start selling art, crafts and photos online - simple steps

Start selling art, crafts or photos online {quickly & without going nuts} Part 2

by Helen Aldous

In Part 1 of this series on how to start selling art, crafts & photos online,  we looked at setting up a website to get your artwork online and start to sell it.

In this post we are going to run through how to market and promote your work and new website:

So… You have your new website set up with your work on it and ways that people can buy it…but… I hear you say, what now?

Get your work on other gallery & market sites

In addition to your main hub site, there are loads of other great places to sell your art work online too. Depending on what you do some will be more suitable than others. Some sell your creative items direct and some {print-on-demand sites} offer reproductions of your work in a variety of interesting formats.

“Print-on-demand” sites can be a great way of creating another income stream around your art. For example, if you have an original oil painting you may wish to sell copies of it as greetings cards or posters. This gives you additional sales and an additional income stream from your original image.

One drawback of using some of these sites, especially the handmade & craft markets, is that competition tends to make prices very low and of course if you price low on one site you have to match that across any other site where you sell your art too. If you work is high cost you may want to only sell it through your own site.

Having said that, many of these sites have great community spirit and are a great way to showcase your work. You can also use them as a shopping cart by linking your gallery directly to the items you have on them if you don’t want to accept payment on your main site itself {although they will take a commission}

A great way to work is to place your work on maybe 3 of these sites and then link from your hub website to them. That way you can drive traffic to all your satellite sites from your main site.

Check out these great places to sell your creativity online and see which ones might suit your work.

  • Redbubble – Print on Demand. Also offers framing – great for photographers
  • Imagekind – Print on demand. Also offers framing. Great for photographers as well
  • Society 6 – Print-on-demand site where you can offer your work in some interesting formats, such as iPhone or Laptop skins
  • Etsy – Wonderful cornucopia of crafters work. Downside is that it’s massive so you have to work hard to promote your work.
  • Folksy – A market for crafters work that is smaller and more UK focussed.
  • ArtFire - Great place for selling handmade craft items
  • 1000markets - Market for unique and handcrafted gifts

Remember to link to these sites from your main hub website to drive traffic as its easy for your work to get lost in amongst everyone else’s. Its easier to promote your own site and then send the visitors to your other shop sites via links.

PROMOTE, promote, promote. Shout it from the rooftops & tell the world

If there is a secret to successful art sales on the web it’s MARKETING YOUR WORK & WEBSITE. Unfortunately many people make the mistake of sitting back and thinking the website will do all the work and then wonder why they don’t sell anything. Like a real life gallery with no visitors you won’t sell anything if no one sees your work. A website alone won’t do the job of getting people to visit and look at your creations. The truth is that for your website to work for you, you have to TELL THE WORLD ABOUT IT…

You need to drive traffic to your main site and and through links from that to your other shop sites too. Promotion and marketing are the lifeblood of your website and will get the visitors flowing through. Thankfully its easy and fun to do on the web by making the most of Social Media.

Social Media for artists

Social Media networks are very useful for this. Social Media is defined by the use of sites and networks whose main purpose is social interaction, communication and the creation and exchange of user generated content. Ie they allow you to have a sit down and chat with people all over the world.

There are many many different social media networks that you might want to explore but he two main ones that its worth looking at for starters are Twitter & Facebook.

The key with both sites {and all social media} is RELATIONSHIPS. Nobody likes anyone who just goes on about themselves all the time and its the same in Social Media. Its no use just talking about your self in a steady stream of links to your work for sale. People will soon get bored of that and unfollow, block or ignore you.

Make sure you share interesting and useful information, links to other sites that you like, other artists work, posts relating to the kind of work that you do. The rule is create about 12 links to other interesting things to every one that you link to your own work. Be generous, share and meet people.

Start building relationships on these networks with links back to your main site and you will soon have a steady stream of traffic.

Blogging

Start blogging on your main website. Write posts about your work and other related themes that people who like your work might find interesting. Blogging is one of the main ways you can get people interested in what you do and attract visitors so it’s definitely worth investing some time in.

Blog about

  • Your methods
  • Your inspiration
  • Your upcoming shows and exhibitions
  • Your loves and passions
  • Your future plans and ideas

You will attract like minded people who will probably like what you do.

Cosy up with Google

It’s important that Google and other search engines can find and index your work easily. This is often made to sound really complicated but in reality is a lot easier than it sounds. With a FolioTwist website a lot of this is taken care of for you, but it pays to understand the process and what you can do to increase your visibility.

You might like to read this post about simple Search Engine Optimisation {SEO} for artists which can really help you get visitors by making your site more google friendly.

Collect emails and start building an email mailing list

After all this hard work in building and promoting a website you don’t want to miss the visitors who come to your site and leave after a quick look. Chances are you will never see them again so you want to get their details if possible. Collect their emails and start building your mailing list of people who are interested in your work. That way, when you have some new work to show you can alert your army of potential buyers and you have a market ready and waiting. It’s crucial to start collecting emails right from the start.

  • Make sure you have a means of collecting emails on your site. A simple contact form can be used to begin with.
  • Don’t use your Outlook or Hotmail account to send out emails. It looks unprofessional and is untrackable and often undeliverable too. MailChimp offer a free email service which is a great starting point. You may want to progress on to a product like Aweber when you are a little more established.
  • Make sure you make it clear that you won’t abuse the details and sell them on
  • Keep any signup forms simple. Ask for the minimum of information. People will be more likely to sign up
  • Offer visitors to your site something nice to persuade them to sign up. Perhaps a downloadable copy of a piece of your work or entry into a draw for a painting.
  • You can collect details for your mailing list at your real world gallery shows and exhibitions too.
  • This post gives you some simple ideas about how to get more sign ups at gallery exhibitions and craft fairs.
  • Read this post about the power of mailing lists to artists.

Be patient

Don’t worry that you don’t see instant results. Selling art on the internet takes time. Don’t get disheartened if nothing much seems to happen at first. Just keep soldiering on and you WILL notice things start to work. Make sure you give yourself at least 6 months to start to see some results from all your hard work.

Above all, have fun telling people about your work and you will start see an improvement in your sales.


If you found this post useful why not Get Updates By Email

Get my FREE Course “5 Days to More Art Sales” which points you in the right direction with inspiration and a plan for starting to sell your artwork online.

This is by necessity of space a very quick look at getting your work online. I have made a large part of the content of my ebook “How to sell your art craft and photos online” [previously for sale} available online for free. View the content here

 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Alison July 18, 2013 at 12:18 am

Thank you for your clear and concise words! I have learned much and off to activate my paypal account and add prices to my site. Thank you!

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