Every business has benefitted from being able to sell online. Most of the time, your online business will have significantly lower operating costs and require fewer employees than if you were trading from premises. The whole business dynamic has changed over the last two decades. Now everyone with a good idea or product has access to a market that had otherwise been impossible to penetrate. This is the perfect time for artists that have been previously hindered from entering the market to start up the businesses they have always dreamt of. The great thing about your online art business is that you own your product. No one else can take it from you. You will have to further protect your product by buying a domain name to suit the type of art you are selling.
Barriers to entry
Setting up ‘Barriers to entry” in a particular business segment has long been an effective tool to keep out competitors in a specific market. An example would be a huge electronics warehouse selling TVs and sound systems at great prices because they buy their products in large volumes. They get significant discounts from their supplier, thus making it impossible for the smaller competitor, with less capital, to compete. The internet has changed this. Entrepreneurs can get products made in China to their specifications and sell them online competitively. These entrepreneurs create attractive branding for their products, making them appealing to customers. They buy directly from the manufacturers and cut out all the middlemen. This allows them to compete with the big players and gradually increase their product range.
Artists have benefitted more than most by the lifting of these barriers. They can now sell their art directly to the public without going through the notoriously elitist and expensive galleries and auction houses. Artists in all disciplines, whether it be paintings or sculptures, have the opportunity to sell into markets that were previously closed to them. They find themselves on a more level playing field. For example, you will not have to worry about being accepted by a gallery. Your gallery is your website and will cost you a lot less money than dealing with agents.
Decide who you want to sell to
If you are a fine arts painter, you will have to decide where your market is. If you are relatively unknown, you should realize that your paintings will not attract high prices at the start of your business. Of course, this is not to say that their prices won’t increase in time. You could decide to produce more paintings and set a lower asking price. You could even choose to paint one-offs and sell them as prints. Each of these markets requires different marketing techniques, and therefore, you must decide on the market you want to target before you set up your business.
Your marketing strategy will depend on what segment of the market you are targeting. If you are selling one-offs that take you a month to paint, you will have to have a website that shows your painting off in the best possible way. You will have to describe the artwork in detail and the methods you used to paint it. This will attract a customer that appreciates your work and talent. These customers tend to be less price-sensitive
On the other hand, if you want to sell prints in volume, your marketing will target customers who like your prints and want to hang them on their walls at home. The cost will be a deciding factor for these customers, and you will have to find the equilibrium price that will suit both parties. They will be willing to pay for your prints at this price, and you will realize a profit.
Find the right name for your business
Selling online has increased the importance of getting your business name right. Before the internet took over our lives, you could choose a business name that could be loosely related to what the company did. The name wouldn’t affect your business because you did all your marketing through print advertising or word of mouth. Choosing a business name that successfully leads your customers to your website can be the difference between success and failure.
Let’s decide that you will be selling prints of your original boat paintings for the purpose of this article. The words print, original, and paintings are crucial here. Your mission is to buy a domain name that incorporates these names. Unfortunately, this will be easier said than done, and your first choice domain name may already be taken. When choosing a name for your website, it is best to take advice from the experts. Business Name Generator will help you to create a perfect and unique name for your business. All you need is some keywords that portray your business, you will get thousands of suggestions from our generator within a few minutes. This will increase the chances of your customers finding you on the internet.
Get your selling platform ready
You will have to set up a professional website to get your business started. The most important thing for an artist’s website is high-quality photographs. Your customers want to see exactly what they are getting, and a professionally taken photo will increase your chances of a sale. It is worth spending time on the layout of your website and hiring a professional to create it for you. Remember that your website is your primary selling platform, so ensure it ticks all the boxes before launching it. Make it user-friendly, easy to navigate, and informative. A blog section is vital to an artist’s website. You will need a good web host, and we recommend Blue Host. They are highly professional with a great product and excellent customer care.
Incorporate a blog into your website
Incorporating a blog into your website is particularly important for an artist. Because art is very personal, your customers will want to know the person who has created it. The more you blog about yourself and your paintings, the more feedback you get. It will help you connect with your audience. You can tell your customers where you get your inspiration from and the particular techniques you use in creating your artwork.
