4 reasons people will decide to buy your art

Do you ever pay attention to what the successful artists around you are doing?

    They aren’t scared to talk to other people
  • They accept the invitation when a local news show asks to interview them
    They make it a point to get to know gallery owners and collectors

These are the artists who are famous in your community... the ones who are “making it”.

Some artists turn to online sales to get away from having to talk to people. They're shy or don't know how to talk about their art. Unfortunately, that's the reason they won’t be successful online either. You can’t build a website, hide behind the pretty pictures, and wait for the sales to roll in.

When people find you, you’ve got to be ready for them. Practice talking about your art and yourself. Start conversations. Connect with people online.

If talking about yourself makes your skin crawl, take heart in the fact that on the internet, you don’t have to do it face-to-face in real-time. But you do have to do it.

Why? There’s millions of artists who want to sell their art.

Your talent will be part of what attracts people to you, but there are so many others who are also talented. Beautiful work isn’t enough to sell consistently. There are hundreds of artists I would like to purchase from, but there isn’t room in either my wallet or on my walls, so you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.

Easier said than done, right? Not if you’ve studied what makes people want to buy from you (Or if you learn from someone who has!).

Here’s the top four reasons I’ve learned that people buy art:

1. Because they know and like you. 

They see something in you that makes them want to be your friend. That connection won’t happen if you always stay surface level.

    Have opinions! They don’t have to be hot button issues like politics or religion. What types of topics get your energy pumping?
    Talk about what you believe in. Is family more important than anything OR do you not want a family because you're exploring your self-identity?
    Share your day-to-day life and behind the scenes. They'll be more inclined to buy if they feel like a part of the process.

The people who resonate with what you're saying will start to feel like they know you, and they'll continue to listen to what you have to say because they like you. To sell art, you need them to stick around your website, email list, or social media account for a while so you can continue putting your art in front of them.

Imagine this... You’re on a date. Would you be more likely to go on a second if a) they talked honestly and vulnerably, or b) they went the vanilla route and tried to only say things they think you'll agree with?

You’d probably choose the first even if you didn’t agree with them - the second conversation would be a yawn fest.

2. Your art reminds them of something they value. 

You can connect your art to their personal values through, again, talking about it. Why you made it. What it represents. Its message.

Even if you think your art isn’t “about anything”, there are thoughts going through your head all the time on repeat. That goes for when you are making art too. Even your subconscious thoughts can and should be applied to your art’s message.

Sometimes you don’t have the slightest clue where to start talking about your art. If that’s the case, spend some time learning about your own values and this method will start to click for you. For example, the ones that stand out for myself right now are “inspiration”, “efficiency” and “harmony”. If I was creating an abstract painting with no real mindful direction, I might do some journaling around those words and see how they might’ve influenced my painting on a deeper level.

If you’re up for some self-expansion, try using Caroline Kelso Zook’s “Your Brightest Life Journal”.

3. Your art makes them feel an emotion they want to feel more often. 

Done right, this technique can be powerful. Help them connect your art to an emotion by talking about the feelings you associate with your art. If you are using this one without any success, try describing the feeling instead of naming it.

For example, instead of saying, “These flowers make me feel happy everyday”, say “These crimson tulips remind me it’s finally the season to spread out your picnic blanket and daydream on your lunch hour.”

4. And lastly, you make art specifically for them. 

If you’ve studied marketing at all, you’ve heard of a niche. A niche is simply a small, targeted group of people - like bird watchers or skateboarders.

To use this one, you would focus your art or commission services specifically to them. For skateboarders, this might look like putting quotes from famous skateboarders on your art or doing commissioned art on skateboards.

Any of these methods can work on their own, but if you combine one or more of them, you'll be miles ahead of many of the other artists online. 

Finding your voice is the key to it all. Start with baby steps. The more you practice, the more you'll become comfortable and find your honestly unique voice.

homework for an artist's online art business

Pick one of these methods to start practicing. Use it in your product and series descriptions. Use it in your website headlines and your about page. Use it in your social media. Use it in your emails. Use it anywhere you write anything related to your art.

Do the work & create your luck,

About the Author

Jessica Craddock

I mentor intuitive visual artists who are sick of one-size-fits all formulas sell more work, more consistently, at higher prices — with better work/life balance. My clients regularly make 3x more in art sales within a year.

Using my signature Consistent Income method, we’ll push you over the precipice of some really amazing growth so you can become the creator of your next chapter.

My secret sauce is that we focus on not just the "doing", but also the "being". Affirmations, trusting yourself, knowing when to go slow and when to go fast, practicing getting out of your comfort zone and making room for the feelings that go with that... all this is equally as important as the action steps.

For once, you'll be ahead of the game and understand what's right for you.

  • Very good article! I read your article and agree with you. I would like to congratulate you for bringing these points clearly to the audience. Also,It would be an advantage to the ones who want to understand more about original art for sale.

  • I’m a trained artist and am in the process of setting up an Etsy account to begin selling my work. This article is really useful, thank you

  • Great article! Very insightful. I keep hearing niche this and niche that but no one explained it like you – clear examples. I finally understand it! Wohoo! Now to put all this knowledge to use….Thanks so much!

  • Thanks for your thoughts around the topic of “who buys art.” I put some of my pieces on Etsy but sales are slow. I often wonder if I should just go back to storing them. The “creating” of the the paintings is what is most beneficial to me. However, I am encouraged by your insights, and will leave them displayed on Etsy.

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