How To Start An Art Business
Are you excited about selling your art online?
After many years of enhancing your art skills and developing a unique artistic style, you are ready to take the leap and become a professional artist.
You understand that it will take a great deal of learning, hard work, dedication, and planning to build an art business that thrives.
Starting an art business is the easy part but trying to decide what you should do next to build name recognition is a challenge many artists face.
This detailed sell art online startup plan will be your blueprint for developing a successful art business.
There is no better time than now to sell art online.
You have the opportunity to reach millions of collectors worldwide who are interested in purchasing art.
The first goal is to have your art noticed and build name recognition. If you fail to do this, you will start to build up an extensive collection of art in your home.
Most artists cringe when they hear the words “art marketing.”
The truth is you will have to market and promote your art if you would like to have any chance of selling your art online.
Marketing your art business will feel overwhelming at first:
- You will not see instant results.
- There will be many strategies that will not produce the results you were hoping for.
- There will be times when your sales will be slow, and there will be times when you feel you can not keep up with the demand.
However, if you develop a plan, stay consistent with your efforts, continue to learn, assess and revise the strategies you are implementing, stay patient, and believe in yourself, you can accomplish your goals.
Now that you know starting an art business takes a lot of dedication, let’s go over what you should focus on first so you can see quicker results.
How To Start An Art Business Online
Like we mentioned earlier, there is a lot of planning and work involved with marketing your artwork.
The good news is that there are only five digital strategies you will need to learn about for your online art business.
Every online art business, no matter the size, focus on the strategies outlined below.
5 Art Marketing Strategies:
- Business Goals
- Showcase Art
- Email List
- Artist Blog
- Social Media Marketing
The strategies outlined below are listed in order. Start with the first strategy, complete it, then move on to the next.
You can learn how to start your own art business in just a few minutes but executing everything you need to work on will takes days or even weeks to complete.
At first, all of the information might seem overwhelming. But if you take it one step at a time, you will realize operating an art business is not as difficult as it might seem.
When you have completed the checklist below, you will want to learn more advanced marketing strategies, but make sure you complete everything on this post first. You will see better results with advanced marketing plans if you have a solid foundation for your business.
It is essential to know that not every strategy will provide the same results for everyone. Technology continues to change, so it is crucial to keep up-to-date with digital marketing and continue to revise your plan as needed, so you do not find yourself left behind.
To make it easy to stay up-to-date with selling art online strategies, sign up for the NFAM free newsletter.
Write Art Business Goals
Even before you decide on what website builder you will use to sell your art online, you will want to document your business goals.
Writing business objectives is an essential step to take when you are starting an online art business.
A business plan with set objectives is the foundation of a prosperous business.
Poorly planned or executed marketing campaigns is one of the top reason businesses fail.
Success comes from planning.
Write down what you would like to achieve in one year, five years, and ten years.
To make it easier, check out these resources:
When you are finished writing your business goals, you should have a clear vision of your:
Be as specific as you can and stay true to your vision.
Defining and visualizing your art career’s success will allow you to create strategic plans to grow your business.
Showcase Your Art
Now that you have a clear vision of your business goals, you will want to decide if you will have an online portfolio or a website to sell products and services.
Some artists have a website that highlights upcoming art shows, open studio events, and other events. They also have a gallery integrated with their website to sell original art and reproductions to keep money coming in when they are not selling at art shows.
Below are some different platforms you can market and promte your art business.
Platforms Used For Selling Art Online
Own a Website – WordPress
Third-party sites – (Etsy) For more information, visit 7 Popular Third-Pary Sites for Artists.
Social Media – I do not recommend using social media for selling products. However, I do recommend using social media to build brand awareness and build relationships with your collectors.
ETSY – I would like to start with Etsy because many artists start selling their art online on Etsy and do very well. Etsy makes it easy for artists to build an Etsy shop and start selling within minutes.
Another benefit of selling art online with Etsy is that they already have a large community. It will be easier for you to start building your brand.
NFAM works with many artists with an online art gallery (a website they own) and an ETSY shop.
To get started on ETSY, take my step-by-step video tutorial, HOW TO OPEN AN ETSY STORE TUTORIAL.
You will get access to a downloadable PDF and six videos that will go over with you each step on starting your Etsy shop and list your first item for sale.
