Can You Sell Art Through Affiliate Marketing?
So, as many of you know, I work as a writer. Writing is a creative matter, and when I’m not creating work, I’m hyping others’ artwork. Like, art’s kind of my life. I’m artist-adjacent to the point where I don’t really fit in with mainstream people. As a result, I learned a LOT about the art industry—as well as the struggles of creatives who try to break even.
This brings me to one of the many moments where my knowledge about marketing brings me to the affiliate world…and the art world, too. As we all know, the internet is filled to the brim with artists who love to make art, but rarely ever get any cash for it.
Let’s talk about how I’ve seen people change their brokenness, and how you can do the same. As a marketer, I’ve learned my routes.
Selling Art Through Affiliate Marketing: Meet Your New Friends
Before you can start doing your selling, we’re going to have to talk about the kind of places that will allow you to sell your designs and get affiliate sales. These platforms below are the most well-known for affiliate sales in art:
- Zazzle/Society6/RedBubble. These three companies are all famous for letting you sell merch with your logos and designs on them. If you are a graphic designer, it makes sense to have at least one of these platforms as a place to sell your designs.
- Amazon. Yes, Amazon is a place to sell your art—both in painting form and in craft form. It’s part of the Amazon Handmade thing, and yes, you can always reach out to other Amazon affiliates for help.
- Uncommon Goods. This platform has an affiliate program, but it’s important to remember that you have to be accepted as an artisan here. This isn’t easy!
How To Market Your Artwork Online: The Quick Dope On Online Affiliate Marketing
Now that you’ve seen a couple of places that allow for affiliate sales, it’s time to figure out how you can get your art on there. In most cases, you will have to open up an online store with them and upload your work (or photos of it) to start selling.
Once you’ve done that, you will have to reach out to affiliate marketers and try to get them to feature your products. This is obviously easier said than done, but don’t worry. These tips below can help make your products stand out when affiliates do their roundups…
- Name your artwork intelligently. Most people who are searching for art or decorative items have a motif or a theme they want. Add related terms to your artwork’s names so that they can be picked up when people are searching for things they want. For example, if you have a bowl you made with flowers, name it “Decorative Wooden Bowl With Floral Accents.”
- Advertise your own goods on social media, and get GREAT photos. Most people buy artwork or artsy items because they work with a specific aesthetic they want. This means you have to show that they look good. Ask yourself what kind of aesthetic the person who wants to buy something like that has, and then take photos that work with that aesthetic.
- Offer up good photos. I cannot stress this enough. I’m basically putting this as its own point. Photos are going to make or break your ability to launch your art brand. If you need to (for clothing or accessories), hire professional models. Get those pics touched up! It’s a MUST.
- Invest in good press. People tend to prefer working with brands that have a good reputation. If you can afford to do so, get a PR agent. If you can’t, pitch blogs and come up with news of your stuff on your own.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to bloggers. Almost every affiliate blogger is on the hunt for some good stuff to sell. If you have a good product, you might get a new blogger buddy touting your stuff. Just be forewarned, you’ll probably get 1,000 no’s before you get a yes.
- Invest in yourself. Paid advertising is a good way to expand your reach and also get people talking about your work. In many cases, it can also give your brand the air of legitimacy it needs to succeed.
Can You Set Up Your Own Affiliate-Based Art Site?
Of course! A lot of major brands started out this way, especially when it comes to the fringe portions of the art and fashion world. (Ask me how I know. Really, have you seen my outfits?!) For example, Alien Outfitters is a good example of an affiliate-based company.
The way to do it is simple: offer a discount code that is linked to individual affiliates. When someone buys stuff using said code, you pay the affiliate a small slice. This can increase inventory prices, but it’s worth it. To get more affiliates, recruit via social media and your site.
How Effective Is Selling Art Through Affiliate Sales?
I’ll be honest. It can be a good way to sell art, but the truth is that most people will have a hard time establishing themselves in the affiliate world. To see serious results, you need to have both a quality product and a fleet of good affiliates too.
With that said, it can be done. I’ve read up on people who have struck deals with PR firms to tout their work with excellent results. And realistically, it only takes ONE item to be a smash hit for you to see a massive influx of orders. So, why not give it a shot? You might be surprised at how well it works.