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Are you excited about selling your art online? In this Sell Art Online Startup Plan, you will discover everything you need to know to get your online art business started, so you can begin selling your art today.
There is no better time than now to sell art online. You have the opportunity to reach millions of collectors who are interested in purchasing your art.
Whether you have been selling your art online for some time now, or you are just starting out, your main goal is to be noticed. You have to make people aware that you are an artist and you have art for sale.
If you fail to do this you will start to build up a large 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. Learning how to sell your art begins will understanding how to promote and market your art.
It is simple people cannot buy your artwork or handmade crafts if they do not know they exist.
I am going to be honest with you, art marketing will feel overwhelming at times, and it does take a lot of time and effort.
- 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 other 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 and will accomplish your goals.
You can never fail as long as you do not stop trying.
How To Start An Art Business Online
In this post, I am going to cover 5 areas you will want to become familiar with and focus on for the existence of your career. These areas will help you to start, grow and monetize your online business.
5 Art Marketing Strategies:
- Showcase your art
- Email list
- Artist Blog
- Social Media Marketing
Focusing on these 5 areas will build a strong foundation for your online art business.
I am also going to provide links to additional articles for more information on each subject.
I highly recommend you to take one step at a time.
At first, all of the information might seem overwhelming. But if you take it one step at a time you will realize it is not as difficult as it might seem.
I remember when I started, I wanted to do it all at once to only find out that I accomplished nothing but a headache.
It did not take long to realize that I would be more productive if I focus on one marketing strategy at a time.
There will be more advanced art marketing tactics you will want to implement after you have set a solid foundation for your business. Keep in mind that not every strategy will provide the same results for everyone and technology continues to change so it is important to keep up-to-date with digital marketing and continue to revise your strategies 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 free weekly newsletter. (You will find the sign-up form at the bottom of this post. Do that now so you do not forget to sign-up later.) I will email you important articles that will teach you how to sell art online.
You can also visit Art Marketing Resource for all of the tools I use and recommend for operating an online art business.
Sell Art Online Startup Plan – Goals
Let’s get started with writing goals.
Writing goals is the most important step to take when you are starting an online art business.
Yes, if you are planning on selling your art you are starting a business.
Do not get discouraged with the word “business”, it is only a word.
A business is defined as an organization or economic system where goods and services are exchanged for one another or for money. (Source: BusinessDictionary)
Basically, if you are trading a product for the money you are operating a business.
What do you think the one common goal is that every business has when they start?
Every business has been started with the hopes of making money.
It makes sense, if you are interested in selling your artwork, your goal is to make a profit. Most artists I know would not be able to continue to sell their art if they lost money with every sale.
Did you know that over 50% of startup businesses fail within the first 5 years?
“According to an article in FastCompany, “Why Most Venture Backed Companies Fail,” 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. This statistic is based on a Harvard Business School study by Shikhar Ghosh. In a study by Statistic Brain, Startup Business Failure Rate by Industry, the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years was over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years.” (Source: Entrepreneur)
These are some eye-opening statistics that I want you to be aware of but I do not want them to scare you away from going for your dreams.
Here are some more statistics I would like to share with you.
Seven key reasons for that entrepreneurs experienced business failure: (Source: Entrepreneur)
- Lack of focus
- Lack of motivation, commitment and passion
- Too much pride, resulting in an unwillingness to see or listen
- Taking advice from the wrong people
- Lacking good mentorship
- Lack of general and domain-specific business knowledge: finance, operations, and marketing
- Raising too much money too soon
Grab a piece of paper and write these reasons down. I am serious, write them down because this will be your motivation and a reminder to do your best. Now take the list and place it where you will see it every day.
I would like to take a moment to highlight the first two reasons why businesses fail.
Lack of focus, motivation, commitment, and passion.
Why do you think people lose focus, motivation, commitment, and passion?
One of the reasons is because they lack direction. They do not have a clear vision of what they want or how they are going to get it.
This can easily be resolved by writing goals.
A study from Harvard showed some eye-opening results relating to goal setting.
A group of people was asked if they had set goals. They were also asked if they had written goals and plans to accomplish their vision.
After a ten-year study, the results showed that 13 percent of the people had goals but did not have them written down. Those people earned twice the amount of money than the people who did not set goals.
