Artist Resources to Weather Covid-19

Selling your art online in a new reality:

We are living in a new world, it may be some time before we return to selling art at brick & mortar galleries, indoor/outdoor art shows and traditional in-person avenues. But luckily there is an online world that can bring equal success.

There is no sure-fire way to sell your art. Even the most successful brands recognize that marketing is a constant learning curve. The key is to try new things, assess the results and adjust accordingly. The most successful artists experiment with new ways to market themselves and facilitate sales until they find the right formula for them. 

Website builders to sell your art online: 

The key is to do your research. We’ve started you off with a great list of resources. Ultimately, it’s on you to study and see what works best for you.

Major platforms to build your website:

Do you have a website? Does your website have an online store? Here are the top providers below. All of these offer upgrades or integration so your website has an e-commerce store:

  • Word Press
  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • Faso (Fine Art Studio)
  • Shopify
  • Weebly
  • GoDaddy
  • Duda
  • Art Storefronts
  • Woo commerce

You may be asking which platform is best? Here is a great comparison between some of the major website builders.

 Well-established online art stores:

There can be much competition on these sites and thus visibility is more challenged. But there is no harm in putting your art up and hoping a buyer finds you.

The website curators may even put you front & center which is incredible exposure given these site’s reach.

Many of these sites have unique differentiators that could prove advantageous for sales:

  • ArtFinder

–  a juried gallery, with a great selection of artists. Their overall website has a very playful and fun approach. They regularly feature artists from their network, giving them extra visibility. They also have a ranking of artists, updated weekly.

  • Saatchi

–  arguably one of the biggest art marketplaces out there, boasting around 65.000 artists across the globe. Their work goes way beyond just selling art, but organizing art fairs, curator groups and actively promoting artists.

  • ArtFire

–  similar to Etsy ArtFire is designed to take the hassle out of building a selling website. They have great customer service, should you and need some assistance. They also put emphasis on creating connections with other artists so that you can learn and share skills. SEO is taken care of too, and ArtFire ensures that your creations are shared to all the major search engines.

  • ArtPal

–  a popular, FREE gallery representing thousands of artists. No membership fees. No commission. Most importantly, they guide you through marketing your art and getting more sales. It’s also quick and easy to set up, so you can be selling in minutes.

  • Singulart

–  an online art powerhouse with 50,000+ carefully curated artworks. Launched in 2017, Singulart has not only established itself as one of the most promising original art galleries, but also continues to grow at an impressive rate, thanks to its dedicated team working to support artists and collectors alike.

  • Turning Artist

–  This website allows artists to upload their work and profit from it in three ways: Art rental, art sales and art commissions. Additionally, they also have very strong connections to businesses and real estate companies.

  • Artquid

–  The main difference point is that Artquid allows artists to create a 3D gallery that allows collectors to really visualize the artworks, helping the sales process.

  • U Gallery

–  This online gallery has been around since 2006. This long-term presence allowed them to build a massive audience and establish important business partnerships with companies in order to increase the visibility of their artists.

  • Indie Walls

–  This is quite a unique platform, it lets potential buyers submit projects with specific criteria and the artists create proposals that fit to the clients need. The client then proceeds to those his favorite and purchases it.

  • Society6

–  If you’re looking to see your artwork printed on lots of different products, Society6 is one of the easiest ways to do so. You can set your own royalties and order fulfillment is all covered by the site.

  • ArtNet

–  The company now has the largest database of art sales, so this is a must have resource for serious artists who want to sell their work for a serious price. Art can be put up for auction on the site with guide prices, for a fresh take on the classic auction house vibe. Potential buyers can also contact dealers and galleries directly, which creates a more human experience than some of the other sites on our list.

  • Etsy storefront

–  If you have an Etsy store in place you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Link it to your social media and website.

Ways to market your art online:

There are numerous channels to market your art and your brand online. Here are some popular ways our artists have found success through digital marketing:

  • Instagram and Facebook paid posts

–  this requires setting up a business account, but the returns can be great from gaining new followers, increasing brand awareness, generating sales of existing inventory and establishing custom jobs

  • Instagram and Facebook live – host ‘in the studio’ sessions – you never know you could find your new biggest fan looking for new art
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Optimization (SEO) – most of the website builders offer this feature at a monthly premium however this is a great way to get traffic on your website

–  Here is a great resource on what SEM/SEO is, and how to do it right

  • Email newsletters/updates – do you have an email list of qualified leads – use it!
  • Get creative – we are constantly seeing people finding unique ways to stand out from the crowd. Got a solid idea to gain visibility? Try it!

And remember. Never be afraid to fail:

If you don’t try new avenues to sell your art, you’ll never know. Experiment with online art stores, digital galleries, newly forming digital art shows and Instagram aggregators. Get creative and play around with new ways to sell your art online in this new world.

Online sales don’t require any social distancing – they require ingenuity, effort and persistence.

The Artists’ Network Closed group for members on Facebook is a great resource to ask questions, brainstorm and share online best practices. Let’s work together and succeed together!

Additional tips to weather the economic impact of COVID-19: 

  • CERB (Canadian Emergency Response Benefit)

–  The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit that provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose income as a result of the pandemic due to job loss, illness, quarantine, caring for others (including children) and work disruption. Canadian workers qualify whether or not they are eligible for EI.

–  There is some confusion on whether to apply to for EI and/or CERB – this article does a great job of summing it up

  • Have credit card interest accumulating during this tough time? Call your credit card company and ask to have your interest payments removed (not deferred) for the next 2-4 months. Most/all will allow this.
  • If you are really in a stretch ask for your mortgage payments to be deferred with your bank, if renting ask your landlord the same. We advise if you can make the payment to do so as deferring could create issues with cashflow/higher interest down the road.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deferred the filing and payment due dates for the 2019 income taxes of individuals. This will provide flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19
  • Effective March 30, 2020, all student loan borrowers will automatically have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. During this time, you won’t have to make any payments and interest will not accrue. You do not need to apply for the pause on repayment.
  • The Canada Child Benefit has been increased to an extra $300 per child. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled payment in May. Those who already receive the benefit don’t need to re-apply.
  • Watch your spending – this sounds obvious – but create a spreadsheet that tracks your fixed and variable expenses so there is no surprises at the end of the month. There are various spreadsheet templates online or apps for your phone to track expenses.
  • The Government of Canada has a dedicated website to providing tips to managing your finances in these challenging times. There are links to everything you need to know.
  • Wondering about other ways you can save – there is no harm in asking! Pick up the phone and call.

Summing it all up: 

There’s a lot of choice to growing your art business online, but don’t get overwhelmed. By trying new things, you are increasing your odds of finding buyers for your art.

  • Set up an e-commerce storefront on your existing website or use a third party to integrate a storefront
  • Research! Take the time to explore the various online avenues to sell your art
  • Market your art – choose one or more marketing channels and see how the results turn out – if they aren’t working for you try something else
  • Pick a couple and commit to them – be that a digital art show, online galleries, storefronts or new platforms emerging amidst COVID-19
  • Do your part to protect your financial health in this challenging time
  • Art isn’t only about entrepreneurship, it’s about mental-well-being. Keep creating and keep your spirits high during this tough period 

And remember, the Artists’ Network Board of Directors is here for you. We’re colleagues and friends and we care about your well-being and success during this difficult time. Never be afraid to email us or message on the Facebook group so that we can get the answers you are looking for.