When you are just starting, you want to keep things simple. It would help if you had a goal, a place where people can purchase your art, and an art marketing plan. Etsy is a great platform to get started with.
Once you have become familiar with showcasing your art on Etsy or a third-party site of your choice, you might want to consider building an artist website.
There are many differences between owning a website and using a third-party site for selling your artwork.
The main difference between owning a website and using a third-party platform is that you own your website.
You will have total control of the look and feel of your site.
The only limitation you will have is your imagination.
If you are using a third-party platform, you are building a business on rented land.
For more on this topic visit Should You Sell Art On Third-Party Websites?
Website – Owning a website is for the artist who is serious about starting an online business.
As we have said earlier, you might want to get your feet wet by starting with Etsy, but if you’re going to build your business further, we recommend owning a website.
You can quickly build a professional website with platforms like WordPress and a website builder like Weebly.
The main differences are:
- WordPress is free besides paying for hosting and a domain name. Other costs are premium plugins and themes. (These are optional, there are free plugins and themes available.)
- Services like Weebly have a monthly fee and have limited functions like themes.
Here is a list of benefits associated with WordPress:
- You own the site
- WordPress is user-friendly. You will be able to create and publish content easily with WordPress’s dashboard.
- Simple clean coding for search engines
- SEO optimization
- 100% customizable
- Have Multiple Users
- Your site can grow as your business grows
- Options available to sell tangible and digital goods
- Social share options
- WordPress Dashboard Guide eBook
- WordPress SEO Basics eBook
- WordPress Basics Video Course
- WordPress Basic SEO Course
- How To Add WooCommerce WordPress Categories
- How To Install WooCommerce On A WordPress Artist Website
- Why Artist Websites Should Be Built On WordPress
- Social Warfare Review – The Ultimate Social Sharing WordPress Plugin
- WordPress Categories And Tags
- WordPress SEO Plugins
- WordPress Visibility Settings
For more WordPress tutorials visit Art Blog Resource.
One of the most popular hosting services for website owners and bloggers is:
Below is a list of what BlueHost offers:
- #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org. Every account features 1-click WordPress installation
- 24/7 support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Easy to use control panel
- Unlimited emails accounts
- Register a domain when signing up
- Free domain registration for the first year. After that, it is around $14.95 a year. For more information visit https://www.bluehost.com/free-domain
- New sign-up flow called Bluerock where our customers have WordPress automatically installed at sign-up without having to go in and manually install themselves
How To Launch An Artist WordPress Site With BlueHost
Launching an artist WordPress site has never been easier.
First, visit BlueHost and pick which plan works best for your goals.
Pick a domain name for your artist website.
Related Post: How to Choose a Perfect Artist Domain Name
The next step is to fill out your account information and confirm what package you would like to enroll in.
The next step is to fill out your billing information and create a password for your account.
Once you have completed that it will be time to pick out a theme for your new artist website.
Congratulations you are a new owner of an online website where you will be able to sell your artwork.
Build your online website easy with BlueHost.
For more poplular website builders visit 16 Best Artist Website Builders.
Why Many Artists Fail
There is another reason many artists fail selling art online besides what we talked about earlier and that is because they do not take the time to learn how to market and promote their artwork.
For some reason, they think that just because the upload an image of their art on their WordPress artist website, people are going to find it.
This is not how it works. You need to market and promote your art. You need to let people know that you are an artist and you have the artwork for sale.
There are so many tools available for you to accomplish this task and you will want to learn and take advantage of the ones that will not only complement your goals but also provide you with the best results.
The next three steps will go over email marketing, content marketing (blogging) and social media marketing.
Focusing on these three categories will help you to build an online presence and build your art business larger than you could have ever imagined.
One more thing before we move forward. I would like to talk a little about time management. You will soon realize that there will be a lot of things you will have listed on your to-do-list.
Another reason some artists fail is that they do not learn how to accomplish every task that needs to get done. They become overwhelmed, frustrated and quit.
I have good news. You can learn how to manage your time better. There are strategies you can implement that will help you to get more done in less time.
Here are some eBooks to help you manage your time more effectively:
Build An Email List
The next step is to start collecting emails and develop a newsletter marketing strategy.
