Business in art: It doesn’t have to be hard

Business in art doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.

The art marketing choices you make will be different depending if you’re just starting out, or if you’ve already built your art website and have already been growing your art business online for a few years.

This article isn’t meant to be a shallow list of “best of” places you can upload your art.

Rather it’s meant to be a 10 step guide you can follow from beginner quick wins to more advanced art marketing strategies.

Basically, I’m sharing what you can do immediately if you don’t have your own website to the ideal situation where you do.

You may already be at different stages in this list. So hopefully you can use this as a guide for a starting point and guide to where you should be headed.

1. Select a place to sell your art online.

In order to sale your art, you need a way for people to give you money in exchange for your art. If you’re just starting out and don’t have your own art website then you’ll need to utilize a website that can handle these transactions for you.

Depending on what you’re offering will determine which site is better for you.

Here are quick places you can list your art online for sale and process a payment:

  • Etsy. Perfect if you make small, original, hand made art. This can be anything from small paintings to a variety of other objects.
  • Society6. A great solution for artists who want to sell their work printed on objects.
  • SaatchiArt. Perfect for fine artists who want to sell high-quality prints (with framing options), originals works, and even commissions. However they do take a 35% commission from each sale, so price accordingly.

NOTE: These online art stores are temporary solutions until you eventually build your own art website.

2. Pick one social media platform.

If you’re setting out to sell your art online from scratch, have no website, and literally haven’t existed online before then this step is for you. Pick one and only one social media platform to break the ice with.

It’s up to you whether you pick Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. Each has their own logistics, quirks, and types of crowds.

However, just pick ONE platform and consistently share your creative process and work on it minimally once a week. Taking your time to write a few meaningful sentences to go along with the images you share.

Yes, even if you have less than 10 followers. Stick to a consistent schedule of sharing thought-out content and high-quality photos of your work in progress.

Then, make every fourth post have a specific call-to-action inviting anyone to purchase your art.

For example, if you gave yourself the schedule of posting once a week, on the fourth week make your post 100% about inviting people to buy a specific original, print, or any other product.

If you decided to stick to a daily posting schedule, make an invite to buy every fourth day.

NOTE: The point of these first two steps are to get you used to selling your art. Sales are only going to happen if you’re confident in asking for a sale.

3. Start building your artist website.

There are so many options for building your art website. My art website has been running on WordPress since 2005 for my art website. But there are a handful of options to pick from. Read this article comparing the best artist website builders to figure out which one is right for you. You can look at these great artist websites for inspiration. Your website should include a store and a blog.

4. Create an email list.

Probably the most important part of your website is your email list optin form. Apart from being able to manage your own transactions with customers in your online store, your email list is the number one essential for your art business.

Even if someone visits your website and loves your work. The chances of them ever coming back is slim. This has nothing to do with you or your website, it’s just how people behave online.

You might say, “Well, if they follow me on Instagram or Facebook, they’ll be up to date on my art.”. Unfortunately that’s not true.

Expect only 3-5% of your social media followers will ever see your updates. There’s nothing you can do about it. That’s the business model of social media platforms. They want people to pay to boost or advertise their new content to reach more people.

With your email list you can expect 40-60% of your subscribers to see your new content.

Your email list optin form should be the main focus on your art website. Don’t hide it by putting it on the bottom of your contact pages. Make if the primary focus of each page of your website.

I use ConvertKit to manage my art newsletter.

5. Create a content schedule.

Your blog should be the primary home for all the content you create about your art.

When you create a new post on your blog, it’s the URL of that blog post that becomes the content you share throughout your social media accounts. It’s what you share on your art newsletter. It’s also the URLs your audience will share in their social media.

Your blog posts will live on and on.

It’s these blog posts that become the way people organically find your art website overtime. Instead of people primarily landing on your homepage. When you look at your art website analytics you’ll notice certain blog posts are attracting the majority of traffic to your art website.

So take your time to consistently site down and create content about you, your creative process, and journey as an artist.

Overtime, these posts will be a silent engine for driving new people to your art website.

Your blog posts and email newsletter

When you create a new blog post, share it with your audience via your email newsletter on the same day every week.

Making art sales

Using the same sales strategy as in step two. Sharing three pieces of content that are purely about your creative process and what you’re working on, then having your fourth email be 100% about inviting your audience to collect something specific.

NOTE: Optionally, once you have your personal art website up and running. Where your store, email list, and blog are 100% functional, you can opt to delete your work from the places you uploaded your art to sell to in step one. This way your art sales are primarily located on your art website. Eliminating listing and transaction fees from third party websites to increase your profits.

Final thoughts on slowly building into your art business.

These are the basics for establishing a foundation for selling your art online.

If you would like to learn more advanced ways of selling your art online – such as sales funnels, art launches, automations, and generating publicity – you’ll enjoy my free email training below.

No matter how weird or “niche” you think your art is, you can start selling your art online. Find inspiration and get started with this free email training.

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