Fine Art America and Pixels Unofficial FAQ Answers

As a successful, long time artist selling on Fine Art America and Pixels, I get asked a lot of basic questions about the format and set up of an account on the POD site.  I’ve covered basic art selling tips and strategies in other blog posts, and talked about what Print On Demand or POD is all about, so in this blog post I’m just going to concentrate on the basic mechanics and questions about the Fine Art America and Pixels sites.

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

Behind The Scenes is where you can control your sellers account on FAA an Pixels.  It contains your account information, public profile, marketing, stats, sales data, sale balance, pricing, etc.

To find your own “behind the scenes” first log in to your account and then hover over your name in the upper right.  A drop down menu will appear and “behind the scenes” will be the second choice.  Click on that and you’ll have access to all of the behind the scenes setting to set up your account.

Spend a lot of time in Behind The Scenes and you’ll discover all you need to know about offering your work for sale on FAA and Pixels.

PRICING

In the real world art pricing is based on an individual artists reputation, skill, past history, career point, show history etc.   While many POD sites treat all artists the same and have fixed profit margins (typically low), FAA and Pixels allows the individual artist to set their own profit margin.

This allows a more established artist to sell at higher prices or perhaps allows for a strategy of volume selling with a lower profit margin — in any case the pricing strategy is left to the individual artist.

FAA and Pixels are a middle man between the artist and the various vendors that they use to fulfill the orders.  The vendor (the one who actually prints the t-shirt, mug, or art print) gets a cut of the overall price and FAA/Pixels takes their cut for processing the orders and running the website.  Then there is the artist’s cut which you determine.  Will it be $5 or $500 for a 20×20 inch canvas print?

In the “behind the scenes” area you will have to put in your profit margin that will be added to the vendor cut and FAA/Pixels cut to determine the final price to the buyer.

You can add profit margins for any print size as well as for products such as mugs and phone cases.  This is the amount you will receive if the item sells.

Photography Prints

Tips

  • If you don’t want to sell a particular print size or a certain product – leave the box completely blank.  Don’t put in a “0”.  A zero means that it can still sell and you will receive nothing.
  • Don’t follow the suggested prices from management.  They are very low and you can do better.
  • You can price individual images each time or set up “Default Prices” in “Behind the Scenes”
  • You can change your prices universally using “Default Prices” and then applying the new prices to some or all of your images.

Art Prints

PREMIUM ACCOUNT

Is it worthwhile to pay $30 a month for a Premium Account on Fine Art America and Pixels?  Yes – if you are serious about running a business selling your artwork on Fine Art America and Pixels.  You can set up a free account to test out the system and upload 25 images.  A free account is great for seeing how everything works and getting your profile ready, but don’t expect to sell anything.  25 images is a drop in the bucket to the thousands of new images that get uploaded every day on these sites.

The chances of some buyer finding your images with only 25 is like a needle in a haystack.  Consider that you will be in this for the long haul and it might take many months if not years to start selling your work.  It takes time for your promotional efforts to pay off.

So any way, consider the $30 a cost of doing business that will most likely be paid off with a sale or two if you market your work.

Photography Prints

Pixels vs. Fine Art America

Pixels and FAA look awfully similar don’t they?  Except for a few logo differences and colors they are virtually the same site although Pixels has more of the product stuff such as mugs and t-shirts whereas Fine Art America sticks to the more traditional art offerings such as canvas prints and framed art.  But its the same company, same artists for the most part and same vendors fulfilling the orders.

If you sign up to sell your work with one of them, you will be on the other one too.  All of the “behind the scenes” stuff is shared.  Make a change to a price or upload a new image on one site and it changes on the other on too.

Why do I get so many visitors from the same cities?

If you watch the visitor count in “Behind The Scenes” you see your images being visited by the same cities over and over. Especially if you promote your images on social media such as Twitter. Instantly after Tweeting you’ll see 20 or so hits from these cities.

