How to launch your art

I’ve written a few articles on the things you need in order to sell your art online:

Let’s talk about the third, and probably the more overlooked part of selling art online:

  • Thing #3: Launching (a natural, storytelling way to generate art sales)

Launching is a natural, storytelling way to sell your art online

It doesn’t matter whether you make portraits, abstracts, comics, photographs, nudes, wildlife, landscape, or any other obscure kind of art – launching works.

Launching works because you’re finally able to attract the right audience, build a relationship with them, and make art sales in a chill, confident way.

When you eventually do your first art launch, you aren’t a stranger to your email list subscribers. You’re a familiar artist to them. They’ve been getting your weekly emails where you’ve been sharing what you’ve been working on.

Even artists with THOUSANDS of fans can’t sell their art without the right launch plan

Don’t fall into the trap of “announcing” your art. Which is what most artists do.

I learned about announcing the hard way…

A while back, when my email list was around 1,500+ subscribers I thought it would be easy to sell a handful of art prints I had collecting dust in my studio.

So one night before I went to bed, I sent out a quick email to my list announcing they were for sale. I went to bed expecting to wake up to a bunch of orders the next morning.

The results? I didn’t sell a single print.

Why? Because I sprang the print on my audience before I built up interest. I just announced it.

  • I didn’t get anyone excited, tell the backstory about the print, or create a fun sense of urgency to buy it.
  • I didn’t have a CONVERSATION with my email list about the print before I made it available for purchase.
  • I just announced it. Which wasn’t a great experience for my audience.

This same mistake is made all the time by artists who are puzzled why their THOUSANDS of fans don’t drive meaningful sales.

Taking your time to share your creative process and behind-the-scenes is ESSENTIAL to making art sales.

When you take the time to share what you’re working on at least once a week, your audience will never feel like they’re being “sold” to or spammed. They’re simply following along on your creative journey through thoughtful emails you send.

Ever notice how Hollywood sends out sneak peek trailers every month up to a year before a movie is released? Then the closer it is to launch weekend you start to hear more and more about the movie with actor interviews and behind-the-scenes?

They’ve turned the release of their movie into strategically planned launch.

Selling your art is no different.

What’s better about launching your art is that it’s way less complicated than a movie launch.

The simple act of sharing your creative process and behind-the-scenes with your email list once a week, you’re already building up to a launch.

Launching can seem complicated:

  • What do you write in these emails?
  • How do you time the sending of your emails?
  • How do you ask your audience to collect your work without sounding salesy?

This is where having a launching plan helps…

To make art sales you have to have a launch plan

A launch plan is a way to use strategically timed and written email to build-up to the moment you invite your email list to collect your work.

A launch plan helps you know:

  • how many emails to send
  • when to send them
  • what to write
  • how to ask for the sale without sounding salesy

There are three reasons launches create more sales than simply leaving your art products sit in your online store.

Perhaps the strongest reason people buy anything online is the sense of something going away. When there is a limited amount of time to collect something, it’ll prevent people from putting things off. “I’ll just get it later, my credit card is upstairs…”.

Scarcity is a natural part of selling art online. When there is a limited amount of something to collect, it’ll help generate more sales. Selling limited edition prints, scarcity is limited by how many prints their are. Artist James Jean combines urgency and scarcity into his print launches by only opening a 24-hour window to collect a print. ONLY printing however many prints were purchased during this 24-hour window.

Perhaps the most powerful psychological reason people buy from artists online is the sense of reciprocity.

It’s like those moments someone randomly gives you an unexpected gift. The immediate sense of wanting to give back is reciprocity. Reciprocity is a natural side effect of consistently sharing your creative behind-the-scenes of what you’re working on every week.

Launching your art is an event

It’s something others can share and talk about. It turns your creative process into something tangible. A story. Something people can be a part of.

It doesn’t matter whether you make portraits, abstracts, comics, photographs, nudes, wildlife, landscape, or any other obscure kind of art – launching works.

It works because you are finally able to attract the right audience, build a relationship with them, and make art sales in a non-spammy way.

The best part? You don’t need to put out new work every week to keep your visibility high – because you’ve already built up your own direct platform. An email list of fans.

I’ve had people who’ve been on my email list purchase something for the first time within days of joining, and others who waited years before they made their first purchase. The point is, you’ll have fans for life.

When you do these launches and give people a way to follow along – signing up for your email art newsletter. You’ll be able to continually share what you’re working on with them.

Once you’ve grown a small email art newsletter you can start with a 5-day launch (which I show you how to do inside my online Art Launch Blueprint workshop):

This is proven email framework for sharing a new art product with those already subscribed to your art newsletter. Once a month, every other month. It’s up to you when you use this launch. This launch leads up to art sales in a natural storytelling way.

I’ve tested different email lengths and time, but a 5 day launch has always out performed other lengths and email timing.

The longer you start using launches you can get more advanced with automations:

Automated art launches
A little more advanced, but this is where you send your old launches out to brand new email art newsletter subscribers in a pre-timed way.

Perfect if you’re selling an open edition of prints or an art book. Anything that doesn’t run out like an original work or limited edition prints.

For example, if a new subscriber joins your email art newsletter, over the course of 30 days they can receive a handful of automated emails from you. Emails that bring them into your creative world and invite them to collect your art in a natural way.

Often before I travel somewhere. I’ll sit down before my trip, pre-write and pre-schedule a handful of emails to send while I’m away. Making my art business work for me on auto-pilot when I’m not sitting at a computer.

I hope you can see how launching is the engine behind making art sales online.

I’ve always believed that individual artists marketing themselves have a powerful edge against galleries. Galleries can’t communicate with your audience in a personal way. Massive art storefront websites can’t replicate this either.

Only you can offer a personal connection with your audience. By sharing your sketches, inspirations, and behind-the-scenes.

Only you can invite your email art newsletter subscribers to collect your work and have it not seem pushy or spammy.

Email, when done right, is a game changer for artists.

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.

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