Skip to content

Tips For Selling Your Art Online (or anything else, really)

November 11, 2020

What are the three words that always make an illustrator’s eyes light up?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Besides “Free apple fritters,” I mean. 😋💦blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Answer: “Passive income stream.” Money that comes in by itself while you’re sleeping or eating fritters.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Sounds like an idea we can all get behind.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

How do you create these streams? Many artists set up an online store so people can purchase their work. Then they sit back and wait for the money to roll in.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

As you might expect, it’s not quite that easy.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Let’s look at some of the things you need to do to sell art, or anything else, online.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Be Visible

guy flying plane with bird on his head pulling banner framed still life print fruit vase flowers blowing away

You can sell your work on your site, but that means doing everything yourself: processing payments, packing, shipping, etc.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Many artists (including myself) find it easier to create a store on a platform designed to sell art. The trick, of course, is getting people into your store. They have to know it exists.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Which means you have to promote it. On your blog, on your social sites, any way you can.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Find The Right Platform

woman wearing safari hat on desert isle palm tree with coconuts representing different website platforms where can sell artwork

There are a lot of places where you can sell your art. You have to decide which one is best for you. That means researching the sites (“best places to sell art”), then exploring them and learning how they work.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I use one called Fine Art America. Here’s a link to my store.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

FAA is a print-on-demand service. I can sell prints, framed or unframed, at different sizes. People can also put my art on greeting cards and things like tote bags, iPhone cases, even shower curtains. 😊💦🛀🏼blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Other sell-your-art sites (the coconut logos pictured above) include Redbubble, Zazzle, eBay, CafePress, Shopify, Etsy, Deviant Art, and Society 6. There are many others.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Most of these sites sell a lot more than prints. Etsy specializes in handmade, one-of-a-kind craft items. You can sell just about anything on eBay or Shopify.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Prints or Originals

guy walking bent over carrying big cardboard mailing tubes for shipping artwork to customers

As mentioned, I sell my work on Fine Art America. A big reason I chose it: all I have to do is upload high-res images of my work. FAA can print them at different sizes, and they do all the processing and shipping. Redbubble and Society 6 work the same way.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

By contrast, if your selling original paintings or one-of-a-kind items on eBay or Etsy, you’ll have to handle the packaging and shipping yourself. It all depends on what you’re selling and how much control you’d like to have.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Add ‘Shop’ To Menu

artist dog with beret striped shirt bones representing Home About on his website adding third bone for Shop

Include ‘Shop’ in your website menu. blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

When people click on it, you can send them directly to your store on the third-party site, or you can link to a page which explains the third-party situation and provides a link to the store.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I chose the latter approach. blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Add a Shop Graphic

guy wearing yachting cap on sailboat painting picture of romantic fish couple on sail

I stuck one at the top of my sidebar and let it speak for itself. Kind of a visual call-to-action.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Click on the graphic and it takes you directly to my FAA shop.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Boost On Social Mediablank vertical space, 24 pixels high

It’s not enough to promote your art on your website. You need to promote it on your social sites as well. It’s no good having a store if people don’t know it exists.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

FWIW: Fine Art America has share buttons which allow me to promote any piece of art on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (just those three).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Here’s a screenshot.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels highDjango Reinhardt caricature artwork on Fine Art America has share buttons so can post to social media channels

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highWhen I click the Facebook button, for example, I get a pop-up window which allows me to add text before posting the art to my Facebook timeline.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high Django Reinhardt caricature artwork on Fine Art America screen which allows you to share artwork to your Facebook channel

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highOther Ways To Promote Your Art

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highSome suggestions in no particular order:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

1. Write blog posts about your work, showing steps, work in progress.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

2. Write posts about the benefits of art, art appreciation, why you like certain artists.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

3. Set up Pinterest and Instagram accounts, since those are highly visual social media platforms.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

4. Add a rotating “Featured Work” to your website, especially if you have new work.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

5. Have an About Page: share info about yourself to emotionally connect with prospective buyers.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

6. Pitch yourself to sites that interview artists.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

7. Write your own Q&A interview, and feature it on your site; also: pitch it to those who do artist interviews.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

8. Set up a Facebook Business Page and share work in progress, etc. (Facebook Pages offer “Shop” as a menu item– take advantage.)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

9. Put a video showcasing your work on your landing page, and/or blog.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

10. Do searches for things like “tips for marketing art online,” “selling art online,” “promoting your art business,” etc.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

11. Do the same kind of searches on YouTube to find helpful tutorials in video format.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

