If you’re an artist or a designer, selling your art online is one great way to earn a living doing what you love. With the global art market reaching $67.8 billion, selling art online has become an increasingly lucrative avenue for artists to sell their work and generate income. From having your own online store to marketplaces like Etsy & Creative Market, selling your art to a global audience is now easier than ever without the constraints of physical galleries or exhibitions.
The digital realm offers a diverse range of platforms and strategies that empower artists to connect directly with art enthusiasts, collectors, and potential buyers from the comfort of their studios or homes. Read along to learn the best way to sell art online, the essential strategies and tools you need, and unlock the vast potential of the online art market.
Here are 7 essential steps to help you sell art online and make money in 2023
- Register your art business
- Setting the stage for online art sales
- Showcasing your art online
- Pricing your artwork
- Online sales platform & marketplaces
- Marketing & Promoting your art online
- Building Trust & Credibility
Step #1: Register Your Art Business
Registering your art business is a crucial step in establishing a solid foundation for your artistic venture. It not only provides legal and financial benefits but also helps you build credibility, protect your intellectual property, navigate the business landscape more effectively, and lay the groundwork for long-term success.
Follow these steps to get started:
- Choose a Business Structure: Before registering your art business, determine the most suitable business structure. Common options include a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
- Register Your Business Name: Select a unique and memorable name for your art business and register it with the appropriate government agencies. This process typically involves conducting a name search to ensure availability and then filing the necessary documents with the local or state authorities.
- Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits: Depending on your location and the nature of your art business, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits. This could include a general business license, sales tax permit, or industry-specific license.
- Protect Your Intellectual Property: As an artist, protecting your intellectual property is vital. Consider copyrighting your original artworks, registering your trademarks or logos, and understanding the rights and protections afforded to artists in your jurisdiction.
Remember to research local regulations, consult with professionals when needed, and stay informed about ongoing compliance requirements to ensure your art business operates smoothly and successfully.
Step #2: Setting the Stage for Online Art Sales
Creatives and artists spend countless hours perfecting their craft, delving deep into the intricacies of color, form, and texture. While some possess extraordinary skills and hold advanced degrees, most of them find themselves lost while navigating the unfamiliar territory of business.
Hence, the best way to sell art online successfully is by understanding the factors involved in operating the business. Follow these steps:
- Assessing your Art Inventory and Target Market: Before diving into online art sales, assess your art inventory and identify your target market. Take stock of your artwork, evaluating its quality, variety, and thematic coherence. Determine the unique selling points of your art and consider the preferences of potential buyers.
- Building an Online Presence as an Artist: To succeed in selling art online, establish a robust online presence that showcases your talent and captivates potential buyers. Here are two key steps to consider:
- Creating a Professional Artist Website: Design a professional website that serves as a virtual gallery for your art. Include high-quality images, detailed descriptions, and pricing information for each artwork. Make your website visually appealing, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly.
You can quickly build stunning artist portfolio websites on Pixpa with the help of our comprehensive suite of features tailored specifically for artists to showcase their artwork in visually captivating galleries and seamlessly integrate an online store to facilitate sales.
- Establishing a Strong Social Media Presence: Harness the power of social media platforms to reach a wider audience and build a community around your art.
Choose the platforms that align with your target markets, such as Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, and consistently share engaging content showcasing your artwork, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and artist insights.
Step #3: Showcasing Your Art Online
One of the primary obstacles for artists when sharing their work online is determining how to stand out from the lot. Artists can share their work on a variety of websites and social media platforms. Nonetheless, with so much art being published every day, it might be difficult to ensure that potential purchasers notice your work. Follow these tips to get your art noticed:
1. High-quality visuals
Invest in professional photography or learn techniques to capture your art in the best possible light. Ensure that the colors, textures, and details accurately convey to potential buyers.
Theresa Kao, an artist and illustrator, uses vivid and bright colours in her website built on Pixpa.
Additionally, explore digital representation options such as creating digital versions or 3D renderings of your artwork to offer a more immersive experience for online viewers.
