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Selling Art Online: Marketing and Monetizing Your Digital Creations

Selling art online opens up new opportunities for artists to connect with buyers and earn income. With billions of people using the internet, the potential market is immense. However, to successfully sell your artwork in the digital space, you need the right strategies and platforms.

This comprehensive guide covers tips and best practices for marketing, pricing, and selling your digital art creations online. Follow these steps to start monetizing your artistic talents.

Build Your Brand and Online Presence

Before even creating pieces to sell, first focus on branding and establishing your online presence. This lays the foundation to attract an audience for your work.

Pick a business name that reflects your style and personality. A memorable logo visually reinforces brand recognition. Include it prominently on your website, social profiles, packaging, etc.

Launch a Portfolio Website

Your own website acts as a centralized hub for your brand. It should showcase your collections, bio, artistic philosophy, contact options, and shop. Use a clean, uncluttered design that loads fast. Optimize SEO as well.

Curate Social Media Profiles

Promote your art on the top social platforms – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, etc. Link them to your site. Use the same profile imagery and branding across networks for consistency. Post frequently.

Leverage Email Marketing

Collect email addresses to build a subscriber list. Send occasional newsletters with new works, exhibitions, special offers, etc. Respect recipients by providing valuable, non-spammy content.

Network Locally and Online

Connect with other artists and creatives in your area through events and groups. Join relevant online communities as well to make contacts. Strategic partnerships can support mutual growth.

With branding and an online presence established, you can start directing traffic toward your artwork and shop. Maintain these foundations consistently to grow your reach over time.

Optimizing and Expanding Your Online Portfolio

Your online portfolio is the centerpiece of your digital art business. It needs to impress visitors and make them excited to purchase your work. Follow these tips to create an effective, sales-generating portfolio:

Feature Your Best Pieces

Curate the works showcased carefully. Only include your highest quality, most relevant art. Group pieces into clear sections and categories to tell a story about your artistic journey.

Optimize Page Speed

Fast load times keep visitors engaged. Compress files sizes, use a CDN to cache content and minimize HTTP requests through image sprites. Test site speed and optimize until portfolio pages load in under two seconds.

Enhance Visual Appeal

Good visual design showcases artwork best. Use an uncluttered layout with plenty of negative space. Format galleries cleanly. Ensure colors complement the art without distracting.

Craft SEO Titles and Descriptions

Include relevant keywords in portfolio page titles and metadata descriptions. This helps the pages rank well for art-related searches. But write for humans too.

Enable Social Sharing

Include share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other networks to make it easy for visitors to spread your work. Social referrals are a major source of portfolio traffic.

Update Frequently with New Pieces

Add new work regularly to give returning visitors fresh content. Date pieces so collections flow chronologically. Limited edition releases build anticipation.

Link to Your Online Shop

Prominently promote links to your print shop, download store or commission info from portfolio pages so visitors can easily purchase.

Personalize with Stories

Share interesting background details on pieces, your creative process, challenges overcome, etc. Let visitors get to know you. The story behind the art makes it relatable.

Collect Feedback

Ask visitors to sign your guestbook and provide comments. This surfaces valuable testimonials and gives insight into portfolio visitor preferences.

With an engaging online portfolio optimized for visibility, you can attract more qualified traffic and art buyers.

Expanding Reach Through Online Galleries

In addition to a personal portfolio site, expanding exposure through online art galleries helps more collectors discover your work. Some top options include:

Artsy

Artsy partners with leading museums and galleries to host over 1 million works. It has an established collector base along with robust search and sales support.

Saatchi Art

This global online art gallery offers both originals and limited prints. You can set your own prices while they handle promotion, sales and shipping.

UGallery

Specializing in original art and prints, UGallery provides marketing services to help artists drive sales. Their 50/50 profit sharing makes it low risk.

Zatista

Zatista enables artists to upload portfolios for buyer browsing and purchases. They have drop shipping integration and take a 15% commission on works sold.

DeviantArt

One of the largest online art communities, DeviantArt allows you to share entire portfolios and make pieces available for sale too.

Etsy

While known for handmade crafts, Etsy also welcomes digital artwork. It provides a massive base of buyers seeking unique items.

