‘How to Sell Art Online: A Case Study’ by Gary Bolyer

OK, I realise that this guy has an internet business of boosting other peoples’ internet businesses. Nevertheless, I think his points about ‘there are riches in niches’ and ‘a rifle shot rather than a shotgun’ are worth exploring and very relevant to many reading this blog. Here is the original article from the Gary Bolyer Fine Art website.

how to sell art online

“There’s a saying in marketing: “There are riches in niches.”  If you want to successfully sell art online, your goal is to correctly identify, target and dominate a specific niche.

What is a niche? A niche is simply a group of people who share a common interest or a common set of characteristics.  For example, if you play tennis, you belong in the niche of people who love tennis.  If you are a housewife between 28 and 35 years of age, you could be classified into a niche.  If you are a watercolor artist, you belong in the niche of people who love to paint in this medium.

You must target a specific niche to succeed on the Internet. A lot of artists out there with blogs and websites are getting this all wrong. They put up a static website or a general art blog or put their art on group sites like eBay or Etsy, hoping to attract a broad audience.  And they wonder why no one ever shows up to buy anything.

On the Internet, you can’t succeed going after a general art audience, expecting to capture everyone. In marketing you have the shotgun approach and then you have the rifle approach.  As an art blogger with an internet art business, you must use the rifle approach, aiming a single rifle shot at a narrow audience.  Leave the shotgun approach to large corporations like McDonald’s or Exxon who can afford to do it well.

Let’s look at a case study to see how to find and sell art successfully to a very specific niche.

Case Study: Selling Horse Sculptures Online

An artist from Sweden recently contacted me about his online art business. He had spent a lot of time and money on a website, but wasn’t seeing any return for his efforts. He was very disappointed in his online venture and about ready to pull the plug on the floundering business out of complete frustration.

He joined the Smart Art Marketing Pro forum to learn how to correctly sell his art online and save his internet art business. As part of the Smart Art Marketing Pro forum, I did a thorough assessment and evaluation of his website and online art business. I also made very specific recommendations and helped him to put these into action.

Here is some of what I uncovered about his online art business:

This artist was very talented and made high quality bronze sculptures of horses.   These beautiful sculptures reminded me of the work of the famous American Western artist Frederich Remington.  They were about the same size and quality of work.  The quality of the artwork was not the reason for the failing art business.

This artist had a beautiful static website to sell his sculptures.   It was well-designed with a beautiful gallery showcasing his bronze horses.  He had a efficient and professional check-out system to process sales.  The quality of the website was not the reason for the failing art business.

All in all, his website was professional and looked great.  But he wasn’t getting any sales online.  He wasn’t even getting any traffic or any inquiries from the few people who did show up. His marketing strategy was too simple to be effective. Basically, he had just put up a website like a big billboard in Cyperspace, hoping to attract everyone and anyone. His website, although beautiful and professionally designed, was failing miserably.

Here’s the fix for this struggling online art business:

So what was wrong?  One thing.  His marketing approach.  He wasn’t attracting the very specific audience or niche that he needed.

So what did I suggest he do to turn things around and make the site a success?   I suggested that he should start a blog.

Now, should he blog all about himself and how beautiful his sculptures are?  NO.  absolutely not.  If he only blogs about himself and his latest projects or newest work, no one will ever be interested enough to read it.  Why?  Because no one cares about him personally.  This is the wrong approach for his blog. If he blogs only about himself and his latest work, his blog will be a failure just like his static website was a failure.

So what is the correct approach here?  What should he blog about?

He should blog about horses.  He should blog all about how to make horses happy and healthy.  He should blog about everything he knows about horses.  If he sculpts horses, he loves horses, and that means he probably knows an awful lot about horses.  Right?  I told him he should take his love of horses and his vast knowledge of horses and share it with the world.

So who is he going to attract with his blog about horses?  He is going to attract horse lovers.  He is going to grow a large following of avid horse lovers. He is going to connect to a large family of like-mined people who love the same thing he loves. These horse lovers will subscribe to his blog and to his email newsletter to learn more about horses from him. These are the perfect people, the perfect niche to buy his horse sculptures.

Who better to buy sculptures of horses than avid horse lovers?

So this artist should blog about horses. And then in a very balanced way in his blog and newsletter, he will make offers for his horse sculptures.  Do you see how this works?  Following this marketing strategy could easily net this sculptor a six figure income from his blog and website each year. He could dominate this art niche by passionately sharing with the world his love and knowledge of horses.  In time, this website and blog could be worth millions of dollars.

This case study is a perfect example of correctly identifying and targeting a very specific art niche.  Correctly identifying the perfect niche for your art products is crucial for your online success.

Here’s a Few More Ideas…..

Sometimes the niche is not as easy to find as in this case study. So brainstorm as many ideas as possible.  Get together with a group of your artist friends and have a brainstorming party.  In the meantime, here’s a few more ideas that will get you going in the right direction.

If you paint pet portraits, then blog all about pets. Blog about dogs and cats and pets in general, how to keep them happy and healthy. You will attract pet lovers who will almost certainly want a portrait of their beloved pet.

If you paint or take pictures of flowers and gardens, then blog about flowers and gardening. Blog about how to raise prize roses or grow bigger and better tulips. These garden lovers will almost certainly want pictures of gardens and flowers in their homes.

You can also blog about how to make a home more beautiful with art. You could become the “Martha Stewart” of home decorating with the focus on art. I have used this niche very successfully.  I call the category “The Artful Home.”  What niche does this blog attract?  It attracts housewives who are in the age group from 35 to 55 years of age.  These housewives want their homes to be warm, cozy and inviting. Art is the perfect pitch for them because it fills this basic need.

And, of course, you could always teach lessons on how to paint or photograph or sculpt, whatever it is you do.  You could share with the world all the knowledge and ability you have acquired over the years.  Teaching art lessons online is a great business strategy.  Your students will want your eBooks and other art information products to help them become the best artist they can be.  And your loyal students will also want to buy your original art.

Learn How to Sell Your Art Online

What is the best way to learn how to sell your art online?  By joining the Smart Art Marketing Pro members-only forum like the Swedish artist did in the case study above.

What is Smart Art Marketing Pro?

Smart Art Marketing Pro is a multi-media online course and members only forum that will help you successfully sell your art online.

In the Smart Art Marketing Pro members forum, I work with you personally to help you find the niches that are most likely to lead you to your own art blog riches.  You get lots of personal attention that focuses on you and your personal challenges as you build your art business online.


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
This entry was posted in Art, Artists, Reblog and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ‘How to Sell Art Online: A Case Study’ by Gary Bolyer

  1. neath says:

    The article is great! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. seascapesaus says:

    This is a valuable insight about marketing and finding our best customers! Is it too awful to say that I will do it after my holidays? oops, that’s my artist hat (?beret) back on.

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