Business Strategies to Sell Your Artwork

4 Proven Business Strategies to Help You Sell Your Artwork

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One of the hardest things for any artist to realize is that besides knowing how to paint or produce your artwork, you must also understand some aspects of the business. Most artists would prefer to concentrate on creating their artwork and nothing else.

Some basic business strategies you can use to help you sell your artwork are to 1) make buying your art easy and 2) find ways to make your art attractive to potential buyers. 3) show your customers how satisfied they will be when they purchase your art, and 4) how you are the clear and obvious choice for them when they want to purchase artwork. Becoming a professional artist is a lot like being an entrepreneur; you must learn basic business principles to survive.

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4 Effective Business Tactics for Successful Art Sales

Navigating the business side of art can be a daunting task for many artists who naturally gravitate more toward the creative aspects of their work. The realization that artistic success also hinges on business acumen is crucial yet often challenging.

My exploration into this realm was significantly influenced by James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits”, available for purchase on Amazon. Clear’s insights on the transformative power of small, habitual changes resonated with me, leading to noticeable improvements in my routines and productivity.

Applying the principles from “Atomic Habits” to the art business, I discovered that these strategies are not just about personal development but are equally applicable to commercial endeavors, including selling artwork.

By adopting similar methods, artists can develop a more structured approach to their business, enhancing their ability to successfully market and sell their creations.

Strategy 1 – Make Buying Your Artwork Easy

This first strategy is really just common sense, but it is also something we may forget about. People today want things to be easy, not complicated.

With the onset of the internet, the world has become extremely fast-paced. People are pressed for time, and they have little or no patience.

We do not like to stand in line or wait for anything. That is why fast food continues to be so prevalent in so many places worldwide. We do not want to wait for a webpage to download as our attention span is shorter than ever and continuing to get shorter and shorter as the years go by. The world is now an extremely impatient place.

This also holds when people are looking to buy or purchase something. If it all becomes too complicated and takes up too much of their time, so many times, they will walk away. Everyone is just so pressed for time.

How to Secure Successful Sales of Your Artwork.

Here are some suggestions to make selling your art as easy and effective as possible.

  • Have a webpage – A webpage is no longer an option; today, it is essential for anyone in the business. But with having a webpage, you need to make sure your webpage is not only user-friendly but that it also downloads quickly. To learn more about why every artist should have a website, read our blog entitled 11 Reasons Every Artist Should Have a Website by clicking here.
  • Make finding your art easy – People will buy what they see. So you need to ensure they can easily find you and your art. I attend many tradeshows, and everyone who has been following these shows is noticing that fewer and fewer people are attending trade shows. The reason is that people today are busy, and so much can now be found online, so they may not see or feel the need as they once did to attend trade shows. To compete today, you need to be on social media and have a social media strategy. You can read our blog on 9 Reasons Every Artist Should be on Instagram by clicking here.
  • Make buying your art easy – If your goal as an artist is to sell your art, you need to make buying your art as easy as possible. If it is complicated and requires many steps or a huge process, many potential clients may simply walk away and say, this is too complicated. I will find another piece of art I like that is easier to purchase. You can make it easy for people to buy your artwork by having an online payment system and a quick delivery system.

Strategy 2 – Make Your Artwork Attractive To Buyers

When it comes to art, I completely understand that art is a lot about personal taste, and if not, everyone will like the same thing or the same kind of art. You can read our blog about 8 Ways to Handle Rejection As An Artist by clicking here; the blog gives you ideas on handling artistic rejection.

But the reality is for people to want to buy your art, it has to be attractive to them. Here are some suggestions on some ways you can work to make your artwork attractive so that people will want to buy it:

Have very good photography of your art

As the world has gone so much towards social media and online shopping, you need to ensure that you photograph your art in the best light and way possible. Even if you are selling your art in a gallery, you still need excellent photography to show potential customers.

The good news is that you do not need to be a professional photographer to take good photos of your artwork. Though no doubt having it professionally photographed can help a small investment in some lighting can help.

