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How To Sell Art Online A Beginning Artist Primer

Selling Art Online Begins With Choosing A Platform

An artist platform will be needed to sell art online.  Allow me to say that there is no right platform.  To add to that statement there are many wrong ways to use these platforms.

Ultimately you need to figure out what fits you the best.  How should it “fit” you?  The audience, method of approach to the public (example: in house search), the companies brand visibility, and how well they can target a select audience, all matters.

You must also learn how to use the back-end side of these systems.  If you want to learn how to sell art online, it will require a little digging into which will work in your situation.

The Best Way To Sell Art Online

The best way to sell art online is using an online art gallery you personally own in conjunction with in-person public relations in your local area.  Nothing beats this.

You peg out in the top of all categories concerning professionalism and presentation when done well.  It creates credibility and a way for you to remain in constant contact with those local to you.

I will go into this more later, but for now let’s break down some popular platforms many artists like to use.

How To Use A Third Party To Sell Art Online

Using a third party art website to sell art online means a venue such as Etsy, Ebay, or a forum-based system.  These locations allow the creation of a store or profile which you then populate with your information and product.

There are beginning strategies to using Etsy I suggest you know.  Also, there are very real issues and problems with Etsy that cause me to never recommend them.

Nevertheless, these issues will exist with many of these third party platforms.  It is their house so it will be their rules.

The goal here is to use their in-house advertisement systems.  You will pay for impressions to be seen by a broader audience.  The key to this strategy is to target an audience that you otherwise would miss.

What this means is that there are users who have fallen in love with that brand.  They frequently purchase from this brand.  Without using that system, you would otherwise miss that user.

Is Third Party Selling Worth The Effort?

If you are trying to gain organic views on third party platforms, good luck to you. Personally I would drive that into the ditch and place my effort into Google.

By default you will not have the popularity to be seen organically within the in house search results. 

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Also pointing your social media to the shop will not aid in this endeavor. All you do is aid in promoting that brand.

Furthermore, why would anyone point their social media followers to a brand that you do not own?  It’s crazy.

If you are selling art online to a target audience that you would like to engage via advertisement, then yes it is worth a try.  Be aware of your cost to return so that you make real profit.

The moment you are paying out more than it is worth to obtain a sell in art online then it is an issue.  Measure accordingly.

Smaller art projects or perhaps selling art prints in volume to aid in branding, these can do well.  High value pieces of art that are low in volume typically do not perform well in this kind of platform.

Selling High Value Art Online

Selling higher value art online typically means pieces of art which take time to create.  For this I want a very specific targeted audience.

You need to accomplish two things carefully in order to achieve this.  First you will need extremely descriptive information about the art on its listed page.

This extends into more than the page copy used to describe the art.  You will need to enhance with what is called “long tail keywords”, add descriptions to the images used, and while outdated I would use any meta tags possible.

Selling art online from a product listing is difficult from an organic sense.  Nevertheless the same tools used for organic search descriptions should be used within your targeted listing for advertising online.

The best platforms for this kind of advertising are Facebook and Google.  Facebook allows you free access to target specific regions, income ranges of their users, and people who like art.

Advertising art on Google will be a little different.  Here the ad copy and descriptions become very critical as well as the keywords you wish to get impressions for.

Does Facebook And Google Work Well Selling Art Online?

The answer really is it depends.  Creating good ad copy is an art form in of itself as well as presentation of the artwork.  This cannot be understated and will often require trial and error.

Rather than look at the platform asking if it will work to sell art online, I would look at how popular your art style is.  Is what you have something unique, and does it have artistic value being a higher end piece?

The greatest issue which rises from attempting this strategy is the ad costs to return from a sale.  Much like using third party platforms you can give away more than half of your profit to gaining visibility to it.

How To Use Social Media To Sell Art Online

Allow me to break this to you gently.  Do not try to sell art with social media that are high value pieces.

If you create fan art at a mere $20 to $50 per piece, then you might do okay.  Yet you are not making much money as an artist.