Why is it important for you to build an email list?
The simple answer is that you own your list. Your email list will be a guaranteed way for you to connect with your audience and be the biggest asset for your online art business.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google cannot guarantee that you will reach your audience.
Yes, these are all great tools you will need to focus on but what happens if Facebook changes their algorithm and you can’t reach your audience with your new artwork?
You see social media platforms change their algorithm all the time.
To give you an example, Mark clearly stated that Facebook Business Pages will reach fewer people this year.
You can read more by visiting How Facebook’s New Goals Affect Artists.
Social media networks are a great way to build brand awareness but there is no guarantee you will be able to reach your following on those platforms.
Instead of spending your energy on trying to build a following on Facebook, spend your energy trying to collect the emails of the following you already have on those platforms. This way you can feel confident your message will reach your collectors.
The articles below show you how to develop a newsletter marketing strategy that works.
You will notice most of these articles are designed to optimize your Artist Blog. I want you to get familiar with this content before we start talking about blogging.
- How To Avoid The Top Email Errors Made By Artists
- 7 Email Contact Lis Benefits For Artists
- How To Build An Email List From Scratch Fast
- Sell More Art Online By Growing Your Email List
- How To Start An Email List Today So You Can Sell More Art
- Top Tips For Creating A Successful Artist Newsletter
- Writing A Newsletter Basics For Artists Selling Art
Start An Artist Blog
The next step in this sell art online startup is about starting a blog.
To sell art online, you will need to build brand awareness.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness for artists is simply making people aware you are an artist and you have art for sale.
Let’s be honest, you will never sell your art if nobody knows you are an artist.
Your job is to get yourself noticed. This might feel intimidating at first but let me tell you it becomes easier the more you do it.
Many successful online businesses build brand awareness with content marketing (blogging).
Your blog will the fuel that drives traffic to your art listings.
I recommend using WordPress for your blogging platform. The good news is that you can have an artist Gallery where you can sell your artwork and have an art blog that will drive traffic to your site all in one place with WordPress. Like I have mentioned earlier you will need a hosting service if you are going to use WordPress.
Read these articles to help you get your art blog up and running so you can let everyone know about your artwork.
- Art Blogging For Beginners – How To Start A Blog That Sells Art
- How To Run A Successful Blog
- How Artists Need To Use Blogging To Build Success
- New Blogger Tips That Will Make You Look Like A Pro
- Art Blogging – What Is Great Content
- Why Art Websites Fail: 8 Features Your Artist Website Needs
- 8 Effective Blogging Strategies For Art Blogs
- How To Start A Successful Art Blog
- How Long Should Your Artist Blog Posts Be For Best Results
- 5 Topic You Should Write About For Your Art Blog
- How To Appear Authoritative As A New Blogger
For more information about starting and growing an art blog visit Art Blog Resource. There are hundreds of posts to help you get the most from your blogging efforts.
Why Many Artists Give Up on Blogging
One common reason artists give up on blogging is because they do not see any instant results.
People expect instant results and become frustrated when they do not happen.
When was the last time you became frustrated when a site took more than 3 seconds to load on your smartphone?
When was the last time you became anxious when you had to sit through a fifteen-second ad on YouTube?
Take a second to think about that for a minute. We become so impatient that we can not wait for more than fifteen seconds for something.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How long do I plan on selling art online?
- How much art do I want to sell?
- Do I want to earn money from my skills besides just selling art online?
If you are planning to sell art for the long-term and wish to make money by helping other artists, blogging is the key to your success.
Blogging is for serious artists and businesses. It takes time to rank in Google’s search but when you get to that point you will see your business grow larger than you could have ever imagined.
I can not tell you how long it will take for your art blog to gain organic traffic from search engines. There are many factors that will determine how long it will take.
Through experience with my blogs and helping other bloggers, the average time it takes to see some results is up to one year. From that point on you will start to significant growth.
Social Media Marketing
The last sell art online startup step will be to set up some social media accounts so you can promote your art gallery and art blog.
Many artists use social media in the wrong way.
Social media is not a place to buy and sell art online.
Social media is a place to build relationships with your audience.
After you have built their trust, they will become loyal collectors of your art.
