A basic strategy for selling your art online. What you'll need:
- A plan (with reachable goals)
- A body of artwork
- A website
- An email list
- A social media presence
There was a time that I didn’t imagine for a minute that I would ever be able to make a living from my art. I’m not sure what gave me the motivation to give it a try. I think it was a mixture of desperation and sheer bloody-mindedness.
But when it comes down to it, the reason that my tiny art business has grown and is starting to thrive is because I started to take it seriously. I took my art making seriously and I took the business and the marketing side of making a living seriously too.
This year, in addition to my other offerings of art and intuitive art sessions and workshops, I’m going to be sharing more about how to sell art online, and how to organise your art business with a plan to achieve your goals and be able to live your dream artist’s life.
This is an overview of what you will need to market your art online in 2018.
You will need a plan to start with to stop you becoming overwhelmed with the task of marketing your own artwork. It can seem so daunting at first, the sheer volume of work and understanding exactly what you have to do to make an income from your art.
Your plan doesn’t have to be complex to start with. Decide on a few goals and be specific about them. Then organise what tasks you need to complete to achieve the goals.
What to include in your plan:
- Your goals
- What you’re prepared to do to achieve your goals
- Marketing strategy (What is your niche? Who are you marketing to? How are you reaching them?)
I think it’s also worth mentioning that being organised is EVERYTHING that it’s cracked up to be. If I don’t keep my art business super organised, it completed overwhelms me.
One of my favourite tools to keep organised is Trello. It’s free to use.
I use Trello as a planner and task tracker. In a future post, I will share some of my boards with you and explain how I use it to keep track of everything. If you don’t want to miss future art marketing posts, you can sign up to my email list here and have them delivered to your inbox.
You will need work to sell, and photographs to sell it with. Three to five pieces of art is enough to start marketing yourself, but ten to twelve pieces is better.
Take photographs of yourself as you paint, and photograph your works in progress and your finished work. Learn to take good photographs of your work, or have photographs taken professionally.
Make as much art as you can, and document it as you go. Take photographs and videos. Keep an inventory.
I keep my inventory in a database in Airtable. You can grab a copy of my inventory template when you sign up to my email newsletter here.
You will need a self-managed website to be able to successfully and cost-effectively implement an online marketing strategy. If you don’t have management of your own site it will cost you money every time you want to change something on your website.
Even if you sell your art through other websites (Etsy, Society 6, etc), you will still need a website as the central pillar of your online art marketing strategy so that your collectors can go somewhere to sign up for your email list (the most important part of art marketing is this list, there’s no getting around it).
If you don’t have a website:
Set one up. It doesn’t have to be fancy. There are quite a few options out there for making your own website easily. I prefer to use WordPress (which is free to install on your website) because it gives you a lot of control and is easy to use once you get the hang of it.
You will need to register a domain name, arrange hosting for your website and have WordPress installed on it.
If you don’t want to invest in a domain name and hosting yet, you can set up a free wordpress website/blog at http://wordpress.com Do know that this type of website is limited to just a few themes and plugins and you won’t have the full capability and adaptability of a self-hosted WordPress website.
An email list
Start collecting email addresses of your collectors and supporters as soon as possible. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. This is the best way to communicate with people who already like or own your work, so make sure you know who they are and how to reach them.
I use a free Mailchimp account to collect email addresses and send out regular emails.
A social media presence
It’s relatively easy to get eyes on your art with social media. With all the photographs you take as you work and photographs of your finished artworks, there is lots to catch the eye.
The social media platforms that work best for getting traffic to my website, and eyes on my work, are Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. I tend to concentrate my efforts in these three places and pay less attention to other platforms.
It’s not necessary to spend hours on social media every day. Choose a day or two a week to schedule your social media and check in to reply to comments and interact with your followers every few days.
My favourite tools for automating social media are:
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