A Newbie’s Guide to Selling Art Online
A lot of young aspiring artists are using the internet to reach out to people and show them what is unique and interesting about their work. You might be considering doing the same thing, since collectors demand agents, galleries and a name – things that are not possible at such an early stage of your career. But selling art through the internet is not all that easy either, and there are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind if you want to do well.
- Start by succinctly summing up your stand as an artist – what drives you and why people should be interested in your work. If you are not good with words, get a friend to assist you in selling yourself online.
- There are a lot of art communities you can join – Deviant Art, Artbreak, Art Brokerage, Etsy etc – as well as more general websites – eBay, Amazon, Cafepress, Craigslist – to establish and expand your network. But make sure you find out about the site’s terms and conditions, commissions, clientele, protection, general sales and all other details relevant to your purpose.
- Research on how other artists are using the internet to their advantage. Their strategies and pitfalls will help you figure out what can work for you and what you should avoid. Advertise yourself online through representative pieces of your style, watermarked for protection. Use Facebook and Twitter to reach out to more people, through regular updates – photos of artwork, thoughts on paintings, information about your work/ art in general and so on.
- Create a blog and update it regularly. A good design, along with using the keywords feature properly will increase your reputation and improve sales. You can use an auction site for help with keywords. Remember to have a simple, attractive name so people can find you easily.
- A better alternative to a blog is developing your own site. You get to optimize for maximum attention from search engines, and complete control over how you want it to look. It keeps the viewer from being distracted by other things and can go through your artwork with full attention. Your reputation can grow faster this way. Use a simple yet attractive domain name (associated with you/ your work), make it look like a virtual art gallery, and provide contact details along with prices. Research on how you can arrange for online payment in a secure manner.
- Keep all your correspondences in a digital database, and email them your updated portfolio at regular intervals. Effectively managing this database and sending regular, neatly organised newsletters will help expand your network.
- To impress potential customers you need to take good photographs of your artwork. Take multiple shots under different lighting conditions, with close ups to show the detail, paint type etc. It gives people a greater incentive to rely on things they have not personally checked out. But make sure to balance good photos with downloading time. Consult a web specialist if you are uncertain about what is best.
- Make sure you license your art in case of future disputes regarding ownership, originality or rights. Also keep in mind that this is a gradual process that will build up a little at a time. You need to be patient and committed, and not rely solely on the internet for business. Use all other channels to get your work out there.