Submitting your portfolio to reputable art platforms expands your work’s visibility substantially while bringing in passive sales revenue.

Leveraging Social Media to Promote Your Art

Social networks present fantastic opportunities to directly engage with art fans, buyers and collectors. Here are some best practices for promoting your art on social:

Post New Creations Frequently

Share works in progress and new finished pieces often. Interesting captions provide context and storytelling.

Go Behind the Scenes

Document your artistic process through photos and videos. Give viewers a glimpse into your studio, techniques and lifestyle.

Do Live Videos

Stream painting sessions, Q&As and studio tours on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. This humanizes your brand and makes art relatable.

Interact with Followers

Reply to comments and messages. Ask questions in captions to spark discussions. Show appreciation for shares and tags. Building relationships leads to sales.

Run Paid Ads

Targeted social media ads help you find potential buyers. Promote new pieces, events, special offers and commissions. Set a daily ad budget and track results.

Partner with Related Accounts

Pursue collaborations, cross-promotions, takeovers and other joint initiatives with artists in complementary niches to tap into new audiences.

Join Facebook Groups

Engage in relevant arts groups by sharing works and commenting on posts. Be helpful and build community without overt self-promotion.

Use Hashtags Strategically

Research hashtags popular with art aficionados on each platform and use them consistently to improve discoverability.

With regular, value-focused social media activity, you can drive significant traffic to your shop and increase art sales exponentially.

Establishing Credibility Through Press and Media

Earning press coverage signals that your art is newsworthy and builds authority. You can gain quality exposure through:

Art Publication Submissions

Proactively pitch your work for features in niche art magazines and prominent culture blogs. Follow their submission guidelines closely.

Local News Interviews

Contact reporters at community papers and TV stations, especially if you’re involved in local art initiatives or events. They often showcase hometown artists.

Guest Blog Posts

Reaching out to complementary sites to contribute articles presents a win-win – they gain expert content and you share your perspective while linking back to your portfolio.

Podcast Appearances

Podcast interviews provide a platform to discuss your creative journey, business approach, artistic insights and more in an informal conversational format.

Awards and Recognition

Entering your work in prestigious art competitions helps build your reputation. Publicizing any recognition or prizes received adds to your story.

Press Release Distribution

When you have major news like a new collection launch, distribute a press release to trade sites and journalists. Follow up personally to pitch the story.

Don’t wait for media to find you. Proactively and strategically pursue media placements to grow your profile as a noteworthy artist.

Choosing the Right Places to Sell Digital Artwork

When ready to start selling, numerous online platforms make it easy to get your digital artwork in front buyers who can purchase directly. Here are top options:

Your Own Website Store

By selling art on your owned site, you control branding and customer experience. However, you handle all fulfillment, marketing and traffic generation. Common store options include Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace and Wix.

Etsy

Known for handmade and vintage goods, Etsy also allows digital downloads. You can sell original art, prints, merch and more. Their large buyer base offsets the 5% transaction fee.

Fine Art America

Upload your portfolio and set prices. They produce prints/merch on-demand when orders come in, handling fulfillment. You earn up to 80% per piece sold.

INPRNT

This marketplace sells limited edition art prints for a flat 15% commission. Their tightly curated collection attracts collectors of exclusive pieces.

Redbubble

Redbubble lets you upload designs onto products like apparel, phone cases, wall art and stationery. They produce and ship items on-demand, paying you a commission.

Society6

Society6 offers similar print-on-demand product integration. You add designs and set prices, then earn from sales of wall art, home decor, apparel and more.

Experiment with several marketplaces to maximize distribution and sales channels without much incremental effort. But focus on one primary storefront for showcasing new releases and steering press traffic.

Pricing Your Artwork Profitably

Determining fair prices for your digital art enables you earn what your creations are worth. Consider these factors when pricing:

Labor and Material Costs

Tally up expenses for items like equipment, software, website fees, etc. Estimate hours spent per piece. Your price needs to cover costs plus profit margin.

The Market

Research prices of comparable work by artists with similar styles and skill levels. Competition informs pricing ranges to stay aligned with.

