14 – Sell your product and prints on Demand
Step 15 – Measure

Step 1: Set the objectives.

The first step towards monetizing your art is to define a strategy and set the objectives that you want to achieve

In this context, probably, the most important thing is to define a specialty – Yes, Carve a niche for yourself. 

Express your personality vividly through your art.

For your personality to be well captured in your art, you must first have a well-defined personality for yourself. This will, in turn, helps you to give your artworks a personality.

Sit back and give a thought to certain factors like who your target audience is the messages in your art, the purpose of your art, and the style of art that you do. Why artists make art?

Step 2: Define your purpose

Making money (it is one of the outcomes) shouldn’t be your purpose, rather, find a more objective reason that you wanted to make art

Once you decide to sell your art, it is just another product on display in the market. So, to have an original art or thinking out there is so important.

All of this is well thought out, will help you define the way you want to position your art.

For instance, one of the primary objectives of pop art remains to be a strong response towards the complacency and mass consumerism of the modern world.

While looking art Frida Kahlo’s paintings, it is all about her lust for life.

Even now, you will see the transcending pain of Frida’s life on her paintings

Are you doing art to make an impact in the world and strictly to pass messages across? 

Or, Do you want to just freestyle and do art for commercial purposes?

Consider that making money is one of the many outcomes such as fame, brand identity, satisfaction, interdependence, etc. 

Know your vision. This is the first step towards answering the question – How to Sell Art Online And Make Money?

Your vision helps you to answer the ‘why’ questions. 

  • What kind of artist do you want to be seen as?
  • What impact do you intend to make with your art?
  • Are you making art with the intention of changing the world or making money?
  • What are the greatest things you can actually achieve in the art space?
  • What message does your art carry?

These are things you should think of and have answers to as your answers will help to put your vision together and make it easy to create.

The significance of being able to pin-point the reason you want to do art, cannot be overemphasized.

Step 3: An Artistic statement with a strong sense of individualism.

An artist’s statement is the first line of communication between an artist and his viewers.

It comes in handy and will be made use of when you submit your portfolio to competitions, galleries, and even museums.

Sometimes, it can be displayed when people view your works on a site or in person.

If one were to just take a look at the artworks of Salvador Dali online, you would know immediately this was no ordinary individual. 

With his crazy mustache and bizarre quotes, he expressed his opinion constantly, and especially through his artwork.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali – Pic Courtesy – ABVH

If you have your artist statement online, it is sure to be read by people all over the world.

Your artist statement helps you explain the how and why of your artworks.

Step 4 – Validation

The ‘How’

The ‘How’ simply talks about how you created the art.

Quite a number of visitors are interested in knowing the artistic process leading to the creation of an artwork. 

So you should tell how you came about it, the colors you made use of, the kind of lines you used if you used the blending techniques to ensure there are no lines at all.

If your art is photography inclined, you might want to state the tools you used and which ones are the most important to the process of creating your drawing or art.

The ‘What’

Tell us about your work.

You may decide to follow a style – Abstract Expressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Realism or Impressionism – to represent your work.

Decide on it early, because at collectors of all kind like to go for a niche and this is one of the powerful ways to promote your art

Are your paintings real or abstract? Are they in a portrait view, or you do landscape as well? Do you take photos of landscape?

What is your imagery?

What is the best way for people to describe, what do they say if they were to describe what you make? Allow your content to flow from how you work to what you create.

Lastly, the ‘Why’

Why do you choose to create the kind of art you make? What link is there between your art and your life?

Does your art say something about your life or does your life say something about your art? 

What are the symbols you use, and why do you use them?

Why do you want to make money selling your art?

Tell us the influences behind the meanings of your works.

Answering these questions is important will help you guide arriving a clear action plan for the bigger questions about selling your artwork and earning money

Step 5: Mobilization of selling art online

This talks about the various means through which you can let people know about your art.

It involves putting certain things in place to gain more ground in the market and make your presence known.

There are certain steps you should take to ensure effective mobilization in your art business and they are listed below.

Step 6: Create an Artist Brand

The word ‘brand’ is often taken to mean the same as the word ‘logo’.

A brand is far more than just a logo. A logo is just a simple tool through which you can conveniently convey your brand to your customers.

