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

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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10 shiny golden rules of social media for artists {for Twitter, Facebook, everywhere}

Social media networks {like Twitter & Facebook to name just 2 of the more well known ones} can be a great source of support, collaboration, fun and valuable traffic for an artists online… but like everything {well, most things}, you gotta stick to the rules.

There are some essential ground rules that are pretty universal across all social media sites. Keeping on the right side of the established etiquette can make a big difference if you are trying to use Twitter, Facebook or any social network to help sell your art. If you annoy people they won’t be interested in what you have to say.

So here are 10 pretty essential common sense rules to bear in mind when you venture into social media.

DO do do…

Use your real name

People feel more trusting of a real person and will interact more freely with you.

Be Real

Don’t try to pretend to be somebody you are not. You will come across as false. Share, be honest and be a genuine person. People are attracted to these qualities and you will have better quality and genuine conversations conversations with others, which is really the main point of social media.

Personalise your profile

Make the effort to put up an avatar and personalise your space as much as possible, whatever site you are using. Don’t just leave it as the default. That way people know that you are a real person and not just a spammer or automated bot. People are more likely to trust and interact with you if you have added images or a biography for example.

Respect people and their “virtual space”

This is the most important DO. Don’t start hounding people with information about your work or starting arguments on forums. Be nice and treat people the way you want to be treated.

Say Thank You

You know what your mum used to say… and she was right!. If someone does something nice, say showcases your work on their forum or tweet – say Thanks! Its a great conversation starter and if you don’t acknowledge their helpfulness they won’t bother again.

DON’T even think about…

Don’t view other Social Media users as competitors

This is a new way of doing things. People who do a similar thing to you can offer great collaboration opportunities. You may be able to learn from them. Create trusting and sharing relationships and you can both help each other.

Don’t just spam with links to your stuff

The most important don’t. This is where most people who say “Social Media doesn’t work” fall down. They are pushing their stuff for sale without giving anything in return. You’ve seen them on Twitter, long lists of links to shop items with no conversation in between. You have to give to receive.

Make sure you share good interesting useful content, both your own and from other sources. A good ratio of sales message [ie “look at my new painting”] to useful content [ie “read this blog I found about making your own sketchbooks”] is around 1/12. Again its about having a two way genuine conversation.

Don’t get obsessed with numbers

As always 10,000 twitter followers who don’t give a monkeys about your work are less valuable than 1 follower who really loves it.

Don’t spread yourself too thin

There are SO many Social Media networks out there. You can’t participate in all of them without going actually insane. Choose where you focus your energies wisely.

Don’t Expect instant results

Social Media works like real world networking where a friend of a friend might buy something 2 years down the line. You need to build it up gradually. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

Bonus rule

Wherever you are interacting online, if you try and stick within these guidelines you shouldn’t go far wrong. There’s one bonus  last rule {I had to break the rule of 10!} that’s maybe the most important one of all and that is… HAVE FUN


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

Get my FREE Course “The Artists Escape Plan” which points you in the right direction with inspiration and a plan for starting to sell your artwork online.

The images illustrating this post come from the lovely Spoongraphics blog by Chris Spooner. Chris offers great tutorials, free icons and a lot lot more on his blog. Well worth checking out. Download Chris’s free social media icon pack here.

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How to start selling art, crafts or photos online {quickly & without going nuts} Part 1

A crashcourse in starting to sell your art online without getting your fingers burnt or wasting valuable creative time. Simple steps include | setting up a website | taking payment | blogging | social media | the best gallery, print-on-demand & market sites | Google tips | Using a mailing list

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Rock your Online Art Business – Lessons From Gnarly Rock Gods

Now anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I’m pretty much OBSESSED with a certain rock band. Far more than is probably right or seemly for a middle aged woman with kids.

The band in question is New Model Army who are based in Bradford, 10 miles from where I live, and to be honest chances are you probably won’t have heard of them. Go and Google them right now {ok, well, maybe when you have finished reading this post}. You’ll be glad you did.

NMA have been a successful band in various incarnations, lead by the majestic Justin Sullivan for nearly 30 years {!}. They don’t have Lady Gaga sized commercial recognition {thankfully} but My God do they have a passionate following of dedicated fans! They sell out gigs all over the globe and have created a world which allows them to follow their artistic vision, get paid for it and continue doing it without compromise.

