Reaching Your Audience
You never really know who your audience is or when they are going to buy from you, so you’d better start by being comfortable with your arty personality and communicate clearly what you do with everyone you meet. I find that selling art is a long persistent process of growing my audience and communicating regularly with them. I always have business cards handy, I show my art on my phone in person, I write a weekly art newsletter, introducing images of my art, where I aim to always write something of interest and to give some value. I also write a blog with links to my commercial projects. I exhibit and participate in art events and I have a consistent social media presence, where I use hashtags to reach a wider audience, (Twitter, Facebook, Google plus, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn). I use my own website, Saatchi art and Etsy to sell from. These are all the things I do for myself that I explain how to do here in this blog post.
“All art sales end in a conversation – so you’d better start speaking to people!” Martin Stellar, art business coach
And knowing what to say is a skill in itself. Start by saying, “Hello!” It works for me.
People buy the artist as well as the art, so get to know people, tell them your story, talk to them about your process, engage with them.
Exhibitions and Events
I prioritise local exhibitions and events for two reasons, 1) to cultivate culture in your own back yard first and foremost and 2) so to not spend all your art profit on transport and shipping your art to far off places.
Each province and town has it’s own set of unique people with their own take on the world. It is important to honour where you have chosen to live and share with the locals what you make and who you really are! This makes for an interesting town, a town that people will want to come and visit. Artwalks and open studios all go towards making the character of a town individually more appealing.
You will get better at doing the events each time you participate – things like having business cards, knowing how to displaying you art, having greeting cards of your art for sale and having a wide price range of art for sale.
I use Mailchimp to write weekly. I have a sign-up form on my website, Facebook page and I have a postcard with the URL written on. I use this sign up link as my main website link. I also tell people I write a newsletter and ask if they would like to join my list in person.
To begin with I advise you to make and save a template that you can use over and over again. Add all your social media buttons and branding. You can change the content blocks each time you write. Make sure all your images and titles link to the artwork you wish to sell.
Practice makes perfect with writing the content of an art newsletter. There are lots of marketers out there with tips about what and how to write about your art. The main thing is to show off your artwork with a strong image and communicate to your audience, as if they were in your inner circle of friends. This goes along way to making them feel significant and thus they will be more likely to follow you long term, to recommend you to a friend and to eventually buy from you in the future. Consistency is key, write regularly. I begin my newsletters by writing in an A4 notebook by hand. I write a page about whatever comes to mind, then I can see what kind of subjects with value I have for my audience that week. I then add to the content by researching more and by matching some artwork or image to the text.
I keep my newsletter’s pretty brief. If I have more to say, then I write it up as a blog. See The Art of Blogging
Once it is published, I share my newsletter across all social media platforms!
If you would like to hire me to set up a Mailchimp template for your newsletter, get in touch!
Putting your art on the internet
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) get used to this term and learn it – it’s how you get your art found online.
If you have any reservations about doing this please read on – the way I see it, is that anyone who uses or shares your art is doing you a free service by advertising for you. If they are using your art on a commercial project, service or product – that’s a different story but easy to amend. People need to advertise what they are doing and thus they make your art easy to trace. It is very simple to do an image search to find your art and see how it is being used online, with or without your permission.
Upload low-resolution images only — no more than 72dpi. Offer high-resolution images for a price.
Google image search
Upload an image to Google and do an image search and contact people directly who use your art. https://www.google.com/intl/es419/insidesearch/features/images/searchbyimage.html
If I find a commercial project using my art, I write to them as nicely as possible, even if I don’t feel particularly nice about my art-making other people money, to ask them to purchase an art license. If they are non-commercial, I ask them for a credit of which I use my name and or my website address. They are always happy to respond and either take the art down, give me a credit or cough up! I have many images working for me like this all over the net.
I also use Pinterest to find art similar to or the same as mine on the internet.
In extreme cases you can threaten them with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Watermarks are ugly and do not work over different screen sizes. Be brave and ditch them :)
Whenever you upload your art to a website or write a blog you would be wise to include keywords in the alt text (Google insists on this now) and descriptions. This is important if you wish your art to come up in a Google search. Think about the materials used, the content and who the piece is for. These keywords can be analysed to see their effectiveness but this is generally a paid-for service. Think of some key phrases (a group of keywords) that you would like your artwork to show up for in a Google image search. For example, when I type, watercolour flamenco dancer, in a Google image search, my paintings are listed.
For this painting I would use keywords such as:
red, flamenco, watercolour, woman, dancer, splashes, female, ink, posture, painting, art, passionate, beautiful, dance, scarlet.
So any combination of these words will produce this painting in the Google results, providing there is not too much competition for those keywords and phrases.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vimeo, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram,
Use social media to drive traffic to the places where you actually sell from.
I use Buffer to share my newsletter out on all these social media platforms. The idea is to reach people on the platforms that they prefer. It is then important to check your notifications on each platform, even if you don’t use it for anything else. Use the platform you prefer for your own communications.
Art Selling Websites
For selling hand made items or products printed with your art – mugs, posters, canvas prints. I use Printful as a print on demand fulfillment service. You need to upload products regularly to keep in their search engine good books. You also need to advertise your shop in a blog and on social media to drive traffic there. There are listing (20 cents) and selling fees (5%) to keep into consideration for the final selling price. There are some really good in-depth free guides to getting your Etsy shop started and tips for keeping it successful.
Want to see my Etsy Shop? – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EmmaPlunkettArt
Saatchi have excellent SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) get used to this term and learn it – it’s how you get your art found online. Large sites with lots of traffic automatically score j=high with Google because Google considers their content valuable and will serve up their content first. They do a lot to promote your art and make the sales process easy for you and the customer. They even send a courier straight to your door when you make a sale. It is a free platform and works also as a free portfolio site for you. They take a commission and you can set the rate with a variable slider.
Call to Action – Follow me
I’m on most social media platforms as Emma Plunkett Art. I also write an art newsletter – you get a free downloadable watercolour flamenco dancer when you subscribe!