12. Do searches for your competition, e.g., “abstract artists,” “mixed media artists,” and see what you can learn from their websites, blogs, social media sites.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

13. Embrace niche marketing: blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

In order to start marketing your work, you must establish a target audience. Your efforts should be directly created for one individual person, just as you would create a custom painting.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Draw out your ideal customer profile and pretend as if you are speaking only to that person when creating marketing materials. You want to be exclusive to this audience as opposed to trying to please everyone.”blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

14. Be able to articulate the value of your art: what does it offer the buyer in terms of feelings, experience, memory, inspiration?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

15. Connect emotionally via stories: share your own story, your journey; every creation has a story: figure out what it is and relate it.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

16. Find and cultivate  influencers (search: “people who blog about art, painting, etc): comment on their posts, ask questions, etc.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

17. Research and reach out to art dealers (search: “art dealers who work with emerging (digital) artists”).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

18. Seek out opportunities for writing guest posts about art (search: “guest posts about art”).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

19. Explore opportunities for submitting your art and getting links back to your site (search: “submit your art”).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

20. Share something every day on your social channels, even if it’s not finished.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

21. Consider being open to commissions.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

22. Print up postcards of your art. Hand them out as business cards, mail them to prospects, give them to galleries to distribute and display.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

23. Add keywords to your images by including a description in the alt-text field: it will help search engines find your work when people do a search for that kind of art.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

24. Include appropriate keywords when you create social media profiles; write them to attract your target audience.

Likewise, use appropriate hashtags when you post art to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social sites.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

25. Join local art associations so you can feature your work in their exhibitions.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

26. Contact cafés, restaurants, banks, and other venues, and ask about exhibiting your work. Include a sale price and contact info on each piece.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *  blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, editorial, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.


You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Brad Kane editor Worcester Business Journal blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
blank vertical space, 40 pixels high

 

 

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2020 1:44 PM

    Best advice I’ve ever read! Bookmarked and pinned on my wall!
    A bow to maître Mark Armstrong!
    Oh, and: 🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨

    Like

    • November 13, 2020 1:05 PM

      Wow! Never in all my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I’d become a pinup!!– this is definitely the highlight of my career!!! 😅 😆 😂 😊 Thank you, my dear Marina! So happy you enjoyed it and found it helpful. In a perfect world, hordes of online shoppers would descent on your store and clean out the digital shelves!! That’s my ongoing wish, anyway. You’re already a Superstar, of course, I just want the world to recognize it, that’s all– is that asking too much?? No, no, no!! Always a delight, and thanks as ever for the nutritional supplements!! 🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨😋💥🚑👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽😊😘

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 15, 2020 5:35 AM

        …infinite nutritional supplements: 🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨

        Like

  2. November 12, 2020 12:20 PM

    Thank you from a French illustrator for these tips. it will help me a lot

    Like

    • November 13, 2020 1:19 PM

      You’re very welcome, mon ami, it’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow illustrator. I took the liberty of visiting your site and looking at your work– truly excellent! And I really laughed when I read, “Ah, l’humour! Ma caféine et ma malédiction.” Ha!– bien dit!! 😊 Glad you found the post helpful, and thank you for your kind comment. This American illustrator wishes you great success! 👍

      Like

  3. November 12, 2020 1:23 PM

    Good to hear from you again – excellent post with lots of great ideas. Hope your sales are going well – I think a lot of people have managed to have an income stream during Covid because they are doing the things you suggest.

    Like

    • November 13, 2020 1:51 PM

      Hi, Margy!– great to see you! Yes, a long time between posts– why am I such a slacker?? My apologies for not visiting your own blog recently. (I owe all my other blogger friends the same apology.) What have I been doing?? Stacking firewood and grinding my teeth over the election– that’s all I can think of!!

      I sell something every so often– always puts a smile on my face. Ever thought about selling some of those great photos of yours? I’m thinking there might be some buyers out there– your nature shots are lovely. Cheers, hang in there, and thanks as always for your good cheer and support! 😊

      Like

      • November 13, 2020 4:21 PM

        Glad to hear you are okay. I’ve been trying to touch base with a few bloggers like yourself who are running on silent. I know Covid is taking a toll, as has the last four years of American politics – no matter which team you are on!
        So kind of you to boost my morale!

        Like

        • November 14, 2020 12:21 PM

          Really appreciate your checking on me, Margy– thanks! And do think about offering some of your photos for sale– you’re a real pro, and that’s no baloney! 😊

          Like

A penny for your thoughts. I'm on a tight budget here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: