How to create an online foundation for selling your art online

Let’s establish a foundation for your art business online.

Getting started selling your art online needs to be built around a platform you are in control of.

This platform is nothing more than your own website and a place where you can regularly communicate with your audience – your mailing list.

Yes getting traffic to your art website takes work.

And yes, getting the people who visit your art website to signup for your mailing list is another challenge. But before you even think about these things, you need them set-up to get started.

Here’s how:

STEP 1: Build a website for your art and include a blog

A website is the first step if you want to sell your art online.

There are a few free options like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com. But I don’t recommend these for a few reasons:

  1. When you use any of these services, your domain name will almost always be an “extra” extension. Showing the service provider’s own domain. For example, if I created my site on Tumblr, the web address would be www.chriswilsonstudio.tumblr.com instead of www.chriswilsonstudio.com.
  2. You have fewer options for custom design, functionality, and revenue. For example, I know when you use sites like Shopify or Squarespace a percentage of each sale you make goes to them.
  3. When you build your art business on someone else’s platform, you’re vulnerable to their rules. For example, if Tumblr closed tomorrow, you would lose your business.

These reasons alone are why I recommend going with a self-hosted WordPress website. You have more control, it looks more professional, and your work will live on a platform you own.

The website hosting company I use and trust for my art website

Bluehost just works. I recommend using Bluehost for your art website. You can get started now at $3.49/month.

Once you’re logged in, you can take advantage of their one-click WordPress setup that they’ll walk you through.

STEP 02: Setting up your art newsletter

ConvertKit is my number one recommendation for email list management and building.

ConvertKit makes managing your email list easy. It’s very intuitive to use and doesn’t require any technical know-how or other work-arounds.

STEP 03: Having a strategic mindset to inform your marketing

Once you have your website and mailing list ready to go, there are five strategies to keep in mind as you take your next steps.

Here are some quick insights on how to approach each of these strategies:

  1. Define and find your true audience.
    You get to choose who you want your audience to be. Many artists make the mistake of targeting the “general public” or “rich” people. When the criteria for defining your audience is based on people’s tastes, values, and experiences.
  2. Drive these people to your art website.
    Once you’ve decided on your audience based on unique tastes, values, and experiences – you have to find where they congregate online, who they follow, and what they read online. Then you can focus on getting your work in front of the already established audiences of key influencers, blogs, and other online outlets.
  3. Make it easy for them to signup to your art newsletter.
    Getting you and your work mentioned or featured in front of key audiences who match your target audience will create traffic to your website. Now you have to create fun and interesting ways for your website visitors to sign-up for your email art newsletter. Otherwise known as creating a lead magnet. This is usually a form displayed prevalently on your website. Usually it communicates what they’ll get for signing up and what to expect. Here’s a dedicated newsletter signup page I currently use.
  4. Engage with your mailing list weekly so you can build trust.
    Now once someone signs up for your art newsletter I recommend sending a weekly newsletter to them. Keep everything natural and authentic. Meaning, write your newsletters as if you’re writing a long lost friend. Write it in first first person, and be genuine. Once you do this, you’ll notice something interesting start to happen – you’ll begin getting thoughtful and sincere replies to your email art newsletters. People writing you back to say thanks for sharing your art with them. When you start communicating with individuals in your audience like this you’ll learn valuable insights about what others like about your art. Sometimes these insights will make it so you make a pivot in your art business in your art business.
  5. Invite them to collect your art in a natural, storytelling way during an art launch.
    Don’t over complicate this step. If you want to create art sales, you have to be clear that you are inviting them to collect something. This is where using proven launch concepts are valuable. Launching taps into key psychological concepts that make sells happen. There are many different approaches to launching.

Communicating with people who show an interest in your work is the crux of selling your art online. Your email art newsletter one of the best ways to engage with people who have an interest in your art.

FACT: When you share new content on social media, you can expect 3-5% of your followers to see your content. But you can expect 40-60% of your email newsletter subscribers to see your new content.

Getting started at selling your art online requires a few minor investments. Apart from getting a domain name, hosting for your WordPress art website. A ConvertKit account should be your next investment.

Get started with ConvertKit here

Want more resources?

Building your audience and engaging with them is essential to selling your art online. Get started with the right tools. To see all the tools I use to run my minimal art business online, check out these resources I put together.

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