Use social media to get to know your audience, as well as let them get to know you as an artist and a person.
Read these articles to help get you started with some common social media sites used by artists.
- Top 10 Ways To Refine Your Social Media Presence In 2019
- Easy To Use Apps For Beautiful Social Media Images
- Social Media Marketing For Artists – How To Start
- What Network Is Best For You
- Artist Social Media Strategy Grow Your Online Art Business
- Social Media Tips For Artists – How To Build A Fanbase
For more articles about social media marketing visit Social Marketing Resource.
Many artists have done well with Facebook Business Pages.
With the right art marketing strategy, you will be able to build a large following on Facebook.
Your Facebook Business Page will keep your audience up-to-date with your art business and allow you to build relations with your audience.
Facebook marketing strategies include:
- Optimizing your Facebook Business Page profile
- Creating Facebook ads and boosting posts
- Showcasing new and in-progress artwork
- Posting art blog posts
- Hosting Facebook Contests
Here are some posts to help you get started on Facebook.
- How to Create a Facebook Fan Page Step by Step
- How to Use Facebook Insights to Reach Your Audience
- 6 Artist Tips to Increase Facebook Organic Reach
- How To Use Facebook To Build Relationships With Art Collectors
- How To Sell Art On Facebook
For more articles about Facebook marketing visit Social Marketing Resource.
Pinterest is a unique social media platform. I think of it more like a search engine. People visit Pinterest to find content just like they do on Google or Bing.
The benefit you will have is, Pinterest is visual. It is a great platform to showcase your art.
I highly recommend using Pinterest in your art marketing plan.
In just a few months after I started my Pinterest Business account, I saw my artist website traffic increase dramatically.
I actually receive more traffic from Pinterest than I do from all of the other social media platforms I use combined.
Here are some posts to help you get started on Pinterest
- Create a Pinterest Business Account Step by Step
- 6 Easy Pinterest Image Tips That Drive Traffic
- Optimize and Hide Pinterest Images in a WordPress Post
- How To Maximize Pinterest Opportunities To Sell Your Art
- 4 Pinterest Tools To Skyrocket Your Pinterest Traffic
- 7 Pinterest Business Tips For Artists Selling Art Online
For more articles about Pinterest marketing visit Social Marketing Resource.
Now that you have a solid foundation for your online art business, you will want to focus on building a presence.
Many people do this wrong. They will market to anyone and everyone. The truth is there will be a specific audience that will want to purchase your art.
Spend your energy by finding your target audience. The people who will be interested in purchasing your art.
Designing a brand for your online art business will help you to attract your target audience.
Your brand will separate you from all of the other artists selling art online and make it easy for your potential buyers to find you.
Here are some posts to help you get started on your brand.
- What Branding Is For Creative People
- Must Know Art Branding Basics For Increasing Art Sales
- Build Brand Awareness With Your Signature
- Sell Your Paintings By Building Your Brand
- 3 Easy Tips To Help Artists Build Their Brand Online
- For more articles about branding visit Art Business – Art Marketing Resource.
Increase Revenue Streams
Artists start an art business to generate an income. Successful artists have discovered that there are multiple ways to earn money from their art skills.
After you have learned the basics of selling art online, you will want to look into other ways you can make money while you are waiting for your original artwork to sell.
The easiest way to generate more income from original art you have already sold is to sell reproduction giclee prints of the original work.
Are you ready to take your art business to the next level?
Investing in marketing courses and tutorials will maximize your profit and speed up the growth of your business.
Below are some of the most popular art marketing courses that will grow your online art business:
Most Popular – How to Make a Living Selling What You Make by Megan Auman
Most Popular – Build a Successful Creative Blog by April Bowles-Olin
How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft by Megan Auman
Pinterest Marketing for Makers & Designers by Megan Auman
Congratulations on completing this Sell Art Online Startup Plan. You are ready to sell fine art online.
Final thoughts stay patient, keep learning, stay consistent and live your dreams.
You can also visit Favorite Tools For Nevue Fine Art Marketing for all of the tools I use and recommend for operating an online art business.
Sell Original Art Online Overview:
- How To Start An Art Business Online
- Showcase Your Art
- Build An Email List
- Artist Blog
- Social Media Marketing
- Brand Awareness