Learning how to sell paintings online can feel overwhelming when you are just starting.
Deciding if you are going to use a web builder, build an artist website yourself, hire a web designer, or showcase fine art on a third-party site is the first decision you will have to make.
The next step is to develop an art marketing plan that will drive your target audience to your artwork to view and purchase your art.
So how do you sell paintings online? You will have to start thinking like a business owner and use the same strategies that successful small and large businesses use to sell products and services.
Operating an art business involves launching an online art gallery, create social media business accounts, and execute various online marketing methods that will develop an online presence and build brand awareness.
Starting an art business is still hard work. Fortunately, you have this guide to walk you through each step.
How To Sell Paintings Online
Selling paintings online is more challenging than most artists think.
If you are a well-known artist, someone could type in your name into the search engines and your website and social media sites would pop up in search results.
The person would click on to your website and browse through your online art gallery.
When you are just starting out people interested in your art style will have a difficult time finding you because your site will not be ranked in the search engines.
In the early stages of your business, you need to focus on building brand awareness and growing your following.
Building an online presence takes time, dedication, hard work, and patience.
The good news is you will get what you put into it. If you work hard you can make a strong online presence.
You might get lucky sometimes to have some people stumble upon your site because they happened to match a few keywords on your site. This can happen but it is infrequent in the beginning.
In order for you to sell fine art online, you need to find a way to drive your target audience to your artist website.
The good news is there are ways to build your online business so your site will attract your target audience, but more on that later.
How To Start Selling Paintings Online And Make Money
Selling your paintings is not something that you should just leap into.
There are numerous steps involved with setting up and operating a prosperous online art business:
- Know your business objectives
- Picking your niche market
- Picking out a name for your art business
- Starting a custom website
- Researching competitors and target audience
- Preparing payment and shipping options
- Setting policies and prices
- Creating social media business accounts
- Creating art marketing strategies
- Analyzing and enhancing your marketing strategies
You also need to create great artwork. While marketing takes up a significant amount of time, you still need to dedicate time to enhancing your art skills. Continue to improve your craft and artistic skills.
For free drawing tutorials, visit Drawing Tutorials.
Know Your Art Business Objectives
You’ve decided to write an art business plan, and you’re ready to get started. Congratulations. You’ve just significantly increased the probability that your art career will be successful. But before you start writing your plan, you need to know your objectives.
- Close your eyes and imagine what your art business will look like in five years from now.
- Where do you want to be?
- How much art will you be selling each year?
- How much money will your art business be generating?
- Will you be selling your art from an online store, in a gallery, or local fairs?
Having a clear vision is an important part of creating a successful art business plan.
In fact, without knowing where you’re going, it’s not actually possible to plan at all.
Choosing a niche market is a popular strategy for new businesses of all sizes as it helps you to narrow the competition and focus on a specific target audience.
Art is a general category that includes a wide range of styles and mediums.
Instead of marketing to everyone, you should try to promote to those who are specifically searching for your artistic style.
Niche markets in the art world include a focus on different mediums and subject matters.
Example art niches include:
- Abstract painting
- Landscape painting
- Figure art
Think about the common themes that connect your artwork.
- Do you enjoy creating art that centers around a specific theme or subject?
- Do you enjoy painting portraits or wildlife?
- Do you enjoy painting landscapes or nautical themes?
Identifying what you like to create will help you to decide the best niche and should be the first step in starting an art business.
Niche marketing makes it possible for art businesses to build their brand loyalty and grow an online presence.
This marketing method lets you promote your style to customers who are searching for your unique artistic style.
A specific niche will separate you from your online competition because the artwork in a niche market is difficult to find in general art online.
For more information on niche marketing visit:
- Niche Marketing Strategy For Artists
- How To Position Yourself As A Thought Leader In Your Niche
- How To Monitor Your Niche – Online Art Marketing
For more information about target audience visit:
- How To Find Your Target Audience – Selling Art Strategies
- Sell More Art By Learning Who Your Audience Is
- What Is Your Target Audience Searching For
Name Your Art Business
Picking the best name for your art business might be easier than you think.
To start, consider using your name for your art business.
There are a few reasons why using your name might be the most suitable choice, and the first and most obvious reason is your name is original.
