Saturday, November 13, 2010
Online marketing of art - Etsy?
Last year my website got a total makeover since I had a bunch of brand new prints to offer fresh from my exhibitions. I also set up an account with PayPal so that those interested in purchasing prints could have the option to buy directly through my site.
Unfortunately one thing I hadn't counted on was visibility of my website. Since I haven't yet found a paid host site to promote me visits by guests to my website have been lacklustre to say the least.
The question is how can one reach a broader market and become visible without having to break the bank?
This topic came up a while back in the printmaking forum at WetCanvas. One site kept coming up in the conversations, that being Etsy which is a site dedicated to hand crafted items. Several printmakers have marketed their prints in this site and appear to have found some success reaching buyers.
After much deliberation I decided it was time to bite the bullet and test the waters so I joined up. So...I now have a store (page) in Etsy under the name of Borealart.
The terms are pretty reasonable actually, I pay $0.20 cents an item for it to be listed for a 4 month period. If an item sells then Etsy take a 3.5 % commission on the sale. Fees are deducted at the end of the every month and since I am set up with PayPal the amount owing to both Etsy and myself can be processed using this option.
I have a couple of local shops who sell my work but one of them takes a hefty 40% commission on sales. I don't like to overprice my work and want to offer a fair market value. However if you apply the cost of framing to this after the commission of 40% is taken it doesn't leave me with much, sometimes less than what the unframed print is valued at. So not making any profit makes me wonder why I am even selling there. The tradeoff is this place gets a lot of traffic and many seeking inexpensive works of art.
Perhaps Etsy might be a better alternative, however I am approaching this with cautious optimism since there are a lot of listings in Etsy, not only by hundreds of talented artists but also other types of crafts and such. This means a visitor to the site is somewhat overwhelmed with choices. A listing I can put in can find itself buried on the twelth page within a few hours depending on the number of items being renewed or listed by other artists in the same genre that particular day. I think the secret is to list a new item every few days as these will appear top of the list for a while. Hey any chance is better than nothing. Clicking on the listing also allows visitor access to view every other item that is being displayed in my store page.
A seller also may choose an option to pay an additional fee of $7 per day if they want to be prominently featured in the main page. I have chosen not to go that route due to the expense factor. Sure, perhaps it might bring more attention to my page but hopefully if someone discovers my offerings in the great list of printmaking or whatever the work will speak for itself?
I plan to provide a link from my own website to the Etsy store as most of the items I will be listing in Etsy are recent smaller less expensive work. I also produce reproduction notecards of my paintings and photos so this may be a good avenue to market these.
Below is a detail from my page.