The Art of Selling Art

You probably have friends or relatives with hobbies that involve creating beautiful pieces of art, jewelry, photography, woodwork, stitchery or pottery, right? Maybe you have similar talents. You know these works could fetch impressive prices, if you could just get them in front of buyers.

Today, increasing numbers of people are creating additional streams of income by opening shops online with sites like Etsy, which attracts shoppers who purchase $34 million to $41 million in products per month from individual shop owners. In January, the site hit its first 1 billion page views.

Entrepreneurial artists and artisans are reaping windfalls. One of them, Timothy Adam, has written a book titled How to Make Money Using Etsy. “You have to put the work into it. If you’re going to treat Etsy as a hobby, you’ll get hobby money. If you treat it as a business, you’ll make real money,” he says.

Adam also suggests looking at Etsy as more than a resource for making some quick cash and seeing the site as a marketing tool. Adam’s Etsy presence garnered exposure to new and bigger clients, for example. He sold a $2,500 guitar-shaped coffee table to Barneys New York—far from his home in western Michigan. Other artists have been “discovered” by brick-and-mortar retailers who want to stock original items. The site is also a great place to test the market with a product idea before creating an inventory of unmarketable items.

Making Real Money with Your Online Shop

• Blog regularly. Timothy Adam adds posts to his blog several times a day, and every blog post points back to his shop or another artist’s shop. Great content equals more traffic… and that equates to higher sales.

• Use the right key words. Wondering what the right key word is? Here’s a tip: It’s probably not overly technical or detailed. Use commonly searched-for words in your blog posts, headers and product descriptions.

• Find out what works, and do it over and over again. “Repetition is the key,” Adam says. “Figure out what you should be doing, then do it over and over again; you’ll see results. That plays in SEO and in social media marketing. Remember, it doesn’t happen overnight.”

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