Branding is the process of making true your promise to your customers. Thus it is ideal for you to know who your customers are and what they need.

Business – as selling your art is now business, is simply about knowing or finding a need, and then providing it.

A strong and deep artist brand is the foundation of a strong sustainable model of making money from your artworks

It is providing solutions to people’s needs. The better you know and understand your customer’s needs, the easier it will be for you to make good your promise to them.

A brand should have a solid artist statement. This can be private or public but depends on the direction you want to take. The artist’s statement will be a reflection of the style, personality, and the worth of your work.

It is necessary regardless of what the purpose of building or creating art is. 

Having a website and social handler (one username across all social channels) will be helpful.

Based on the definition of your artist statement that you have been able to come up with, you would need to go ahead and build a brand that reflects your art and yourself.

While building a brand, here are some tips that might come in handy.

Be consistent in your messaging. Try to answer- what kind of art you plan to produce or create.

Your personality should be uniform and should adapt to your style of work.

It could be minimal art, pop art, abstract art, or any form of art at all. Read the most important art movements that really revolutionized the world and see a snapshot to understand art history on how has it evolved

If you intend to do various styles, ensure there is harmony in your branding and a good fit for your artist statement. What words are frequently used by your audience to describe your work?

All the assets you make use of I’m the social and real-world must have a visual idea about your brand.

Tell a story while you talk about your brand – This is the most powerful way to promote your art

One of the most crucial and important stages of your marketing as an artist is defining what your proposition is what stands out about you that is unique and distinguishes you from other brands.

An authentic sense of self and artistic direction can set aside a successful artist.

Branding yourself as an artist is important but, can we face the facts? 

Yes? Okay.

Great branding does not make you a great artist and being a great artist does not necessarily make you a profitable artist. 

To be successful, we need to create a strong balance between our art and our business because selling art is business as well.

The best way to create a balance between our art and business has not been found yet.

But after a few years, if devoting yourself full time to its pursuit, you will find a way towards building your brand.

One simple tip – KEEP IT REAL, STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF AND TELL YOUR OWN AMAZING STORY.

You should make sure that your colors, artworks, logos, and brand story that are consistent across the website and social networks. Most importantly, find a unique tone to convey the message of who you are.

Step 7: Decide the platforms that you want to promote and sell your art

This is purely driven by commercial interests. Here are three categories that mostly you could fall into. 

  1. Gallery drove- $7500 and above (Type A)
  2. Premium but mid-range- Online and offline. (Type B)
  3.  Affordable. (Type C)

If you decide to work with type A, the strategy is entirely different and for types B and C, numerous platforms range from premium to affordable art.

While you’re trying to come into the art business, you’ll need platforms to help you with sales.

One great way to sell your art online and make sales is to work with an existing platform for sales of artworks.

This provides you with an existing audience, all of these platforms are unique in their way. Some of them are print on demand websites, while some are art galleries and others are art commission websites.

Before going ahead to work with any of these platforms, you should carry out your research and see which one suits the kind of art you practice.

Some of these platforms for sales of art are:

For every business (which includes selling art), it is important to daily evolve, improve and find better ways of making sales, which is why we have put together this interesting post just for you.

Step 8: Create a pricing strategy

When you place prices on your work, your clients tend to value it based on how much they pay.

This can be applied in paintings, mixed media, illustrations, etc

Size of your art in inches (Sp)

For example, let’s say that for an artwork that measures a length of 10inches and a width of 8inches.

In this case, the area within your rectangle is 10×8 = 80 square inches.

Value per inch (Vp) – This is a unit value that you need to decide based on the medium, style and moreover your reputation. The most common price ranges from $2 to 25 dollar in an affordable art market. 

Cost of materials (Cm)– The total cost you spend to buy paints, canvases, oils, and other materials.

Uniqueness (Uq) – This is something that can be added as an IP fee based on the uniqueness of your work. Sometimes, your work may not fall into a usual figurative subject, rather it could be a work that you think has a strong relevance or message.

Here, you define a unit value in the range of $2 to $25. For instance, you might be drawing something which is just a figurative painting, where you may not apply Uq, rather you may apply this for a work that is very propaganda-driven- for instance, a theme around climate change and you think the uniqueness factor has a strong value.

