The art world is booming thanks to the internet. A professional artist does not have to depend on the local market anymore. Today, there are no boundaries for a sole proprietorship. Local artists can reach a larger audience with an online store. Any person with creative talent and the will to market their products and services to their target market can own their own art business and succeed.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on an affiliate link, Nevue Fine Art Marketing may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate relationships include, but are not limited to, Bluehost, Tailwind, Skimlinks, SareASale and StudioPress. To learn more visit Affiliate Link Disclosure Policy
How To Start An Art Business Today
Three key ingredients will build a long-term successful art business:
Whether you are thinking about starting an art career or wish to earn enough money to support your crafting hobby, the internet has made it possible for creative people to accomplish their goals.
Over the years, thousands of successful artists have made an art career online, and so can you if you are willing to work hard.
Artists who have created a full-time career selling art online know there is more to operating a business than just making art and posting an image on Facebook and Instagram.
Developing a business plan, setting goals, and working on web design, social media marketing, blogging, market research, presenting artwork at art shows, and creating newsletters have helped them grow their small business globally. The critical thing to remember is that most artists started where you are today, not knowing much about starting a business, personal finances, or how to develop business ideas.
Start An Art Business In 9 Steps
There are nine steps you will want to focus on if you are interested in selling your art online and promoting your local events.
The first step is to create an online art gallery where people can view and read about the art you create, purchase your original art and giclee prints, and learn more about upcoming events.
The good news is that designing a professional website is easy and affordable with WordPress and hosting services like BlueHost.
Another option is to start an Etsy shop or sell on other online platforms like Society6 or Fine Art America.
Here Are Some Etsy Articles To Help Get You Started:
Visit 16 Best Artist Website Builders to learn more about the other options for promoting and selling art online.
What It Takes To Become A Successful Artist
Uploading your products on an e-commerce platform is the easy part. The challenge is to drive people to your listings.
Building a long-term successful art business takes a great deal of energy. There will be extended hours and emotional ups and downs. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. Starting an art business might not be in your best interest if you seek instant gratification.
However, if you are willing to learn about art marketing and work hard, you can achieve your business goals.
Do you have business goals or dream about selling art online?
If you are interested in starting a small business, take a few minutes to write down what you would like to accomplish.
Your goals will be the blueprint of your business plan.
Now that you have an online presence let’s talk about starting an art business from home.
Here are seven areas you will want to focus on to sell your art:
- Create Art
- Find Your Niche
- Learn Who Your Target Audience Is
- Create A Mission Statement
- Learn Art Business Logistics
- Write art business goals
- Design An Art Marketing Plan
Starting An Art Business – Get In The Studio
Before starting a business, you will need a product or service you want to make and sell.
It is essential to have enough art prepared before you begin promoting your art business online.
How many paintings do you need before starting a business online?
There is no magic number to how many different paintings, pastel paintings, or drawings you must have in stalk before opening an online art gallery. However, the more listings you have available, the more people you can reach.
Offering prints, greeting cards, and merchandise is a great way to supplement your income and increase the number of products you have on hand. One painting could provide you with four or more products to sell by offering reproductions of the original.
While promoting and selling your artwork, it is essential to schedule studio time every week to create new artwork.
There will be times when you have to produce art, even when you feel less than creative.
When you have those weeks, try to find different ways to keep yourself motivated. The critical thing to remember is that the best way to sell more art is to have new work available for your art collectors.
Tips to help you stay motivated:
- Have your goals, mission statement, and vision statement where you can see them daily.
- Read art blogs
- Look at other art
- Force yourself to create even when you feel less than creative
- Join art challenges
- Join Facebook artist groups
- Become an art collector
- Take local art classes or online art classes
- Read how to paint or how to draw books and eBooks
- Subscribe to art magazines
Find Your Niche
Once you have an inventory of products uploaded on your e-commerce website, you will want to focus on driving the right people to your listings.
Online sales are increasing yearly, so more artists are trying to sell their work online. The amount of competition is rising every day.
Developing an art marketing plan that separates your art business from all other artists is the only way to build a following.
How can you separate yourself from other artists who paint or draw similar subjects?
The easiest way to get started is to focus on your niche.
A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines the product features to satisfy specific market needs, the price range, production quality, and the demographics intended to target. It is also a small market segment. (Source: Wikipedia)
The people who are passionate about your artistic style are your target audience.