If you can not invest in the lighting, then take the photos in an excellent light. Some of the cell phone cameras today take excellent photos.

Also, learn how to adjust a photograph to enhance the color as needed. Knowing Photoshop is great, but you can also use some other programs, as Apple has an excellent basic photography editing program that I use a lot.

The program comes free with an Apple Mac, and you can do many of the basic editing that Photoshop can do.

Show people how to use your art.

If you want people to buy your art, you need to show them why they need the art and how to use it. Set up a room set or hang your art on the wall. Or show them the home of someone who purchased your art and how they used it. These are ways to show people why they need to buy your art and why it is attractive.

Today, with programs like Photoshop, you can place your art into a room and hang it on the wall without ever having to really turn it on the wall. People want to know how it would look in their home, office, or wherever they use it. It would help if you tried to show and inspire them in all the ways they need or want your artwork.

Strategy 3 – Share the Story Behind Your Art to Enhance Its Appeal

Too many times, artists feel that the artwork needs to be all about them and their art. But if you are trying to sell your art, it really needs to be about the person buying it. The art needs to speak and resonate with them and be satisfying to them.

I have these old 70-year-old doors in my house that I love. Someone would toss them out, so I call them my “rescue doors” as I saved them from being used as firewood. When I look at those doors, I am not only satisfied, but I love the story, and I tell the story many times as the story and how I obtained the old doors are very special to me.

You want your art to be like these old doors I have. When someone buys your art, you want them to tell the story about you, your art technique, or what their art is about. You want that art to be the piece hanging on the wall of their home, and when visitors come in, they will walk over to the art and tell the story.

For your customers to tell the story of your art, you must tell the story to them in a compelling and interesting way that they will remember it and want to repeat it.

Tell a story about your art to make it satisfying.

Telling a story is an essential aspect of marketing today, and this is especially true for artists. People love to know the story behind what they are buying. Here are some ideas for compelling stories you can tell:

  • What inspires you? What really inspires you to create your art?
  • Why is this piece of art particular? Why should they buy this art from you and not from someone else?
  • What is unique about your style or process? Do you have an exciting story to tell about your style or the process of your painting? Then, compellingly tell that story.
  • Do you have a unique story as an artist? Tell them why you became an artist. Or talk about your life, your training, or your education. People want to know who they are buying from and love to tell others about the story.
  • Talk about the challenges you have had. We all have challenges in life. I started painting when I broke my ankle in a motorcycle accident and had some time off. I wanted to do something more than watch TV. Have you had a unique challenge you have to overcome with your art? Then, tell them that story and how it has affected or inspired your artwork.
  • Humanize your story – When you tell your story, also humanize it. I paint a lot of photos of dogs and cats as I like dogs and cats. I also like to paint my animals dressed up like they are human beings. That is part of my story and my art. Do you have a story that others can relate to? Then tell them that story. Show them who you are and why.

Strategy 4 – Make Your Artwork the Clear And Obvious Choice

When you show people how easy it is to work with you, and you show them why they need to have a piece of your art by the stories and other things you tell them, then you are helping to ensure that your artwork is the clear and obvious choice for them to purchase.

This is where a lot of people fail in marketing. We try to make our marketing cute or clever. But the truth is that people do not have much time to wonder what you mean, so they want you to tell them exactly what they are getting and why they should buy your artwork.

This is how having a logo, and even a tagline will help you as an artist. This is really not that much different than if you were running a business. My tagline is #ArtThatMakesYou Smile.

Many may not think it’s not a very original tagline, but my goal is to see a smile on their face or feel happy when they see my art. I like bright colors and paint with a more colorful palette, which I call my “happy colors.”

Explain how purchasing the artwork will enrich their lives.

You need to show your customers how purchasing your artwork it will make their lives better. It may brighten up a room or bring class and grace to their decorative needs. Maybe it will be a kind of “bragging right” they can tell all their friends about.