Are these real people looking at your work? Most likely not. Most of the views are from search engine bots that constantly scan the web for new content and uses these software bots to analysis and index web pages and images. Most of what you see recorded in “behind the scenes” will be these software robots or “bots”. To get real people to see your work you have to stop wasting time looking at “views” and get out there and actively promote and market your artwork. Don’t worry about view counts, worry about attracting buyers. It only takes one view from an active buyer to make a sale or you can get thousands of bot views and not sell.

How and when will I be paid?

If you are fortunate enough to make a sale, you will receive notification via email.  You can also check sales in “behind the scenes” under “sales” or under “balance”.  Payments are made each month on the 15th via PayPal.  But you won’t be paid right away.  FAA/PIxels has a 30 day money back guarantee so you have to wait for that period to end.   It could be up to two months before you are paid depending on when the order comes in.  And the buyer could cancel to order, have used a bad credit card or returned the item.  So basically don’t count your chickens until they are in your PayPal account.  Fortunately returns are rare but they do happen and they stink!

Sell More Art – Understanding Buyer Motivation

Modern Farm House Style Decor https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/farm
Modern Farm House Style Decor
https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/farm

Recently on the Fine Art America artist forums a member was talking about setting up an art auction site. Other members had a lot of questions about establishing trust, curating the art, and other concerns. Things provided by well established art auction houses.

The “entrepreneur” brushed off these concerns saying “we are the sellers here, not the buyers.”

Sorry folks but if you don’t understand the motivations of the buyer, you are not going to do much selling.

Train photography by Edward M. Fielding
Train photography by Edward M. Fielding http://www.edwardfielding.com

Motivations of the Seller

As an art seller it doesn’t take too much soul searching to understand why you want to sell our art. There are several reasons. The major one being money. You need money to pay for equipment, supplies, food, rent, models, studios space, gas, trips to the dentist etc. Everyone needs money for their time and effort.

The other motivation is a personal satisfaction of knowing that someone else appreciates the work you are producing. Other motivations include career advancement, prestige, reputation, fame, branding and other achievements. But all in all its rather straightforward. You are producing a creative product and need to find buyers who will support your ongoing efforts.

Motivations of the Buyer

Motivations of the buyer can range from wanting to cover a crack on the wall to wanting to make a financial investment. The motivations determine if someone buys art on sale at Walmart, buys from an artist at an art fair or buys at a high end aution and stores the art in a bunker for ten years.

If your method of selling does not match the motivations of the buyer, you are probably not going to sell much art or photography. Let’s some reasons people might want to buy art.

  • They need a gift for a wedding, graduation, birthday, housewarming etc.
  • They want to decorate a room.
  • They want something cheery to greet them in the morning.  Something uplifting that will make them laugh or smile.
  • Something that will remind them of something – a trip, a place, a time, a location.
  • To impress.  They want to impress their friends and co-workers with their good taste.  The art enhances the owners self-esteem or self-perceptions of its owners.
  • To collect.  They enjoy collecting art of a certain genre or theme.
  • To inspire.  They want art or photography that will inspire their own work.
  • To think.  They want art that will make them think and question.
  • To relax.  They want art that is calming or relaxing to look at.
  • As an investment.  They want to park their money somewhere and hope it appreciates.
  • Price.  The art was a good deal or it was in their budget.
  • To make a statement – social or political statements, philosophies, beliefs or values that the art embodies.  The art expresses the buyers views.

When it comes down to it “the art we buy is as much about who we are as it is about the artists who create it”

Winter Arrives - Barn wood frame
Winter Arrives by Edward M. Fielding – Barn wood frame http://www.edwardfielding.com

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Milestone: 1200 Art and Fine Art Photography Sales

Allow me to toot my own horn, as I can’t wait for others to do it. I sell my photography, design work and art on a variety of platforms from Rights Managed Stock via Arcangel to rental art via Turning Art as well as on Red Bubble and Society6 but by far my most successful selling platform to date has been Fine Art America and Pixels.com.

I have my largest portfolio on edward-fielding.pixels.com and this site offers the most combinations of museum quality prints in the form of framed and matted prints, canvas, metal, wood and more.  Plus decor products such as throw pillows, phone cases, bags and more.