This constitutes pretty much the ideal artistic & creative business success in my book…

So I started to think that I should look into these CREATIVE BUSINESS HEROES in a bit more detail to bring all this condensed rock knowledge to those who haven’t heard of them as I think they are a pretty perfect example of a great creative business in action. What the hell have they been doing right all these years to make it so far? Which of their ideas and methods can we pinch and apply to our own artistic businesses because these guys must KNOW STUFF right?

So without further ado I present…

The Rock God guide to running an extraordinary creative business.

It turns out NMA {and original manager Joolz Denby} have known the most important thing all along… the key element that any artist needs to concentrate on with their business, both online and offline.

New Model Army understood the power of TRIBES right from the start.

Long before even the BIRTH of the internet. Long long before the wonderful Seth Godin articulated the concept in his must-read book Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us they understood what the bottom line was…

You can become successful through genuinely connecting with an interested and passionate group of people who share your ideas and values.

New Model Army and bands like them have always understood the power of the Tribe. With music, art and any kind of creativity it’s all about finding YOUR TRIBE, YOUR PEOPLE, the folks who LOVE what you do and can’t get enough of it. The guys who will queue round the block late into the dark rainy night to buy tickets for your latest gig. Who will trek half way across the world to see you play. The ones who will wait poised to buy your latest painting when you release it. These are the people who strongly identify with your work and artistic vision and resonate with it down through their very soul and into their boots. If you talk to someones soul they will walk to the ends of the earth for you.

These are the people you need to ATTRACT to YOUR creative business.

So, how do you do it? Before the invention of the internet, bands created mailing lists of fans and kept them up to date, with photocopied mailshots through the post, all with the aim of growing and keeping their Tribe together. Now email makes all that so much easier and cheaper and within the reach of any artist. You can keep finding your people, keep growing your email list, keep increasing the size of your Tribe.

  • Takeaway
    Reach out and start connecting with YOUR Tribe – If you don’t currently have a mailing list you need to start one right now. You don’t even need to have a website yet to do this. You are missing all these great people you meet both online and offline and will probably never see them again. Think where it could get you and your art in just 2 or 3 years time if you start collecting their details now and keeping in touch, let alone 30 years.

And there are other pearls of creative business wisdom to be gleaned from these guys.

Steer Your Own Ship. You might end up as a mangled corpse on the rocky shore of fate but at least you are in charge of the route…

NMA saw the way the internet was changing creative business, escaped from the clutches of the corporate record companies and set up their own, ensuring that they owned the copyright on all their material, allowing them to control their work and the way it was sold, packaged and distributed. No more being controlled by large scale corporate businesses who can only ever have their own interests at heart.

  • Takeaway
    Keeping control over your own work and creativity is essential for any artist and the only way to creative freedom. Make sure you maintain copyright on all your work and always work for yourself {or aim to get there}.

Wear bloody clogs if you want to. Sod the Jimmy Choos.

Never ones to follow fashion NMA were pilloried by the music press for their anti-fashion stance and love of bluff northern working class clog footwear but they ignored it and just kept on doing their own thing and creating work that they believed in. Those bands who were the hip flavour of the month fell by the wayside many years ago as their star fell out of fashion and NMA just kept on trucking for all these years.

  • Takeaway
    Always create work that you believe in, no matter what is “hip” and “cool” now. {Yeah – by using those words I’m demonstrating just how deeply uncool I am}. Trying to chase whats hot now turns you into an also ran along with zillions of identical others. Be yourself, stand out and forget what is flavour of the month. Original is far far better than “cool”.

Don’t stop moving forward or you become a dead shark

New Model Army don’t rely on their music back catalogue unlike most bands who have been around a while. They are constantly writing and releasing great new music which attracts new fans and keeps their creativity fresh.

  • Takeaway
    This is of prime importance for artists. Don’t stagnate, keep moving forward, keep trying new things and creating new work. Only by doing so can you keep your work fresh and keep your enjoyment of your creative process alive.

And the moral of the story is…

To achieve all this, COMMUNICATION is the key factor and of course THE INTERNET rides to the rescue. NMA may have started out with paper & post mailing lists in those dim and distant pre-internet days but now the web allows them to do all these things and communicate with their Tribe much more easily & cheaply.

