Starting a business, or growing an existing business, can be a slog. There’s so much to do, and so little reward at the beginning, that it’s easy to get disheartened.
One of the easiest ways to get started with selling art online is find a few quick wins. Getting a website up and running, or redesigning a website, can be overwhelming. You can often get started just by accumulating a few followers on social networks and making some quick sales by sharing images of your work online. These quick wins are a way of motivating you to keep going.
How to Get Quick Wins
In this post, I’ll outline a few of the ways that you can get some quick wins.
Print on Demand services
If you are an artist who sells large works or very expensive pieces, your art is out of the price range of what most new collectors feel comfortable spending. You can grow awareness of your work, and substantial side revenue, by offering prints of your art.
The Internet has given rise to a plethora of Print on Demand (POD) services. These companies will print, frame, package and ship your images. All you have to do is upload high-resolution images of your art. Of course, while these companies have substantial communities of interested art collectors, you’ll be competing on their sites with thousands of other artists, so you’ll need to market yourself as well – but that’s where the quick wins come in to play.
Here’s a few of those POD companies:
FineArtAmerica.com – a tiny little scrappy company, they only have a handful of employees, but they have become a juggernaut in the POD space.
SaatchiArt.com – perhaps the largest POD service, Saatchi also sells original art and is the center of an important part of the art world.
ArtStoreFronts.com – a newcomer to the space, these guys have built some extremely impressive technology. They’re investor backed, and tightly focused. They bear a good look.
Social Media. Once you get a few high-quality images online, you can begin by sharing your process. Learn to tell stories and by the time you build up a few hundred followers (which shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks) you should have a sale or two. Here are my favorite social media for quick wins.
Instagram. My friend Melissa Dinwiddie shared her experience of letting collectors in on the creative experience in her blog post on The Creative Process.
Here’s what she had to say:
“Another very sweet surprise is that, not long into my experiment with sharing my process pics, someone on Facebook asked if it would be possible to purchase one of my pieces-in-process.
Um, that would be yes! (And it quickly made me realize the importance of making this super-clear in my Instagram bio and in my posts as well — all work is for sale!)
This initial inquiry turned into not just a sale but also a commission, when it turned out the client wanted two sister paintings. And when she came to pick them up yesterday (see the blue/green pics at the top below), she also bought two other pieces I had in the studio, one of which wasn’t even finished yet.”
Pinterest is probably the most under-utilized social network among professional artists, which is astounding, because … it’s a visual social network where people put together images of things they like. Here’s a quick run-down of how to get started on Pinterest.
Tumblr has become the de facto social network for the upper echelons of the gallery, critical, and art magazine world. Sites like Colossal and Hyperallergic troll through Tumblr looking for stories, and many of the museums and galleries have active Tumblr accounts. Here’s our article on selling art on Tumblr.
Google Plus Hangouts are a great way of building relationships with collectors from all over the world in real time. Bill Inman shares his ideas on how he does twice-monthly Google Hangouts with his collectors in this article.
Facebook is not a quick win. While Natasha Wescoat has sold over $50k of art with her marketing there, Facebook is another beast entirely, which we have written about extensively. You need cash to succeed on Facebook now. We cover that in our course.
Take Decisive Action Quickly
One of the keys to getting quick wins online is to rapidly try things and see what works. Many artists make the mistake of trying to perfect their websites, their blogs, or their social media pages before putting some of their work out there to see how people respond.
If you’re just getting started, pick one social outpost and start sharing there. Let me know how it goes.
image by Stavros Markopoulos
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