In the past few months I’ve punched through the 1,000 sales mark and my collectors keep growing, discovering new, never sold before images from my portfolio of nearly 5,000 fine art photographs and artwork as well as repeat sales of fan favorite images.

Decorators have also discovered a few of my images for their clients and have received a professional discount for large volume buyers through Designer Prints which is a service to those in the trade who need to purchase in volume for their clients or for resale.

Here are some of my top sellers:

Art Prints

Sell Art Online

Photography Prints

Sell Art Online

Sell Art Online

If you want to sell your own artwork take a look at some of my advice on selling artwork articles:

About Fine Art America and Pixels

Selling Art – Search Engine Optimization SEO

5 Don’ts of Selling Artwork Online

Can I make a living at this?

Understanding Print On Demand – Part One

Want to sell your artwork online? Do some math first

Art Prints

I had to chuckle when a new artist on Pixels and Fine Art America was complaining about their lack of sales on the forum recently.  They couldn’t understand why they hadn’t made a sale yet despite having over 1,000+ views.

Really?  1,000 views and they expect the sales to come flooding in?  Think about how many people walk by an artwork at a gallery or even at a mall store window before something sells.

And that’s real people.  People in a retail environment.  People with a wallet in their pocket or cash in their purse.  People who are already in the mood to do a little shopping.

What is a 1,000 views on the Internet?  Most likely its bots.  Little software robots that index the internet every day.  They come to a page, scan the contents and report back to the search engine from which they came.  They are not buyers.  Bots are most likely 99% of the traffic that an internet page receives and bots are not buyers.

Then there are the lookers, tire kickers and browsers.  People looking for free clip art, people looking for free screen savers, people who are just curious, people who are simply at work – bored and playing around.  And perhaps a few are serious buyers.

So out of that 1,000 views, how many are valid potential buyers?  Perhaps three?

Sell Art Online

Now take that three and consider the competition.  Pixels and Fine Art America says they have upwards of 125,000 living artists who use their site to offer their artwork for sale.  125K artists who are uploading something like 6,000 new images on a daily basis.

So this is the kicker from this artist who can’t believe they haven’t sold anything yet.

“Granted, I only have 8-9 drawings posted” and only joined in 2016 and has zero followers.  In other words hasn’t done much at all.

Sell Art Online

POD means Print On Demand not ATM

Uploading images to a POD site and “offering” work is not the same as marketing, promoting and selling your artwork.  POD sites are not ATM machines.  They don’t spit out money without putting in some effort.

Despite what you might have heard, art does not sell itself.  It needs to be seen and it needs to be seen by a lot of people before the right buyer reaches into their pocket and parts with their hard-earned money to purchase said artwork.

Do you have any idea how many buyers there are in the world wanting to purchase your artwork?  Does it appeal to hundreds? Thousands? Millions? A few? Just one? No one?

Some of the work I offer in my portfolio of nearly 5,000 pieces of photography and artwork has never sold – perhaps yet or perhaps never.  Some have sold a few times and a few have sold nearly fifty times.  Some sold in as little as three days, others took three years to find a buyer.

Some have less than 100 views and have sold.  Other have thousands of views and haven’t sold once.

Photography Prints

What does it take to sell artwork on Pixels and Fine Art America and other Print On Demand or POD websites?

There really is not secret formula to selling artwork on POD sites.  Good work, that is in demand, lots of it plus marketing, promotion and time for people to find it is the secret.

  • Professional, top quality work
  • Unique work that sets you apart from the pack
  • Work that fits the audience of the website
  • Lots of inventory to choose from
  • Promotion
  • Social Media activity
  • Marketing
  • Good titles, keywording, descriptions
  • Time for the work to be found by search engines and potential buyers.

 

 

 

Recently Sold On Fine Art America

Another look at which photographs and artwork are hot in February from the portfolio of Edward M. Fielding – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/

Old VW Bus Hand Towel
Old VW Bus Hand Towel

Sold a Hand Towel of Vw Bus Pop Art 5 to a buyer from Ny, NY.

Art Prints

A 6.625″ x 10.000″ print of Vince Lombardi On Perfection shipping to a buyer from Strongsville, OH.

