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How Do I Choose a Digital Product to Base My Art Business Upon It?

For artists and creators, digital products present new opportunities to generate income passively from artwork already created. With minimal incremental costs, digital items allow monetizing creations repeatedly rather than just once.

However, the possibilities sprawl endlessly. Narrowing focus around the best digital product direction for your artistic talents and goals is essential.

This comprehensive guide provides a strategic framework for identifying and validating the ideal digital products for artists to offer online based on their unique strengths, interests and audiences. Follow these steps to determine the perfect digital product specialization to center an art business around.

Benefits of Digital Products for Artists

Some key advantages of digital art products include:

Low Startup Costs

No expensive physical retail space or inventory costs required. Begin selling art instantly online.

Flexible Schedule

Manage your art business from anywhere at any time. No set location or hours.

Higher Profit Margins

Digital art earns much higher royalty earnings per sale versus traditional art relying on physical prints and originals alone.

Global Reach

Sell to a worldwide art collector audience online. Remove geographic limitations.

Passive Income

Reap ongoing earnings from old artwork through new digital product formats without any additional time investment.

Discoverability

Online platforms make it easier for ideal art buyers to discover your work through search and digital interactions.

Direct Access to Data

Monitor real-time sales data and analytics to identify what resonates most with buyers and what doesn’t.

A deliberate digital product focus maximizes earning potential from artwork without relying solely on inconsistent sales of physical original pieces and prints.

9 Digital Product Ideas for Artists to Monetize Creativity

Nearly any artwork can be reimagined into digital formats unlocking new earning opportunities. Some examples include:

1. Art Printables

  • Downloadable open-edition wall art, posters, sketches, stationery, coloring pages etc.

2. Digital Brush, Texture and Element Packs

  • Selling digitaltoolkits to other artists containing brushes, patterns, shapes etc. for creating digital art

3. Online Classes and Tutorials

  • Video workshops and classes teaching painting techniques, artistic skills and creative software

4. How-To Art Books and Guides

  • Instructional art ebooks, PDFs and resources teaching beginners fundamentals and specialized skills

5. Custom Graphics, Illustrations and More

  • On-demand graphic design services creating logos, business cards, book covers, marketing materials etc. for buyers

6. Digital Stickers, Clip Art and Icons

  • Stylized characters, decorative images and artistic icon packs for designers to use commercially

7. Coloring Books and Activity Pages

  • Digital coloring books with pages tailored for kids and adults to print out and color offline

8. Art Subscriptions

  • Monthly digital packages and collections with new artwork, video lessons, printable crafts etc.

9. Digital Art Commissions

  • On-demand personalized digital paintings, custom portraits, pet art and more based on buyer requests

Digital products repurpose existing skills and artwork into fresh online income streams while expanding audience reach.

10 Benefits of Selling Digital Art Products

Beyond supplemental earnings, focusing on digital art products provides additional advantages:

Diversifies Income Streams

Multiplying the ways art generates revenue through varied products makes income more reliable. Don’t rely on just originals and prints.

Increases Exposure

New products attract new potential collectors through wider distribution. Listings drive awareness back to core art as well.

Maximizes Value from Existing Art

Monetize old works in totally new ways without additional effort through digital products.

Provides Licensing Opportunities

Companies may license artwork usage for retail products through commercial tiers of digital goods.

Enables Collaborations

Digital products inspire collaborative collections with other artists instantly publishable online.

Taps Retro Interests

Vintage original works gain renewed relevance packaged into digital wall art, apparel prints etc.

Appeals to Licensing

Digital planner elements, stickers and designs offer decorative artwork apps leverage through subscriptions.

Establishes Authority

Publishing instructional art content boosts reputation as an expert while referencing credentials.

Remains Accessible for Emerging Artists

Digital products offer new artists supplemental income opportunities without relying solely on local art sales.

Expands Options for Sales

More products appeal to wider budgets from high-priced originals to modest digital downloads.

Rather than starting totally from scratch, digital art products repurpose existing skills and portfolios into new revenue streams.

Ideal Digital Products for Different Art Mediums and Styles

The best digital products align closely with core artwork created. Consider these digital extensions tailored to different mediums:

Digital Painting and Illustration

  • Art printables, wallpapers, character stickers, coloring pages, design templates, pattern packs, brushes

Photography and Digital Art

  • Photography bundles, photo filters and presets, video project templates, graphic assets, virtual backdrops, stock media

Traditional Fine Art

  • Museum quality art prints, merchandise, augmented reality experiences, limited digital collectibles

Modern and Contemporary Art

  • Video tutorials, portfolio website themes, digital exhibit tours, artist bio mobile apps, art filters based on style

Street and Pop Art

  • Murals and graffiti AR experiences, digital wallpaper, skateboard and apparel graphic design services

Abstract Art

  • Custom generative video art, digital brush packs, online abstract art courses, virtual reality gallery exhibitions

Graphic Design and Typography

  • Logo design services, custom font packs, design asset kits, business card templates, branding guides

The most lucrative prospects repurpose existing skills into fresh digital formats targeted fans already appreciate and respond to. Avoid straying into unfamiliar territory.

