You see it all the time—art for sale online, by a non-famous artist, for $1200. Or $650. Or $2,200. Or some other number in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. And you probably think, just like I do, “Who on earth would shell out that much money over the internet for art?”
Well, the answer is almost no one. Yes, bigger spenders ARE out there, but the odds of reeling them in are slim.
Here’s the problem:
Selling art online isn’t like having it up in a gallery. In art galleries, high prices are accepted a little more easily. People browsing are generally more affluent; the artwork is physically there, right in front of the potential buyers; and you, or someone else, is available to explain the artwork’s value face-to-face.
Online, price is much more of a selling point, which means thinking more like a marketer and businessperson than an artist. Luckily, as the sole creator of your art, you have total control over the “product” that you’re selling, unlike a normal business owner or salesperson would.
An example of this, of course, is Duane Keiser, the artist who started the painting-a-day craze. It was successful primarily because he made small paintings and priced them right.
Sure there was some novelty too, and that brought in more buyers—but the concept never would have taken off if he hadn’t made his art affordable to everyday people browsing the internet.
Just think: how often do you purchase something over $100 on the internet? Over $500? Higher prices mean a tougher sell, so if you want to sell your art online (and you’re not already a popular artist offline) you’ll probably have to get creative.
As promised, here are a few ways to do just that:
1. Sell both original art and prints
Prints are affordable, easily shipped, and (hopefully) look just like the original. That’s three HUGE selling points to most internet buyers. You’ll want to keep the original available online as well, so you don’t miss out on a potential sale; but with the ease of printing today, and with sites like Imagekind and Sistino, there aren’t many reasons NOT to sell prints.
2. Give discounts for buyers of multiple artwork
Everybody likes a 2-for-1 sale, right? Or some discount after the first purchase. It’s important to realize that the person who buys one of your paintings is the most likely person to buy your art again. Why not encourage that right from the beginning?
If your paintings have a consistent style or theme you’ll probably be successful with this type of pricing. Putting your artwork in pairs yourself (with a discount) will often work too.
3. Have a full range of sizes (and prices) available
Everyone has a different price they‘re willing to pay when it comes to artwork. Creating large paintings, small paintings, and everything in between will maximize the chance that you’ll get buyers all across the board.
Range from $50 to $2000 if you’d like. As long as you spend more time and effort on the expensive, larger paintings, you won’t be devaluing your skills as an artist or selling your art for less than its worth.
None of these pricing methods have to lower the value of your art. Instead they reward both you and your collectors (or the people who’ve WANTED to be collectors but couldn’t afford it) by making your art more accessible.
Take a cue from cell phone companies and car manufacturers. Give your “customers” more options—I guarantee it’s what they want, and you’ll definitely sell more art.
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