Or maybe you do large-scale pieces that can make a difference in a hotel lobby or an office building. It would help if you clarified to your buyers how buying the artwork will improve their lives.

People like to work with and buy from an expert. You need to show your potential customers why you are an expert in what you do. Being an expert does not always have to do with your educational degrees, though that does help.

But it could be something like I paint the western landscapes as “I have spent my life living and hiking in the western United States. I have traveled to every square mile in Montana.”

This tells your potential customer that you really know the western United States, especially Montana. For Western art that features scenery from Montana, this kind of story would help you become an expert as you have been to the places you are using as inspiration.

Give the Customer Three Simple Steps or Reasons to Buy Your Art

People don’t want to be overloaded with information, but they also want information. They want to know what you want from them. Try to break it down for them in 3 simple steps as to why they should buy your art. Give them some reasons and some suggestions.

You need to answer here: “When someone buys your artwork, does it help improve their life? Do you like to paint bright flowers? You can tell them that buying your art will help brighten their days.

This kind of marketing may seem a bit corny to some, but the truth is that people want to know how you are going to help them, and they want you to guide them through the reason they should buy from you.,

Have a Clear Call to Action

Have an apparent call to action. This is where you tell people what you want them to do in just a few seconds. Ask for a sale and have a Buy Now Button at the top right-hand side of your website.

The top right-hand corner is prime real estate on a webpage, so you want to clearly have a place where they know what you want them to do.

If people have taken the time to come to your website, read about you, and learn about your art, you need to show them how to buy it clearly. It would help if you did not hide this in a beautifully designed, artistic, but very unclear website.

If you do only commission work, you can have a call to action about “Call Me Today” or Contact Me Now.” Let them know that you would love to talk to them further about the work you can do for them.

Many artists want to focus only on their work and not have to deal with the selling, marketing, and other aspects of being a professional artist. Some artists may be lucky enough to have a manager who can help them manage and sell their art.

But most artists, at least when they are starting, will not be so lucky. This is why artists must look to 1) make buying their artwork easy, 2) learn how to make their art attractive so people want to buy it, 3) tell a story about their artwork, and 4) market themselves so that you will be the clear and obvious choice for potential customers to buy your artwork.

Anita Louise Art is dedicated to art education, great artists, and inspiring others to find and create their art. We love art that uplifts and inspires. #ArtToMakeYouSmile! #ArtToMakeYouHappy!

If you want to see any of my art, you can find out more by clicking here. If you are interested in what inspires me and my paintings, you can discover more by clicking here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Sell My Art?

There are several basic steps you can take to try to sell your art. Here are some of the steps:

Have a website – Today, every artist needs to have a website, and if you want to sell your art, you can then connect your website to an online storefront. To find out why every artist needs a website, read our blog 11 Reasons Every Artist Should Have a Website by clicking here.

Use social media – Just like your online presence is important, so is your social media presence. Today, you do not need to spend hours on social media, but you can set your social media to go automatically. I always try to set it up for a few months in advance. You can set up pins with a program like Tailwinds or set up social media accounts to go automatically with a program like Hootsuite. Both of these companies also offer a lot of free online training for their client base. To find out 9 Reasons Every Artists Should Be On Instagram, you can read more information by clicking here.

Get out into the world – Once you have a website and a portfolio, you can also contact galleries or even companies who may want to license your art to reproduce it. There is no easy way to do this, as it takes a lot of time and effort.

Sell art commissions – you can also try to sell your art by doing some art commissions. But to find the commissions will also take advertising and networking on your part.

Learn to network – Like so much in business, it is not always what you know but who you know. So, start to network around your community. Many local stores and restaurants may be willing to sell your art for you or give you added exposure. But usually, to make this happen, you will need to network within your local community and offer them something they feel they can sell.