Sell Art Online

A greeting card of What Would Jimmy Buffett Do to a buyer from Tampa, FL.

Photography Prints

Recent sale of a box of greeting cards of Pug Dog Black And White to a buyer from Burlington, MA.

Art Prints

A 30.000″ x 24.125″ print of After Pollock Black And White to a buyer from Glenwood Springs, CO.

Sell Art Online

A greeting card of The Knack Of Flying to a buyer from Bellevue, WA.

Photography Prints
A greeting card of Wild Lady Slippers to a buyer from Columbia City, OR.

Photography Prints

Recent sale of a IPhone 6s Plus Case of Santa Dog Is Coming To Town to a buyer from Muncie, IN.

Photography Prints

A 24.000″ x 36.000″ print of Gates Of Brown University Providence Rhode Island to a buyer from Morton Grove, IL.

 

 

 

Monopoly Tee
Sold a Men’s T-Shirt (Regular Fit) – Black – Medium of Monopoly Original Patent Art Drawing T-shirt to a buyer from Hounslow, State/County – United Kingdom.  link

Recently sold a 36.000″ x 23.750″ metal print of Blue Ridge Mountians to a buyer from Mooresville, NC.

Sell Art Online

Ideas for making money with your camera

The market for photography is $10 billion dollars in the United States and is expect to grow at a rate of 1.8 percent annually.

Still images and video are needed more than ever in the digital age in portraits, business promotion, product photography, food photography, event photography and editorial photography to illustrate articles, news sources and websites. While the costs of photographer and the fees paid to photographers have decreased due to easier to use and process digital photography the need for images is always increasing.

The Photography industry has experienced several changes as digital cameras and post-production technologies have increasingly affected operators. While photographers are benefiting from the changes by increasing their efficiency and availability, consumers are now able to take professional-quality images without the need of a specialist.

Revenue is expected to improve slightly in the next five years as photographer focus on niche markets, such as events, sports and church directory photography.

Common industry services include school and family portraits, special events photography and sports’ photography. As consumers make up the largest buyers of these services, photography studios tend to be concentrated in densely populated areas.

Cities, in addition to being densely populated, have the largest amount of business activity. This leads industry establishments that focus on commercial and industrial photography to also concentrate in densely populated areas although the web allows photographers to find International and Domestic markets.

Top Ways to Make Money With Your Camera

1 – Sell Prints – I talk about how to sell prints of your photographs in my series on Print On Demand sites – http://www.dogfordstudios.com/understanding-print-demand/

You can also sell prints locally at galleries and  arts and crafts fairs.

2 – Stock Photography – You can upload your images to a stock photography agency who will then offer them to image buyers and designers to be used in publications, on the web,  on products etc.

Example of a licensed image.
Example of a licensed image.

For example the above image title “Wash Day” and which I sell as prints has also been licensed for use on the cover of a pet magazine in Florida.  https://edwardfielding.me/2014/02/07/wash-day-makes-the-front-page/

A few things to remember about stock photography:

  • Fine art photographs are not always suitable for stock images and conversely not all stock images make great fine art photographs.
  • Stock photographs need to be useful for the business buyers/designers.  They need copyspace, they need images that will illustrate the products and services they are selling or support the editorial in a magazine or on a blog.
  • A stock portfolio needs to be diverse, constantly updated and have a very large number of unique images to get noticed.  If you think you’ll upload 40 images and then kick back and watch the money flow in, you will be disappointed.

Sell Art Online

3 – Event Photography – Capturing images for an event such as a wedding, party, club, or special occasion is a great way to make money with your camera.  Even though everyone has a camera these days on their smart phone, smart people and people with money to spend on the good things in life know that it better to leave important things like capturing the event in pictures to the pros with the good equipment.  The pro might be the only one not drunk and certainly the only one in the room fully concentrated on getting the job done.

