Many artists find themselves asking this question sooner or later: ‘Should I Be Selling Art on Etsy?’ In this article we are going to consider how to sell art on Etsy, as well as how to sell prints on Etsy. We will also look at handmade items linked to your art that you can sell also.
1 Selling Art on Etsy – Starting to Grow Your Brand
For artists in particular your brand is often your own name. As such, you need to grow your reputation and reach and get people talking about your name/brand and looking at your artworks.
Etsy can be a great place to start because it is an existing platform with a huge amount of traffic. At the time of writing 30.4M people visited Etsy last month, and it has worked hard to establish trust as a great platform for selling and buying handmade items.
For an artist starting off, it is so much more convenient and straightforward to set up your own Etsy shop than your own website. Setting up your own shop is also free! You can choose Etsy Plus for an extra £7.20 plus VAT at the time of writing, which gives you some useful extra features, but otherwise setting up your shop costs nothing initially. You will have to pay fees when your item sells but these are very low, especially when compared to Amazon and eBay.
Being able to grow your brand for free on a platform that receives a large volume of traffic is a huge bonus for artists who may have little to no money to invest. If you have no audience for your art as yet, Etsy is as good a place as any to begin to build your brand and audience.
2 Selling Art on Etsy – Helping Customers Find Your Art
Like Google, Etsy has its own intelligent algorithm which decides where your handmade products will rank in searches. This algorithm favours titles which are relevant, descriptive and ultimately reflect what customers are searching for.
Although you will definitely see some sellers still doing this, don’t be tempted just to shove everyone keyword you can think of into your title. This will confuse the algorithm and your buyer as it will make it difficult to understand what your artwork/product actually is, and who it is for. Instead, make sure your title is clear, concise, relevant and use your focus keyword at the very beginning of your title.
Make sure you use the autosuggest ideas in the search bar to their full potential because these are what customers are actually looking for on the site. For example if you put ‘abstract painting,’ into the search bar you will receive lots of helpful keyword suggestions which you can use in your product titles – such as ‘abstract wall art,’ ‘abstract art print,’ ‘abstract canvas art,’ and so on.
Use your tags and descriptions to give further information about your product. You are given these things for a reason so look at them as a way to bring more customers, and provide more value. Make sure you mention the materials you used for your artwork, and any details about future care of the product.
Tags help people find your works in the search engine so research thoroughly what other successful artists in your niche are using. There is some debate as to whether your tags should match keywords in your title, but we think it’s safe to say that it is helpful to include your focus keyword (e.g. abstract seascape) and related keywords in your tags. You might want to experiment to see what tags work best for you.
Ultimately Etsy will reward you with higher rankings based partly on sales but also interestingly on how many people have your products in their baskets. You may have seen this on Etsy where a product in search says something like ‘only 2 available and it’s in 5 people’s baskets.’ These are two indications to Etsy that a product is popular and worth increasing the visibility of.
Free shipping also helps you to rise higher in the rankings, and it also appeals to the buyer. For some reason we tend to think we are getting a better deal if it says free shipping even though it is included in the pricing! It may suit you to offer free shipping to your own country, and add extra for international shipping. Make you do your sums so you don’t lose money! Always incorporate shipping into the price.
3 Selling Art on Etsy – Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to Your Etsy Shop
Pinterest is a brilliant way to drive free traffic to your Etsy shop. Pinterest is not a Social Media platform it is actually a visual search engine, making it ideal to promote artworks. Unlike Instagram, Facebook and the like Pinterest pins have quite a long life. They can be re-pinned to different boards by different people at any point and so they can be easily found for a much longer time than say, an Instagram story.
Pinterest have actually just started doing story pins which function like Instagram ones, but are much longer lasting. The majority of people using Pinterest are female which may fit in well with your target audience for your art.
If you do your best to join as many Pinterest group boards as you can related to art, whether that be buying, collecting, selling art, or even art tutorials you can reach a great deal of people quickly. Some marketers suggest posting regularly to around 70-80 group boards to maximise your impact. It’s also worth creating a few boards (say around 10 or so to begin with) which are related to your art style and niche (e.g. your favourite artists’ paintings) where you can attract other people to look at your work alongside other artists you try to emulate.
A great way to quickly create pins is with the app Tailwind which allows you to create different variations on a theme. A great example of this could be promoting your art commissions with a few collages and mash-ups of your paintings in one pin which points to a specific art commission listing in your Etsy shop.
Tailwind is also very useful for sharing your pins to Tailwind communities who actively share each other’s pins on various boards. There is a free version with limited functionality but you can upgrade to post in numerous communities. You can also schedule pins all at once for the week ahead so that you are pinning consistently and regularly for maximum impact.
Make sure to connect your Etsy shop to your Pinterest business account so that all your pins will automatically be product pins which point back to your Etsy shop.
4 Selling Art on Etsy – Creating Fantastic Visuals
Despite the obvious advantages of Etsy there is no getting round the fact that there is some serious competition. In 2020 there were 4.3M active sellers on Etsy which was up massively from 2019 when there were 2.7M active sellers. The number of sellers is growing constantly so you will need to stand out from the crowd, offering something unique and valuable. Thankfully this is something which artists tend to do excel at.
Lighting is crucial for taking photos of your art. Clear photos taken in natural light are always best so take pictures of your artworks during the day in a well lit room, preferably with a neutral background which will make your painting stand out all the more. Etsy is more likely to pick up your listings if you have optimised your photos by including the full 10 photos that Etsy have provided for you.
As well as including the obvious full shot of your whole painting, take some close up shots of your artwork so people can see the textures, lines and details of your artwork. You have to work hard to sell art online because people often like to see and experience art in person, and to have a clear sense of what it would look like in their house.
There are a number of art visualiser apps which will allow you to superimpose your artwork onto a wall in a few different rooms, allowing you to show your art in situ and your buyers to get a better sense of what your artwork would look like in their room. Simply Google art visualiser apps. We like the Art My Wall app, the free version probably has all you need for this.
It’s also worth including a photo of your packaging process so that the buyer knows exactly how their artwork will arrive. If you have a logo it can look really professional to get stickers of it run off at your local printers and put on the package. You could also get an ink stamp made for your logo to add to the individuality and creativity, and have customers coming back again and again. Etsy is also using video as a way for customers to see the artwork being brought to life helping them buy in to the experience. Include a short time lapse video of your packaging process or your artistic process to really make your listing stand out.
5 Selling Art on Etsy – Getting 5 Star Reviews
It really helps to be proactive and follow up on sales, asking customers to leave a review if they were happy, and to contact you directly if they weren’t. Not everyone will leave you a review but it never hurts to ask. Sometimes a customer will send you an invaluable picture of your artwork on their wall, which you can use for promotional purposes on Pinterest, Instagram and your Etsy listings.
It can be a very nice touch to acknowledge an order by messaging your buyer and telling them you will send it out to them as soon as possible. Any chance to have a pleasant interaction with a customer increase the chances of them returning.
6 Selling Art on Etsy – Diversify Your Listings
It can be really useful to try and offer your artworks in a 3 tier fashion according to price and value – smaller prices, medium prices and more expensive items.
Your cheapest products could be postcard sized art pieces, or quick sketches. Medium priced items could be art prints of your original paintings available in different sizes A4-A1 for example. Your most expensive items could be Art Commissions where you collaborate with the buyer to produce an original painting to their specifications. Having different options appeals to different customers, and you can hone these according to which ones sell the best as you go.
We will be back soon with more of our best tips for selling art on Etsy. Make sure you don’t miss out, there are plenty more where these came from!