Are you interested in selling your artwork or crafts online and don’t know where to start? In this post, you will discover how to sell art online and make money.
How to Sell Art Online and Make Money
“Online art sales in 2015 reached $3.27 billion, increasing by 24% year over year and representing 5.1% of the art market, according to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report. If the online art market continues to grow at that rate, it will reach $9.58 billion by 2020.” – According to Deborah Weinswig.
You are seeing a change right before your eyes on the way people are purchasing products. Online sales including online art sales are increasing every year.
The change you are witnessing gives you an opportunity to sell your artwork to people around the world.
Starting an online art business is very overwhelming in the beginning. It is confusing to know where to start or know what the best steps are to take.
I have been in your shoes. I still remember how difficult it was over fifteen years ago to find the information I needed. What I stumbled across was good but lacked direction and often did not cover everything I needed learn to help me start and grow my online art business the right way. Needless to say, I was all over the place.
I want to make the learning process easier for you. Below are the key areas you will want to focus on so you can sell your art online and make money.
Sell Art Online and Make Money
Below are 9 different areas you will want to become familiar with. I will include links to more in-depth articles on specific topics. I recommend bookmarking this post for future reference.
After you have familiarized yourself with the key points I have covered, schedule time during the week to learn more about digital content marketing.
How to Sell Art Online – Goals
Let’s start with the obvious, setting goals.
You can not grow or achieve anything if you do not have a clear vision of what you would like to obtain.
Here are several of my favorite quotes about setting goals.
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” ~ Andrew Carnegie
“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” ~ Orison Swett Marden
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” ~ Pablo Picasso
“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen
Do not be too concerned about writing the perfect goal. Your goals and vision will change as your art business begins to grow.
Instead, think about what you would like to achieve in a year and write it down.
If you struggle writing goals you are not alone. Most people turn their heads when it comes to goal setting because they are afraid of failing.
The only way you will fail is if you stop trying. It might take longer than you have planned to reach your goals but if you keep at it you will eventually get there.
If you need help writing achievable goals you might be interested in:
Keep track of your goals with the Artist Goal Planners.
How to Sell Art Online – Brand
Now that you have your goals written down, you will want to focus on branding your art business.
Creating an art branding strategy for your website will give you a major edge over your competition. Your customers will know what to expect from your business, including quality, value, and services that you offer. Your brand will separate you from the all of the other artists.
With so much competition you will want to take every step necessary to give your art business an advantage.
Many artists wonder why they should take the time to work on a brand. They believe that a brand is for larger corporations. That is simply not true. A branding strategy is important for any size business.
Everything that you do reflects your brand. The way you communicate with your audience on social media networks, customer service, articles that you write, the look and feel of your website, logo, and tagline/slogan makes up your brand.
Your brand tells the story of you and your business.
For more information on branding visit, Art Branding Basics Increase Your Art Sales.
How to Sell Art Online – High-Quality Images
Now that you have your goals and a branding strategy, let’s take a moment to talk about the importance of the images you will be sharing online.
The images you share online could be one of the reasons your art sells or does not sell.
Here are 5 reasons why professional quality images are a must for art websites:
People will perceive you as a professional if you only share high-quality images on your artist blog and website.
What You See is What You Get
One thing for sure, if you want to lose a customer, give them something they didn’t expect. The image you showcase should always represent your original artwork accurately. This includes the colors and texture.
You want people to see your talent and be swept away by your art. Not be distracted by a low-quality image that is blurry or has a glair.
Increase the Value of Your Art
Professional photographs that are cropped precisely and the color balance is accurate will increase the value of your art and increase the odds of landing a sale.
Generate More Traffic
It will be easier for you to generate traffic from your social media sites if you post high-quality images. When people are attracted to an image you post, they will be inspired to visit your website to learn more about your art.
I highly recommend taking courses to enhance your photography and editing skills if you are planning to sell art online.
Keep in mind that your online audience can not see or feel your art in person. The image you post will be a reflection of you and your art. You want to make sure the image you share represents your artwork accurately.
Here is a list of courses I recommend:
A Step by Step Guide to Processing Portraits in Lightroom.
Save Time, Transform Your Photos. Photographer Mike Newton has helped tens of thousands of photographers learn Adobe Lightroom.
Wish you could take amazing photos every single time? Now you can!
Know your camera, take incredible photos Gain the confidence you need to get out of ‘Auto’ mode.
How to Sell Art Online – Places to Sell Art
When I started selling art online in 2002, I only had two platforms available to sell on. I had the choice of eBay or having a website built for me.
I sold art for the first couple of years on eBay then I had a website built for my business (at that time it cost me almost 5,000 to have it built).
WordPress was launched in 2003. This was the beginning of the end for website designers creating websites for small businesses. In just a few years WordPress made it possible for anyone to build a professional site for just the cost of hosting and a domain name.