Engaging your customers is more likely to buy into your story and ultimately buy your prints. When your customers are satisfied with the print they have bought, they will tell their friends about it, and they will, in turn, become interested. A blog also keeps you on your toes and pushes you to create new artistic content for your website. Keep your customers active by posting regularly. Lead them through your paintings step by step and enthrall them. This will have a positive effect on your sales. If you do not know how to set up your blog, take a look here.
Have a good mix of social media platforms
Use Facebook and Instagram to market your prints. You can post your blog posts on Facebook and photos of your prints on Instagram. Direct your followers to your website to go through your prints and buy. Use Facebook engagement ads to get more followers on your Facebook page. Update these pages regularly and with good content. Use the same name as your website to increase your brand awareness.
Market your products smartly
Make your prints unique by having limited editions, numbering, and signing each one. People like the idea of buying something exclusive. Paint a series of prints that will go perfectly as a collection on the living room wall at home. This will get your customers engaged because they will want to buy the whole collection, thus increasing your sales.
Encourage your customers to become preferred members of your business for a nominal fee. To offer them perks like discounts on their next print or first refusal when you launch another print or series.
Use Facebook Ads to increase your followers. Pay Google pay-per-click ads on popular art forums and blogs. The art forum customers are interested in art, so you will have a better than average chance that they will click on your ad.
You can also advertise on some of these blogs for free. When you sell one of your prints, you can pay a commission to the blog owner.
Potentially lucrative market
The online art business has grown from 4.8 billion dollars in 2020 to 7.9 billion dollars in 2021. Look at the future turnover projections here. So you will be entering a growing market with the potential to make some money. Keep in mind that lucrative markets attract more competition so make sure you have placed yourself correctly in your segment.
Banksy, the English artist, discovered through his spray paintings on train carriages, was probably the last of the old-style artists we discovered accidentally. These days online artists are much more visible and accessible. NFTs (Non-fungible tokens ) are digital artworks making big waves in the art world. Your prints could become a sought-after NFT with the proper marketing. The days of the poor artist are gone if you market your prints in the right way.
Plan your finances
Selling your prints online will not make you rich overnight. It will take time to build up a customer base and a faithful following like all businesses. Although starting your online business will not cost a lot compared to other companies, you will still require quite a lot of start-up capital. The initial cost of materials and marketing costs won’t be cheap. It would be best if you had all your finances in order before taking the plunge.
Create a simple business plan to determine how much start-up capital you will require. Draw up a projected profit and loss account and a cash-flow prognosis. Find out how to create a business plan here. If you already have a full-time job, you should keep it and work on your online business when you have time off. This will save you from stressing about money and enable you to concentrate properly on the company. If you decide to give your job up, make sure you have at least six months’ salary put away. You will need this during the tough times at the start when sales will be slow.
You will have to register your business for everything to be legal. Choose between a sole proprietorship and an LLC (Limited Liability Company). You will also have to record all your sales and purchases. There are a lot of apps on the market that can help you with your bookkeeping at the start. Quickbooks is the one we recommend. Employ a good bookkeeper to take your monthly tax returns. Doing this from the beginning will help you avoid any complications in the future. Your monthly statements will also give you a good idea about how your business is doing.
The online art business is growing and will continue to do so in the short term, at least. So your company has a good chance of success if you do a few fundamental things right. You must know the customers you are selling to before you do anything. When you have decided what your target market is, go after them. Your website should tell the customer who you are. It is essential to engage with them. Making a sale will be difficult otherwise. build your customer base and take care of the ones who have been faithful to you all the way through.
Make sure you are visible on all the relevant social media platforms and advertise directly on Art forums and blogs. Your blog on the website is critical as this creates your family of followers. They will increase the family by recommending you to their friends. If you build a good reputation for yourself, you can increase the price of your prints. Art is an NFT, and the market for them at the moment is exploding. Have enough money in the bank to survive the lean months at the start. If you pay attention to all these details at the beginning, you are sure to be very successful in the end.
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