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Even if you’ve been a diehard gallery artist your entire life, this is the year to put your art online. Here’s why:

1. Internet users are everywhere

According to Business2Community.com and the latest US Digital Media Usage Report, 3 out of 4 people in the US will be internet users in 2012. That’s a whopping 75% of the US population, not to mention all the increased usage around the world.

The Internet has become an undeniable force in our daily lives and the role it plays in commerce is key. No other medium reaches that many people a day. If you don’t currently have an online marketing plan for your art, 2012 is the year to get one.

2. The “on demand” lifestyle is on the rise

BetaBeat recently published a list of predictions from prominent internet and social media figures for 2012. Here’s one that relates to the ever-increasing "buy it now" mentality of the internet:

“AirBnb finds you a gorgeous apartment. Uber brings you an elegant ride at the touch of a button. TaskRabbit will fetch you a cup of coffee.

We’re entering the era of the on-demand lifestyle, and 2012 will be the year that a host of new at-will lifestyle options pop up. . . Startups are realizing the value of bringing at-will luxury experiences to a broader population, and the demand for these types of services is only going to grow.” -Kathryn Minshew, The Daily Muse

We’re a culture of instant gratification. Ideas pop in our head and we want to execute them immediately. And this desire to have what we want right away applies at any price point. Whether it’s a song on iTunes or that $5,000 painting we saw online that would look perfect in our newly redesigned living room, our pre-purchase decision time has become virtually non-existent.

2012 is only going to give us more ways to get what we want in a flash. Make sure your audience can feed their “on demand” appetite with your art!

3. Mobile use is in the millions

2012 will see 113.9 million mobile internet users in the US alone, so making sure your content is mobile-friendly should be a top priority for anyone marketing their art.

Smartphones have enabled us to multi-task while we’re in line at the bank, picking up our kids from school, waiting at the dentist’s office, or if you’re like me, too lazy to get off the couch and grab your laptop (a shameful admission).

The analytics firm Flurry estimates that people spend an average of 94 minutes a day on a mobile application, which means your clients are often checking your blog, Facebook page, and reading your monthly newsletter. . . on their phones! If you don’t have a presence on these platforms, then guess what—they’re checking in with someone who does.

4. Reasons to buy come from every direction

Here’s another prediction from BetaBeat, this time in regard to the buying process:

“My prediction is that 2012 is the year of commerce. I believe social, mobile, in-store and online commerce will all converge into a unified, transparent and personalize shopping experience.

Online shopping will evolve from interactive catalogs to simulated in-store experiences with virtual fittings, social interactions and personalized concierge recommendations. . . a larger percentage of sales will happen online and stores will start evolving into showrooms rather than true retail venues.” -Veronika Sonsev, inSparq.com

I can see this happening myself. For the first time, I did all of my holiday shopping online because I finally felt comfortable purchasing gifts without holding them in my own two hands. Between reviews, improved methods for viewing products, and things I’d seen in retail stores over the year, I felt confident I knew what I was getting.

The modern buyer relies on several resources when purchasing. A text from a friend alerts us to a cool piece of handmade jewelry at a local boutique. We go try it on and post a picture of it to Facebook. After receiving compliments from friends and finding through online research that we share a love of collecting sea-glass with the artist, we go to the artist’s website and purchase the piece. A collective effort of mobile, retail, and social media led us to an online purchase.

In 2012 we’ll see the synergy of these elements working together in commerce.

5. Your online presence (or lack of it) matters

Business2community.com says that “83.9% of Internet users will browse or research products online in 2012.”

Those internet users mentioned above are researching who you are and how others feel about your art. So, even if you strongly believe in only selling your art through brick and mortar galleries, you still need to control your presence online.

This is your chance to tell your buyers what you want them to know about you. It may be a long list of accolades or it may be the adventures of your unruly pet cat. Whatever the case may be, it’s your story to tell. . . and if you’re not telling it, you’re missing a golden opportunity to connect with buyers.

The key is to not wait any longer. 2012 is your year to actively engage in the worldwide marketplace that is the Internet. Take charge, and put your art online today!

For more articles from Dreama Tolle Perry, visit her website . Also check out the rest of BetaBeat’s predictions for the internet in 2012 .

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

Not so long ago, artists were asking me if they really needed a website. But in a very short period of time, everything has changed—art is no longer confined to brick and mortar galleries, and online galleries are now as common as computers.

As a result, artists are more frequently asking me how many websites they should be on. Here's a recent question I received, and my. . . read more

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