Creating art is a very rewarding and emotionally satisfying process. It allows you to harness your creativity and develop a unique piece of work that you can be proud of. However, many artists struggle to create art regularly because of a lack of time or financial constraints.
The solution to this problem is obvious — sell some of your art. The Internet has made it simple for artists to promote and sell their artworks. There are thousands of sites that specialise in art sales along with websites that can be used to promote yourself as a professional artist. This guide will explain how to use these sites to sell art online and make money.
Choose a platform for selling your art
The first decision that you will make when selling art online is deciding where it should be sold. There are thousands of sites that sell art online, including online art stores, social networks, and auction sites. You can even create your own website for selling art using powerful online tools. Here is a little more information about each option.
Selling art via an art website
One of the quickest ways to sell your art online is by listing it on an art sales website. There are many sites to choose from including:
To get started, create a profile and upload images of the work that you are interested in selling. Price your works at a rate that is appropriate for the time that you have put into the work and the cost of the materials used.
- You can begin selling your art in a matter of hours
- Art websites already have a lot of visitors, so there are many opportunities to sell
- These websites often advertise the art on their website, including your works
- Art websites will take a large commission when an artwork sells. Some websites charge monthly or annual fees to list your artworks.
- Your work may be lost amongst the thousands of other artworks
- Some websites may not accept your art based on their submission guidelines
Social media is a very effective tool for promoting and selling art. Artists can share images of their work and develop social connections with art lovers around the world. Some of the best social media platforms for selling art include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Selling your art on social media is free
- There are billions of people using social media, so there is potential to reach a wide market
- It may be difficult for people to find your art
- You will have to manage the financial transaction yourself
- It can take a long time to build an audience and sell your first piece
- Social media isn’t designed to allow people to easily search for specific types of art
- To do well, you may need to promote your social media profile
Selling art via auction websites
Auction websites are another straightforward solution for selling art online. Websites like eBay, eBid, Preloved, and Gumtree are used to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of art each year. Using these sites is simple. Create a listing for each artwork you are interested in selling and wait for bids.
- Easy to use
- These sites have millions of users
- There are listing fees and sales fees
- Your art may be hard to find amongst the many auctions
Create your own website
A slightly more complex option, but one that can be very rewarding, is to create your own website. You can either code a website from scratch or use an online website builder like SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress, or Shopify.
- You can create a website that you love the look of
- Ongoing costs are typically lower than auction sites or art websites
- Complete control over your website
- It is an asset that can be used to promote your art for many years to come
- It is more time consuming to make a website
- There more upfront costs
- You may need to market your website to attract visitors
Which platform should you choose?
It’s important to remember that you aren’t restricted to choosing one of these platforms. Many successful artists will use multiple social media pages to showcase their art, as well as their own website to sell their art. Some of the factors to keep in mind when choosing a platform include:
- Cost – How high are the fees and commissions? Will there be any startup costs associated with using the platform? Will there be ongoing costs like domain registration fees or eCommerce fees?
- Time – Will it be very time consuming to upload your work to this platform? It can take as little as 10 minutes to create an eBay listing, but it may take you 3 months to develop your own website and promote it. How much time do you have to spare?
- Exposure – How many people use the platform each day? Will your work be found easily or will it be buried under millions of other social media profiles or listed artworks?
- Payment – How will you receive payments from the platform? If you are building your own site, you will be able to choose if you use PayPal, Bitcoins, credit cards or another payment system to receive payment. Other platforms don’t have payment options at all (most social media sites), which only makes suitable for promoting your art. Some auction sites will only have limited options for acceptation payment.
- Features – Some platforms will have features that make it easier to manage your listings and sales. They may help you post your artwork to buyers and offer financial protection for when the transaction goes poorly.
Promoting your art
Placing your art on a social media or auction website won’t be enough to guarantee success. You must also take some steps to promote it. Here are a few tips for doing so.
Even if you aren’t selling your work via social media, you can still promote it there. Post images of your finished artworks along with tags and descriptions of the work. Form relationships with social media users to build a social media following. Link your posts back to the platform where you will be selling the work.
Always post high-quality images
When promoting art, it is important to have it look as good as possible. Make sure your work is well lit and that all images are in focus. You want it to look stunning.
People who buy art are usually interested in the background of the artist. Spend some time writing a biography and posting images of yourself to the platforms you are using. This will increase the appeal of your art and help the buyer understand that the work was created by someone who is passionate about art.
Consider using advertising
If you are using your own platform, you may have to advertise it to attract customers. Consider purchasing advertisements from platforms like Facebook ads or Google Adsense. However, make sure you use a tight budget and only choose keywords that specifically relate to the kind of art you produce.
Write great descriptions
Regardless of the platform you are using, you should write detailed descriptions about your work. Tell the visitor how and why you created the work. Identify your sources of inspiration, explain the processes and materials used, and the share the time it took to create. Categorise your art work when possible. Having this detailed information available will help you sell your work.
Think about branding
When you commercialise your art, you are turning it into a product. The branding that is associated with this product will determine how attractive it is to consumers. Read this excellent guide to learn more about branding yourself as an artist.
Link platforms together
If you have decided to use multiple platforms, always ensure they are linked together. That way, if someone sees a picture of your art on Instagram, they can easily find the auction page where you are selling it.
Link real work promotional techniques with online ones
Find ways to promote your online art in the real world. For example, have business cards printed up that feature the URLs of your social media pages, artwork auction pages, and website. Tell people to follow your social media page if they are interested in your work and include details of the platforms you use on printed bios.
Shipping and packing orders
Once you have uploaded your artwork to various platforms and promoted it, your first sale will occur before you know it. Be ready by having the appropriate packing materials available. It’s always advisable to add insurance when shipping valuable artworks as they may be damaged during transit. You should also be very clear about your returns policy when selling art online.
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