I was following a thread recently on a forum where artists and photographers were discussing sales, or lack thereof on a popular competitors web site. After reading through the different posts it was obvious why only a few were selling their work while most were not. When it comes to selling prints of one’s work, simply posting it for viewing is never going to be enough. All too often people setting up a online presence to display and sell their art find they are getting lots of exposure but few sales. The reason many of these artists were not selling was not because their work was poorly done but intead the terrible assumption that their art sells it self.
There are many people that think because the artwork is good, all their friends like it, they know they are talented, then they can sit back and watch the sales come in. That is far from the truth. An artist needs to be a sales person. While art or fine art photography can speak volumes it won’t target specifically potential buyers.
So what can you do to bring in more sales for your prints:
1. Keep a consistent style and subject for your work.
The worse thing you can do is paint or capture anything and everything and throw it all online for people to buy. Sure you may sell a few prints here and there but consider the person who wants to decorate their home with a specific theme. One of the things we notice as a fulfillment service for artists and photographers is those who are having us sent out shipments on a regular basis tend to have a specific subject matter. One artist is making a killing selling prints of various fruits and vegetables she paints. She has done a lot of other prints for herself which do not have the same style or consistency but those she drop ships to her customers always follow the same theme and style.
2. Don’t under price your work.
One of the most interesting aspects of the discussion was many of the artists who sold their work were not selling them real cheap either. On the other hand, those who were complaining about a lack of sales tended to sell their work at lower prices. Sure those that are bargain shoppers will buy prints as well but those shoppers are not going to necessarily be the same as those who purchase prints online direct from the artists. People that buy from the artists direct many times are boutique buyers meaning they are not your typical poster store buyers. They have money so they will spend. If the price is too low, they may assume the print is cheap and not something of value. Just be fair and not overcharge either so really it is about finding a good price point that reflects what you think your work is worth.
3. Get your name out there.
This is the most important. Those which are selling and spending a lot of time promoting their work on other sites as well attract a wider audience to their work. They blog, they use Facebook, Linkedin as well as a number of online portfolio sites. Eventually people will find you and your work. Case in point, I have done a search on my own work under Yahoo images for the term “seascape” called "Remebering Bob Ross". Due to all the work I have done in the past, one of my images shows up prominently in the first dozen images or so. It may take some time to get that sort of exposure but if you put in the time and effort it will pay off.