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My top 10 tips for selling Art online

Selling Art online

My Top 10 tips for selling art online. I am sometimes asked for advice on how to sell art online. To be honest, I feel like there is so much I don’t know about Art marketing, but I did sell over 200 pieces, originals and prints last year and half of these were direct sales to collectors so something’s working. Marketing and selling art takes an enormous amount of time  and effort. At least 50% of my day is spent on marketing. The great thing about it all is that the longer you do it the more followers and fans you will gather. It’s an investment of time – but it cuts both ways. You will spend hours at the keyboard, posting away (sometimes wondering if it’s worthwhile) but you will develop a following. Some of it casual, some of it very loyal and dedicated indeed. You need to remember that it may take months or even years of following an artist’s work and career before a collector buys your work. Your fans are invested their time in your you and your “journey” too so you need to keep them with you.

So here are my top 10 tips (BTW there is no affiliate marketing in this blog post and there’s so much more I could say but I’m sticking to 10 tips for starters).

  1. Your story – Be positive. Nothing succeeds like success. There’s enough depressing news out there and your art is (hopefully) an escape from all that unpleasantness. So it’s important to celebrate all your successes no matter how small; every sale, exhibition, painting-in-progress is a cause for celebration. Don’t ever be tempted to say that you aren’t selling or you hate online galleries. Instead talk about your latest project. Explain WHY you make your art. How does it make you feel?

    Celebrate where ever you can
  2. Have your own website – don’t build your house on someone else’s land. There are many different hosting platforms out there. There are some that specialise in hosting artists such as artweb, fasco and artmajeur or the very popular wordpress.  They will all charge an annual fee (update: Artmajeur’s free plan now allows unlimited artworks to the site).  You need to make sure that your site has ecommerce facilities. That means it doesn’t just function as a gallery but also as a shop where collectors can buy work.
    The Home Page of my Website
  3. Start blogging – a great way to tell your story is to write a blog. I use WordPress but there are other blogging sites like blogger and many websites will have a blog page integrated into the site. Your blogs don’t have to be great long essays but the important thing is to blog regularly. Some bloggers blog once a day, others once a week. Don’t be an occasional blogger. There’s nothing more frustrating than a blogger who only blogs three times a year. You will lose followers if you are inconsistent. Keep focused. Blog about your art and inspiration or art in general. Why do you make your art? How does it make you feel? Don’t blog about the news, your family, what you had for tea, latest fashions unless it’s directly related to art, and what inspires you. Which brings me to…
    Emma Cownie's blog
    Be a regular blogger to build an audience

  4. Social Media – there are lots of outlets, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, etc. You don’t have to do them all (I dropped Tumblr, for example as it was a bridge too far) but make sure whichever platform you choose to be, do it well. To honest no one platform is necessarily better than the others for promoting your work, all of them will do something to help.  Don’t post twenty times a day – it will seem like you are spamming people and they will unfollow you. Once or twice a day is enough, maybe three times on twitter. Hashtag your own name too #emmacownie so people can follow your work across the platform.  The important thing to remember is that it’s called social media for a reason. You have to be sociable. If someone comments on your post it’s good manners to respond, with a “like” and a “thank you”. It’s important that you support other social media users and follow other artists, photographers of any supporters who like, comment on, and share your posts and return the favour. We all need encouragement. It’s important to encourage others. I have made many good friends out there in the online world. Again. like the blogging try not to mix business and personal stuff on your Art pages/sites – have a separate one for your own family stuff and stick to art-related things on your Art accounts.

    Buy and selling Art
    Not really material for an artist’s Instagram feed
  5. Pinterest – It’s not just for recipes! It has 250 million users every month,  with 25 million users in the US and about 80% are female. It’s not a social media platform but a search engine. It’s well worth joining to get your work seen and develop a following. It also a really good source of information about art marketing. I have learnt a lot about blogging, pinning, marketing, and websites from pins on Pinterest. If you want to see a selection, I have saved my Buying and Selling Art pins here.

    Emma Conie' Pinterest Page
    My Pinterest page
  6. Canva – is great for creating professional-looking blog covers, Pinterest graphics, and so on. I use it all the time. There’s also Pablo and Visme which does some pretty awesome infographics.
  7. SEO– Use Key Words in your posts so that search engines like Google and Safari can find you. A website that is well optimized for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site. I find this a vast subject but there are pins on Pinterest and sites like will help you improve your SEO. Make sure that when you post your pictures on your website that you filling all the boxes.

