How to Make Money Selling Fine Art Prints

Just to nail one important point right off the bat – the quality of your work will determine if and to what extent it sells. All the marketing and premium printing services in the world not making up for a lack of talent. Harsh perhaps, but true nonetheless.

That said, if you’re completely confident in the quality and value of your fine art prints, there really is endless scope for generating a generous revenue stream. Make no mistake about it, even your best work isn’t going to sell itself. Instead, you need to invest as much time and effort as necessary in the process of showcasing it to the right people.

Of course, the larger your prospective buyers’ audience, the more likely you are to find willing buyers for your work. Precisely why it simply makes sense to focus your early efforts at least on social media.

Mind-Blowing Reach and Influence

It’s estimated that by the year 2019, there will be approximately 2.77 billion social media users worldwide. Even now, approximately 75% of all Internet users consider themselves to be social network users, with the average person now spending a minimum of five hours per week interacting on their chosen platforms.

While social networks like Facebook and Instagram continue to rule the roost, diversification often makes all the difference. If you have the time and resources to make it happen, consider promoting your work on a handful of social networks, rather than focusing your time and effort on one. Once again, it’s a case of reaching out to the largest possible audience of prospective buyers, in order to pinpoint those most likely to make a purchase.

Getting Started

If you don’t already have your own company profiles established on social media, this represents the obvious starting point. It takes time and effort to begin building an engaged following – a process that involves posting on a regular basis, corresponding with fans and generally making yourself part of the community. And the simple fact of the matter being that irrespective of how outstanding your work may be, they aren’t going to be interested unless they feel as if they know you.

Sooner or later, you find yourself in a position where your work effectively sells itself. The more engaged your audience is with you as a person and the work you create, the more likely they are to respond positively to the artwork you put on sale. Not only this, but there’s a distinct bandwagon effect to take into account when it comes to this kind of marketing. Your fans and followers see that a specific image has proven enormously popular, subconsciously yet instinctively encouraging them to both take note and pick up a copy for themselves.

So once again, just as soon as things begin hitting their stride on social media, the rest takes care of itself naturally. The key question being – what can you do to kick things into overdrive and generate as many sales as possible.

Creating, Engaging and Converting Your Fanbase

The vast majority of those who pick up fine art prints aren’t as interested as you think in their respective content. Instead, it’s all about context. Or to put it another way – if they like you, they like your work. Precisely why there isn’t a marketing platform available for the modern artist with even half the power and potential as social media.

It’s your reputation that will sell your work and your brand as an artist. Simply existing on social-media isn’t enough – you need to take proactive steps to ensure your work stands out as irresistible.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Start the conversation and actively participate

First up, you can’t just sit around and expect your fans and followers to consistently engage in active discussion about your work. It just isn’t going to happen. Instead, you need to make every effort to start the conversation yourself and actively participate in it. Tell them about your process, describe what you’re currently working on and regularly post pictures of what you’ve been up to. Talk about your inspirations, ask questions about your followers and give them a few insights into your back story. Talk about industry issues if relevant and of genuine interest to your followers, doing whatever it takes to avoid inactivity on your profile page.

Make everything enjoyable

As a relatively new artist, you’re not yet in a position where you’ll able to use formality and a distinct lack of personality to your advantage. Anything of the sort as an up-and-comer and you run the risk of coming across as if you take yourself too seriously. It really doesn’t matter what kind of artist you are or what kind of work you are producing. In all instances, you need to make the whole thing as engaging and enjoyable as possible for your fans and followers.

Once again, regularly publishing quality content – imagery in particular – can help accomplish this. So too can surveys, competitions, giveaways and anything that involves the direct participation of your audience. Keep things interactive and focus on their enjoyment.

Carefully monitor the statistics

You’ll gain invaluable insights as to which aspects of your work are proving most popular by keeping a close eye on the statistics. Anything that’s consistently earning plenty of likes, shares and so on clearly having resonated with your audience. The deeper you read into all of the social media analytics you can lay your hands on, the better the position you’ll be in to capitalise on every opportunity.

Focus on quality and consistency

The most successful businesses on social media are those that are consistent.  It’s important to consider ahead of time exactly how many times per week you intend to post, what kind of content you intend to post on which respective day, how many posts you’ll the publishing within a single day and the time of day that represents the best time to post.  It’s a case of creating a sense of familiarity and consistency, which never fails to go down well with today’s online audiences. By contrast, a random approach represents a sure-fire way of losing their interest and engagement in no time at all.

Create specific goals and targets

Likewise, you also need an established plan with regard to how and in what kinds of quantities you intend to sell your hard work. You’ll need to know ahead of time the prices you intend to charge, how you intend to ship it, any special deals or discounts you intend to throw into the mix and so on. You also need to establish weekly/monthly sales targets, devised in accordance with your current expenditures and required income. The reason being that you need to be realistic with regards to whether or not the income you generate is sufficient to sustain your business and your lifestyle.

Don’t be afraid to create urgency

Nothing sells fine art quite like a sense of urgency. As human beings, we’re naturally pre-programmed to crave the kinds of things we believe to be available in limited quantities, or for limited time only. Particularly in the world of art, limited editions and one-off opportunities can be borderline irresistible. You’ll have to be strategic with the way you go about it, in order to avoid upsetting your audience with an offer that later turns out to have been completely fabricated. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to create a sense of urgency if it helps grease the wheels.

Market your work elsewhere

Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that in order to succeed selling fine art prints on social media, you need to ensure that your target audience can find you in the first place. The world’s biggest social media platforms are simply too crowded and competitive these days for prospective buyers to simply find your profile by accident. Both online and offline, it’s up to you to ensure your work and you yourself as an artist are sufficiently marketed to your ideal buyer’s audience.

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. With a background in PR working in Los Angeles and Barcelona, Charlotte has been running Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden for the past 8 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a little too much time into her morning brew.