The people who had written their goals down earned ten times the amount of money than the people who did not set goals as well as the people who had goals but did not write them down. Only three percent of the people had written goals.
Writing down your business goals and having a plan is well worth your time if you want your income to increase that much. Before you do anything, write your goals and set up a plan to achieve them. Your goals will constantly be changing, and you will want to view them and address them regularly.
Before you go to step 2, take the time to read these articles:
I also offer the same tools I provide for my one-on-one coaching:
Now that you are motivated and you have all of the tools you need to write attainable goals, take the time to write them down.
Many of you are going to skip this step and I understand why. You are excited to sell your art online. You want to find out how other artists are selling their artwork so you can do the same.
I get it, but the strategies you implement will only show you positive results if they have direction and a purpose.
Showcase Your Art
Now that you have a clear vision of what you want and you have your goals written down let’s talk about where you will be selling your art.
You can sell your artwork at fairs, craft shows, galleries and online. What you chose will reflect the goals you have. In this post, I am going to focus on selling art online.
With more art being purchased online, more businesses will take advantage of the opportunity and provide services to help artists showcase their art.
You will need to have a place online where you will be able to sell your artwork.
I am often asked, “What are the best places to sell art online?“
I can not tell you what the best platform will be for you to sell your art or crafts. This will all depend on your unique goals. (I know I keep going back to goals.)
What I can do is provide you with some options that are available and what I use and recommend. You will need to review the options that are available and decide what will be best for you and 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 for building 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 selling art online with Etsy is they already have a large community. It will be easier for you to start building your brand.
I know many artists that have both 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 how to start your Etsy shop and list your first item for sale.
When you are just starting out, you want to keep things simple. You need 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 limitations 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.
Like I have said earlier, you might want to get your feet wet by starting with Etsy but if you want to build your business further than I recommend owning a website.
You can easily build a professional website with platforms like WordPress or 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.
If you are going to be building a website using WordPress you will need to purchase a domain name and hosting.
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
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.
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 will be 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.
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 again and you can’t reach your audience with your new artwork?
You see this happening 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 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.
- Ultimate Email Marketing Guide for Selling Art Online
- 7 Email Services for the Online Artist
- Best Places to Add an Email Opt-in on Your WordPress Blog
- 4 Email Opt-in Plugins for WordPress
Start An Artist 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.
I use and recommend HostGator for a hosting service. I could not be happier with their product and customer service.
HostGator makes it easy to have your WordPress site up in minutes. If you need assistance, customer service is available 24/7.
Another popular hosting service is BlueHost . Have a WordPress site live in minutes with their one-click WordPress Installer.
Read these articles to help you get your art blog up and running so you can let everyone know about your artwork.
- 6 Blogging Benefits You Can’t Ignore
- How to Write a Content Marketing Plan That Increases Art Sales
- Art Marketing Basics Solve a Reader’s Problem
- Effective Writing Tip – Keep it Simple – Online Art Marketing
- How Content Marketing Can Benefit Your Art Business – Infographic
- What do I do After Installing WordPress – Art Marketing Plan
Regularly visit Content Marketing Library for up to date content marketing articles or sign up for my weekly newsletter so you do not miss any important art marketing articles that will help you grow your online art business.
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 business. 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.
Build a Successful Creative Blog by April Bowles-Olin
Social Media Marketing
Your last 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 wrong. 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.
Many artists have done well with Facebook Business Pages. If 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.
Facebook Marketing Courses:
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 place to showcase your art.
I highly recommend using Pinterest in your art marketing plan.
For up-to-date Pinterest marketing tips visit Pinterest Art Marketing – Nevue Fine Art Marketing.
Regularly visit Social Media Marketing Library for up-to-date articles to help you with all your social media marketing strategies.
Start here if you are new to selling art online How to Start Selling Art on Pinterest
Pinterest Marketing for Makers & Designers by Megan Auman
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.
Create an Artist Brand Workbook
This Create an Artist Brand Workbook will help you to build a brand that will attract art collectors who are interested in purchasing your art. Purchase your Create an Artist Brand Workbook today.
Brand Your Creative Business by Megan Auman
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.
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
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Learn how to start, grow and monetize your online art business.