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

How to sell you art online how to sell art online

Your ability to be creative and express 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?

I bet you didn’t!

Well, yes, your artworks can be converted into cool cash in your hands and if you didn’t know that, you can add that to your list of ‘new knowledge’, because as we know, no knowledge is lost.

Time is money and that isn’t a cliché, it is very rare to find someone indulges in something and spends so much time doing it consistently without the intention of making money from it, except, of course, it’s for charity purpose.

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! Enjoy!

How to Sell Art Online?

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

Step 1 – Set the objectives

  • Strategy – An artistic statement with a strong sense of individualism
  • Decide your objective or purpose – Change the world v/s Commercial or Hybrid

Step 2 – Mobilization

  • Create an artist brand
  • Decide the platforms that you want to promote your art – online, offline or hybrid
  • Create a pricing strategy

Step 3 – Marketing – Create a social media strategy

  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing
  • Crowdfunding
  • Advertise
  • Print on Demand

Step 4 – Platforms

  • Platforms to sell art

Step 1: Set the Objectives.

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 and that 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.

All of this if well thought out, will help you define the way you want to position your art. Once you decide to sell your art, it is just another product on display in the market.

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 look 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?

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

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.

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.

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

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?

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 – How to Sell Art Online

Step 2: Mobilization

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.

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.

If branding is the process of making true your promise to your customers, then 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.

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 which 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 some social media handles 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. 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.

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 myself full time to its pursuit, I can offer some organic approaches to 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 are consistent across the websites and social media and most importantly, convey the message of who you are.

Decide the platforms that you want to promote your art- Online, offline or hybrid?

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

Gallery drove- $7500 and above 

Premium but mid-range- Online and offline.

Affordable.

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.

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 online

Step 3: Marketing

Do you know that period where someone has to be convinced before buying a product? That’s what marketing is.

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

Create a social media strategy.

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 media at all these days is largely impossible.

Almost everyone is on social media and one of the best ways to reach your customers and make sales in any business is to harness the benefits of social media.

There’s no avoiding it- if you want to sell art online, its a whole lot easier if you make use of social 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 social media to help sales, then it is a market place. 

The subject of social media can be confusing and most people find it difficult to understand. The truth is, if you go about social media 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 social media 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 media. On every social media platform you decide to use, your username should be the same.

Tell your story. Why you create art?

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.

So where does that leave your art business? Cue content marketing. Content marketing is a way of advertising your business without boring customers who are tired of seeing another advert or promotion asking them to buy art.

From learning the benefits to which methods to use, we give you the rundown on content marketing and 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? Sell yourself and Make use of platforms like MEDIUM, LinkedIn to promote 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 and 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.

Crowd Funding

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

Crowdfunding remains to be one of the most active ways of selling your art online

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. 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. 

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.

How to Sell Art Online 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 sell art 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 print on demand site 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 4: Platforms for Selling your 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.

Closing Thoughts

Art is creativity.

A lot of features affect the value of a piece of art. Appreciating art can feel very subjective, which often means that it can be hard to tell what exactly translates to art that is desirable or that will sell well. 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 and your record of sales is about to turnaround for good!

Whoever told you there isn’t a good market for artworks must have been joking because if you take the right steps, you’re sure to make mind-blowing sales immediately you decide to start selling your art.

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About Amelia Roselyn

If you don’t use words to describe yourself there are, how then can you describe who you are. I'm Amelia Roselyn a journalist and freelance writer offering three years of experience writing articles, web contents, blog posts, and e-books.

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