Ever feel overwhelmed with the thought of finally getting your art up for sale online? Websites, social media, newsletters, marketing, photography, eCommerce, branding…. oh my goodness! It’s enough to put you off from the idea completely. And I know artists, maybe even some of you, who have done just that – decided the world wide web just isn’t for you.
Well, today I’m going to tell you how little you actually need to get started online. I bet it’s less than you ever thought. And anything else you want to do can be implemented slowly. These basics are the foundation you need to just get started already!
1. Website. It’s your hub where customers can go when they’re ready to buy or want to know more about you. It only needs to be 3 pages: a homepage, an about page, and a shop page. Simple is key, just write out some honest, descriptive text and put up lots of photos of your work. The shop page needs eCommerce capabilities, but that’s easier than you think.
Action Step: Get a website. I recommend buying a domain through Dynadot, hosting through BlueHost, and installing WordPress.org to make it super easy to create your site all by yourself. For eCommerce, I use and like the free version of WooCommerce, but there are lots of options out there at various price points.
2. Social Media. You only need to start with one. And if you don’t want to, you never have to move beyond that one. But having a social network you can connect with customers on makes a big difference in your online marketing. It drives traffic to your website and builds camaraderie with your customers that keeps them coming back for more. This is also a crucial step if you have nothing up for sale yet. You’re building relationships that will reward you in the future when you do have something for sale.
Action Step: Pick between the most popular sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Click over to the .com and sign up for an account, using your full artist name if you can. Fill out the profile and then take a look around or put a date on the calendar when you will learn the platform and start posting.
3. Email List. Technically, this is really the same as a newsletter. But that word sounds so scary and daunting that I prefer “email list”. You just need to have somewhere you collect the emails of people who are interested in your art. You don’t need to send them anything yet, but you want to have the option if you need to get in touch with customers for any reason.
Action Step: Sign up for an account with an email marketing provider (I use and adore MadMimi). Ask friends and family if they would like to be on your list. Contact previous customers and ask if they would like to hear from you when you’re having a sale or a gallery show. Always ask before adding an email to your list. Also, add an “opt-in form” to your website that will collect email addresses from interested potential customers without you lifting another finger.
4. Photos. You need high-quality photographs of your art – assuming you aren’t a photographer… of course, then this one is taken care of!
Action Step: Do your homework. Read up on how to take good photographs of artwork with regards to things like lighting, staging, and editing. Then take four or five great photos of at least ten of your pieces and put them up for sale on your new website.
5. Celebrate. Rejoice in the little accomplishments. They are actually really big and scary and daunting. And you’ve conquered them! Whenever you take another leap forward, reward yourself. I prefer chocolate, but feel free to pick your own vice.
03 Nov6 Holiday Basics
It’s November. That means that the holidays are coming swiftly and people will start shopping soon. I’ve heard of people challenging themselves to finish all their shopping before December 1st!! Kooky? Maybe. But it’s something you need to be aware of as an artist who sells their work.
Here are the basics of a successful holiday season.
1. Communicate. Send out weekly emails, even if it’s just a paragraph reminding your fans that you do some of the other things on this list. Stay on your customer’s radar.
2. Gift wrap. And really, do it for free. You should be doing this anyway, whenever possible. Take a picture of the first wrapped piece you send out and add the photo to your online listings so people can anticipate your prettily-wrapped package. And especially during the holidays, this is an edge that could get your art chosen ahead of the competition.
3. Discount. People are looking for those holiday deals, especially toward the end of November. Run a promotional offer that gives a percentage off, a free print, or an actual dollar amount off. Do a BOGO even! Run the numbers before you tell anyone to make sure you’re still covering your costs.
4. Save time and money. Buy shipping supplies in bulk. Don’t go crazy. Expect around double the business you normally get unless you plan on marketing a lot more than usual. Don’t forget to keep posting on your blog and social media (see tip #1). But if you’re worried about how much time it takes, you can just take a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram and share them on social media, one at a time. Then put them all in a post together for your blog. And send out an email a few days later letting everyone know they can see you in the midst of the holiday rush. Automate whatever you can with tools like HootSuite.
5. Suggest. If a particular piece would be a good fit for a gardener, a young mom, or a busy professional – let your customers know. Put it in the item description or do a roundup on your blog or in a newsletter that shows “The Best Gifts for ____”. And don’t forget to cross-promote in your listings by linking to similar things. If they like that watercolor of a rose, perhaps they’ll also like the one of a lily. This can help your customers find the right pieces, or even get them to buy more!
6. Communicate more. Make sure your customers know shipping deadlines to get their orders by each holiday, especially Christmas. Follow up with customer orders with a personal note at each stage of the process. Receive the order? Let them know. Collected all the items and packed them up… and planning to send them out tomorrow? Send an email! Order shipped? Give them the update and tell them when they can expect to receive it. Thank them and put them on the list for a followup in the new year. I think it’s a nice touch to contact them in January and ask if everyone liked their presents and perhaps give them a coupon for future purchases.
Last week, I mentioned Social Media Marketer, the program founded by Laura Roeder that I participate in as a “Community Expert” for the program’s forums. Well, when the LKR Team asked for an honest review of the program, I agreed it would be most helpful if I posted it on my blog where you can benefit from it!
Social Media Marketer is a one-stop membership website dedicated to teaching you how to market your business online, especially (but not exclusively) with social media.
- Courses on everything from a basic 101-style course to “Advanced Content Marketing” with individual courses for all the big social media platforms sprinkled in between.