Choosing a business name is all about branding, and people buying art want to know the artist who creates the art they are purchasing.
One of your most significant selling points as a fine artist is that your art isn’t mass-produced, so going with your name rather than a generic name represents your art’s unique value.
The second reason is that using your name for your art business puts you behind your paintings, and I can’t say enough about establishing an emotional connection with your potential art collectors.
It’s a lot harder for a person to turn away from a sale once they connect your name and art’s story with the painting they are admiring.
It is also important to identify what you with a keyword after your name to help potential buyers discover you online.
Common keywor artists use are “art”, “artist”, “fine art”, or “studio”.
If you specialize in a medium, you might want to consider adding that keyword as well.
However, adding the words “oil painting” or “pastels” to the end of your name could limiting the growth of your art business in the future.
The name you decide should be used on all of the different platforms you are marketing on like, your online gallery, social media accounts, and blog.
For more information about writing art business names visit How To Write Perfect Art Business Names.
Build Your Own Website
Now that you have a clear vision of your art business and a business name, you will want to build a personalized website.
A website gives you more credibility than just trying to sell your paintings on Facebook or Twitter.
A website also provides a powerful tool for increasing your online presence and will be a central part of your marketing campaigns.
There are several options you have for starting a website:
- You can build a website yourself
- Hire a professional web designer to build your website
Building a website has never been easier with software like WordPress.
Building your website will provide you complete control over the design of the site and can grow with the growth of your business.
Like I have mentioned earlier, building a website is easy.
After purchasing a domain name and hosting provider, all you have to do is sign in to your hosting account and click on the “WordPress” button.
Most hosting providers like BlueHost offer one-click WordPress installation or installation wizards for new users.
To learn everything you need to know about WordPress visit Art Business/Art Marketing Resource and scroll down to WordPress.
If you want a completely customized website but you are not interested in building one, you can hire a professional.
The average cost of highering a web designer is between $200 and $2000.
Some web designers charge an ongoing maintenance fee or charge a fee for additional customization.
Hiring a professional will save you time building your website. However, the price is likely a barrier for most artists starting an art business.
To find a webdesigner visit UpWork.
Research Competition And Target Audience
Before getting too far into the branding of your art business, take some time to research the market to see if your niche is profitable.
Analyze your competition to find out what type of art sells the best in your niche and the average selling price for their paintings.
Start by doing a Google search for keyword phrases that described your niche.
Study the top pages that appear in the search results.
Only look at the pages that belong to other artists.
This will help you to identify who your competition is and the quality of their work.
Study the websites of your competition to see how they display their artwork. This will give you some ideas for the design of your own website.
You should also look at their prices to gain a better sense of how much you can realistically charge a customer and where they are promoting their paintings.
The next step is to identify who your target audience is.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great platforms to search for artists in your niche.
Look at their posts and tweets and the types of engagement they receive from their fans.
Reviewing feedback from art collectors can help you analyze what people like or dislike about your competition’s artwork.
You should also gain a general sense of the size of your niche market.
Use a keyword tool like KeySearch. (use code KSDISC to receive a 20% discount on your subscription.) to find more keywords that related to your art niche.
When you have finished your market research, you should have a better understanding of:
- Your competition
- Your target audience
- The popularity of your market
- Keywords people use in search
If your niche market is too small or the competition is far superior, you may need to widen your market or select another niche.
Showcasing and selling art on a website produces a more professional perception. However, you can still leverage the reputation of various third-party platforms to reach even more customers.
Some of the most popular online marketplaces for paintings include:
Etsy shoppers tend to buy handcrafted items such as wall décor, furniture, clothing, and jewelry. But there are artists who do very well selling original paintings on Etsy.
ArtFire and Saatchi Art tend to have a broader appeal, making them a perfect match for painters.
Shopify is not a traditional choice for artists but provides other advantages, including a payment gateway.
For more popular Third-Part platforms visit 16 Best Websites To Sell Art Online.
Shipping And Handling Costs
If you sell paintings online, you need to research what size boxes or tubes you will use for shipping your product.
Odd-sized packaging could raise the cost of the shipping fees.
The weight of the package will also increase the cost of shipping, especially if you are selling framed paintings.
Many artists include the cost of packaging material in your shipping costs or the price of your artwork.
