Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tips For SUCCESSFUL Selling for SELF-Representing Artists on eBay

An antique oil painting I sold on eBay ( no, I did not paint it..I only sell antique paintings)
I have sold antique and vintage original artwork on eBay for a number of years, and I also buy some artwork on eBay. Lately I have bought some self-representing artist's work, and during my searches for certain types of Art, I have been dumb-founded and confused , and concerned  with the way  some artist's have listed their art for sale.
Concerned because they are hindering their own chances of selling.
So I figured I would give some tips for those painter's who are just starting to sell on eBay , or who may not have been successful selling and never knew the reason. 
I believe this can help your endeavors in eBayland. 
I will be very blunt and tell some artists that the first reason you may not have sold is your work may not be good enough . Someone may be a good hobbyist artist, but the competition online is strong, so if your work is not polished enough , or trained enough ...then that would be a reason it has not sold or may not sell.
If that is NOT the reason, then hopefully these tips will help spur sales and exposure for your own personal art you create.
Ready ?
I'll do this as a--
10 Steps to Selling Art Online Guide:
  • Titles:
  • Most artists do not understand the power of a great title for search engines to find your art and also how to capture someone's attention as they are skimming hundreds or thousands of listings. Use every word in your allotted space carefully and wisely. Most artist put their names in their titles hoping to get name recognition. I see the pros and cons with that as it can take up too much space and  may not leave you room for what type of painting you are selling. You may want to experiment and use your name in some listings, and ALWAYS type in ORIGINAL Oil PAINTING, or if not oil then leave out other mediums, as that is the No. 1 descriptive art term typed in by buyers .  You can also type in Impressionist, Modern, Realism, Expressionist, etc. in the title. All of these are search words.
  •  Correct Example: Original Oil Painting California Seascape by Your  name
  • Not:  Painting by your name ( and then no other info at all )
  • Also if it is a landscape, seascape, nude, portrait, etc. WRITE that in your title. e.g. Original Oil Painting Seascape by.....( your name )
  •   NOT: Painting of Ocean on Canvas
  • NOT : Ocean painting ...use ALL  the space allotted in the title for your keywords to get tagged in searches and then your art will show up when people do their searches.
  • Also a NOT: for selling nudes: Naked Sexy Nude lady painting, instead write, Nude woman or Female at Rest Original Oil painting, much classier. 
  • If you simply use your name and painting , unless you are a famous artist or have many loyal followers, then your art will not be looked at by someone simply typing in SEASCAPE under an Art Search.
  • Sub-Title
  • This can be  used for awhile if you like to add more keywords for searches for your style of art or if  you run out of room on your title line. e.g. Waves, ocean in California plein air artwork , can go on your sub-title. a region, state, famous landmark, type of flower or animal, all of these are KEYWORDS for searches that you can use in your titles.
  • This is the second area that is not adequate in many listings. make it concise, personal, and fully disclose that YOU are the artist who painted this ! Write what the painting is , where it is painted at ( e.g. California, or Italy, or garden, mountains, etc. ). Give the EXACT MEASUREMENTS   of the painting, and I say EXACT because people often will go buy frames once they win your art and if it is not EXACT, the frame will not work. Hence, unhappy customer. Always DOUBLE CHECK that. So, what material you used to paint on, either canvas , paper or board for the customer is adequate in your need to mention exactly what type of canvas it is. Let them know if it is framed or unframed. About being personal, what I mean by that is personalize your listing so the buyer can know a little something about you. Tell them why you paint, your family life, what you predominately paint. Steer them to check out your other listings. You have so many ways to grab buyers, but the ONLY way they get to your listings is by the WORDS in the description, then they will see the pics, then you can hopefully sell some art.
  • Pictures
  • This is important , especially with artwork, but so many artists only put 1 or two pictures on of their work for sale. Try to put at a least 4-8 pictures on, and a great idea is to go buy some standard frames, black and gold are good, to use for the size Art you sell, and photograph the painting in that also. Be SURE to mention a few times the frame is NOT included in the sale. This really helps a buyer see how much better a piece of art looks framed. You can also use a photo- listing service like Inkfrog, Auctivia, etc. where you can put up to 12-15 pictures on to help sell your work, for one price a month. Fairly inexpensive ( around 10.-15.00 a month ), but you can use templates, super-size your photos, it will really jazz up your listings or make them more polished.
  • Pricing:
  • This is where I differ with some people, but I think it is nuts to start a painting that you have worked days or weeks on for 99 cents.Ebay is a fickle, crazy place to sell, I have sold on it for over 7 years ( old antique paintings ), and I have lost a lot of money starting bids too low. Buyers are sleeping on their computers when auctions go off, or walking their dog, or watching TV, asleep in their beds , in la-la land, at the mall, they may have planned to put a higher bid in...BUT...forgot. Then you are left with selling a very nice painting for 99 cents or under 25.00 sometimes. You can go online and check out starting prices, but if it a small painting 5 x 7 or 8 x 6 ins., 8 x 10, then 25.00 or higher, if it is a medium size 9 x 12, 12x 16, 12 x 20, then 35.00 and up.  Over 50.00-75.00 for 12 x 24 and up .Once you sell a few you can see where you need to start bids. Eventually you will know.. or hold onto a piece of art, if it is sitting with no bids, and try again at another time.
  • Communication:
  • Respond  as quickly as you can to buyers questions or concerns. That means the same day if possible. Also let them know you appreciate their bids and payments. This is another element I found lacking in self-representing artists ( the 20-25 % who also don't leave feedback ones ). The majority are good communicators.

  • LUCK
  • Luck is a big part of the game of selling on eBay .  Also who happens to be pursuing when you are listing, if your keywords are good and buyers can find you , if you sell a popular type of artwork, if your photos are very good... All of this comes into play. But I swear, luck is part of this game on eBay. So be sure to stack the cards in your favor by also going above what you need to do for your buyers.

  • Make a About me page or a My World page( both are free when you sign up on eBay as a buyer or seller ) and describe yourself and the type of art you predominately sell, plus a bit of personal info to let them know who they are buying from is good. You can also include any gallery shows, exhibits, etc. If the list is EXTENSIVE, then just include some of the bigger ones. I do not like reading a LOOOONNNGGG list of an artist's shows and exhibits. Sometimes an artist ONLY includes that in their listings, they fill out the top description where you put in the item specifics, but do not write ANY description at all. A mistake , also too much info about yourself in your listings, that should be instead on your About Me page, or your My World page on eBay. You may also want to do a blog about your artwork and include the link in your About Me page.

Payment Policy:
Include this in your listings and even your My World page to help buyers know what to expect. I give buyers 5 days time from auction end to pay. Do not let 5-7 days go by with NO contact  from a buyer who won an auction. Relist the painting after 8-10 days and move on. You may want to go through the eBay non-payment received process which takes weeks, then relist.

It is amazing to me how many artists do NOT leave feedback for their buyers. It is part of the game of eBay and also an excellent way to ' touch ' a buyer for them to come back and buy again. Show them that they are appreciated. You may want to wait to leave feedback until after they received your painting first. I have found that over half to the artists I buy from leave me feedback before I receive the painting, and about 20-25 % leave NO feedback. Craziness. It is vital to your sales , it is easy to do, and fast. There should be no problem here for you.

Good luck to you, do your best,choose your titles and description words carefully, respond to emails from buyers quickly, ship quickly , and leave feedback for your buyers...these tips can help you be successful online.

Bless you artists !

" The earth is the LORD'S , and all it's fullness, The world and and those who dwell therein. " Psalm 24:1

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