Your total price will then be;

Total retail price = (Sp x Vp) + (Sp x Uq) + 2(Cm).

So for your 10 x 8 artwork, where you value per inch is $5 and you spent $50 for the material the net cost would be;

(80×5) +(80×0) +2(100)

The reason that we multiply the cost of materials twice is that, if you sell this via an exhibition or a gallery you might end up getting a commission in the range of 40-60% of the total value- in this case, you will recover the cost of materials.

Now, if your work has Uq value of $20, then the cost would be, (80×5) + (80×20) + 2(100)

Setting up the right pricing strategy is important before arriving at the answer for how to sell art and making money online

Step 9: Marketing

Do you know that period where someone has to be convinced before buying a product? That’s what marketing is. Getting your first sale online is a golden moment that you want to be embraced upon.

There are many marketing strategies that you should know as they would help you improve the rate at which your works are purchased.

Marketing is a very important part of any business and its benefits cannot be overlooked, some tips to help you with marketing are provided below.

Arriving a clear direction on your marketing strategy is important to define your way forwards towards selling your artwork online, making money, and promote your art

Step 10: Create a social channel strategy to promote your art.

So, I heard you were making a list of impossible things in this century.

I have a new point for you to add- Not being on social channels at all these days is largely impossible. While collaboration remains one of the important foundations of these channels, it has evolved to a great medium to promote your creativity in all forms and start monetizing it

Almost everyone is there and one of the best ways to reach your customers and make sales in any business is to harness the benefits of online and social communities

There’s no avoiding it- if you want to sell art online and promote your artwork, its a whole lot easier if you make use of these kinds of new media to help you connect and engage with the people who will buy your work or help you sell it.

Social media can be a sensitive topic among artists as most of us are happier I’m the studio than in a market place and if you’re making use of these communities to help sales, then it is a market place – thus it is a strong medium to make money and start earning consistently

The subject of this new kind of media can be confusing and most people find it difficult to understand.

The truth is, if you go about social in the right way, you’ll see that it’s worth all the effort.

Do not oversell. No overkill

Collaborate. Posting your work will not help.

Instagram and Facebook are not the only options. There is a wide range of others like; Tumblr, Flickr, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumble upon, Digg, Snapchat, Swarm, and Twitter for you to try out.

Choose one standard username across social networks.

On every social network platform you decide to use, your username should be the same.

Tell your story. Why you create art?

Step 11: Content Marketing

Everywhere you turn these days, there’s almost always an advert or something. Its a breath of fresh air seeing a product that isn’t trying to make a sale and is useful to you. Content marketing can be a powerful means to promote your artwork

So where does that leave your art business? How to apply passive techniques to promote your art online and make money?

Cue content marketing. Content marketing is a way of advertising your business without boring customers who are tired of seeing another advert or promotion

From learning the benefits to which methods to use, we give you the rundown on content marketing. 

It is all about providing valuable content for your customers,

So, they enjoy what you have to say and are more persuaded to buy your work.

What is Content Marketing?

In simple terms, content marketing promotes your art business by making useful and interactive content available for your customers. It is a less traditional way of advertising your art, and more articles, videos, and images that entertain your art fans.

How to do it?

Create an art blog and use that platform to tell your story.

Why you create art?

What inspired you?

Just remember one thing. Your art is just one commodity, but you need to build a community, content and brand around it for your staring making significant money from it

Share your knowledge
Be a source of help to those that are looking for answers to certain questions.

Try using QUORA to share your knowledge.

Just go ahead write basic things – principles of art, how to draw, how to stay creative, or whatever you think you can talk about

Create videos or images
 It is no longer a secret that visuals are engaging and people tend to interact more with visuals.

This is exactly why you’re an artist!

So don’t stop at the canvas.

You can make use of videos and pictures in different ways to promote your art career.

Create a newsletter
Create a fan following and obtain email addresses. Keep them informed.

Host a Podcast-
Podcasts are a fun alternative to reading a blog post or article.

It’s a good idea for you to try and host your own.

You could tell an intriguing story, talk about what you’ve learned in your art career.

Invite fellow artists to talk about their experiences.