To put it in perspective, you can own a WordPress site and have it hosted with a domain name for just over $150.00 per year (at the time of me writing this post) with BlueHost.
My first website cost me almost $5,000 and I still had to purchase hosting and a domain name.
Etsy came along in 2005 and opened up a new way for artists to sell their original artwork and crafts.
There have been many changes over the past decade and they are all in your favor. You have every tool available so you can successfully start selling your artwork online.
For more information about third-party sites read Should You Sell Art On Third Party Websites?
Here is a list of some places you can sell your artwork online:
- Abstract Art Gallery – If you are an abstract artist, this will be a site that you will want to take a look into. It is free to register and you will get a profile and portfolio page. You will receive 80% of the purchase price and you will be responsible for shipping the item to the buyer.
- Aftcra – Aftcra is similar to Etsy but focuses on American handmade art and crafts. Setting up a storefront is free and products will be live for up to six months. You will pay Aftcra 7% on all sales. This is a very reasonable rate for artists in the U.S.
- ArtBoost – Art Boost is an online art gallery that is different from most sites available by allowing personal contact between customers and artists. Sales are secure through PayPal. Art Boost takes 15% of the sale price. Art Boost is both a sales outlet and an online art portfolio.
- ArtFinder – Art Finder is a site that showcases original art, prints, and photography. They have a large community of over 500,000 art collectors and growing. Build a store for free with performance stats and insights free to help make better marketing decisions. Artists pay 30% on artwork sales. This is a juried site.
- Artist.com – Artist.com is an online art gallery and Print on Demand platform for artists. Artist.com makes 25% commission on original art sales. Artists have the option to sell prints of their work using Artist.com’s print on demand services and determine the markup on the products.
- Artspring – Artspring allows professional artists to build an artist website that includes marketing tools, newsletters, and an inventory database.
- eBay – eBay is a place where you can auction or sell your art at a flat rate as well as anything else you might want to sell online. eBay is how I was first introduced to selling my art online over fifteen years ago and they are still a very popular site for people to shop. Artists with a specific niche have done very well on eBay. Transaction and listing fees apply.
- Etsy – Etsy was a site created for artists to sell their original art to people around the world. Etsy has a large community that supports and helps an artist to learn how to sell their art. Transaction and listing fees apply.
- FineArtAmerica – Fine Art America started as a Print on Demand site that specialized in high-quality art prints. They now allow artists to sell original art online as well as selling prints on merchandise like mugs, iPhone cases and more.
- GalleryToday – Gallery Today is a juried site that connects buyers with artists to sell original signed art internationally. They go above and beyond guaranteeing every painting will arrive in perfect condition. Artists receive 70% of the sale.
Visit 15 Places to Sell Art Online for more information.
If you are serious about selling your art online, I recommend using WordPress for your website/blog.
You will have total control of your site. You do not want to build your business on rented land.
Nevue Fine Art Marketing is a WordPress site that I built. Take a look at how I designed the homepage so you can get an idea of the options you have.
How to Sell Art Online – POD
There are many ways you can generate an income online that relates to your artwork.
Here are just a few examples:
- Sell original art
- Sell prints or limited edition prints
- Sell prints of your art on merchandise like mugs and shirts.
- Monetize your artist blog.
- Monetize your YouTube channel.
- Offer online courses.
- Sell eBooks
Selling prints have been away for artists to generate extra income from an original piece they have already sold for many years.
You will notice artists sell prints of their art at craft shows, fairs, and local shops all over America.
In the past, an artist would have to purchase prints in bulk if they were interested in selling prints of their artwork. This was a gamble because if the prints did not sell, the cost came out of their pocket.
Today you do not have to gamble. You can sell prints of your art online with no upfront costs by using a POD site.
POD stands for Print On Demand.
The POD websites take the order from a customer, print your artwork on merchandise, and ship it to the buyer. You make a percentage of the sale. All you have to do is upload an image of your art and drive traffic to the listing.
The profit line is not high, but it does add up. The positive is that it does not cost you money in advance. If a print sells, you make a profit, if it doesn’t sell you do not lose a penny.
Here is a list of some popular POD websites. (This is a small list but it will get you started.)
For more information on POD sites visit POD Sites: How to Increase Art Sales.
How to Sell Art Online – Art Descriptions
Now that you have an idea of what services you will be using to sell your art online, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about the importance of art descriptions.
Your art description will tell the story behind your artwork.
The buyer will feel more connected to your art and will be more enthusiastic about purchasing your artwork after they have read your description.
Here are some tips on how to write an art description.
The first step is the easiest part of how to write great art descriptions. Adding an image or images of your artwork will be the first step that you will have to take.
Your second step is to write a title for your art. There are a few important factors that you will want to consider when you are writing a name for your finished art.