2. Compelling art descriptions and storytelling
Art descriptions are crucial in engaging potential buyers and giving them a deeper understanding of your artwork. Craft compelling descriptions beyond mere technical details and evoke emotions or themes related to your art. Incorporate storytelling techniques that enhance the meaning and significance of your artwork, making it more memorable and enticing for potential buyers.
Step #4: Pricing Your Artwork
1. Factors to consider when determining pricing
If you have ever wondered how much money one can make selling art online, it can range anywhere from $2000 to $200,000 a month. But to start earning the big money, you first need to set up the pricing for your art. Consider the following factors when determining the pricing:
George Shubin, an urban landscape photographer, sells his work in the form of calendars, greeting cards and prints.
- Artistic Merit: Consider the quality, skill, and uniqueness of your artwork. Factors such as technique, materials used, and the level of craftsmanship can influence its value.
- Size and Complexity: Larger and more intricate pieces often command higher prices due to the additional time and resources required for their creation.
- Artistic Reputation and Experience: Your reputation as an artist, previous exhibitions, awards, and the demand for your work can influence the perceived value of your art.
- Market Demand: Research the current art market trends, analyze comparable artworks, and evaluate the demand for your art style to determine a competitive price range.
- Cost of Production: Consider the cost of materials, framing, shipping, and other expenses incurred while creating and selling your artwork.
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2. Strategies for pricing art competitively online
You can strike a balance between affordability and the value of your art by leveraging the following strategies:
- Research Comparable Artworks: Investigate the prices of similar artworks by artists of similar stature to gain insights into market standards and competitive pricing.
- Start Conservatively: If you're relatively new to selling art online, consider starting with slightly lower prices to attract buyers and build a customer base. As your reputation and demand grow, you can gradually increase your prices.
- Offer a Range of Prices: Provide a variety of price points by offering artwork in different sizes or formats. This allows you to cater to different budgets and attract more potential buyers.
Wayne Holt Chan, a photographer, has created a dedicated ‘Limited Fine Art Prints’ page on her website.
Leverage limited editions and exclusivity. By limiting the number of available copies, you create a sense of rarity and exclusivity, which can justify higher prices for these limited editions. Also, offer exclusive pieces that cannot be replicated.
This can include one-of-a-kind originals, commissioned artworks, or collaborations. By positioning these exclusive artworks at higher price points, you create a sense of prestige and desirability.
Step #5: Online Sales Platforms and Marketplaces
There are several popular platforms and marketplaces that cater specifically to artists and art enthusiasts. Here's an overview of some of these platforms:
- Your Online Store: Creating your own online store provides you with complete control over your brand, customer experience, and sales process. With your store, you can customize the design, layout, and functionalities to showcase your artwork in the best light. Additionally, having your online store allows you to establish a direct relationship with your customers and retain complete control over pricing and profit margins.
Pixpa, a popular portfolio builder and online store platform, can be an excellent choice for artists looking to create their online store. Pixpa provides various features specifically designed for artists, including customizable templates, gallery layouts, and e-commerce capabilities.
Austin Siadak, a landscape photographer, sells his spectacular expositions of nature in the form of art prints.
Other Popular Marketplaces to Sell Art Online
1. Etsy: Known for its focus on handmade and unique items, Etsy provides a vibrant marketplace for artists to sell their art, including paintings, prints, sculptures, and more.
2. eBay: As one of the largest online marketplaces, eBay offers a diverse range of art categories, providing artists with a broad audience and potential for sales.
3. Shopify: While not art-specific, Shopify allows artists to set up customizable online stores, providing complete control over the branding, presentation, and selling process.
4. Saatchi Art: A dedicated art marketplace, Saatchi Art showcases a wide range of artworks from emerging and established artists, attracting a global community of art collectors and enthusiasts.
5. Artsy: Artsy is an online platform that connects artists, galleries, and collectors. It offers an extensive range of artworks and allows artists to exhibit and sell them.
- Merchandise: Artists can sell art through merchandising by leveraging their creative designs and concepts to create a range of merchandise items that resonate with their audience. They can start by identifying popular or iconic pieces of their artwork that can be adapted into various products such as prints, posters, t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more.
