Art Marketing: How to Sell your Art in the Modern Marketplace

In a crowded and competitive marketplace, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of art marketing.

It can take time to become a self-sufficient artist. But, with the right approach to art marketing, you can lay the foundations for a successful career in the creative industries.

To help you make it as a promotion pro, we’ve compiled a handy guide of the best ways to sell your art in the modern marketplace. Read on for the key art marketing techniques that will get your latest canvas sold in no time.

Go Solo

Image of the website-building platform "Squarespace", which you can use to create your own online portfolio
Websites such as Squarespace simplify the process of building your own website

We recently listed the best websites for building your own online portfolio, so we’ll begin with the reminder that you can always take the DIY approach.

Sites like Squarespace, Carbonmade and Wix make it easy to set up your own domain – giving you a personal platform for showcasing your work, and even selling it yourself from within the site.

In fact, setting up your own website is crucial to self-promotion, so you should really do so even if it’s not your primary means of marketing your art.

Having your own personalised domain creates an air of professionalism, and that can be a big factor in convincing a potential buyer part to with their cash.

Use Online Galleries…

Image of the online art gallery "ARTmine"
ARTmine is one of the few quality online galleries where you can sell your artwork

There’s a select handful of reputable online galleries, which means there’s no massive headache in deciding where to showcase your wares.

We recommend ARTmine, Saatchi Art, Artfinder and Degree Art – four well managed sites with very reasonable commission demands.

Using sites like these is becoming an industry standard. As with real-world art galleries, they offer the advantage of presenting your work to the right demographic.

And since they have a vested interest in selling your work, you can rest assured that the site’s curators will employ all of their industry expertise to promote your art to their visitors.

… and Online Marketplaces

Image of the online craft and design marketplace "Folksy"
Online marketplaces such as Folksy tend to charge artists very low commission rates

Marketplaces differ from galleries in that they don’t have curators promoting your work for you. It’s a more competitive forum for selling your art, but one with a broader audience and smaller commission fee.

Marketplaces like Etsy, Folksy and ArtPal offer incredibly low commission rates (as little as 3.5%), so you can see the immediate benefits of promoting your art here.

Smaller, lower-priced pieces tend to do well on these sites, since you’re selling to a more general audience rather than knowledgeable collectors.

Unlike with galleries, there’s no real “middle man” on marketplace websites – making them a useful tool for establishing an ongoing relationship with customers.


Image of the Twitter account of artist Julia Forsyth
An artist’s Twitter account (like that of Julia Forsyth, pictured here) is a great way for them to engage the interest of potential customers

As a professional artist, the benefits of using social media are endless: to get your name out in the art world, promote your brand and boost your sales.

Social media is right at the broad end of the art marketing spectrum – a massive, unfiltered network of users that you need to sift through and target in order to find interested consumers.

This means that marketing your art via social media can be hard work. Whatever platform you’re using (for best results, use several), you’ll need to engage with users and interest them in your art.

Your motivation is the chance to convert complete strangers into your personal clients, without the need for the in-between step of a gallery or marketplace. In this way, a strong social media presence is the perfect accompaniment to your personal website.

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Stay Live

Image of a potential buyer viewing art in a live exhibition
Live exhibitions remain an important promotional tool for artists

The internet may have opened the art industry up to a much wider and more immediate audience, but that doesn’t mean that traditional methods of art marketing should be ignored.

Face-to-face promotion can often be a more straightforward sell, giving buyers the chance to experience your art directly (and to picture it on their wall more easily!) before purchasing.

Feature your work in live exhibitions; set up or rent studio space; enter any art competitions that you can – anything that creates a real-world, physical presence for your portfolio of work.

The relationship-building aspect of art marketing is often much simpler (and more enjoyable) in person. The internet is an incredible sales tool, but the “old-fashioned” approach remains invaluable in building your brand and establishing credibility.

For more tips on self-promotion and building your brand, you can check out our article on How to Launch your Personal Brand, and download our free eBook on How to Succeed as a Freelancer:

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Are you interested in studying art and design online? Why not find out more about the University of Hertfordshire accredited BA (Hons) and MA courses in Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography, Fine Art and Interior Architecture, delivered to you 100% online by IDI?

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