Most artists fall into the same vicious circle when they try to sell their art online:
- Try to get “famous” or THOUSANDS of followers on social media.
- Post their work online announcing, “I have a new *PRODUCT* in the shop, go check it out!”
- No one buys anything.
- You come to the conclusion it’s impossible to sell your art online.
Shifting away from social media
When you change your focus from trying to grow your social media following and focus on growing your email list – you’ll start selling you’ll begin to notice a positive shift in your art business.
Here’s some quick numbers to illustrate this point:
SOCIAL MEDIA: Expect 3-5% of your followers to see your new content.
EMAIL LIST: Expect 40-50% of your followers to see your new content.
Does this mean social media is bad or a waste of time? Not at all.
Instagram and YouTube can be fun. They’re a great way to share what you’re working on every day. Or even just a few time a week.
So where do you begin with selling your art online?
You need three key ingredients:
- Thing #1: Traffic (people visiting your art website)
- Thing #2: Conversions (visitors to your art website joining your newsletter)
- Thing #3: Launching (a natural, storytelling way to generate art sales)
Right now, let’s talk about Thing #1: Traffic.
“How do you get people to visit your art website?”
This is actually a pretty complicated question, so I want to dig deep into it.
A lot of people will tell you:
- “You need to do SEO.”
- “You need to do advertising.”
- “You need to get on social media.”
It’s important to remember there are different stages in your art business.
In each one of those stages, you can focus on different strategies and tactics.
But you don’t need to overcomplicate things in the beginning.
At different stages, you can try different things, moving from beginner to more advanced later on. But you can’t do it all upfront.
For example, “pay per click,” (PPC) refers to paid advertising.
You’ve probably seen these types of ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. PPC is great for more advanced businesses because when you get it working, it’s very scalable and provides a predictable ROI if you have a well performing sales funnel.
For every dollar you put in, you might make two dollars, three dollars or even four dollars. It can be a really powerful tool to help your art business grow.
But the downside is that you need to know your numbers. You need to know what your LTV, or lifetime value, is for every art collector. You need to know your conversion numbers.
For example, I know for every 100 affordable prints I sell (< $500 USD), 6 of those collectors are going to later buy a much more expensive offerings again and again. They’ll become a collector for life.
To really do PPC right, it also takes a lot of analytics. Most people hire other people to handle this for them.
That’s why I recommend you DON’T start with PPC ads. You should really wait to do this because there are better ways you can get free traffic in the early stages of growth.
Here’s another advanced online business topic: SEO or “Search engine optimization.”
SEO is when you type something into Google, results come up, you click, and you’re like, “Yes! This is exactly what I wanted.”
That’s an example of good SEO in action. This tool can be incredibly powerful for your online business.
Anytime that you generate leads or get traffic to your art website from SEO, you’re getting really high-quality people coming to your site with what’s called “search intent.” All that means is that the person was searching for what you have to offer.
The problem with SEO is that it takes a lot of work and time to start seeing results. It’s also not directly in your control where you rank.
Google might change their policies or how they rank certain key terms. It also takes time for your site and posts to rank really well.
The best recommendation I have for you on SEO is to write authentically about you and your work on your art website and blog.
And in fact, you can get a ton of traffic from Google, even if you don’t look at keywords, title tags, or any other advanced stuff that other people will tell you to do.
The BEST way to get traffic to your art website is to get featured, create guest posts, and/or get interviewed.
Getting in front of the already established audiences of others is the most effective way you can start getting traffic to your art site.
Getting featured in front of the right audience tomorrow could mean hundreds or thousands of new people on your email list this week.
It doesn’t cost you money like PPC. It doesn’t require you to know your sales funnel conversion numbers, like paid advertising does.
It’s actually really straightforward.
Getting in front of the already established audience of others just involves you going to sites that have more traffic than you do and saying:
- “Hey, I have something that I think your readers would find interesting.”
- “Can I do a guest post for you?”
- “Would you like to set-up a quick interview?” or “I see you feature _____, will you feature my work?”
To this day, I still get traffic from small features and quick write-ups I had on sites from over 5 years ago.
So how does it work?
First of all, you don’t need to go directly to top notch blog and publications in the beginning. That’s really important to understand. Don’t go find the biggest publication or influencer related to the work you make on the planet and pitch them. It doesn’t make any sense, and you don’t have the credibility just yet.
Instead, you start off small, finding people who are one level above you, and you say, “Hey, I noticed that you have an audience that’s interested in this topic. I think that your readers will probably find my work interesting.”
Then based on the type of content they publish (interviews, guest posts, features, etc…) Ask to be a part of it.
Most blog owners, publications, and influencers would love to feature you and your work.
You’re making their job of creating content for their audiences easier by offering up you and your work.
As you get good at this, you’ll be able to leverage this domino effect of reaching out to larger and larger audiences.
For example you could say, “Hi Online Publication #2, Nice to meet you. I did an interview with Blogger #1. Their audience loved it! Do you think we could do an interview?”
Then, you could do this again and again, and again.
You’ll keep moving up the chain, and, soon enough, you’ll be on massive sites. Resulting in the traffic you need to significantly grow your email list.
Which is what we’ll talk about tomorrow, Thing #2: Conversions (how to get visitors to your art website to join your newsletter)
Remember, when you know how to grow an audience on a platform you own (your email list), you have the power to make income from your work.
Sell your art online
No matter how weird or “niche” you think your art is, you can make art sales online. Find inspiration and get started with this 5 day email training.