Friday, August 5, 2011

Fabulous & Fun Fridays - How To Sell Art Online

I have been hearing or should I say reading many the complaints lately about wanting to make sales but not making any so today's Fabulous & Fun Fridays Post is going to cover the do's and don'ts of selling art on Etsy/online.

Starting an Etsy Shop can be a wonderful opportunity to reach your audience worldwide, while attracting customers that are interested in what you sell all from your studio or home.  The problem that arises is having the know how to do it correctly!

Today we are going to cover what is the correct way and what is the wrong way so that you can bring in more customers then you scare away.

Develop Your Brand - Building a strong brand is crucial in defining your business and setting yourself a part from the competition. You will need to think about a catchy name, a memorable slogan, an eye appealing logo and even a color scheme.  Then repeat these things in everything you do for your business.  When designing your banner and avatar for your Etsy Shop, your blog, even your FB Fan Page and Twitter if you have one right down to your business cards and packaging of your items, they all need to be consistent across the board with the same name, slogan, logo and color scheme.  You need to make these things your own so when people see those colors and/or your logo they here your catchy name and memorable slogan ringing in their ears!                                                                                                           

When designing your brand you will need to really learn to understand your customer and in doing this sit back and think about who your customer is and what they like, what appeals to them based on what type of people they are.  Are they young, hip and trendy?  Are they retired and conservative?  Are they some where in between?   You need to identify what category your customer falls into and what appeals to them best.

Taking Good Photos - Displaying your art properly can mean the difference between a sale and no sale!  Learning to take great photos is crucial and is going to be worth the extra time you put into it.  Getting yourself a decent camera to start with doesn't cost too much these days, you will need to get yourself a camera with at least a minimum of 8 megapixels or higher.  Then practice practice practice!  Without giving you a full on photo tutorial here I can give you some key points to build off of and they are.....

  • Always use natural light
  • NEVER use a flash!
  • A white background is best 99% of the time
  • Take lots of pics at different angles 
  • Learn to use a photo editing program such as GIMP which is free
  • Crop the image to look its best
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast to optimal levels
  • Use all 5 pics in your Etsy listing showing the item from all angles 
Your customer isn't able to pick up your item and look at it so you have to do your best to give them the same feeling as if they have by showing them pics from all possible angles.  If what your selling can be worn or used for something then showing the customer the item in action is always a good idea as well.  You have to remember that there are hundreds of thousands of people selling their wares on Etsy.  For the most part what ever you are selling someone else is probably selling too and if your pics suck (no offence) the customer is going to go somewhere else.  

Another reason you are going to want to have great pics is because great pics get included in more treasuries and the more treasuries you are included in the more exposure you are getting.  Just because your item is pink and someone is making a pink treasury does not mean they are going to choose your item if the picture is bad.  This is also where white backgrounds are so important.  If you are using lets say a blue background for everything then the only treasuries any of your items will work in are blue ones and you don't want to be included in a treasury because of your background, you want to be included because of your items.  White backgrounds work the best in treasuries and that is just a fact of life.

Marketing Your Art - So many people open an Etsy Shop, list their items and then sit back and wait for the first sale.  That sale 9 out of 10 times does not come and then they are sitting there wondering why.  Don't worry if this is or was you, it is a common mistake that I think most of us made in the beginning.  I call it the "if I list it they will come" syndrome. Well, the bad news is, no they won't come!  Not unless you do a little thing called marketing.  You need to get out there and spread the word about your Etsy Shop and there are so many easy and free ways to do this.  We have an ongoing list right here on our blog that is up to 123 places to promote your Etsy Shop just click HERE to find it.  We are always adding to this list when we come across new places.  You don't need to worry about getting through them all in a day or even a week but its a place to start and work through.  With that many places to promote your shop there is no reason to have to pay for marketing.  With that being said it is going to be a lot of your time spent getting out there and promoting yourself but the only other alternative is forking out the dough to pay for marketing, it's your choice really but you have to choose one or the other.  Your shop isn't going to market its self!

Building Rapport - If you have done all of the above then eventually they will come, oh yes you will start to get customers!  What you do with your customers are crucial for a couple of reasons.  You will want to create repeat business and you will want your customers to speak highly of you because word of mouth is the absolute best marketing you can get.  

Rapport is defined as A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.

This is exactly why building rapport with your customers is crucial.  You will want to understand your customers wants and needs and your customers will want to trust in you.  You may be wondering how you can do this and it is actually quite easy.  To start you will want to always be honest with your customers that is number one! The second thing is you will want to build a relationship with your customers and the easiest way of doing this is through blogging believe it or not.  Blogging allows you to build up a following to whom you can communicate your art be it your finished pieces or pieces in progress.  In doing so they get to know you as a person, as a friend and in turn start to trust you like they would a friend.  The key is to maintain this trust which means you treat them just like a friend as well.  Simple things like sending them a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary, you can even send out coupons or coupon codes.  Customers will take notice of these little things

Shipping your Art - Taking pride in your shipping is very important.  Keeping up with shipping dates and proper packaging can mean the difference between repeat business or not.  If you tell a customer that you will ship out by a certain date then you need to make it happen.  Do not leave your customers hanging in the dark not knowing if something has been shipped out so always  make sure to send out confirmations.  Etsy makes it easy to go back to a sale and mark it as shipped and so does paypal as long as you are sure to mark both places as shipped then sending an extra note of confirmation is your choice but it does show good customer service to do.  It is important to get stuff out in a timely fashion as well. If a customer makes a purchase from you they are going to be excited to receive it, don't make them wait a month.  Always do your best to investigate shipments that don't arrive.  Do not make it not your responsibility because if you do that you have just lost yourself both the repeat customer and word of mouth marketing!  

The other half of the shipping part is packaging.  Packaging is so important for a couple of reasons, one you want it to look nice and two you want to be safe.  Never assume that the post office is going to be careful with your item.  If the item can't bent then be sure to put cardboard on either side of it.  If the item can't get wet be sure to wrap it in plastic and tape the envelope up good.  If the item can't get broken then be sure to wrap it up good in bubble wrap and lots of cushioning.   While doing all of this you need to make sure that the packaging looks neat, tidy and professional while staying consistent with your branding.

Customer Feedback - Listening to what your customers are saying is oh so important.  Whether it be positive or negative you need to listen.  You definitely want to do everything in your power to avoid getting negative feedback but if it happens then you will want to concern yourself with why and make every effort to sort out the issue.  Sometimes you can learn a lot from customer feedback that you would not have learned any other ways.  Customer feedback can come in more forms then just the one kind on Etsy.  It  happens when your customers leave comments on your blog and on your FB Fan Page as well.  They may be telling you what they want to see or what they don't want to see and you should be taking note.  Don't ignore the feedback as this is crucial in learning about what your customers are interested in and in turn want to buy.  Keeping an open mind and having a willingness to change are key when dealing with customer feedback.

This all may sound like a lot of work but no one said that opening your own business was going to be easy.  Just know that with all of this hard work comes big rewards and once you start making sales and successfully selling your art online you will be thankful you invested all of the hard work and time. 

Happy Sales!!!!!


  1. How funny, I just wrote a tiny post on branding today too! This is really thorough. Thanks!

  2. Great post, I'll sit down this afternoon with a beer and have a detailed read! Thank you!


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