4. Portraits – From Headshots to Mugshots – the ability to photograph people well is the ticket to success.  Landscapes are for the hobbyists and amateurs.  Professionally produced portaits are money in the bank for the professional photographer.  Learn how to make people look good and you will have a successful photography business.
Sell Art Online

Selling Art – Search Engine Optimization SEO

Selling Artwork with Search Engine Optimization

Advice on selling artwork online by successful artist/fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding – www.edwardfielding.com

In order to buy art, collectors must first see it so the can fall in love with it.  In the brick and mortar world this means putting your wall art up in places frequented by potential collectors such as galleries, cafes and exhibits.

The Nest by Edward M. Fielding
The Nest by Edward M. Fielding  http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/the-nest-edward-fielding.html

Selling art online requires putting your artwork in online galleries but mainly creating content that will be collected and indexed by the major search engines.

When someone is in the mood to search for art to buy, you want your artwork or photography to pop to the top of search.  That is what the term “SEO” or “Search Engine Optimization” means.  Making your content (in this case your artwork) optimally positioned to be first found by the search engines and then ranked as high as it can be the search results.

Search engine results are the result of a constantly tweaked formula or algorithm.  A behind the scenes math equation that weights all sorts of variables to bring about the final result.  Elements such as popularity, readability, length of time people spend on the page, number of links going to the page, how many ads are on the page etc etc.  All of these measurements go into the formula to create the final page ranking.

Red Neck Moving Day
Red Neck Moving Day http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/red-neck-moving-day-edward-fielding.html

While search engines such as Google and Bing won’t actually reveal the methods they use to rank websites on their search results, those responsible for the practice of SEO have a pretty good idea which tactics are most effective – and research repeatedly confirms it comes down to just a handful of factors.

Relevant Content Creation

RCC or Relevant Content Creation is considered the most important way to achieve SEO.  You have to think of the search engine as a product.  The goal of any search engine is to be the best product in its class. It does this by satisfying the customers need for fast and relevant results.

The better job the search engine does of bringing you the results you want, the better the product.  So the search engine strives to bring up results that have actual useful information and it does this partly by measuring the amount of time the users spends on the page and the number of links from other sites that lead to this page.

Dirty Dog Laundry Soap
Dirty Dog Laundry Soap http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/dirty-dog-laundry-soap-edward-fielding.html

You can’t really fake good content.  In the old days, you might just fill up a page with keywords and the search engines would send customers to that page.  But now all kinds of other factors are considered such as readability, time spent on the page, other links to the page, social media interaction etc.

Relevant content creation, of course, is what SEO’s most often believe is the most effective SEO tactic. Recent research from Ascend2, in fact, found that 57 percent of respondents say relevant content creation is a highly effective SEO tactic. Other top tactics mentioned in the study include keyword/phrase research (49% cite as highly effective), social media integration (39%), and external/internal linking (36%).

Old Train Bridge
Old Train Bridge http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/2-old-steel-train-bridge-edward-fielding.html

Selling Artwork With Context

To attract search engines to your work you need to surround the work with words.  Visual images can be searched but usually its by people looking to grab a photo for a school report or presentation or something.  Art buyers are going to be searching within an online art gallery or via a search engine. You need to surround your visual artwork with relevant words or in other words put it in context.

Context – the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.

In the SEO world, context is king.  Context can be keywords, a description of an artwork, the biography of the artist, the process behind the artwork, a description of the framing process etc.

In other words tell the story of the artwork for the potential buyer and the search engines.  Give the buyer and the search engine bots that index the Internet, multiple reasons to find, index, discover and learn about your artwork.  Provide interesting details about the work that will entice others to share and link to your work.

The more context you place around your artwork, the more likely it will be found and purchased.

 

About the Author

Before returning to fine art photography and art, Edward M. Fielding had a career in the high tech computer magazine and online content provider world including being the Director of Market Research at BYTE Magazine.

Currently Fielding’s work can be seen on bestselling book covers and in magazine’s around the world as well as in galleries and in the home’s of private collectors.

See more at: http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/index.html

More articles on selling artwork online here.

selling artwork buy smart doggie Art Online

Selling Artwork – Plan Ahead

Selling Artwork – Christmas 2017 Art Selling Season Starts Now

Sell More Artwork By Planning Ahead – One of my families favorite Christmas season movies is “Elf” and there is a scene at the end where Santa tells the elves “congratulations for a great Christmas”.  They all cheer and then get back to work on next year’s Christmas!  No rest for the weary at the North Pole.

