Monday, October 31, 2011

Hey fellow Etsians!

It appears that I've unexpectedly inherited the captain's post for two Etsy teams. Please take a peek at the below team pages and, if you're so inclined, join up!
For those who create or appreciate adornments of an ancient flair. Whether historically accurate (artifacts) or fictionalized (art-of-fakes), all are welcome.
Open to any artisan residing in the Midwestern US. All media accepted. Supportive, encouraging, non-competiti­ve.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Online art marketing resources

Next month, I'm going to be a part of a panel discussion at WindyCon ( regarding online marketing for artists and crafters. Since I'll be sharing the following resource list with panel attendees, I thought it might be of interest to my blog readers too:
I've broken the list entries into their best-defined categories, but as you're browsing, you'll notice that many of the sites linked will overlap categories. Some of the marketplaces will have social media elements, some galleries will allow sales, etc.

Fees on these sites will vary from a flat dollar rate per month, to a percentage of each sale, to a combination of both. A few are even fee free. All have their pros and cons. A big site may have a lot of traffic, but your work might get lost in a sea of similar items of that genre, whereas your work might shine in a smaller marketplace...but that might not matter if the site has low traffic.
Handmade Artists Shop

Fulfillment Sites
These sites enable you to sell your 2-D art print form or applied to other objects (wearables, household items, etc) produced by the online retailer. In most cases, the artist receives only a portion of the sale price or a flat payment, but does not have to worry about stock overhead or shipping items.
Fine Art America

Social Networks
Most...if not all...are free to use. These can be invaluable for driving traffic to your marketplace and as well as providing networking opportunities.
Artisans/Jewelry Designers
Attack of The Craft
Everything Etsy Directory
Milliande Art Community
My Art Plot

Virtual Galleries
Online portfolios are great for showing your range and a convenient way to showcase your art. Many of the previously mentioned social network spaces and marketplaces also offer gallery spaces, but those below focus primarily on this function.
Digital Consciousness

Whether you're writing in your own blog or contributing to a larger collective blog space, the key to getting noticed is to pique the interest of your readership. Talking up your own work is fine, but ad copy can get tedious after a while. Tutorials, stories, useful tools ( a list of resources...) and other nifty bits keep people reading and SHARING, which in turn gets you and your art more exposure. Some examples of blogging spaces include:

Simply Paid Advertising
While this can be costly, a well-placed ad can send a ton of potential buyers your way. Many of the marketplaces, galleries, social networks, and such above offer ad space, but research and choose carefully. Make sure you're not throwing money into an ultimately fruitless shotgun spray approach. The sites below offer numerous options that can be targeted to the audience you wish to reach and your budget, but there are obviously countless other avenues all over the web that offer paid ad space.
The Handmade Directory   
Unique Indie Shops

Coupons/Discount Sites
Personally, I have mixed feelings about marketing via coupons and discount programs being applied to handmade goods and art. I think that a lot of consumers have been conditioned by large retail outlets to EXPECT everything to be discounted in some way as a part of our mass-produced disposable culture. IMHO, this devalues handcrafted goods to judge them on the same pricing standard of big box retail stock (and yes...technically...the sweatshop-made goods that are found at MegaSavLoMacroMart are oft handcrafted too.). That and discount sites DO exist for the handmade market and some artisans have found benefit using such tools.

Etsy Coupon Code

Other Ideas
-Donate a piece of your work to an online charitable event such as a website-based silent auction fundraiser. Most charities are more than happy to include a link to the donor's online shop/site in the donation description. Not only does this get your work/name in front of people who might not otherwise encounter your work, you're helping a cause you believe in/the donation is tax-deductable.

-Post video or text tutorials on Instuctables (, craft websites (ex:, YouTube (, etc. Obviously, you don't want to explain how to copy your work, but as an artist, you likely have a lot of nifty skills that you can show off and help others in the process. Know how to seamlessly blend Copic marker coloring in illustrations? Be the reference that others link to!

-Utilize Amazon wish list ( and other wish list site links on your gallery/marketplace listings.

-Offer gift certificates via emailed PDF for last minute shoppers (Keep track of numbers on certificates to ensure that they are only redeemed once.)

-Banner swapping with other blogs/online shops

-Get involved in the online presence of local/regional community-based craft groups/art collectives/maker spaces (websites, blogs, etc)
Obviously, the above isn't meant to serve as a comprehensive list and I anticipate that there will be further additions after the convention panel. If you'd like to contribute your own links and ideas to this post, please do!