Attend a show – One way to network or get added exposure is to attend or show at a trade show. This, of course, can be very costly. But suppose you are looking to sell your artwork mainly for home decor or home interiors. In that case, the major shows that many artists will show at is the High Point Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina, America’s Mart Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Las Vegas Market in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you happen to live close to any of these markets, it may be worthwhile for you to try to get into the show to see what other artists are selling and showing. All these shows are business-2-business shows, so you will need an attendance pass before attending the shows.

How do I price my art for sale?

Pricing your art is the value of what people are willing to pay for it. But, most starting artists cannot and should not command a very high price. If you do, chances are you will not sell very much.
The calculation that many artists use is materials + time = selling price. So if you want to make, say, 25 USD per hour, and the art took you about 20 hours to make, and the materials were 50 USD, then the selling price could be calculated like this:

25 x 20 – 500 + 50 (materials) = 550 USD.

Of course, to get the art price, it also needs to be a certain size to warrant the 550 USD price tag. There will be some artists that can make more and others that will make less. But as a general rule, you can look at this as a way to calculate the cost of the artwork you are selling.

Like anything else, as you paint more of the same thing, your economies of scale will improve, and it should become quicker and easier for you to produce similarly styled artwork. You may be able to eventually get your time for each piece of artwork from 20 hours for the same size painting down to 10 hours of work. If you can still get the same price for your artwork and your materials’ cost remains the same, your labor wage would have gone up from 25 USD per hour to 50 USD per hour.

How can I effectively market my art online?

To effectively market your art online, establish a strong digital presence through a personal website, social media platforms, and online art communities. Regularly update your profiles with high-quality images of your work, engage with your audience, and utilize SEO strategies to increase visibility. Additionally, consider selling through online marketplaces and art-specific platforms.

What are some effective offline methods to sell my art?

Participating in local art fairs, exhibitions, and community events can be a great way to sell your art offline. Networking with gallery owners, joining local art associations, and collaborating with other artists can also help. Don’t forget the power of word-of-mouth; encourage friends, family, and previous buyers to spread the word about your work.

Should I offer reproductions or prints of my artwork?

Offering reproductions or prints can be a smart strategy, especially if the originals are expensive or one-of-a-kind. Prints can make your art more accessible to a wider audience and provide a steady income stream. Ensure the quality of the reproductions is high to maintain the integrity of your original work.

How important is networking for artists?

Networking is crucial in the art world. Building relationships with other artists, gallery owners, and art collectors can open up exhibitions, collaborations, and sales opportunities. Attend art events, join online forums, and be active in your local art community to build these connections.

Can social media really help in selling my art? How do I use it effectively?

Yes, social media can be a powerful tool for selling art. Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to showcase your work, tell your story, and engage with your audience. Regular posts, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and interactive content like live videos or Q&As can help build a loyal following. Use relevant hashtags, collaborate with influencers, and consider paid advertising to reach a larger audience,

Why Do People Say, ”Life Is Like Drawing Without An Eraser?

Many times, artists, myself included, will use an eraser to remove any marks or measurements we may have made on a paper to measure out and organize their drawings or artwork on their canvas or paper. For most artists having a good eraser is essential.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Why Do People Say, ”Life Is Like Drawing Without An Eraser?.

Is Communism Good For The Arts?

Communism is not suitable for art and for many artists under Communism the art should have a purpose and way to help further the communist ideals and ideology. In a Communist society, many artists are labeled as dissidents; others are forced to use their talents to create propaganda art.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Is Communism Good For The Arts?.

12 Years Leonardo Painted Mona Lisa’s Lips, Facts Or Fiction?

There is no evidence to show that Leonardo da Vinci spent 12 years painting the Mona Lisa smile. Most scholars believe that he painted the painting in 4 years but then had the painting much longer in his possession. He could have worked on it a bit or adjusted it when he had it in his possession, but there is no evidence to show that.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading 12 Years Leonardo Painted Mona Lisa’s Lips, Facts Or Fiction?.

Anita Louise Hummel
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  1. […] all these traits are important to an artist, as it will help them to be successful in their artwork and art business. It can be said that being an artist is a journey and not a destination, in that, an artist should […]