Over the past few months, I began to notice a common trend among some of my favorite artists online: they have no clue how to make money online as an artist.
Don’t get me wrong.
It isn’t because they do not have the necessary artistic skills to make it online. It is more for the fact that most artists SUCK at marketing themselves or their art online.
That is what inspired me to write this post. I have plenty of friends online that are phenomenal artists. But they can’t sell a piece of their own art to save their lives.
I wanted to show them, aspiring artists and even professional artists online how they can make money selling their art and turn their love of art into a possible living.
Why should you consider selling your art online?
Well, you need to pay your bills, don’t you?
If you have a talent that others enjoy, why not try to make a few extra bucks off of it if you can. What can start off as a talent can easily turn into a lucrative full-time living, as long as you have the skills needed to sell your art.
Common Mistakes Online Artists Make
Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways artists can make a living online, but these are ways they are not utilizing correctly. Some of the common mistakes most artists make online are:
1. Marketing incorrectly
In my experience of working online and socializing on popular social media platforms is that many online artists have absolutely NO clue how to market their art online. They tend to stick to social media platforms rather than build a website to market their art, losing out on potential revenue in the process. What is worse is that when their efforts to sell their art fail, they give up completely on trying to teach themselves how to market their art correctly. They end up staying in the endless circle of promoting their art solely to their social media following and losing out on money in the process.
2. Sticking only to social media
While social media profiles are incredibly important to have as they allow artists to engage with fans of their work, it is important to build your own home base on the web. In order to have complete control of your art and the potential revenue you can earn from it, it is extremely important to expand into owning your own website domain. To be completely honest, it should be one of the first steps to take once you want to leverage your art for monetary gain.
3. Spamming your followers
If you are the type of artist that constantly posts on social media for your followers to buy your art or to check out your art, you are in a way spamming them. This is why it is important for you to establish a relationship with your followers and sometimes offer something to them of value such as free information or even a free piece of art.
4. Not maintaining an email list where you can allow your fans to know whenever you post something new or whenever a piece of your art is for sale
If you are familiar with the online space, then you have probably come across the phrase, “the money is in the list.” This is even more true when you are trying to sell your art online. It is important for you to have your followers and fans sign up to an email list, so it is important to get them to sign up for your email list as often as possible. When you send out a newsletter to your fans, it will land in every single inbox you send it to, which can convert to more sales then you ever had before.
5. Starting a website and then letting it collect webs
The fastest way for you to be ignored online as a professional artist is to let your website go to waste. There is nothing else that says more about your professionalism or the fact that you don’t care about promoting yourself than letting your website become outdated. Make sure to keep your website as updated as possible with an up-to-date commission calendar or an up-to-date gallery of your latest work.
Marketing is Key!
The one online aspect that many online artists just don’t have a good grasp on, it is the importance of marketing. As an artist, especially if you want to make a living online with your art, this is perhaps the most important thing that you can do in your career. The good thing about marketing is that anybody can learn how to become a marketing expert in no time at all.
The best way that you can maket your art online is to follow some these basic and simple tips.
1. Use Instagram to your Advantage
Instagram is all about visual content, making it the perfect place for artists to advertise their art. To use Instagram correctly and efficiently, you need to post your art as consistently as possible, no less than once a week. When you post your art, make sure to use the appropriate hashtags to draw traffic to your art. Do this constantly and you will gain new followers throughout the day.
When using Instagram, also make sure to engage with the art community in the process. Click on any of the hashtags you have used and leave a few comments on fellow artists work. When commenting, make sure to leave an insightful comment such as constructive criticism or asking an actual question about the drawing technique they used.
2. Create your own Facebook page
While I know many artists prefer to deal strictly with Tumblr or Twitter, it is important to create your own Facebook page for advertising purposes. Just like with Instagram, you want to post on a consistent basis. Make sure to ask your fans to like your page once you create it and be sure to share it on all of your social media accounts.