Sell Art Online

A friend of mine is a product designer for the electronics industry.  Early January he is always crushed with business producing mock ups for the February trade shows.

All across the toy industry, designers are finalizing their designs for next year’s toys which will be manufactured all summer.  Cooking magazine art directors are putting the final touches on their Halloween photoshoots right now.  Book publishers are meeting with Christmas themed book writers in late winter.

Art Prints

The point is that the Christmas selling season starts now – not in December 2017.

Missed Out On The Christmas Buying Spree? What Are You Going To Do About It

Ok, many of you are not experiencing a jump in sales this Christmas season and perhaps are discouraged by hearing about other artists enjoying increased sales this season. Let’s face it the moment after you congratulate someone on a sale, the first thought is what do they have that I ain’t got?

So what are you going to do about it to build your business up to be ready to take advantage of more sales next Holiday season? Are you just going to droop your head down and say whoa is me? Or are you going to make a plan? How about a real business plan? For many of us this is a business, its time to start acting as such.

Art Prints

1.  Are you going to analysis your offerings and offer more of what people want to buy and less of what only you like?

2.  Are you going to increase your social networking efforts?
3.  Are you going to get an artist website and blog?
4.  Are you going to increase the number of markets you participate in?
5.  Are you going to improve your skills and offer better work?
6.  Create more places where people can buy your work?
7.  Communicate with potential buyers?
8.  Stop spending valuable time commiserating with others who are not selling?
9. Stop blaming your lack of sales on things like the economy, or slow networks, or Amazon, or the world that is conspiring against you?
10. Are you going to DO SOMETHING about it?

How about it? Anyone got any action plans for 2017? You better because your competition does and they  working hard to create great art and marketing for the upcoming Christmas season that starts today.

Pugs Book
Pugs Book by Edward M. Fielding http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/

 

About the Author

Artist Edward M. Fielding is a successful artist/designer/photographer on Fine Art America, Pixels and other POD sites as well as an International stock image supplier whose work has been featured in magazines and on book covers around the globe.  His whimsical books of dog photos can be found on Amazon.com.

https://www.createspace.com/4070210

https://www.createspace.com/5240200

Generating traffic to your artwork

Getting more people to see your artwork and hopefully purchase it

Art does not sell within a vacuum.  And art can’t be purchase without first being seen.  The more people who see your work, the more potential your artwork as to being sold.  How do you get more people to see your work?  Are all viewers equal? How do you generate organic traffic? What is organic traffic?

Art Prints

In totality there are lots of ways for people to see your work:

  • Gallery visits
  • Art festivals
  • Galleries
  • Museums
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • On the street
  • On the Internet

Online there are two main ways to generate “traffic” the generic and cold term for web site visitors (i.e. people who might buy your work).  Offline at retail space this “traffic” might be referred to as foot traffic.

The presence and movement of people walking around in a particular space. Foot traffic is important to many types of businesses, particularly retail establishments, as higher foot traffic can lead to higher sales. Strategies businesses can use to increase their foot traffic include holding grand openings and other promotional events such as demonstrations, giveaways, sales and charitable fundraisers.

Photography Prints

First the terms: organic traffic vs. paid traffic:

Organic traffic generally refers to non-paid traffic, so includes traffic from:

  • Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
  • Referral traffic from other sites – visitors arriving at your site after clicking on a link on another website.
  • Direct traffic – someone typing in your URL into a browser.
  • Blogs – links from blogs describing your process or artwork
  • News – links from press releases, news articles and other press about your work.
  • YouTube – referrals and links from your YouTube or Vimeo videos.

Such traffic is all achieved organically, rather than through a source of advertising or paid promotion of some kind.

On the other hand…

Paid traffic is where you are spending money to attract those visitors to your website. This might include:

  • Using paid listings on search engines.
  • Paying to promote your content/link on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and give it a much wider audience.
  • Showing ads on other sites around the net, usually using an ad network like Google’s Display Ads within Adwords.
  • Visitors arriving at your site because of an affiliate program you run, i.e. incentives others to link through to your site in return for monetary compensation of some kind, usually either on a sale or some other user action after they arrive.