Their website is the hub of the Tribe where a strong forum based community go to chat and keep in touch. The site keeps their people in touch with their tour dates, collects more names on their mailing list, sells their music & DVD’s [all of which they own copyright on of course] and their online shop sells a vast range of merchandise to a global audience.

Their website holds all these elements together and is THE HUB of COMMUNICATION.

  • Takeaway
    Any artist wanting to sell their art online needs their own HUB website as a focal point of their endeavors through which they can publicize their artwork and share their artistic vision with their own Tribe.

YOUR TRIBE is out there waiting for you to share your artistic vision… How are you going to communicate with them?


If you liked this post please get updates via my feed or check out the related posts below.

10 Crucial Reasons Why Every Artist Needs Their Own Hub Website

Simple tips to increase your mailing list signup at gallery exhibitions & craft fairs

And make sure you visit newmodelarmy.org to see all these ideas in action.

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10 Crucial Reasons Why Every Artist Needs Their Own Hub Website

Painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, crafters, photographers, designers, illustrators…the internet is a mass of opportunities for artists and creative folk to sell artwork and creativity online.

There are so many great sites where you can upload your art and sell it, either direct online or as part of a print-on-demand service, where a copy of your original artwork is printed as a high quality Giclée at the size and format requested by the purchaser.

Sites like Redbubble, Zazzle, Etsy, & iStock all allow you to spread the word about your work. Your creativity can be winging its way to a buyer on the other side of the world. Networking sites like Flickr, & Twitter & Facebook allow you to connect and build contacts, discussing, sharing and collaborating with like minded people everywhere.

So why on earth would you bother setting up your own website when all these great free services are available?…

When I speak to artists setting up creative businesses on the web, I always recommend that you set up a central hub website which sits at the very centre of everything you do online and is linked to all the other free sites you use.

Your hub website is your portfolio and the central connecting point around which all your other free website presences rotate. It is the sun whilst your other free web presences are the planets in orbit around it. It is your home at the centre of your little online solar system and the focus of all your efforts. It pulls all the other elements of your online world together rather than letting them spin off into space.

There are lots of very good reasons for setting up your own hub artists website. Here are just 10 of them:

  • Professionalism

    Owning your own hub website looks more professional. You can control every aspect of it and ensure that it looks exactly how you want it to look. You aren’t reliant on someone else’s template designs or constrained by their rules. Great when you are a control freak like me.

  • Build your own brand

    You can use the design of your site to build a personal brand around yourself and your work, which makes you more recognisable online and makes your work more likely to sell.

  • Customise your domain

    You can register and use your own domain name [i.e. www.yourname.com] and have a custom email address related to that too. No more hotmail addresses or hard to remember emails.

  • Stand out in the crowd

    Your hub website only features a gallery of YOUR work so you won’t get lost amongst zillions of other artists, a big problem on large showcase or shop sites. Having your own site can help you stand out in the crowd.

  • Focus

    Having your own hub website gives you a FOCUS for all your marketing and search engine optimisation efforts. You can drive traffic to your own website more successfully than to a collection of satellite sites. This central site then links to all the other sites you use but you only have to focus your promotion efforts on your hub website. Your promotion efforts, focussed on this one site, will build up over time to great results.

  • Build your list of people who love your work

    You can build your own mailing list of people who are all interested in your work and ready to buy it when you release a new piece. This is a great way to steadily build interest in what you do. This list is yours to keep and build.

  • Freedom

    If you decide to stop selling or showing your work on a satellite website you can easily do so and you won’t lose your client list or the advantage of all the promotion you have done. It will all still point to your hub website. You are free to change shops or galleries as often as you like with no problems.

  • Offline opportunities

    You can concentrate on promoting the site offline. If you get promotional items printed up advertising your site and work, you need to make sure the web address you are printing is going to stay the same over time. With your own website and custom domain name you can keep on promoting your work in the real world, at exhibitions and art fairs. This way you can capture sales after the event has finished too.

  • No commission

    You don’t pay commission. Anything you sell through your own site is commission free. [Although you will have to pay a small fee to the company who handles your payments i.e. Paypal].

  • Endless possibilities

    You can keep adding satellite websites to your little solar system and increasing the traffic to your hub website to increase your chance of sales. You aren’t tied to any one satellite site.

Setting up your own website may take a little more time and organisation but if you are serious about selling artwork online or setting up a creative business it is a crucial step that will pay dividends in the long run.

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