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There are a lot of complications and dangers that create problems with social media selling art.  Rather it is a branding tool that doubles as an aid for communication with clients and fans.

I understand that this is a total break away from everything that you have heard on this topic.  Selling art via these platforms is something that every artist is trying to do.  Yet near all of them are getting nowhere.

The problem here is that in order to succeed you must dedicate yourself to social media more than art.  Ultimately it becomes more than a full-time job, it becomes your life.  This will never work long term.

Important Notes On Selling Art Online Via Outsourced Platforms

Outsourced platforms are defined as any system where you create a profile, have a shop under a larger corporate brand, or you purchase advertising within a system.

Each has its own flaws.  Thus far I have been very negative about selling art online, but it is to paint a picture with greater accuracy.  That does not mean you should not try these systems.

To make any of these work requires that you fit yourself into them the right way.  This can become like a formula.

Audience expectations + Art quality and time invested = price – costs to reach the audience

What remains is profit or loss.  How well you present your personal “image” to the audience will play a role in this equation. 

You would never sell a Van Gogh at a flea market venue.  Likewise you would never display artistic widgets at the MET.  Find where you fit and what is expected by that audience.

The Most Powerful And Best Ways Of Selling Art Online

First own your online art gallery.  It should not be a question of whether or not you need an online gallery.  Get one.

Know where to sell art locally in your town.  Get your name out there.  Get involved with your local community.  And build your online presence through a process.

This process consists of local support and working with other artists to create a network. 

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Blogging can help yet this is its own field of obsession.  If you naturally are a writer, then go for it.

These previous four very short paragraphs are the key.  What no one tells you is that the online world will mirror or reflect our real one.  Selling art online is not a magical box where you wake up with success.

The online art market is an extension of your present reality where you are.  As real world networks are built so will grow the online ones.

Examples being links, blog posts, event driven publications, and perhaps gallery visibility behind bigger names.

How Geeks And Social Introverts Sell Art Online

I am going to transition here into another whole form of explanation.  You know who you are if this makes sense to you.  Geeks and social introverts work on a whole other level when selling art online.

It is possible to use SEO strategies via blogs and product listings.  The problem is that today AI writing has taken algorithms by storm.

At present to break this cycle will require very specific content focused around content bubbles.  Very niche and specific trends can be found within head topics and subsequent sub topics that you can leverage.

If you can achieve tailoring your content via this kind of format then obviously you can gain greater visibility online than the average artist.

In achieving this you can bypass a lot of the at home public relations and move quickly into selling art online.  I strongly advise that you do NOT abandon your local art marketing initiatives.

The difference is that you may see success faster than that of the average artist with little to no technical capability.

Still even with these efforts, by itself it is not an all-in-one solution.  You will need to step outside of your comfort zone and develop real world art marketing strategies.

That principle can never be abandoned.

Selling Art Online Is About Audience And Visibility

If you have an amazing visibility with high volume but it is the wrong audience then it means nothing.  Likewise, if you can find small portions of visibility with the right audience it is a start, but it is not enough.

There is a mixture of these two which must take place at some point in order to obtain success.  The paths to achieve this success will be as a result of several combined efforts.

Real world art marketing can aid in creating the quality of audience you require but often will lack in volume.  Online blogging can create high volumes of visibility but give little to no quality.

Here is where tools like social media, event marketing, and natural promotions that you do not pay for help you.  These can become a bridge between those worlds.

Social media, event marketing, and when others promote you freely is all about branding.  This is different from marketing.  Here is where you really wish to cultivate your efforts in the end.

The cultivation is not from you reaching out to find followers, but rather your content and actions in the real world generate them for you.

The event marketing and promotions grant you not just legitimacy but also exclusivity that people begin to recognize at some level.  When this happens then you will see how these pieces fit together.

It is a machine which has multiple parts that turn and support the whole mechanism.  It simply takes time, dedication, and a great deal of effort to get them moving.