Ninety percent of selling is conviction, and 10 per cent is persuasion. – Shiv Khera

Art Prints

Not All Traffic Is Created Equal

Of course  not all traffic is created equal.  Consider the value of a targeted mailing to active art buyers vs. a mailing to the general public.  Or the value of a person walking into a high end gallery in NYC vs. someone walk into the decor section at Pier One.  Two different buyers with vastly different sales potential and people who will most likely be attuned to a different sale pitch.

The expectations of the person walking into a high end art gallery are different than the Pier One customer.  The gallery patron is expecting artwork of a certain quality and price point, as is the random Pier One customer.  The Pier One customer is not expecting one of a kind work or a one of a kind artwork price point.  While the gallery patron is looking for something exclusive and perhaps something that will be of investment grade artwork.

But compare this to someone who simply wandered into each store randomly as they were looking to have their shoes shined.  They weren’t looking for artwork to buy and they might not even appreciate artwork.  And besides they only have $20 in their pocket to get their shoes shined and perhaps pick up a newspaper and cup of coffee.
Art Prints
It would take a heck of a lot more salesmanship to sell some art to this random person.

Creating Targeted Traffic

This is why you want to create targeted traffic to your artwork.  Targeted means you are messaging people who are in the market for what you are selling.  You can do this in two ways.  One – push messages at people who have been identified as members of your target market – usually this can only be done via demographics such as sex, age, income etc.

Art magazines are a good example of an advertising environment that includes a rich targeted audience for artwork messaging.  But you will also get a lot of people within that audience who are other artists trying to sell their own stuff.  In the magazine world they call this “concentration” and sell advertising based on this concentrated audience.  For example they might show audience stats to a gallery showing that “30 percent of readers have purchased art in the past year” or something.

But this type of traffic has several drawbacks:

  1.  It costs money
  2. It depends on the effectiveness of your advertising material
  3. You never really know if traffic you are paying for matches your artwork.
  4. There is a lot of fake traffic – bots, third world country click farms.

Salesmanship is limitless. Our very living is selling. We are all salespeople. James Cash Penney

 

Organic Traffic:  Striking Gold

Self-selected, organic traffic is the gold standard of web traffic.  People who discover your artwork on their own, from their own explorations.

Your job as an artist, small business person, entrepreneur, art marketer and art salesperson is to create material that will attract people and potential buyers to your artwork.

Ideas for generating organic traffic to your artwork:

  • Create YouTube videos showing your process
  • Describe your process, motivation,
  • Announce shows, openings, new series, sales
  • Use social media – everything and anything – Facebook, Google+, Instagram – engage your audience and build a following.
  • Teach and give workshops
  • Send out postcards and news articles.
  • Write blog entries and promote your ideas.

“If you take a print magazine with a million person circulation, and a blog with a devout readership of 1 million, for the purpose of selling anything that can be sold online, the blog is infinitely more powerful, because it’s only a click away.” – Timothy Ferriss

Build a funnel to channel organic traffic to your artwork

Sales funnel for driving art sales
Sales funnel for driving art sales

The goal is to use every avenue you can think of to attract potential customers to your artwork where hopefully they will fall in love with it and purchase a print or product.

  • Increase awareness of you, your brand, your artwork.  Make sure potential buyers understand that your work is for sale.
  • Create interest in your work by letting your follows behind the scenes so they can see how you create your work.  Show our process.
  • Help potential buyers purchase our work by explaining the various products available so they can make a decision.
  • Lastly have an easy to use method of completing the sales transactions.

How I became a successful selling artist

I sell regularly on Fine Art America but it took me many years of building up an audience and filling the funnel to get to this point.  Filling the funnel can take years before it starts paying off.  The good news is most people give up after a few months so for those who stick to it, you’ll reap the benefits.

Here are some of my funnel filling venues:

Granted you need high quality work that people want to buy.  That is the first step.  But after that, you need to get people to see it.  Good luck!

