For many, purchasing art is a personal and often emotive experience. In many cases, collectors will want to see the work in person before buying a piece of fine art. This seems natural since historically, art has either been sold in saloons or high-end galleries. But the art world has drastically evolved in the digital age, and more and more people are comfortable with buying art online. In fact, many collectors love the huge variety and selection that the internet gives them, and artists don’t have to rely on the handful of galleries that they work with to make or break their career. Here are a few ways to get started with selling your work online, so that you too can reap the benefits.
Submit Your Work to Online Galleries
There are a lot of online art galleries such as ArtPal or Artfinder. Many of these online galleries are curated and juried, so collectors feel like they are finding the same quality that they would in-person at a brick and mortar gallery. Some of these sites charge memberships fees and commissions (like a regular gallery would) but obviously, the exposure you get is much greater.
Research online galleries and see which has the membership and commission levels your comfortable with. Then submit your work and set up an online profile on the top three that you think might work best. Since you don’t want to submit the same work to multiple galleries, you might want to create a trusty inventory spreadsheet that helps you keep track of what is posted where, and update it when each piece sells. You may find that your work sells better on one platform than another, and that’s ok. You can modify what galleries you use over time, and tweak your online selling presence with the click of a button.
Turn Your Website into an Online Store
If you don’t have your own website, with a unique domain name, get one immediately. Even if this particular method doesn’t sound appealing to you, if you want to sell online, you need a place where people can learn more about you and your process. The more they find, the more confident they will be in purchasing your work, even if it’s not directly from your site. That being said, selling your artwork on your very own website gives you complete control over the presentation and buying experience, without commission rates or direct competition with other artists. With online platforms such as WordPress and Squarespace, it is now easier than ever to set up a very attractive website with an online store.
Use Social Media and E-mail to Promote
Ok, so you’ve started selling at a couple of online galleries, and even put some of your work on your own website. The sales should be flooding into your bank account right? Not so much. Now it’s time for the hard part, promoting your work and encouraging people to buy. A great way to do this is on social media, where you can post new art as it’s being made, videos of your process, and even offer special sales or discounts. In addition to social media, building an e-mail list and sending out newsletters using aF service like MailChimp can inform people of new work, promotions, or even in-person gallery openings that you are participating in. Just make sure you ask for permission before adding anyone to your list (even people you know personally). The trick is consistency, so even if you only send something out once a month, make sure you do it every month.
Selling your art online is a great way to expand your audience and increase revenue, but it can be tricky and involves a lot of trial and error. Nonetheless, many artists feel like it is worth the effort. The promotion process can also help connect you with those who love and appreciate your art, so it can also be rewarding and encouraging!