JDA Creative Services 12019 SE Sumner Portland, OR 97220 (503)525-0846

Photography and Printing for Fine Art and Enterprise … and You!

marketing art, Keywords, Social Media, Video, YouTube, Blogs, Long Tail Keywords

The Best Place to Sell Your Art Online

I was prompted to write this post by my artist friend
Clara Berta. Altho we’ve never had the occasion to meet in person, we’ve become friends via Facebook and twitter. Clara asked if I had a recommendation about where to sell her wonderful work online and it got me thinking, how do I answer that question? Bear with me while I digress a bit…

Several good friends have recently had books published by major publishers and it has been interesting to observe the process. One of the most fascinating aspects is how little promotion the publisher actually does on the author’s behalf. In fact, to a large extent, it is left to the author to promote their work, sometimes consuming their entire advance in promotion costs. As I reflected on this I realized that there is a lesson to be gleaned from that experience for artists and photographers… actually anyone who markets a product on the Web.

The short answer to Clara’s question is that, if all the technical aspects are in order- Payment types accepted, fulfillment matters, reporting, etc.- it doesn’t matter where your work is sold. The key to being successful online is bringing people to your product, The more people the more likely one or more of them will be interested in buying it. Ultimately, the responsibility for transporting them to your work falls to you. Here are some tips to making that journey easier:

Create an online community that you can announce new work to. The primary Social Media services are, of course, twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. How much weight you put on each, depends on the nature of your work or product.

Create a video based on your new work. It doesn’t have to be long- 2 minutes max- and tell your audience what your motivations were in planning and executing your artwork. If you can, film yourself in the process of creation and include a little of it in the video. If you work from photos, you could show where your inspiration came from. And, of course, show the final piece and tell people where they can find it for sale. Put it up on your own branded YouTube channel (it’s free, remember)

Create an opt-in email list for newsletters and targeted promotions.

Create a Blog post specifically for that piece. Embed your YouTube video. Include a still shot of the final piece, and write your post optimizing for a specific word or group of words. These are called KeyWords. Be very specific. If you’ve done a painting of a group of horses running, you might try optimizing on the word artwork, but a little research with Google’s Keyword Tool, will quickly show that there are about 2 million searches on artwork but there are also 141 million sites results. That’s your competition. Your chances of getting anywhere near the first page of search results (where +94% of people stop looking) are remote at best, and additionally the term is so broad that of the few that actually make it to your site thru search engines, will probably not be purchasers. How about painting of horses? That’s actually not bad, about 4500 searches there and only 33,000 page results… better but still unlikely that you will rise above the din. What about painting of horses running? 390 searches and under 5000 competitors. A much friendlier scenario. This is what is called a “long tail keyword.” I know, you’re saying “Why don’t I want to be seen by millions of people?” Popular keywords (like painting, or horses) can bring lots of traffic if you happen to be on page one, but it is unfiltered visitors. They may be looking to buy or they may be just looking for pretty pictures. The longer the keyword tail the more “qualified” the visitor is. If your painting is of horses running in a pasture in Walla Walla, Washington, and the visitor finds you by searching for paintings of horses running in a pasture in Walla Walla Washington, chances are pretty good you are going to make a sale. This takes some practice and tweaking, but it is well worthwhile. Make sure you make it clear where they can buy your piece!

Use that social media network to promote your blog post and the location of your work. Post a photo on Facebook and include the link in the caption. Same with Flickr, and twitpic. Spread the word with twitter by linking to your blog and all the other places you’ve created content.

Finally, it’s perfectly OK to feature past blog posts later. Let’s say you decide to go through this process once a week. After a couple months, you will have quite a few posts that feature your work, go ahead and promote them again to reintroduce the work to you previous contacts and to show the breadth of your abilities to new additions to your network.

To sum up: Pick a service that can do what you need in terms of the technical nuts and bolts of online sales then take the initiative to create and execute a promotional strategy to drive interested potential customers to that site.

If you need help in creating that strategy, be sure to give us a call or email. We’re happy to help!