Evaluating Digital Product Ideas for Artists

Before fully developing and launching a digital art product line, validate market needs through:

Competitor Research

Search for similar digital art products already successfully selling to identify high demand gaps worth filling.

Customer Surveys

Ask past art buyers and existing audience directly what digital products they would enthusiastically purchase.

Niche Community Observation

Join relevant art forums and groups to spot common frustrations and requests you could address.

Keyword Research

Use Google’s Keyword Planner to measure search volume around related terms indicating interest.

Presell Testing

Create a landing page describing the digital product idea and see how many sign up in advance or purchase early-bird access.

Scope Analysis

Identify any new skills needed and total production timelines to assess major investment required.

Sales Projections

Estimate total addressable audience and projected sales response rates to map realistic upside.

Validating demand in advance guards against overinvesting time into digital products that fail to resonate once launched. Stay aligned to existing strengths.

Tips for Pricing Digital Art Products

When costing digital art products, consider:

Comparable Products Benchmarking

Research current pricing for similar digital art products on marketplaces to align with norms.

Usage Rights

If offering commercial licenses, increase prices substantially over personal use rates. Exclusivity warrants premium pricing.

Production Costs

Account for any paid talent, software, subscription or asset costs involved with creation and maintenance.

Time Investment

Estimate total hours spent creating and supporting the product. Calculate pricing to reflect your desired hourly income rate.

Renewal Model

One-off purchases warrant lower pricing than recurring subscriptions granting ongoing access to expanding content vaults.

Buyer Budgets

B2B products for studios and agencies support far higher pricing than hobbyist consumer items. Know your audience.

Potential Volume

Anticipated download volume impacts potential aggregate earnings. Price accordingly.

Ongoing Value Delivery

Products requiring continuous updates and improvement later justify slightly higher initial pricing than static assets.

Pricing appropriately ensures profits while aligning with audience expectations and realities. Analyze these facets in pricing digital art strategically.

Marketing Your Art through Digital Products

Promoting new digital art product lines effectively helps attract an initial customer base and generates momentum through word-of-mouth over time. Useful tactics include:

SEO Content

Create blog posts around related keywords and optimize product pages to improve organic search visibility.

Social Media Promotion

Run special offers and ads on social platforms. Ask existing followers to share with art-interested friends.

Email Marketing

Notify current customers and mailing lists about new digital releases. Share previews and discounts to incentivize purchases.

Paid Advertising

Run Google, Facebook and Instagram ads focused on product-related terms and lookalike audiences.

Affiliate Marketing

Recruit complementary artists, influencers and brands to promote your digital products for commission on resulting sales.

Guest Posting

Contribute blog posts to niche art sites introducing your specialty and linking back to your digital shop.

Exhibit at Local Events

Participate at open studios, craft fairs etc. to connect with potential local buyers. Capture emails for future marketing.

Cross-Promote

Bundle digital products with original physical art. Advertise digital offerings in your existing shop and vice versa.

Promoting across multiple digital and real-life channels ensures your products get discovered by those most eager for fresh artistic works and tools.

Selling Digital Art through Online Marketplaces

Rather than building a solo website storefront initially, new digital artists can leverage existing arts-focused online marketplaces to test ideas and quickly start selling. Top options include:

Etsy

  • Massive built-in audience seeking creative digital goods. Low fees and simple setup.

Redbubble

  • Famous for art prints and merchandise. Products produced on-demand carrying your designs.

FineArtAmerica

  • Leading giclée print provider. Large built-in art buyer audience and turnkey fulfillment.

Society6

  • Print-on-demand art focused ecommerce site with broad product selection beyond just prints.

DeviantArt

  • One of the largest online artist communities. Can sell original digital art directly through your portfolio.

Creative Market

  • Popular digital asset and design element marketplace. Well-suited for graphic assets, lettering, fonts etc.

Artfinder

  • Leading platform connecting collectors with emerging and independent artists from around the world.

Leveraging centralized marketplaces accelerates distribution and metrics-driven testing to determine winning digital products worth investing in further.

Building an Email List to Market Art Directly

Email marketing helps nurture relationships with engaged art followers over time. Useful list building tactics:

Offer a Freebie Opt-In Incentive

Give away an exclusive printable, brush pack, or behind-the-scenes content in exchange for emails.