Many artists struggle with writing good titles and stories about their artwork. Creating art becomes the easy part of the job. Writing a few sentences about what you have created can become very stressful.
Topic Checkoff List
One way to make your writing process easier is to have a checkoff list of the topics that you would like to cover. When you write your description, it will be easier for you to stay focused on the core elements of the description rather than wandering off.
The last step is to write the physical details of your artwork. This will tell the customer what they will receive if they purchase your artwork.
Every description should include:
- The size of the art
- Material used to create the art
- The surface that the art was created on
- How you will package your art
- What shipping service you will use to ship the item
- Return policies
For more on this topic visit How to Write Great Art Descriptions that Sell.
How to Sell Art Online – Artist Blog
You now know where you will be selling your artwork, how to take high-quality photographs of your artwork, how to write descriptions that will sell and a clear vision of your brand.
What should you do next?
Now is the time to talk about how to sell art online and make money.
People have to know you are an artist and you have art for sale.
This is done by building brand awareness.
In order for you to build brand awareness, you will have to develop a digital content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves creating content via text, video, audio and images that are shared online. Content marketing does not usually result in direct sales, rather its purpose is to build brand awareness and trust for the business. The end result is an increase in sales.
Marketers have learned the importance of writing posts that attract their target audience. This is also known as blogging.
According to Matt Secrist blogging helps to:
- “Draw online traffic
- Nurture and convert customers
- Keep current customers engaged
- Differentiate you from other similar businesses
- Grow demand and interest in your products and services”
For more information on this topic visit 5 Ways a Blog Can Help Your Business Right Now
Your artist blog will drive traffic to your site and have people perceive you as an expert in your field. They will begin to trust you and be more enthusiastic to purchase your artwork because they will have a connection to you.
Not only will your blog be the main source of your traffic but you can also refurbish the content to other mediums like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. You can even make a YouTube video of the content you have created.
It takes time to build an audience for your blog. Most blogs take up to two years to start ranking in the search engines.
Start your artist blog today and in a year or two, you will be reaping the benefits of your hard work.
While you are waiting for your blog to rank in the search engines, focus on creating artwork so when the traffic starts pouring in, they will have a large variety of art to purchase.
How to Sell Art Online – Pinterest
If I knew that Pinterest would increase my traffic by over 300% I would have started a Pinterest Business Account a lot sooner.
In just a few months after starting my Pinterest Business Account and installing Social Warfare my artist blog traffic increased by over 300%
It was easier than you might think.
I set up a Pinterest Business Account, applied for rich pins, created some Pinterest Boards then created a Pinterest Rich image for every blog post I wrote uploaded them to my Social Warfare plugin and pinned them to my Pinterest boards.
That is all I did and in three months my blog traffic increased by 300% and some of my pins have over 5,000 repins.
Take advantage of what Pinterest can do for you. Start a Pinterest Business Account and start promoting your blog posts on your Pinterest boards. This will help you to build an audience for your blog while you are waiting for it to rank in the search engines.
How to Sell Art Online – Social Media
The last tip I would like to talk about is using Social media to build relationships with your audience.
If you want to know how to sell art online and make money, you have to build an audience and gain their trust.
So far you have learned how to write goals, build a brand, what platform you will use to sell your art, and how to grow traffic. Now it is time to build trust with your following and social media is the tool that will help you to do just that.
Start by creating a Facebook Artist Page and Twitter account.
Twitter will allow you to keep your audience up-to-date with news about your art business and Facebook is a great place to promote your art and blog posts.
Not only will Facebook and Twitter help you to build brand awareness, but you will also be able to engage with you following.
Take the time to respond to every comment left on your Facebook posts.
If someone retweets a tweet, take a few seconds to thank them.
In time you will build relationships with your audience and they will become a part of your tribe. They will be the people who will share your content with their friends and they will become your loyal art collectors.
Now that you know how to sell art online and make money, it is time to take action.
Start by writing your goals and complete each task before moving on to the next.
How to sell art online and make money overview:
- High-quality Images
- Places to Sell Art
- Art Description
- Artist Blog
- Social Media
You might also be interested in:
- How To Price Your Artwork
- 7 Easy Tips to Grow Your Pinterest Traffic
- How to Sell Products on Facebook Selling Art Strategies
- How Artists Can Grow Their Art Business by Teaching Online
- How An Artist Can Supplement Their Income
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By Dave Nevue
The right mindset and time management skills are essential for any business. These topics are often not talked about but are key elements for your success. You will learn how to have a winning mindset and time management skills necessary for operating a successful art business.
Graphite Drawing by Dave Nevue
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this post are affiliate links and will be clearly marked as so. I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to purchase through those links. I will only recommend products I have used, found helpful to my business and are companies I trust.