composition in art

The Truth About Selling Art Prints

Are Art Prints Worth Selling?

You really need a reason to sell art prints and have a target in mind of what you wish to achieve.  The issue today is how saturated so many emarkets have become.

Instead of listening to the copy and paste blogs I will share real user experiences with you.  You can find many similar experiences detailed within Reddit to see what people face.

How Much Money Can You Make Selling Art Prints?

Within an emarket the average user I saw could pull in anywhere from 300 to 1k a year.  This depends on how these different people approach the market.

No one was making livable income levels.  No one was close to meeting half of what they would require as an income.

So what’s the problem with the art print market?

Art Print Saturation And Visibility

These emarkets will let you upload images of your art or photography and act as a point of sale to the public.  You can try different methods of getting your name out front such as using ads of course, but it’s tricky.

photo art of a tree

Those involved were overcome by the sheer volume of art prints available and how difficult it was to gain any visibility.  It was noted though how some did manage to make a success out of it.

Those who are successful have thousands of images available for print with thousands more in backlog to upload.  It was said that at those volumes artists could see some return around three years down the road.

That is a long time and a lot of effort on an emarket to sell art prints.  Is it really worth it?  Maybe not for the money but it could be beneficial for name recognition.

Cost Vs ROI Selling Art Prints

A key issue with selling art prints is the value.  These are not items that will make you much money per sale.  These do better in volume.

Add to this that the emarket itself will take a heavy toll on your profit.  Acting as the point of sale for you they control the gateway and get their cut.

Some have complained that they see nearly half the sticker price go to cover fees and other aspects of the sale such as ad marketing.  It can become tricky.

Using these services requires a lot more work than it may be worth in financial return.  So then which way is best to get your art prints to the public?

Tricks Artists Use To Make Sales

There are some tricks that artists use to make sales.  Often enough these tricks require them to stop making the art they want, and in turn make art for others by accepting commissions.

Additionally some have started doubling as a photographer and working with weddings, parties, or other avenues.  Then there are those who offer new media art working with other peoples images in animated graphics.

There are a lot of different angles an artist can pursue here.  Nevertheless, each of them take you away from the art you wish to create and you instead create what someone else desires.

This is not a bad thing necessarily.  It does require some adjustment and a way to balance your workload.  Still which marketing method is best?

Traditional Art Marketing Wins Here

An important step to being seen will depend on who is curating any collection.  Your local owned shops downtown may give you a better return than any emarket.

Get to know the best places to sell your art.  Focus more on building public relations as an artist locally first.  How does this help?

single art gallery

The internet is not a magical land where you suddenly become seen.  There is a very real bridge which connects the offline world to the online one.

The bridge is related to real world interaction which then translates over.  Follows, likes, shares from real people can help.  Also having real people visit your website shows analytics that activity is there.

This kind of analytical activity will build over time raising awareness to algorithms and thus build your popularity online.  This only works if you own your online gallery and focus business through it.

The algos of history, well they are history.  What raises popularity today requires a lot more foot traffic and this is obtained by interaction you generate at a grass roots level.

Will Art Blogs Help Sell Art Prints?

Blogs are an interesting beast.  In layman’s terms, the marketing world has what can be called conversion keywords.  Blogs typically do not focus on these.

The reason why blogs fail to create more conversions is due to how search has changed over time.  Today the serps prefer people to pay for advertising.

An Art blog today really serves as an information base for education, teaching, or sharing.  Thus, it is great for branding, some art public relations, but it is not a point of conversion for art print sales.

I am not saying that you should not host an art blog.  Rather know its function and use it for the right purpose as the tool it is.

Why Do Your Art Prints Not Show Up In Search?

Your art prints will not show up in anyone’s search anywhere initially.  The worst location for gaining visibility with organic search are the sandbox emarkets.

Any point of sale website selling photo or art prints provide little access outside of their world.  To be seen it is virtually required to pay to play.

The same can be said for those like Google as well due to historical shifts.  Nevertheless, with Google you do have a major bonus in gaining cross platform visibility because you own your online gallery.

This is why as I stated earlier, visibility comes from gaining real world PR and marketing work.  Real world traffic at the local level can help cultivate online visibility through time.

Will Social Media Help Sell Art Prints?

Social media can be the worst place to sell art prints unless you have a way of targeting very specific things.  A targeting example could be a very popular style of print that can be selectively presented to people looking for it.

digital design mobile

Unfortunately, social media is a wasteland of the masses as each attempt to share to the same crowd.  Too few ever go anywhere with it.

The one semi successful market I have seen there is fan art.  The reason why it seems to thrive there is due to potential copyright issues when hosted in other places.

Generating commissioned work is possible via socials.  Yet here we are stepping away from art prints and back into original artwork.

Are Photography Prints Or Art Prints More Successful?

I bring this up because it is such a competitive market when it concerns prints.  Any artist who is exploring the idea of selling prints will be facing these photographers.

Do not let volume of one side or the other persuade you that one is better.  Rather than seeing the world through that lens, you need to focus on targeted marketing.

I have no doubt that more prints are sold through photography than through art.  This is logical as there are more photographers than there are artists.

If your desire is to use your art prints to help spread your visibility, brand, and use as a promotional tool then do that.

Be Prepared To Give A Lot And Get Little In Return

If it were me, I would use the art prints as a promotional item.  I would start by placing the price point just high enough to cover costs and marketing.

My point would be to have a low priced item that I could win low priced ad bids with.  This would grant brand visibility to my original art and blog.

In doing this you have created a marketing and branding tool.  Be sure you own your online art gallery.  Do not use a third party if you use this method for it will be a waste.

If you are attempting to survive off of art print sales alone then know now that will not be possible.  There is not enough return on the item due to the saturation issues.

Also be aware that a small pool of individuals that are in the right circles of these emarkets dictate what is popular at any given time.  All you must do is visit one of these third party vendors and see what is selling.

In My Opinion Are Art Prints Worth Marketing?

On their own no art prints are not worth the effort of marketing.  If you use it as a promotional, branding, or marketing tool then yes.

You are going to put the same amount of effort and work into gaining visibility to overcome the saturated market anyway.  Would you rather have higher returns on original work, or prints?

There is no magic button to push in order to suddenly gain visibility.  Shifting to another item will not help you.  Without a real marketing plan, you are still another ship without a rudder.

Knowing how to sell your artwork online is no easy thing.  It requires a wealth of education in areas that schools do not teach, and if they do it is old information.

It is for these reasons that local markets in your downtown area are so much better.  In the meantime, get your online infrastructure set up in order to support you and begin to learn.

One Last Golden Nugget To Give To The Artist

If you are still set on using online sales to push art or art prints allow me to say this.  Over the past few years I have seen substantial ecommerce sites pushing more than a million views a month go to nothing.

Some of these friends were required to close shop and get a regular job.  The algos of the online world can change on a whim.  Often its change is to benefit the xyz brand running the show.

You cannot have any real long term sustainability without a grass roots level of involvement.  While you can catch a wave in the online world, that ride ends and changes with the tide.

Be sure to invest in yourself the right way from the beginning.  If you are past the beginning, well it should be easier to retool efforts having some experience and rebuild.