Usage Rights

Art priced for commercial use costs more than pieces for personal use only. Limited edition pricing is higher than open edition works. Exclusivity raises values.

Uniqueness

One-of-a-kind originals can demand premium pricing compared to reproductions. Offer high-res digitals in different file formats to appeal to varied uses.

Size and Complexity

More details, larger-scale compositions, extensive color palettes and advanced techniques warrant higher pricing than simpler works.

Production Costs

If producing prints or merchandise, you need to cover material and fulfillment costs too. Price items at 2-5X production cost.

Sentimental Value

Commissioned artworks with personalized value to the buyer justify charging more. People pay extra for customization.

As you sell more art across different contexts, you will refine pricing strategies for maximum return. Analyze sales data to determine optimal price points.

Marketing Digital Art Commissions and Services

Beyond finished pieces, artists can also generate income from commissioned artworks, graphic design services and teaching. Some promotional avenues include:

Your Website

Share commission policies, project galleries, testimonials, and scheduling/contact options prominently on your site. This makes the sales process clear for interested buyers.

Social Media

Post commission offers, openings and examples regularly. Share client testimonials. Use relevant hashtags like #digitalartcommissions.

Online Communities

Engage in popular art forums and groups focused on your specialty. Offer portfolio reviews and helpful advice without actively pitching services.

Direct Email

Send occasional emails to subscribers highlighting commission availability. Consider limited-time discounts or bonus offerings to spur action.

In-Person Events

Attend conferences and local fairs with promotional materials. Be prepared to explain your services and provide quotes. Follow up promptly with all promising leads.

Printed Materials

Business cards, flyers and postcards help spread awareness to new networks. Include QR codes to your site for easy mobile access.

Cross-Promotions

Partner with complementary artists and brands to co-promote services through contests, social posts, etc.

Freelance Sites

Join respected freelance/small business marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. Build robust profiles showcasing experience, reviews and portfolio samples.

SEO

Optimize website pages related to your services for relevant keyword searches like “custom digital pet portraits”. Provide informative content highlighting your expertise.

Multipronged marketing establishes you as a skilled, accessible artist available for commissions, design gigs and teaching opportunities.

Optimizing the Art Buying Experience

To drive sales, the buying process needs to be as frictionless as possible. Apply these tips:

Simplify Selection

Organize your online shop or galleries using categories, tags and search to help visitors quickly find pieces that match their taste and intent.

Showcase Details

Provide multiple high-res photos of each piece to allow close inspection. Include detailed titles, descriptions and specifications.

Share Shipping Costs Upfront

For items that ship, use a shipping calculator and clearly display costs. Keep policies reasonable. Offer free shipping occasionally to incentivize larger purchases.

Provide Secure Checkout

Utilize trusted payment processing platforms like Stripe and PayPal for seamless, reliable checkout with minimal steps. Allow easy guest checkout. Save payment details for repeat purchases.

Fulfill Orders Quickly

For digital files and prints, automate delivery to get purchases to buyers within minutes. Ship physical products same or next day whenever possible.

Send Confirmations

Email order confirmations with details and tracking info if relevant. Share social media and gallery tags they can use to show off purchases.

Offer Support

Provide contact options for any order issues. Respond to concerns ASAP. When possible, issue replacements or refunds promptly if the buyer is dissatisfied.

Request Reviews

Graciously ask happy customers to leave positive reviews on your website, social media and marketplace listings. Testimonials boost conversion rates.

Exceptional buying experiences lead to repeat purchases, referrals and organic word-of-mouth promotion. Treat each sale like the start of an ongoing relationship.

Conclusion

Selling art online requires business strategy paired with creative talent. But the substantial effort invested pays off through the ability to connect with a global audience and earn income from your passion.

Focus first on branding, social media, and a professional online presence. Expand reach through marketplaces and press visibility. Price works fairly based on costs, perceived value and market factors. Simplify the buying process from selection through fulfillment.

Experiment continually to determine which platforms and practices perform best. Track sales metrics to double down on winners. Stay focused on improving artistic skills in tandem with business knowledge.

The possibilities for monetizing and sharing your digital artworks are endless. With persistence and innovation, you can build a fulfilling and financially rewarding artistic career online.

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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