One of the most challenging aspects of selling art online is to get your art in front of those who love it enough to buy it. Some of you may already create an artist portfolio but found few people visit your website, and you know how discouraging it can be. Your dream of selling your art likely slowly fade and your artworks gather dust in the corner of your studio.
Marketing your art online and in-person is a part of the art business, part of being a creative entrepreneur.
The first thing people want to see is your online portfolio, to make sure they want to go forward and buy a piece from you. You should take your time to get it right.
Potential buyers, gallerists and collectors check your credentials, history as an artist, learn more about your work most of the time online. In the nowadays online portfolio is an expected part of the art business. It’s crucial to make sure it’s working for you and lay this foundation correctly.
Here are some tips to help you stand out, drive traffic and represent your studio practice in the best way possible.
1. Good descriptions of your artwork
Artists are selling themselves as well as their artwork; buyers are interested in your biography and artist statement to help explain the roots of your ideas and inspiration. Each artwork featured needs a full description; buyers rely on this information to make their decision.
Make sure your descriptions are easy to read and remember that spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes make a really made impression on buyers. You can also make sure you optimize your recognition by search engines by using key words. Buyers use key words to narrow down their searches online, so by using these words in your descriptions your work will be identified.
Examples of key words would include descriptions of medium (oil painting, pastel drawing, wood sculpture), style or technique (abstract, expressionist, realist) and comparisons (influenced by Mondrian, Monet). A mixture of key words targeted to general searches and more specialist vocabulary will increase your chances of attracting buyers.
As an artist, you never know when potential buyer or gallerist may ask you about your latest work, and you have not updated your online portfolio for ages. You are very much guaranteed not to make a sale.
It may feel like there are not opportunities but is it because we are not ready or there are not any opportunities? Ready or not, the opportunity will come. And it makes the whole process much easier if you keep your online portfolio stocked with your latest and greatest pieces.
Live by Scouts motto and make sure your portfolio is up to date – be prepared.
2. Be sociable
Keywords are a really good tool in most cases but there is more you can do. Social networking is very helpful in increasing your name recognition. It is possible to use this massively popular area of our online life and here are some of our tips.
Twitter – This popular site is easy for artists to use, you can sign up for a free account and you can access the many people that browse it daily. You can upload images of your work, full descriptions and link to the websites and galleries where your work is for sale.
Instagram – This site has some great ways for artists to attract new buyers. Your page can showcase your artwork, send out promotional bulletins about your work, create art groups that can help you to network in the art community and adds friends who love your work.
Facebook – This site allows artists to become a part of an artistic community where they live by registering their location. You can join existing groups or create new art groups, add contacts and come up with creative events with a RSVP ability built in for inviting your friends. You can also advertise your art in a very targeted way due to the information held on each page.
YouTube – This site is perfect for uploading videos of you creating artwork or explaining your aims and inspirations of your artwork. People who aren’t creative love to watch the process and other artists always like to find out short cuts or different ways of working. Then you can place a link between your videos and your finished artwork that is for sale.
Forums – Whether an art forum or a more general forum it is a great place to network. It is possible to link to your artwork or website at the end of your post. If you have themes or subjects that inspire you, there are bound to be other people that feel the same way and forums can put you in touch with them.
Social networking sites work when you spend time cultivating connections. You need to spend time talking, commenting on what you see and generally getting involved in what’s going on. If you share an interest with people then working to create networks of people is fun.
3. Start an art blog
Artists can use blogs to say more about their work and how it is created. You can link to your online gallery where your work can be bought and advertise exhibitions. Blogs attract a different demographic than other online art sites mentioned and is easy to start. WordPress.com is one place where hosting and other complications are done by someone else but is still free.
4. Email newsletter for art lovers
An email newsletter allows an artist to create and maintain long-term relationships with interested people and customers by keeping in regular contact. If you have also created a blog it is easy to post your artwork online and send out emails automatically.
You can put a subscription box in an obvious place on your blog so that people don’t feel they are being tricked into getting unwanted spam. You can also include a way to unsubscribe to the emails. Emails are a good way to keep in touch with people without being intrusive that enables you to be in the buyer’s consciousness, hopefully leading to more sales.
Just because you are selling your art online doesn’t mean you should only advertise online. Promoting your website in offline ways is very important and can target customers who can then go straight to your site. All your printed material such as business cards, postcards, flyers, exhibition advertising etc should include your main website address, giving customers’ instant access to your work.
6. Form a Group
When artists join together they are able to increase the number of buyers they can attract to their websites. Within a group there isn’t competition for buyers because although someone may have searched for one type of art, when they reach a group site they look at other art while they are there. You can also make links between individual artist websites which not only increases your web recognition it encouraged buyers to take a look.
7. Give it 6 months
In any business using any form of promotion you cannot expect instant results. Give some of the things we’ve suggested a try and give them time to work. It takes time but you look back you will be able to see how your business has changed