Selling is hard. Despite the walk in the park tutorials and endless collection of guides, courses and videos on the topic, it still remains a rather difficult skill to master. But like with any skill, you can get better with practice – and with the right information. So let’s explore how to market art online.

I’ve organized this postinto 5 key areas that separate great selling from just meh marketing.

These are core foundations to modern digital strategy and will take your art marketing from beginner to expert.

I’m fully confident that if you apply these principles, there’s nothing stopping you from absolutely crushing it in this space.

So without further ado, let’s jump in and get it!

The 5 W’s to Selling Art Online

  • Who Is Your Audience?
  • What Is Your Audience Looking For?
  • Where Is Your Audience?
  • When Will Your Audience Be Ready to Buy?
  • Why Should Your Audience Buy Your Art?

Who Is Your Audience?

All great marketing starts with your audience. If you don’t have a specific understanding of exactly who you’re trying to reach, then your whole selling strategy will be built on a sinking foundation.

Great marketing is customized and personalized for a unique subset of your audience. There’s a rule of thumb in digital marketing (which I heard a while back, and I always circle back to). It goes like this:

If you try to target everyone, you’ll target no one.

When you understand this concept, your marketing efforts are instantly and dramatically improved. So let’s explore how to do target market research and the fundamentals of niching down.

How to Do Target Market Research

Target audience research shouldn’t be a guess, or a hunch. We don’t want to just assume we know who we’re reaching based on our personal opinions and goals. It’s best to back up our understandings with some data.

This is where having a buyer persona and using Facebook’s Audience Insights can come in handy.

So let’s start with drafting a quick buyer persona for your artwork. In a Google doc, or on a sheet of paper if you prefer the nostalgia of writing with a pen, try answering the questions below with as much detail as you can.

Drafting a buyer persona:

  • What are your ideal audience’s interests?
  • Where does your ideal audience live?
  • What are your ideal audience’s values?
  • How old is your ideal audience?
  • What type of lifestyle does your ideal audience have?
  • Where does your audience live and what do they do?
  • What other artists, media or people does your ideal audience follow?

Once you’ve jotted down some answers, now we can head over into the Facebook Business Manager to gather data and insights. Don’t worry, this tool is completely free to set up (and is incredibly useful if you’re looking to set up social media ads for your artwork).

Researching your target audience:

  1. Head to…

Recommended Read: Marketing for Creatives: The Complete Guide

What Is Your Audience Looking For?

Now that you have a firm grasp on exactly who your audience is, it’s time to think about what value we can offer them. More specifically, what are they looking for and what would they find valuable?

The biggest advantage of audience research is uncovering your target market’s pain points, values and interests.

With that information, you can craft customized offers and ad campaigns for selling artwork. A successful campaign will resonate with your audience and should be something of inherent interest to them.

For example, let’s say your target audience are millennial art enthusiasts in their 30s who own a home in New England and like coastal-inspired artwork. Let’s also say that your audience likes minimalism, light and clean designs and cleanliness.

From this information, we have a variety of ideas and artwork concepts that would be highly customized and exactly what this hypothetical audience would be looking for.

Creating artwork that’s perfectly suited for your ideal target audience means you’ll be able to sell more easily.

Where Is Your Audience?

Another big piece of the puzzle is knowing where you audience spends their time. You may notice that a lot of these 5 W concepts go back to the first W, who is your target audience?

This really highlights the importance of audience research and understanding.

So, where does your audience spend the most time (online)? This may be Instagram, or Facebook, or perhaps TikTok or Pinterest. Or maybe all four?

Luckily, since these platforms are so large and have such huge reach, it’s safe to say that your audience is likely spending time on at least one of these platforms.

But, as you know, promoting art on social media is definitely not the only place to sell your artwork. Using art marketplaces, such as Society6 or Etsy are powerful platforms with a built-in, art-focused market with buyer intent.

Pretty sweet. So I definitely recommend taking advantage of these places, and setting up an online store.

However, be sure not to ignore other online channels like social media (or even starting a blog and generating passive traffic through Google). It’s a big, wide (digital) world out there, and it’s definitely worth exploring.

Recommended Read: Social Media for Creatives: A Complete Guide

When Will Your Audience Be Ready to Buy?

This section is all about knowing when push and when to give. In marketing and selling, one of the best techniques to use is a sales funnel model.

It’s a strategic framework that organizes your marketing and highlights the importance of adding value. But what is a sales funnel exactly?

A sales funnel is a visual representation of the customer journey, with cold traffic at the top and existing customers or loyal fans at the bottom.

OK, so a sales funnel essential structures your audience into levels, based on how much they know you and your brand and how likely they are to make a purchase.

The top of a sales funnel is where you have cold traffic. That is, people who do not yet know who you are. Sales rarely happen here.

Here’s the main takeaway: don’t set up a quick Facebook ad targeting cold traffic expecting to sell your artwork – it’s very difficult to make a sale at this stage in a sales funnel.

In the middle of the funnel however, people are starting to get warmed up to your brand. They recognize you now and know who you are.

Finally, the bottom of the funnel are your warmest leads, existing fans and people most likely to make a purchase.

All good marketing will follow a sales funnel model and gently nudge people along, further down the funnel until they ultimately reach the bottom and buy something. We push people along the funnel using ad retargeting.

Recommended Read: How to Create A Sales Funnel for Artists (In 4 Steps)

Why Should Your Audience Buy Your Art?

The last tip to selling your art online is differentiation. What makes your art and your brand different? Separating yourself from the competition is a huge competitive advantage.

A lot of this comes down to your unique artistic style and building your personal brand.

So try thinking about what makes your artwork unique. This is your UVP, your unique value proposition. All successful brands will have this clearly defined.

Knowing what separates your artwork from the rest not only guides your branding strategy, but makes your marketing more strategic, focused and confident (and will hopefully lead to easier sales).

Recommended Reading: 7 Steps to Personal Branding for Artists: The Ultimate Guide

Conclusion

This post has provided tips key tips to selling artwork online. I’ve used the 5 W’s as a structure, exemplifying marketing best practices and strategies to help you build brand, stand out and sell more.

A running theme for this post is understanding exactly who your audience is and what they want. Because at the end of the day, knowing how you’re adding value to your market is what wins.

So, thank you so much for stopping by today, and I hope you found the information helpful and inspiring!

Let me know in the comments: what’s been the biggest hurdle in trying to sell your artwork online?

Categories: Artists

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