Whichever way you choose to go, your listeners are most likely to be held spellbound by you’re out of the box and extra creative content.

The self-publishing world is growing at a rapid rate and the quality of the final product gets better every year.

More artists, photographers, designers, and illustrators are taking book publishing into their own hands.

Step 12: Try Crowdfunding

In case you don’t yet have an idea of what crowdfunding is about, it is a way for you to raise funds for a project by offering rewards for those who would like to back your project financially.

It allows you to bring your creative project to life and still sell art during the process. 

You don’t need to be a popular artist, filmmaker, or arts collective to create a successful crowdfunding campaign. These platforms have become one of the powerful platforms for artists and creators to achieve financial independence 

Established crowdfunding platforms include; Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and GoFundMe.

Crowdfunding remains to be one of the most active ways of promoting your art online – and also helps to validate your idea with a diverse group of people.

Step 13: Advertise

The things advertising can do for you cannot be overemphasized.

It has a whole lot of benefits you just need to find an appropriate budget and make use of your online presence to sell your works or promote your art.

AdWords – In summary, AdWords lets you display an advert to sell your art so that it appears in Google’s search results when someone types something relevant to your art.

The great thing about AdWords is that it doesn’t charge you anything for showing your advert. You only pay if someone clicks on it.

Someone interested enough to click on your ad means there is a chance that they’ll be interested in your art when they arrive at your website or online shop. 

It doesn’t require you to spend a fortune to get new visitors and potential sales, with each click costing you very little. A lot of content creators are making money by leveraging these platforms. 

You can make use of AdWords to advertise yourself as an artist, offer portrait services, or directly sell original prints or artworks (you can show an image of your art beside your advert too).

Facebook and TwitterAds also offer great opportunities for artists to showcase their works and show compelling images of their work to people with similar tastes and interests. 

Affiliate Marketing – This is when you promote a company’s product and when someone buys that product through your referral, you earn a commission from it. You could promote your products, artworks, blog posts, and all, through such ad networks. This model is considered to be one of the most powerful ways of making money online

Amazon’s Affiliate Program, Shareasale, Zazzle are a number of affiliate platforms you can try out.

The concept of affiliate marketing might be a bit confusing at first, but the potential to earn passive income is high especially for the artist.

Step 14: How to Sell Art Online and Make Money via Print on Demand Websites?

Print on demand websites are getting more popular by the day and are now a popular outlet for artists and designers to sell their work online.

How to making money online? – Probably, print-on-demand is one of the easiest ways to test the waters and understand a pulse from a larger audience.

The most appealing part of the print on demand is that one you’ve uploaded a high-quality image of your artwork, the provider platform takes care of everything else- so all you have to do is to go ahead and make more art.

That high-quality image will then be printed on anything ranging from art prints to phone cases, t-shirts to pillows, and whatever you can think of. Few print-on-demand websites include

  • Printful
  • Zazzle
  • Printify
  • Redbubble
  • Society6
  • Threadless

Not every artist’s work can sit pretty on a phone case or duvet cover. Print on demand sites tend more towards graphic and illustrating styles but there are a lot of painters and fine artists selling their work too.

Remember it is up to you to promote your work on print and demand sites.

Step 15: Measure

Anything you do in your life deserves to be measured. Build the right performance indicators based on the objectives and purposes that you set during the initial step. These indicators can be qualitative such as personal satisfaction, fame, positive reviews or quantitative such as profit share, increase in sales, etc.

Closing Thoughts – How to sell art online and make money?

Art is creativity.

Making money shouldn’t be the ultimate purpose. As stated, earning money from your artwork is one of the outcomes.

A lot of features affect the value of a piece of art.

Selling your art and making money from it is all about how your audience appreciate your work

Appreciating art can feel very subjective. This often means that it can be hard to tell what exactly translates to art.  Read What Makes Art Sell?

Art is an expression without words

Make maximum use of your online presence.

Build your brand, and work constantly towards keeping your promise to customers and satisfying them all the time.

Eventually, your record of sales is about to turnaround for good.

Your daily existence can be much more colorful with the presence and influence of art.

It only gets better once you allow your own creativity and imagination to take a turn for good.

So go ahead and open yourself up to art. It will be worth the change.

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