3. Create your own Pinterest account
Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is perfect for artists to use. Pinterest is a site primarily used to show images. You can easily share your art on the site and link the pictures back to your personal website, deviantart account or social media accounts. With Pinterest, you want to make sure you use the appropriate keywords to ensure you are targeting the right audience.
While I know you may think you don’t have to conduct keyword research for your art, it is extremely important to do so, especially if you are serious about advertising your art. As a general rule, you will want to target keywords that get around 100 searches every month and that have less than 100 QSR. You want to make sure that you target long tail keywords with these parameters as you are more likely to rank #1 in Google for these terms.
5. Create your own website
If there is one mistake that artists make, it is not owning or maintaining their very own website. When you own your own website, you need to look at it as if it is your personal real estate property on the web. This is going to be your main hub where you will hold all of your contact information, commission information and samples of your art. Just like with your social media profiles, you want to make sure that you post consistently on your website and not allow it to go stagnant.
6. Create an email list
Just as I stated above, your money is in your list. An email list is the perfect way to keep your fans engaged in your work and to update them whenever you have a new piece of art or whenever you are holding a sale. The problem is, many artists do not utilize their email list or use it as a means to consistently spam their fans. You want to send a blast to your email subscribers no more than once a week and offer some insightful information in each email as well as links to some of your latest art.
7. Start your own YouTube channel
A great way to drive consistent traffic and awareness to your art is in no doubt starting your own YouTube channel. As of 2017, over 1,300,000,000 people use YouTube, making it a hub of potential for artists regardless of niche. The best type of channel you can start on YouTube is one where you show off speed paints, drawing tutorials or art tips.
8. Be an active member of your community
Even though most artists tend to be introverted, it is no excuse for you not to be an active member of your community. Make it a habit to visit various artists, big and small around your social networks and offer constructive criticism and feedback on their work as often as possible. Also, make it a habit to be a voice in your community by showing new artists that they too can reach your level of success.
9. Stop using Twitter as a means to gain sales
If there is one common thing that all artists have in common, it is the fact that they continuously try to use Twitter as a means to increase sales. Twitter is supposed to be used as a means to connect with your fans and increase awareness to your work. The average conversion rate on Twitter across the board is only .5% compared to the 1.6% conversion of Facebook. What this means is that less than half of the user base on Twitter will actually convert to sales, making it a waste of your time and effort to try.
Instead make sure to use Twitter as a way to show new people your art and to connect with your fan base.
10. Post consistently
Users love consistently. It shows that artists are active in their community and make the time to draw. This can draw inspiration to other aspiring artists and can even help them overcome their own trepidation. Try to post no less than once or twice a week. What is even more important is engaging with your fans. Update your Facebook status, send out a tweet or send out a picture at least once a week to remaining relevant in your fans eyes.
How to Sell Your Art on the Internet
While there are plenty of different ways that you can sell your art on the Internet, not many artists are aware of it. The different ways that you can sell your art include:
- Fine Art America
- Art Fire
- The Book Cover Designer
- Vector Stock
- Café Press
Understanding Rights as an Artist
When you sell your art to others, it is important for you to understand the rights aspect as well. Rights for artists work can be divided into two different categories.
1. Royalty Free
This means that a customer who purchases the art is also purchasing unlimited usage rights for the pieces. This allows the customer to use the image for various projects, including those that earn the customer money.
2. Rights Managed
These rights allow the artist to place a few restrictions on what can be done with their art the moment a customer purchases it, including the industry it can be used for or the region the art can appear.
Know what these rights are will help you to price your art correctly and allow you to avoid any issues with customers who use your art.
The next step for you to take is just to go ahead and do it. You will not be able to make any money online as an artist unless you give it a shot.
Do you have any art marketing skills you want artists new and experienced to know about? What has worked for you in terms of connecting with your audience? Let me know in the comments section down below!