by Carolyn Edlund
Want to sell more of your artwork online? Make sure you have these essentials covered.
This is the first in an occasional series of articles on conversations that I’ve had with my friend Ashwin Muthiah. He is the founder of Easely, an online website where artists can sell their work. We discussed some of the major mistakes artists commonly make when selling online, and Ashwin made some excellent points about good presentation and communication that artists should know. If you want to increase online sales of your artwork, take note.
Carolyn: I frequently talk with artists who would like to increase their online sales, or they may just be getting started. I find that one of the misperceptions they have is that all they need to do is upload their images online and that they are ready to sell. But that’s not true. Artists need to share quite a bit of information about their work – for example, through an artist statement that appears with their photos.
Ashwin: Absolutely, I agree with your point that your artist statement must be informative. I’ve seen way too many artist statements that are just a few lines long and don’t answer essential questions like:
“Why do you make art?”
“How do you make it?”
“What’s your thought process?”
Customers want to get to know you before they buy your art. After all, art is an investment and people want to feel good about that, and excited about you as an artist. If your customers don’t get to meet you in person, a well-written artist statement is a chance to make a good first impression. It’s the perfect complement to viewing your portfolio.
Carolyn: What other suggestions do you typically give to artists who are creating their online presence? What do they need to know?
Ashwin: Give details about each piece. This is vitally important. Put yourself in the shoes of the customers who are considering your artwork. People are curious about the usual things: who, what, when, where, why. If someone is depicted in the work, who is it? What are you capturing? When did you make it? Where in your development as an artist were you when you made it – do you work in phases? Why did you make it? Answering these questions about every piece can be time-consuming, but I’d say it’s time very well spent.
Carolyn: You really can’t give enough information to shoppers. It helps to be concise, and also to understand what kind of information is meaningful to them. Ideally, you want to help them develop a comfort level where they are ready to purchase. It’s about the customer experience.
Ashwin: Exactly. And, to create that comfort level, you need to have a really professional presentation. Your website aesthetic is almost as important as the aesthetic of your work. You’re a visual artist, and your website design needs to reflect that. I’ve seen way too many talented artists’ work marred by poor website design, and that just chases people away.
Carolyn: I’ve noticed that many times when reviewing artist’s websites, and it definitely works against your marketing efforts. Part of the marketing equation is that you must develop the trust of the customer.
Ashwin: And to build that trust, you need to look like you are in business, and that you care about your presentation.
Carolyn: Some of the information that artists need to share is very basic, like costs, shipping and more. Could you talk a bit about that?
Ashwin: Yes, it’s true; logistics matter. As “un-fun” as it is to worry about shipping, packaging, framing, maintenance, insurance, damages, etc. it’s very important to potential buyers. They need to know exactly what the process is going to be like when buying art from you. An uninformed potential customer will almost never become an actual customer.
Carolyn: Thanks for this great input! I hope readers will take a look at their own online presence and spot those areas that need some revision.