This course is for the artist or illustrator seeking to sell their artwork online via auctions, static store fronts, and via social media. You will learn the pros and cons of selling on different kinds of platforms and how to get started without a large initial investment in time or money. Throughout the lectures I will describe tactics you can employ to drive sales without spending money on advertisement.
INTRODUCTION TO: Ecommerce for the Artist
By Jack Larson
This course will teach the artist, illustrator, or Internet entrepreneur how to sell art online. I have a decade of experience with selling art online through a variety of platforms from auctions to personal web stores, and 3rd party fulfilment centers. Since 2007, I have sold more than 12,000 original works of art and 99% of these sales were online. As you might expect, I have made a lot of mistakes in the process of learning what works and what does not.
Everything I have learned came with a cost in terms of time, energy, and money. In this course I will condense ten years of experience, ten years of trial and error, into easily implementable strategies which you can begin using today.
My intention with this course is to share with you all the information you need to sell your art online on a consistent basis even if you’ve never sold anything online before.
You’ll learn to produce prints, apparel, and other items using your unique designs which will make it possible to scale your business.
You will learn to sell on auctions and go over strategies to get off to a good start and build a following of loyal collectors.
You will learn to sell on popular ecommerce sites like Etsy and Amazon. These are sites where you determine the price rather than bidders.
You will learn how to use 3rd party fulfillment to your advantage. The busier you get, the more likely it will make sense to send your excess inventory to a fulfillment center.
How to incorporate Print on Demand technology to scale your business. Leveraging the awesome power of Print on Demand will allow you to reach more people with your work than would otherwise be possible. It can liberate your time to produce more content and if the process is automated, it becomes a way to generate passive revenue streams.
How to make sales with online classified ads. There are several ways to use classified ads to direct traffic, to sell art directly, and to find local collectors or distributors.
Optimizing your art studio for ecommerce. I’ll discuss product photography, improving your workflow, and managing the shipping and handling aspect of the business.
I’ll share a myriad of cost saving tips along with pointers on streamlining your business to save time.
Converting an online portfolio into a powerful sales tool. Make your art work for you.
Using social media to introduce your work to new buyers. Video blogging to drive traffic.
Twenty-one online marketing tactics for the artist.
I will be available to answer any questions and otherwise provide guidance for students taking this course. Thank you.
How to get started
selling art through
Traffic is not guaranteed so you must build a following. The advantage to selling your work through auction sites rather than your own storefront is that you get to take advantage of preexisting traffic.
However, there is still no guarantee that your work will draw in that traffic, and if it does, will it even sell? People may see your work while not specifically shopping for art or perhaps at a time when they aren’t prepared to make a significant purchase. In order to get them to keep you in mind, you must get potential collectors to follow your work. This means that there has to be a hook, something to draw even the most mildly interested collector into your pool of regular buyers.
And here is that hook. It is something which has worked for me on multiple stores: create small, “sample” sized works of art. If they are standardized at 2.5” x 3.5”, they qualify for classification as ACEO’s, or Art Cards Editions and Originals.
These offer a quick way to establish a following. It works through the same principle as the “freemium”, or “loss leader.” You give something away or provide something of value at a low cost knowing that you’re building a long term relationship with your buyers and the cost of acquiring a lifelong customer is a minor investment compared to the value of a consistent bidder. They key to earning more in the auctions is acquiring a pool of regular bidders.
Every work of art successfully delivered is another person in your pool of buyers who will eventually spend more on your artwork than what you spent or invested to get them to accept a sample. I consider art cards a more personal form of advertising. And unlike business cards, art cards appreciate in value.
I highly suggest creating ART CARDS because of the fact that online auctions recognize it as a category in itself and it has an established body of collectors. These are inexpensive enough to eliminate much of the risk which comes with opening a new store.
Additionally, when you become a new seller on most auction sites, the seller must demonstrate that they can meet the seller standards which means that your payments might be delayed for the first month, or at least you may expect the money to be held until the order delivery is confirmed. This is why ACEO’s are such an economically viable way to break into selling your art in this way.
This will also give you time to gather some followers who, after having sampled your work on a smaller scale, will be more inclined towards purchasing a larger piece. And remember, the more bidder on any item, the higher the price goes. The idea is to have consistent bidders with a minimum budget between them which amounts to more than you pay in terms of materials, bidding fees, and shipping. The Art Card can be shipped for the price of a stamp and the time it takes to paint on a smaller surface reduces the investment in time.
This means that it is economically viable, and profitable, to sell in higher volume at lower prices, even if your goal is to sell larger, more expensive works as well. The main reason I recommend ACEO’s first is because of the lower operational costs and it makes sense standardize your workflow before investing more into the products with regards to time and materials and the overhead which comes from shipping larger items.
(Another method to monetize ACEO’s using HR scans
)Even if you feel like you’re losing money with inexpensive works, consider that you can recoup that in the long term by converting the high resolution scans of the art cards into prints, products, mugs, posters, shirts, book covers, etc.
I would recommend using your first month on any auction site a period of time to assess the market and to work out any bugs with regards to your order fulfilment process. Finally, I cannot over emphasise the importance of finding a dependable niche, which I’ll discuss in the next video.
Marketing online is a matter of properly contextualizing your artwork and placing it in front of the right customers.
Print on demand allows an artist to maximize profit and generate passive income streams.
Amazon is a great marketplace for the artist. Amazon also offers Fulfilment Services in which you may send your art to their warehouse and allow them to process your orders for you.
While not necessary, paid advertisements are a great way to drive traffic.
Marketing online has been made easier with the advent of social media integration with all the major sales platforms.
Jack Larson is an artist based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work is displayed in private collections around the world.
Several of his paintings have been published as book covers and one has been featured as an “Easter Egg” within Android smartphones. His work has appeared on book covers, in art galleries, and has been appreciated by private art collectors since he started selling art in 2009. In April of 2017, several of his paintings were featured on the popular news website World Net Daily.
He now consults part time with artists and illustrators who are learning how to brand and sell their work for a living. He has several courses planned out, the first of which, E-Commerce For The Artist, to be released in April and the follow up course which focuses on marketing will be released in May of 2017.