You may need to invest in extra shipping materials like cardboard, packaging tape, bubble wrap, boxes, and other items to protect your art during shipment.
Purchasing shipping insurance will be an additional cost, but it might be something you will want to consider depending on the value of your painting.
Research different shipping providers like USPS, UPS, and FedEx to see what will be the best option for pricing and handling of your product.
Price Art And Setting Policies
Your art listings should include the prices and clear policies for buyers.
Pricing art can be a challenge for many artists who are just starting an art business.
The prices you set could be the main reason your paintings sell or don’t sell.
To learn more about pricing art, visit How To Price Art – Ultimate Guide To Selling Art.
Make it easy for your shoppers to know how much your paintings are and what your policies are like, returning an item or damage to a product during shipping.
As a business owner, you have the right to set policies that will protect your artwork and business.
Linking to your policies in the footer of your webpage and checkout page gives you legal protection and makes it easy for buyers to view.
Developing An Art Marketing Plan
The previous steps show you how to set up your online art business.
But it does not talk about how to sell paintings online.
Attract potential buyers to your website and social media profiles is how to sell paintings online and is what we will be focusing on now.
Popular digital marketing strategies to focus on include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
Search Engine Optimization
SEO (search engine optimization) search engines understand what your business offers helps boost organic traffic, which is traffic that comes from searches on Google and other search engines.
This is free traffic that you can continue to receive for years to come with the right actions.
Effective SEO strategies require a combination of:
- On-page SEO (keywords, internal linking, page speed)
- Off-page SEO (backlinks, reputation management)
The keywords you research with KeySearch need to be incorporated on your website.
Each page and post should have an H1 header, subheadings, and content that includes one or more targeted keywords.
Every image should also include an ALT tag, which is a description of the image. This helps the search engine know what the image is.
How quickly your webpages load will impact your search rankings.
If your pages or website loads slowly, they will appear further down the list.
Use an online page speed tool like Pingdom to see how fast your pages load and solutions for problems affecting the speed of your pages.
Top reasons for slow-loading pages include:
- Large images
- Inefficient plugins
- Outdated plugins
- Too much content
Off-page SEO includes backlink building and reputation management.
You can generate backlinks by getting other sites to link to your website or by searching for artist directories that allow free submissions.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing involves frequently posting high-quality content to build a loyal following and increase your fan base.
The most common strategy requires you to post a combination of curated content, informative content, and promotional content.
Most of your content should be informative, such as posts that showcase the process of your paintings.
For example, you can post an update of your paintings in progress each day, offering a tidbit about how you work.
Curated content includes art from other artists or relevant articles that you find online that relates to your niche.
Only a small number of your posts should be promotional, such as 10% to 15% of your posts.
Promotional posts should specifically mention that your paintings are for sale and include a link to where people can buy your art.
For More Information About SEO Visit:
Without content, your website may not appear in Google searches.
You need at least a few hundred words of text on each of the main pages and write blog posts that compliment your brand and keyword strategy.
Google likes fresh content, so it is important to continually publish new content. This can include blog posts or additional product pages for your art.
For more information about how to develop a successful art blog, visit Blogging Tips.
Email marketing is a cost-effective technique for keeping people interested in your art. It provides a way to direct potential buyers back to your website after their initial visit.
A basic email marketing campaign is relatively easy to set up on your own.
You can use a free email marketing platform, such as MailChimp or a WordPress plugin.
These platforms allow you to add a simple contact form on your website for gathering the name and email address of interested buyers.
Final Thought On How To Sell Paintings
Starting an art business online and selling original artwork is a lot of work.
Follow the steps outlined in this “how to sell paints online guide” to build a profitable online art business.
In the end, establishing a successful art business and selling paintings online is a long-term project.
Do not expect instant success, it could take months or years to develop your brand and draw a steady stream of potential buyers.
However, the return on your investment will be worth the efforts you put in.
As a last tip, continue to learn more about online marketing.
Visit Art Marketing Resource regularly and read posts about the latest marketing strategies and enhance your knowledge of common SEO methods.
While it is possible to make a living doing what you love, you still need to treat your art business like a business.
For more information about email marketing visit:
Master the mechanics of SEO with Neil Patel, Driving Traffic To Your Online Business.
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