For example, if you paint “horses,” your niche would be “horses.”
Promoting to people interested in horses will significantly increase the chance of you landing a sale.
Take a few minutes to think about what you would like to paint or draw for the next five or ten years.
Visit art that sells for more information about what style of art sells best for some inspiration.
More related articles about niche marketing:
Learn Who Your Target Audience Is
Selling original paintings is a numbers game. Whether you are selling paintings at local art fairs, businesses, coffee shops, art galleries, or online, the chances of you landing a sale increase when more people see your work.
Selling art online is different than selling at local art fairs. People visit fairs to discover new handmade items and tend to see every booth at the events.
People searching for original art online will not visit every artist’s website. They might notice new paintings on social media platforms, like Pinterest, Instagram, or search results.
Still, it is difficult for contemporary artists to build name recognition online with all the competition. Even the most talented artists find it challenging to develop a following at first. Your job is to find various ways to get your creations in front of people passionate about what you create. Developing an online marketing strategy is more complex than setting up a booth at a local art fair.
The easiest way to get started is to discover your target audience.
The information you collect will help you to create content that will drive them to your website.
What you should know about your target audience:
- Where they reside
- Household income
- Their interests
- Where they hang out online
The data you collect will help you write blog posts and social media posts they want to read.
Here are some articles to help you learn more about your target audience:
Create A Mission Statement
A mission statement is a sentence or two describing a company’s function, markets, and competitive advantages, a short written statement of your business goals and philosophies. A mission statement defines an organization, its existence, and its reason for being. (Source: Entrepreneur)
Why is it necessary for a fine arts business to have a mission statement?
An artist’s mission statement will help you focus on what is fundamental for your business.
Sometimes, you will begin to derail and lose focus on your vision as your business grows. The chance of making bad business decisions will increase when you lose focus on your goals and philosophies. The mission statement will remind you what your objectives are to help you make better decisions for the future.
Not only is a mission statement beneficial for your small business. It also explains to potential buyers what you stand for and what they can expect when they conduct business with you.
Download the Artist Statement Workbook to help you write the perfect artist statement.
Art Business Logistics
You might ask yourself, do I need a business license to sell my artwork?
Every state has different laws about small businesses.
The best business advice we can give you is to do some research to decide if you want to classify your business as a sole proprietor or a different business structure that will better fit your business.
Visit the IRS, your local Clerk of Court’s website, and your local town hall to see the steps you must take to legalize your business. After spending a lot of time building your business, the last thing you want to happen is to find out that you are not following your state’s business laws.
Deciding on a business name is a challenge for some artists. Your name should reflect your mission statement and be easy for people to remember.
If you are selling your work online, you will want to include searchable words describing the art style you create.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What style of art do I create?
- What medium do I use?
- Who Would be interested in my art?
- What words would potential buyers use to find my art online?
Visit, How To Write Perfect Art Business Names if you have difficulty deciding on a name.
Write Art Business Goals
It is impossible to write an effective business plan if you do not know what your objectives are.
- Why are you starting a small business?
- What products or services will you be providing?
- Are you interested in having a full-time artist career?
Business goals create a business plan. Write down precisely what you want to achieve and where you would like to be in the next five years, then develop strategies to help you get where you want to be.
Reviewing your goals annually is a good idea to see if you are on track to build a successful career faster.
Related Resource: How To Write Goals You Can Achieve Workbook
Design An Art Marketing Plan
Every successful business always starts with goals and a marketing plan.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan outlines advertising and marketing strategies.
- What strategies are you going to implement to reach your goals?
- How much revenue do you need to generate?
- Are you selling your art at craft shows, in galleries, or online?
- What mediums are you going to use to build brand awareness?
- How much time can you devote to blogging and posting on social media?
Once you know how much time you can devote to blogging, your social media accounts, writing newsletters, maintaining your artist’s website, and creating art, you can start to block off times during the week to get the job done.
Keep in mind that you are the CEO of your business. There will be nobody to tell you what needs to get done.
You are in charge and must keep yourself motivated and organized to grow your art business.
For more information about writing an art marketing plan visit, How to Write an Artist Marketing Plan That Works
Online Digital Marketing Plan Tutorial
Pricing art is one of the most challenging responsibilities artists face.
Figuring out how to make a profit can be challenging, but your main objective is to make a profit if you plan on starting an art business.
Before You Can Make A Profit
Before deciding on a price for your art, you must know the business costs.
