You are a beginning artist, and your imagination has produced something truly original and interesting. Now you are ready to present your creation to the public, sell it and make some money, but you do not know where to start. Obviously, you decide to use Internet as a sales platform, since you do not have an agent, you do not cooperate with galleries and you do not have a name that collectors would hunt for.
The art of selling to most artists seems very complicated and so many art objects never find their buyer. Of course, selling art online is not easy. Before you start doing this, you will need to consider some nuances.
Create an attractive image of the artist.
To begin with, think what you can tell about yourself as an artist. Then decide what can be written into your profile on any Internet site – both in a few words that are posted on Twitter, and in long linked text that can be posted on your own site.
Tell people about the most important features of your work, about your experience, about your passion for art and about reasons why you decided to engage in art. Explain to readers why you love art. Why you do it. Why you have no equal in anything. If you yourself are not eloquent, ask a friend to help you with writing such a text. It is extremely important to form your image for further successful sales.
Sign up for online art-related communities.
Depending on how often you plan to sell your work, you can create an account on one of these sites:
There are opportunities to sell on other online platforms. For example, Etsy (although the emphasis here is placed more on various handicrafts, you can also sell art here). EBay (auction site). Amazon (trading platform). Cafépress (for printing your works on various items, such as cups).
Check out the terms of each site. Find out what commission the site takes, what are the sales safety guarantee systems, which customers mostly visit the site and what is generally sold on the site. Clarify everything that relates directly to the sale of your goods.
If you want your works to be collected, online sales will not be the best choice. It is difficult for unknown authors to sell their works to serious collectors at a high price via Internet – as a rule, this is done through galleries in the traditional way, where there is no risk factor. It’s best to consider online sales as a complement to the primary way of selling through intermediaries, rather than your only source of sales.
Do everything to get noticed.
Promote yourself. Post examples of your work on the Internet so people can see what you know and what you do. Add watermarks to digital versions of your works to protect against illegal use.
Find out how other artists promote their works online. What works in such cases and what doesn’t? What do you like about their strategies, and what would you not do? This will help you choose the right way to advertise and avoid many mistakes. Bookmark the artist’s sites that you really like, to visit these sites later and see their new works.
Use the power of Twitter, Facebook.
All these sites will increase your recognition. Post messages about your new paintings, write about art, post art news on Twitter. On Facebook, it’s appropriate to place digital versions of your work with watermarks, photos of you with awards for any achievements, information about your work in general, and possibly even feedbacks about your works.
Blog about your art.
There are several hundreds of free blogging platforms – choose any. In addition, it is important to regularly update the blog, as this will constantly give people information about you, your works and how your business is developing. With the proper setting of keywords, search engines will be able to direct a lot of visitors to your site – use this opportunity. Give your blog a simple but catchy name and people will easily find you.
If you need a help to create a blog, look for instructions on the Internet.
A good inexpensive way to determine which keywords will generate the most traffic is to use the auction site. Try to use different combinations of words in the title, as well as in the description of your lot. So you can understand which words are the most popular for finding your product.
Create a mailing list.
With proper use, this tool can be very effective. Gather a database of email addresses from all customers – existing and potential (that is, those who wrote to you with questions about your work). At certain time intervals, send them grammatically correct polite letters with links to your new work (you can also attach PDF files).
This will allow you to keep the attention of existing customers. And if you manage to create a really successful letter, there is a chance that the recipient will also send it to his friends. That is, even more people will see your works!
Important! Any of such a letter should include the ability to unsubscribe from the newsletter. But do not be frightened of this – you will save only those people who are really interested in your art. Do not bother people who do not need it.
Take only high-quality photos.
It’s better to see once than hear a hundred times, so the impression you will make on customers should be good. Take pictures of the details of the paintings so that everything would be visible, including brush strokes and type of paint. Take photos in different lighting, from different angles. This will help those customers who are afraid to buy what they did not see with their own eyes, to make their choice.
Remember that not everyone has the Internet working at high speed. Photos should be of good quality, but should not be large in size. Ask for help of specialist with a layout or website optimization if you don’t know how to do this.
In order to get good pictures, read articles on how to take photos for catalogs and websites.
Make sure your copyrights are protected.
Copyright protection is an indispensable element in the art world, as it allows you to establish authorship. Documents confirming the rights to your work will help you in cases where there are disputes about the originality of the work, authorship or personal non-property rights of the author.
Consider creating your own website.
On a personal site, you can optimize each page for search engines. It will also allow you to stand out among artists who sell their work exclusively through intermediary sites.
On the artist’s personal website, visitors are not distracted by the work of other authors, but only study your work, so you can quickly become famous. You can use your site to sale works by communicating with customers by e-mail (for example, you can ask them to write to you regarding prices, availability, etc.).
If you are determined to sell your work through a personal website, it is important to register a domain name. It will contain your name or a nickname with which your clients would associate your works. For example, you can register a domain name consisting of your first and last name (firstname-lastname.com) or from an alias if you use a fake name (alias.com).
Try to make the site as similar as possible to a virtual gallery.
Allow customers to peruse through your works, consider them with maximum convenience – let it bring them pleasure.
Post prices and contact details on the website. People always want to know the price, so do not hide it and do not expect that they themselves will offer it to you. Always answer customer questions quickly.
When creating a site, you must implement a secure payment acceptance system. The more works you will sell online, the more careful you will need to be with all payments, including a refund. There are many secure money transfer systems! Explore the various options and choose the one that works best for you, taking into account both the local and the global market.
Do not expect quick success.
Online sales will grow slowly. The process of selling art objects in this way is similar to the foundation and development of a business (and you really should consider your business as your own business): first you need to do everything to get noticed as an artist, then expand the range of services and in the long run become a respected and significant artist.
It may seem like all of this will take a long time, but you should remind yourself that the solid foundation that you need to build in the beginning, as well as optimism and faith in your business, will help you succeed in the future.
Try to participate in various art contests and exhibitions. If at any competitions you win awards, mention this in your profile on all sites where you are registered.
At the first stage, you can distribute samples of your art for free. Photo stocks, Wikimedia and other sites offering free placement of works will help to attract the attention of a wide audience. And although you will not be paid for the use of your works, you can always give them away on the condition that your name is mentioned next to the work, which will allow you to make your name known.