    Fill in all the boxes
  8. Newsletters – build a list of email addresses on your website. These are your fans, collectors and interested artists. Some collectors watch your progress for years before they buy. This is how you keep them in touch with what going on with you. Not every one uses social media, especially older collectors but they read their emails. Again send out your newsletter on a regular basis, say, every fortnight or once a month.  Mailchimp is a marketing platform that offers a free (if your list is under 2000 names) sign up forms and newsletter service. There are others here
  9. Finally, Online Galleries – there are loads and loads to choose from. There is a very long list of online galleries here.   It’s a bewildering choice. Some work better than others. There are massive ones like Saatchionline where it is difficult to be seen and smaller ones like Artbazzar that have less of a budget for advertising, there are others that charge to be on them like Artfinder and Artgallery. Others are still free to be on them such as Singulart, but they charge higher rates of commission. It makes sense to have a presence on several sites. Online galleries can be good for sales if they promote you.
  10. Just remember that putting all your energies into one website or social media site is foolish, as it’s like building your house on someone else’s land. They all change their algorithm, pricing policies, curators, and what might work for you one year may not the next. I’ll give you an example, last year Facebook shut down my Emma Cownie Artist Business page with no explanation. This is not uncommon on Facebook.  I tried in vain to find out why it had happened and to get it restored, to no avail. I lost thousands of followers and their contact details. I was devasted. That’s not a story I usually share as it’s not a positive one but let that be a warning not to put all your eggs into one social media basket (thankfully, I hadn’t, but it still hurt).
    Facebook locks people out of their Business pages
    Facebook locks people out of their Business pages

    It’s always sensible to be on several platforms and sites and encourage your followers to follow you on different platforms. You can do within many ways such as an email signature with links to your social media platforms. There’s so much to learn and there are plenty of people out there who will offer tempting online courses on Art Marketing but I prefer to teach myself. I hope that this post will help other artists get seen. I welcome any comments, suggestions from other artists or commentators

Email Signature of Emma Cownie
My email signature
Summary of my 10 tips to sell art online
10 tips to sell art online

18 thoughts on “My top 10 tips for selling Art online

  1. Very helpful and instructive as usual, Emma. I really admire your persistence and work ethic. I can see I’m not doing nearly enough marketing, but art is not my only job, and the time I spend on social media is time not spent painting. Hard to find a balance. However, you have inspired me to do better, so thanks! Also I’m shocked by the Facebook affair. I knew Amazon could do things like that, but it’s so random—what could you possibly have done wrong?

    1. Thansk Marina, it is massively time consuming and you never really know what benefit its having. As i said before I think all of it works a bit, there’s no magic site or platform. As for facebook, i wonder whether somone maliciously reported my page or perhaps it got hacked, I really don’t know, Facebook would not answer any of my questions. It was incredibly frustrating.

  2. Thanks for this Emma, it’s given me lots to think about!
    Your dedication is inspirational and your success is so well deserved. Long may it continue!

    1. Dear Rachel, I am glad its giving you food for thought. I was used to working very hard as a academic and later as a teacher, so I just apply that same ethic to painting and marketing. It helps that I love painting so much! There so much you can do to get your work “out there”. B&M galleries are not the only way!

  3. This post is every bit as professional and informative as I have grown to expect from you. I don’t sell anything but it’s interesting to hear how much work you put into the marketing. I love your blog posts for the stories you tell, and I love your Insta feed for a burst of happiness. I am the proud owner of two prints which are currently being framed!

    1. Thank you so much for your comments (you are always so positive, which is wonderful). Your photography is absolutely too!

  4. Thanks for this Emma, really insightful. You’ve definitely inspired me to start blogging about my work more!

    1. Thank for the feedback. Yes do more blogging. Your work is stunning and very unsual. I look forward to reading about it.

  5. Thank you for sharing all this with others, Emma. very generous of you. Some of this I am doing but still a lot to learn. Thank you

    1. There’s always loads to learn! As soon as I posted this I thought of more points, especially about mailing lists. I hope it is of use to you, David.

  6. Hi Emma, lots of things to think about here, thanks. I am particularly interested in your thoughts on Pinterest. I have an account, but it’s largely inactive. I suppose I am concerned that lots of pinning is more likely to lead to people copying my ideas than supporting my work. I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

    1. Well, Pinterest is an excellent starting point for ideas on art marketing and SEO stuff. As for being ripped off, yes plenty of that goes on anway. I see artists riping off other artists on sites like Artfinder all the time. I just do my own thing and whilst imitators do appear from time to time, they don’t seem to last and I have taken off on a new thread of inspiration anyway. If some really wanted to rip off your work the could one to your blog! Pinterest has been quite good for being traffic to my website but its not been so good lately. As with most platforms it quite good but not amazing.

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  8. Awesome tips Emma! Thanks so much for sharing these!

    1. Thank you, Erika. I hope they help. I’m always looking for new ideas.

  9. Emma, I just read this today. My FB shop is not open yet. I have 73 followers. I am going to copy them down in a notebook and write down every new “like”. If FB blocks me, at least I won’t lose my follower’s names. Thanks for the warning.

    1. Graet to hear from you, Susan. You may want to store those names electronically or even on a spreadsheet because I had a few thousand names that I “lost”!

  10. […] Cela a été initialement publié sur mon blog WordPress ici […]

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