Should you sell your art online? Or should you go the more traditional route with galleries and festivals? Can you do both? Here are three things you need to know before you can decide where to sell your art.
First of all, what are your choices for sales locations? For in-person sales, you’ve got galleries, festivals, and alternative venues like coffee shops and tattoo parlors. Online, you can sell via your own website, through a third-party site, or you can sell directly from social media. But how do you decide where to sell your art? Here are three things you need to know:
Know your product
If you sell large, original, more expensive works, you’ll probably be more successful selling them when people have the opportunity to see them in person.
Trying to sell large $5,000 original works online only can be a challenge. Think about your own behavior. Would you purchase a $3,000 piece sight unseen? Probably not.
People will buy a $30 ceramic mug from a website without seeing it in person, though. It just comes down to size and cost.
If you are selling smaller original works or more affordable reproductions, they can be easier to sell online.
Back to the large original works: you can still do your marketing online. Your goal is to build your relationship with potential buyers so that they’re motivated to go and stand in front of your original piece. It also works in the other direction where someone sees your work in person, then follows you on social media or subscribes to your email and eventually purchases from you online.
In this post, Sell More Art Online With This One Simple Tip, Tobias Waaentz gives you options for displaying your art online in a beautiful way so that your potential buyers can imagine your art hanging on their own wall.
Know your ideal buyer
Think about a day in the life of your ideal buyer. Where do they spend their time? Where would they shop for work like yours?
Would they go to galleries to shop for art? Would they go to their local holiday gift show? Or would they gravitate to an international juried art festival?
For example, here in Boulder, Colorado we have Firefly Handmade, a seasonal marketplace for artisan wares. And nearby in Denver, we have the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, a large, international curated show.
Where would your ideal buyer be most likely to shop? Once you have an answer to that question, figure out how to get your art into those places. One note: many of these answers have to come from you, especially when you're just starting out. You'll need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal buyer, answer the question to the best of your ability, move forward, and keep an eye on your sales numbers.
Not convinced that you need to define your ideal buyer? Read this post!
Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay
Know your sales numbers
Speaking of sales numbers, all business owners need to pay attention to their key performance indicators, including sales numbers. Regular testing of your marketing ideas and analysis of the results gives you a way to understand what’s working and where you need to adapt.
Try out a sales venue and keep track of your sales over time. Is it working or not? And if so, why? Can you find other locations similar to that?
Be a detective when it comes to your sales venues. With galleries, festivals, coffee shops, and boutique stores, say to yourself, “Okay, I found a venue that sells my work pretty well. What is it about this location that works? Is it because they have walk-by traffic? Is it because it attracts tourists, and tourists seem to be drawn to my work?”
Figure out for yourself why a particular outlet is working. What is the thread that connects a place where you're currently having some success, and potential new venues? Find that thread and then seek out similar places to sell your work.
If you're selling at a boutique, and if the boutique owner is willing, reach out to them once a quarter and ask, “Have people been asking you about the work? Is it catching peoples’ attention, or is no one asking about it?”
For online sales, if Instagram is working for you, for example, why do you think it's working? Is it because you’ve been engaging via direct message with people? Have you been telling your story more often? Or is it because you recently posted the link to your sales page in your profile?
Once you know what is working, can you find a similar avenue and method that gives you good sales as well?
Artists often ask me things like, “Should I be on Instagram? Should I be on Pinterest? Should I be on Facebook?” And always, I go back to basics: You need to think about who your ideal buyer is and figure out where you can find them. For more on this topic, read this post: How to Choose the Perfect Social Media Outlets for Your Art Business
Get my free Marketing Testing Toolkit for Artists to help you make good use of your metrics:
Once you know your product, your ideal buyer, and your sales metrics, you'll be better equipped to decide where to sell your art. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.
Have you heard about the Art Marketing Project membership? Read about it here: