8 Mistakes When Selling Art Online

8 Mistakes When Selling Art Online

Feeling like you’ve hit a plateau when it comes to sales and strategies to grow your business? You may have slipped into using any number of these common mistakes when selling art online that are hurting rather than helping sales. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Relying on Services Sites like Society 6 & Red Bubble

Stay away from sites that create products for you with your artwork on it and ship it directly to the customer. You have limited control of how your product turns out, you are also adding an unnecessary middle man to your business. Why give Society6 money when you can make all of the profits yourself?

With a bit of time and research, you can learn to put your own artwork and images on items for much, much cheaper, and sell them yourself. This strategy means you reap all the benefits…customer relationship building, profit gaining, and learning how to run your business YOURSELF!

Websites like Society 6 are making a ton of money off of creatives and giving very small royalty checks to artists. Sure, some artists make some decent money, but if you are hoping to make it big on these types of sites, then you are in for a surprise.

2. Heavy Discounts & Promotions to Boost Sales

Heavy discounts used as a way to increase sales are not the best tactic, especially if you are working on building a product line, series of work, and want to create brand authenticity along the way.

When artists and creatives directly apply sales tactics seen from big retail without thinking about how to best use the strategy, things can go wrong. Regular discount sales will train customers to wait until you have another discount to make a purchase. You need to be careful, especially if you do open studios or do show specials.

There are many consequences of artwork discounts. Check out this blog post here to read more in-depth about this.

3. Hiding Behind the Scenes

A very common thing I hear from emerging artists is that they don’t want to post images of themselves online. This is my most commonly seen mistake when selling art online.

Artists, creatives, and makers are now a part of their brand more than ever. If you think you can try some of these sales strategies and hide behind the scenes and watch sales roll in, you are outta luck! It’s time to put yourself out there.

Posting selfies isn’t just about looks, it’s about getting a face to a name or brand for your customers. You digitally need to introduce yourself to your customers (more that once!) and this goes across all sales channels.

This is how being integrated into your brand looks like:

  • Showing up to your exhibits and introducing yourself to visitors
  • Being the seller at art shows – talking to buyers & clients
  • Answering the phone when clients call
  • Using your tone of voice or language in your artist statement
  • Posting headshots on your website (and updating them too!)
  • Sharing your creative bio

4. Lack of CTAs

Your email newsletters, marketing initiatives, and social media posts all need a purpose. When you send out simple updates, you’re not generating sales because you’re not asking for a sales conversion. Efforts where you are expecting a response need to have a CTA or a call-to-action.

It may feel a bit like corporate retail to apply a sales strategy, you might feel like you are guilting people into buying….but you’re NOT! Use strategies to drive results instead of passively expect sales to happen. Practice using them each time you send out a message, email, social media post or blog post.

Your CTA doesn’t always need to be “buy my art.” Messages can also be “click to read more,” “Download my freebie” “comment below.” This way you balance your sales-based CTAs with non-sales CTAs.

5. Big Announcement without Preparation

Before launching any sort of product, event or announcement, you need to be actively marketing and priming your social media and marketing avenues.

Algorithms and the rates of content expiration mean that if you aren’t actively engaging your audience in consistently engaging posts, a big announcement post can get lost amongst the noise of social media.

This does not mean multiple posts announcing that you have some big news coming up. Preparation can be done by simply increasing your social media and marketing activity leading up to the announcement so you build your engagement rates, increase shares of your content, and have consistent audience members commenting.

6. Missing Repetition

You need to repeat your messages multiple times for people to remember them and take action. You need to repeat your messages multiple times for people to remember them and take action. You need to repeat your messages multiple times for people to remember them and take action…I think you get it.

This is a common mistake when selling art online. People need to hear your services, see your product, or know about an event for them to remember. Do not be afraid to sound like a broken record because even though you are an artist or creative, you are competing with millions of other brands, people, influencers, retailers, corporations, and more who are trying to share their message too!

7. Believing “they” will Come

There’s a saying, “if you build it they will come.” Well that’s just not the case.

Having an Instagram account doesn’t equate to followers, having an Etsy account doesn’t make sales, having a website doesn’t increase your buyers.

Actively cultivate each area of your business, keeping things the same doesn’t drive people to want to return or take action. If your website is outdated, it’s time to plan a revamp, if you aren’t using your Facebook, delete it or start working your feed.

A simple content planner can help you determine when different marketing areas of your business need to be updated so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

8. Niche Inventory

Selling artwork and creative items can get expensive, however, these items can get pricy quickly. Look at your product assortment or (lack thereof). Take note of what your most and least expensive items are and consider who can and does purchase your items. You may not be seeing sales because the items you have for sale and the number of potential customers look for that exact item are not aligned.

Artwork can be easily made into other items (as mentioned above in #1) however, make sure the products you develop make sense to your artwork and your brand. Items like cards and prints fit well with art-making. You can also design smaller versions of larger, more expensive works.

Although this takes time, work to build a diverse array of products so you can sell your brand to someone who only has a few dollars to spare rather than a few hundred dollars for an original.

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