Promote Signup Options

Add opt-in forms prominently on your site, at exhibits, on business cards, and anywhere else you interact with potential art buyers.

Run Lead Gen Contests and Giveaways

Incentivize social sharing and email signups by offering art-related prize drawings and contests.

Segment and Personalize Outreach

Divide subscribers by past buyer activity and interactions to tailor communications by known interests.

Focus on Value, Not Volume

Avoid spamming. Send occasional emails with truly helpful and interesting updates art aficionados appreciate.

Make Subscribing Frictionless

Minimize required info to just email. Draw people in with irresistible freebies, then learn more about them over time through surveys.

Provide Clear Unsubscribe Options

Include one-click unsubscribe links so list members feel in control. This builds trust and opt-in rates.

Automate Series

Set up drip email campaigns introducing digital products to funnel new subscribers towards purchases.

Building an owned list keeps you in control of valuable one-to-one relationships with art devotees already eager to buy directly from you.

Selling Art through Memberships and Subscriptions

Memberships and subscriptions provide predictable recurring art income while deepening collector relationships over time. Models like:

Curated Digital Downloads

  • Monthly packages with selections of new artwork, graphics, virtual shows etc.

Tutorials and Demos

  • Ongoing video art lessons and painting demonstrations.

Art Collections

  • Themed individual pieces delivered periodically showcasing different techniques/subjects.

Artist Commentaries

  • Behind-the-scenes stories and insights about latest works through audio, video, or text.

Process Demonstrations

  • Watch entire creative processes from concept sketches through final artwork creation unfold through serialized videos and content.

Live Streams and Events

  • Invite subscriber-only access to view real-time painting streams, studio tours, Q&As and more.

Early Access

  • Provide subscribers first dibs on pre-ordering limited edition releases, show tickets, originals etc. before general public.

Curated Shop

  • Maintain a special online shop section only current subscribers can access containing exclusive works, sales etc.

Recurring memberships multiply touchpoints and earning opportunities from diehard art devotees.

Selling Commercial Licenses for Digital Art

Some buyers need artwork for commercial applications like apparel, merchandise, advertising, film etc. Serve this lucrative market through:

Multi-Level Commercial Licenses

Offer tiers with ascending pricing based on intended use – basic merchandise, broadcast media, exclusivity etc.

Wholesale Rates

Price substantial bulk discounts for agencies and studios licensing high volumes.

Work-For-Hire Commissions

Create custom artwork for commercial clients tailored to their upcoming projects and campaigns.

Partnership Royalties

Negotiate ongoing royalty shares from merchandise sales incorporating licensed art designs.

White Label Generic Art

Sell rights to unbranded designs, scenes and graphics buyers can present as their own without attribution.

Clip Art Libraries

Bundle themed sets with icons, scenes, characters, shapes etc. for diverse media and publishing use.

Decorative Elements

Cute characters, patterns, backgrounds, shapes and motifs brands want for product and graphic design.

Opening artwork to commercial use substantially expands licensing revenue potential. Protect rights contractually.

Tools and Services for Selling Digital Art

Useful solutions help create, deliver and market digital art products:

Gumroad – Simple platform for creators to package, distribute and sell digital goods directly to customers. Handles delivery and payments.

Etsy – Top marketplace for selling digital art with 60+ million active buyers readymade for creative works. Integrated printing, payments and shipping.

Creative Market – Leading digital asset store where artists can sell graphics packs, templates, fonts, 3D models and more. Great for visual creators.

Redbubble – Famous pod site empowering artists to upload designs printed on products from apparel to home goods. Redbubble handles fulfillment.

Format – Portfolio builder and ecommerce solution tailored for photographers with built-in client proofing, contracts, printing etc.

Teachable – All-in-one platform for creating, marketing and selling online video courses and coaching. Simplifies digital course creation.

Canva – Easy graphic design interface for creating social graphics, presentations, ads and visuals tailored for digital products.

Lightroom – Powerful photo editing and asset organization software to optimize large volumes of product images efficiently.

The right tools remove friction when creating diverse digital art products, optimizing them for selling, and expanding exposure and purchases.

Conclusion

Digital art products represent overlooked opportunities for artists to multiply income from existing skills and portfolios. Complementing fine art core offerings with art-related downloads, services, subscriptions and lessons provides passive revenue streams.

By narrowing focus on digital products tightly aligned with current creative strengths and audience interests, artists can expand earnings without overextending beyond expertise.

Matching the right product mix to your art medium, style and capabilities ensures maintaining quality and satisfaction as business grows. Welcome experimentation and continue doubling down on offerings gaining the strongest response.

The ideal art business today blends physical and digital art into a diversified model maximizing reach and revenue.

What has been your most creative and financially successful digital art product? Please share your innovations and advice in the comments below!

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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