List all the costs of operating your art business, including personal expenses and paying your salary.
Example of art business expenses:
- Art supplies
- Studio costs include water, electricity, and heat
- Marketing supplies, including the Internet, smartphone, and advertisement
- Craft show fees
- Shipping supplies
- Shipping fees
- Hourly wage
Create An Online Presence
Selling art online is easier than you might think.
- All you need is a product or service that people want.
- A way to let people know the product or service is available for sale and a place where they can purchase the product.
It is that simple.
We have even better news to share with you. It is easier to build brand awareness now than ever before.
You have the internet at your fingertips.
You have the potential to reach over 4 billion active internet users around the world.
Develop a strategy to build an online presence and showcase your art to your target audience.
Melanie and Nicholas Beall are notable examples of two artists who built a successful online presence.
We stumbled on Melanie and Nicholas’s website by searching on Google for “original horse oil paintings.”
Ranking number one in the search results was Melanie and Nicholas Beall’s artist website Melanie & Nicholas Horse Paintings by Commission.
Melanie and Nicholas’s site does not rank first in Google’s search results by accident.
They have spent tremendous time and energy on their own website and blog.
The work they have done has helped them to outrank 1,300,000 results.
We want to mention a couple of points about their site.
Melanie and Nicholas have made their site easy to navigate and find detailed information about their services and procedures.
The other point we would like to highlight is their daily artist blog.
They understand the importance of creating content that will attract their target audience.
Ranking number one in Google’s search proves they have become masters at building an online presence.
Related Post: 4 Ways to Expand Your Online Presence – Art Marketing
Create An Editorial Calendar
If you have done any research concerning marketing, you have probably heard the phrase “content marketing.”
Joe describes content marketing as:
Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Take the time to learn everything you can about content marketing.
Artists like Melanie and Nicholas have become successful because of their willingness to learn about content marketing.
You can become as successful as they are if you put in the time and effort.
Creating an editorial calendar will help to keep you focused on your mission.
The calendar will make it easy to review what you have already published and what you should write in the future.
To learn how to create an editorial calendar visit, How to Write an Editorial Calendar That Will Generate Traffic.
Now that you have your editorial calendar, you will want to fill the calendar with blog post ideas to drive organic traffic to your artist’s website.
Organic traffic is free traffic generated from search engines.
When searching for something online, they go to Google or other search engines and type in a few words in the search bar.
The words that they type in the search bar are known as keywords.
Google will recommend the best content related to the query typed in the search bar.
The person will then scan through the results and click on the link to provide them with the information they were searching for.
As a content creator, your job is to write content your target audience is searching for in the search results.
The first step is to learn what your target audience is interested in about your art business.
The next step is discovering your target audience’s keywords to search for that content.
Tools like SEMRush will show you exactly what keywords people use in search and how many times they are used per month.
Online Keyword Marketing Tutorial
Take Care Of Your Customers
By now, you know:
- What your business goals are
- What platform will you use for your online gallery
- How to price your artwork
- All of the logistics of doing business
- How to create content that drives traffic to your site
Once your site generates traffic, you must develop strategies to keep them returning.
Writing high-quality content is the easiest way to keep your visitors returning to your site.
The next step is to ensure that every post you write has a call to action.
What is a call to action?
A call-to-action tells your audience what to do after reading your post.
Your call to action might be to visit your art gallery, visit another post, or sign up for your newsletter.
Your objective is to keep your visitors on your site to learn more about you as an artist and become familiar with your artwork.
For more information about the call-to-action, visit:
Providing valuable content and a clear call to action is one way to give excellent online customer service.
Another way you can provide excellent customer service is by having a contact page.
A contact page is a page that offers a way for a visitor to contact you if they have any questions about your artwork.
For more information about contact pages, visit, Should Art Blogs Have Contact Forms?
Another good strategy is to have a FAQ page that answers the frequently asked questions about your art business.
Give the best customer service that you can. Your business and reputation depend on them.
Related Post: How to Get Customers to Refer Your Art
Final Thoughts On How To Start An Art Business Online
Successful art businesses start with art business plans.
It has been said that 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first 2 years.
The most common reason so many businesses failed was that they didn’t have a plan.
Starting a business as an artist has never been easier.
Artists no longer have someone to represent them, like an agent or art gallery.
All of the tools and resources are at your fingertips.
Now that you know how to start an art business online, it is time to take action and get started.