Suggested further reading:

Sell The Gallery Not The Gift Shop

Sell the Gallery

As a successful seller on Fine Art America and Pixels, I’m often asked for advice from other artists trying to get an online business off the ground.

Sell Art Online

Art is Business

First of all the key word is “business”.   My career in the arts started about 35 years ago when I first fell in love with photography at a summer camp.  We shot film and developed it in a dark bag on a picnic table.  Later in high school I got my first SLR and darkroom experience.  Practicality took me to Boston Universities business school but I still shot film and developed prints in my closet darkroom as I studied the great photographers in BUs extensive library of photography books.

So I ended up with a business degree and a career in the publishing industry.  Later when I left the publishing world to dedicate my time to my fine art career, I brought the knowledge of the business world and market research world with me.  After all – Art is Business.

Sell Art Online

As an artist, one can not pretend that art is all about self-expression, freedom and ignorant bliss.  You have to recognize that art is a marketplace like any other.  There are needs that need to be fulfilled.  There are buyers and sellers.  There is an exchange of money for a product.  The artist is in a sense a factory that produces a product just like any other product and the collector is a buyer of that product.  If you produce items that have no market, you won’t be successful.

And you have to consider the over all market size for your art/product.  It could be that there are thousands of people out their clamoring for your specific type of artwork.  Or there might only be one person in the world who wants exactly what you have to offer.

Photography Prints

Price accordingly.  If the there are thousands of people looking for your art than you can sell them items with low mark up.  Maybe mugs are the way to go.  Maybe there are thousands of people looking for your art on a mug so you can make $1 on each one and net $1,000 for your effort and you can sell out in a day.

Or maybe there is only one elusive person on the planet who “gets” your work.  Now to find this person will take considerable time and effort.  You will have to spend a lot of money (in the form of time and maybe advertising) to find this buyer.  You will need to cut through all of the clutter and grab their attention at the right time.  Hopefully not just after they’ve spent all of their money on a different artist.

Late Model Car Metal Print
Late Model Car Metal Print

So after years of searching for this buyer and after convincing them that your work is worthy of their attention and money, what are you going to sell them? A coffee mug?

Sell The Gallery Not The Gift Shop

I see a lot of my fellow artists on Fine Art America clamoring for the site to sell things like calendars or coaster or some other low end product.  I think it comes about for a few reasons:

  1.  They aren’t currently selling the products offered at the moment
  2. They always dreamed about seeing their art on X,Y,Z
  3. They think the addition of another product might be just the thing for their art to start selling

Photography Prints

My strategy has always been to take the high road.  Low end products can be there, in the gift shop so to speak, but my main goal is to sell prints.

I work with the idea that my work is going to hang on someone’s wall.  This is how I approach my work.  This is what motivates me to get up in the morning on a cold snowy day and hike out to an old red barn in rural Vermont to capture a winter landscape.

This is why I spend thousands of dollars on travel expenses and equipment and put in the hours of processing time. I’m doing this work to create art prints which have a decent profit built in to pay for my time and effort.

I’m not doing this to sell a greeting card, mug or beach towel.  If those gift shop items happen to sell then so be it but that is not my focus.  This is what I mean buy selling the gallery not the gift shop.

You sell the movie not the popcorn.  Sell the main event not the side card.  Sell the candidate not the red trucker hats. Sell the car not the fuzzy dice.

I license my work to greeting card companies, book publishers, magazine editors etc.  This is the way to get your work on these products, created in the 10s of thousands.  If your work is up to industry standards then there is a market for it on consumer products.  This is different than self publishing in a vanity site.  If your work is puzzle quality then seek out a puzzle publisher and license your work to them.  They know the market, they know the buyers.  Far too many artist try to reinvent the wheel by going it alone and trying handle every aspect of the various markets, many of them not having any understanding of how that market works.

Sell Art Online

I suggest seeking out the experts in the various sales channels, people who have years experience in that industry.  Concentrate on selling high end products of your work, leave the gift shop items to themselves or the experts in those areas.

When it comes to selling your artwork, concentrate on the high end, not the low end.  Be professional and value your work.

see my portfolio at – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com