- Checklists that get to the nitty gritty of what you’re missing in various areas of your marketing.
- A glossary for online marketing “newbies”.
- Recommended resources.
- Weekly, quick emails chock full of great info that isn’t in the membership site.
- An amazing comment system that connects you with fellow business owners (networking!), gives you access to knowledgeable experts to help you through specific problems, and gives you an opportunity to get a coveted website critiques!
- Every month, the LKR Team releases a new course, so you never run out of opportunities to grow and learn. But because nothing ever disappears from the membership site, you don’t feel overwhelmed and pushed to finish courses too quickly.
- The courses approach things from a beginner’s perspective, but go deep enough that even experienced business owners can learn a lot. I go through the courses too!
- When you’re stuck, you have somewhere to turn. You can find a lot of the information in the courses and checklists, or you can post in the comments and get help from peers and Community Experts.
- When you need someone to get excited with you, the comment system is right there waiting! Sometimes it’s hard to find friends and family who understand what you’re going through as a business owner. But in the SMM forums, there are tons of people going through the same things. And they love hearing about your successes, not just your problems. That support is so incredible!
- And, hello! You get to ask me for help – for free!
If you need a nice, hefty push to get your website up or build better marketing strategies, I’d love to see you over at SMM!
PS: I do not receive compensation for this post or for any link-clicking or buying associated with this post. I just really love SMM and think you’d benefit from it too!
30 AugPinterest is Open!
Have you heard? You no longer need an invite to join Pinterest!
So if you haven’t hopped on board yet, what are you waiting for? It’s like collage mood boards without the scissors and glue…. or sifting through magazines for hours since so much of the curation is already done for you! Yippee!
And if you like the types of things I post here on Thursdays, you can get more of it over on my Pinterest boards.
PS – I’ll be driving to lovely Hilton Head Island, SC today. Beautiful place that I’m fortunate to call home. If you don’t hear from me, I’m soaking up the beach and spending time with my family. Oh and working…. it *is* a work trip, after all.
This is a guest post from Andreea Ayers. Read more about her at the end of the post.
Ten Pinterest Tips for Artists
There’s no better social media platform for artists today than Pinterest. This visually saturated site prides itself on being a “place to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web,” making it a perfect spot for creatives to share their projects, inspirations and achievements. Here are some tips for artists to make the best use of Pinterest.
1. Start with you.
Take some time to think about what you want to show people other than your work. Think about the kinds of images that tell your story by representing your hobbies, favorite books, records and films, and your passions. When your boards reflect who you are as a person, and not just an artist, you’ll be surprised at how many people stumble on your art because of your other interests.
2. Be choosy.
Pinterest is all about sharing the beautiful things on the web, not everything on the web.
Posting a pinboard containing every piece you’ve ever produced can seem a little egotistical. That’s why you need to pick your favorites to share. Add a note on each about what inspired you or how you felt when you completed it. And don’t forget to link back to your website so those who are interested can dig deeper into your body of work.
3. Build your following.
Before you go out looking for followers, start with the ones you already have. Link your Pinterest account to your Twitter and Facebook to make cross-sharing easy. Invite your real-life friends and family to follow you on Pinterest, and ask them to share your Pinterest URL with their followers too.
Now that you have a basic start on Pinterest, let’s delve deeper:
One of These Days I’m Going to Get Organized by Greg Lamarche. Paper Collage.
4. Share your inspiration.
A great way many creative souls use Pinterest is as a reminder to themselves of websites they want to revisit. Not only will this virtual pinboard keep track of all of those great art websites you want to remember, but it will also provide a place for Pinterest users to find new artists they’ll want to follow too.
5. Tear down the curtain.
People love to see how things are made. When you start a new project, post images from major landmarks in the evolution of your piece. Invite your followers to come on a journey with you from blank canvas to completed project.
This can also be a great way to get interactive with your followers. Ask for their input and welcome them to help you shape your project.
6. Make friends.
Pinterest is a hub of creativity and a great place to find likeminded people. Search for users who share your interests, and connect with them by following their boards, commenting on their pins, and repinning. This will help you get to know the community and be more social on the platform.
7. Add video.
You can also share videos on Pinterest, which gives artists a chance to introduce their followers to their studio space, their process, or show off their favorite local galleries.
Many users look to Pinterest for new ideas and as an artist you have the ability to use it to share your skills. Post a DIY project as a pinboard of photos outlining the steps, or in a video. This helps build your credibility and shareability.
9. Make some sales.
If you’re selling your art on Etsy, it’s easy to share your work on Pinterest with a Pin It button on each item you post. The pin will include the item name from Etsy, the price, and offers space to let you share a description. Pinterest users respond best to emotion, so share your inspiration rather than your sales goals.
If you’re not on Etsy, you can add a Pin It button wherever you can place html code on your own site. Just head to Pinterest’s Goodies page, scroll down and grab the code.
10. Showcase your accomplishments.
One way to highlight your art without going overboard is to build a pin board that displays your accomplishments. If your photo appeared in a magazine, your painting on a website, or one of your sculptures is displayed publicly, post it to your achievement page.
Don’t forget to link back to any reference material you have on your website, like your blog post about the installation or a link to your piece on an external website.
These are only a few of the many ways artists like you can use Pinterest to build a following and become a part of the conversation. I’d love to hear how you’re using Pinterest, so please share your thoughts in the comments.
Andreea Ayers is serial entrepreneur who has sold two businesses. She currently works with entrepreneurs to help them grow their business by getting their products into stores and in the media. Get more great tips for product based businesses at her site LaunchGrowJoy.com.
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