Online Art Business Overview:
- Create great art people will want to purchase
- Learn who your target audience is
- Study your competition
- Develop an art marketing plan
- Review and revise your business plan
- Search for new opportunities
- Make a presence online by blogging regularly, frequently posting on social media, and pinching your content on Pinterest.
What skills do I need to start an art business?
To start an art business, various skills are required beyond artistic talent.
1. Business Acumen: Understanding the fundamentals of business, including marketing, finance, and operational management, is crucial. This will help you set goals, strategize, budget, and track progress effectively.
2. Digital Savvy: A solid online presence is critical in today’s digital era. Skills in website management, e-commerce, social media, and SEO can help increase visibility and sales.
3. Communication: Excellent verbal and written communication skills will help you effectively promote your work, negotiate with clients, and build relationships.
4. Networking: Building and maintaining relationships in art can open doors and provide valuable opportunities.
5. Time Management: Balancing the creation of art with running a business requires strong organizational and time management skills.
Remember, while these skills can be beneficial, they can also be acquired and refined over time. Always be open to learning and growing as a business owner.
How do I determine my target audience for my art business?
Identifying your target audience for the success of your art business involves understanding who is most likely to be interested in your work and potential customers. Here’s how you can go about it:
1. Evaluate Your Art: Look at your art objectively – what type of person would be attracted to it? Consider factors such as style, theme, color, and subject matter.
2. Research Art Buyers: Explore who typically buys art similar to yours. Go to exhibitions, browse online galleries, and observe art show audiences. Look at the demographics of these art buyers in terms of age, gender, income level, education, and lifestyle.
3. Understand Your Existing Customers: If you have already sold some of your work, analyze your current customers. What do they have in common? This can offer valuable insights into your target audience.
4. Create Buyer Personas: A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer. Based on your observations and research, create personas that include demographics, interests, lifestyle, and art preferences.
5. Test and Refine: Remember that identifying your target audience isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process. As your business and art evolve, so too may your target audience. Regularly review and adjust your target audience as needed.
By understanding your target audience, you’ll be better able to create art that resonates with them and marketing strategies that reach them effectively.
How do I price my artwork?
Pricing artwork is a complex process, but here are some fundamental steps to guide you:
1. Understand The Market: Determine the pricing range for similar artworks to yours. Consider factors such as the artist’s reputation, the artwork’s size, medium, or the complexity of the work. Online art platforms, galleries, and art fairs can give you a general idea of what customers are willing to pay.
2. Evaluate Your Artwork: Consider the cost of materials, the time spent creating the artwork, and the complexity of the work. Your pricing should cover these costs and factor in your expertise level.
3. Set Consistent Pricing: Ensure your pricing is consistent. Similar art pieces also should be in the same price range. Irregular pricing can confuse potential buyers and make your work seem less credible.
4. Consider Your Career Stage: Your artwork might not fetch the same prices as an established artist if you’re an emerging artist. Over time, as your reputation grows, you can increase your prices accordingly.
5. Review and Adjust: Regularly review your pricing strategy and adjust it based on the response from the market. If your work sells quickly, you may be underpricing your work. If it doesn’t sell, your prices may be too high.
Remember, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to pricing art. It’s a balance between understanding the market and valuing your own work.
How can I generate organic traffic to my art website?
Generating organic traffic to your art website involves employing strategies that attract visitors without paid advertising. Here are some effective techniques:
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is crucial for visibility on search engines. Use relevant keywords that potential customers might use when searching for art. Include these keywords in your content, meta descriptions, and image alt-tags. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and has fast loading times to improve rankings.
2. Content Creation: Regularly create and publish high-quality content that resonates with your audience. This could be blog posts about your art process, time-lapse videos of your work, or articles on art appreciation. Good content can increase visibility, keep visitors engaged, and encourage repeat visits.
3. Social Media Presence: Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to showcase your art and drive traffic to your website. Regularly posting engaging content and interacting with your audience can increase your online visibility.
4. Collaborations and Guest Posting: Collaborating with other artists or influencers in your space can expose your work to a broader audience. You could also write guest posts on reputable art blogs or websites to gain backlinks to your site.
5. Email Marketing: Build an email list from your website visitors and send them regular updates, new artworks, blog posts, or special offers. This can foster a loyal audience that frequently visits your site.
Remember, organic traffic growth is a gradual process. Consistency and patience are key to seeing long-term results.