These items can be sold through their own online store or platforms like Redbubble, or Society6, which provide a ready-made marketplace for artists. Additionally, artists can collaborate with local or online stores that align with their artistic style to stock and sell their merchandise.
2. Optimizing your listings for maximum exposure
To maximize exposure and increase the chances of selling your art online, optimize your listings on the chosen platform:
- High-Quality Images: Capture high-resolution images that accurately represent your artwork. Use good lighting and different angles to showcase its unique features.
- Detailed Descriptions: Write compelling and informative descriptions for each artwork. Include dimensions, materials used, techniques employed, and any relevant stories or inspirations behind the piece.
- Keywords and Tags: Use relevant keywords and tags to optimize your listings for search engines within the platform. This will improve the visibility of your art in online searches.
- Promotion and Engagement: Actively promote your listings through social media, newsletters, and collaborations with influencers or art communities. Engage with potential buyers, respond to inquiries promptly, and offer exceptional customer service.
Step #6: Marketing and Promoting Your Art Online
Social Media has touched all aspects of our lives and the art market is no exception. In fact, social media platforms can be used as one of the best ways to sell art online. It offers artists powerful tools to sell their artwork, expand reach, build a solid online presence, and promote their art to a broader audience of art enthusiasts and potential buyers. Consider the following strategies for effective art promotion on social media:
- Choose the Right Platforms: Identify the social media platforms that align with your target audience and artistic style. Popular options include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Engaging Visual Content: Share high-quality images of your artwork that highlight its unique features. Experiment with different angles, compositions, and behind-the-scenes glimpses to engage and captivate your audience.
- Consistent Posting: Regularly share your art and relevant content to maintain an active presence. Develop a content calendar to plan your posts and maintain consistency.
- Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments, messages, and inquiries from your followers. Show genuine interest in their feedback and build meaningful connections with your audience.
- Influencer Collaborations: Identify influencers who align with your artistic style and have a relevant following. Reach out to them to explore collaboration opportunities such as joint projects, featured posts, or artist spotlights.
- Guest Blogging and Interviews: Contribute guest blog posts or participate in interviews with art-focused websites or blogs. This allows you to share your expertise and reach a wider audience within the art community.
- Participate in Online Art Communities: Join online art forums, groups, or communities where artists and enthusiasts gather. Engage in conversations, share your artwork, and provide constructive feedback to build connections and gain exposure.
Step #7: Building Trust and Credibility
Building a reputable artist brand is crucial for establishing trust and credibility with potential buyers. Consider the following strategies:
- Artistic Identity: Develop a cohesive artistic identity that reflects your unique style, vision, and values. Ensure that your brand elements, such as your logo, color scheme, and visual language, are consistent across your website, social media profiles, and promotional materials.
- Artist Statement: Craft a compelling statement that conveys your artistic philosophy, inspirations, and intentions. This helps potential buyers connect with your art on a deeper level and understand your creative process.
Roxane Fiore, a visual artist, has created a stunning artist statement that defines her vision and inspiration as an artist.
- Professional Presentation: Pay attention to the presentation of your artwork online. Ensure that your images are high-quality, your descriptions are clear and informative, and your online presence is well-maintained and up-to-date.
- Feature Testimonials: Displaying customer testimonials and reviews is an effective way to showcase social proof and build trust with potential buyers.
- Exceptional Customer Service: Respond to inquiries, messages, and emails from potential buyers and customers promptly. Address their questions, provide additional information, and offer personalized assistance.
- Packaging and Shipping: Pay attention to the packaging and shipping process to ensure your artwork arrives in excellent condition. Use appropriate materials, provide tracking information, and consider insurance for high-value pieces.
Making money by selling art online becomes achievable when you have the knowledge and guidance to navigate the process effectively. While pricing, marketing, and selling your art require additional research and effort, implementing the tips provided here will set you on the right path. By establishing these preliminary elements, you can shift your focus to creating high-quality art and building a profitable business.
Ready to start selling your art online?
You can leverage Pixpa's user-friendly interface, customizable templates, and robust e-commerce capabilities to effectively market your art and convert visitors into paying customers.