5 Big Reasons Why Your Art Isn’t Selling

Artwork Archive | August 1, 2016 (Updated September 20, 2022)

When your art isn’t selling, one thing is certain: it’s extremely frustrating.

What’s not certain? Why your art isn’t being purchased.

Before you start rethinking your whole career path as an artist, know that there are some common problems that could be affecting your art sales. What’s more, they are easy to solve with a little insight!

Whether you can narrow it down to trouble with pricing or communication with buyers, we highlighted five major reasons why your art isn’t selling and how to fix it, so you can start enjoying more art purchases.

Problem 1: Your Showing Space

Art Biz Coach Alyson Stanfield drops a major hint about why your artwork might not be selling—how it’s being shown. If your artwork is being displayed in a gallery, she suggests mulling over these questions: “Is the venue easy to find and approach? Is it a clean and comfortable space? Are the works well displayed and lighted?” If you find yourself answering no to any of these questions, guests could feel put off before they get a chance to fall in love with your work.

Another possible problem could be that the tastes of a typical customer in that gallery do not match your style or price point. That makes selling your art a lot harder than it needs to be.

Fix: Look for a showing space that’s both inviting and is a good match for your target audience.

Problem 2: Your Art Marketing

Even though you have to wear many hats when you run an art business, you are first and foremost an artist. This often means marketing and figuring out the best plan of attack gets pushed to the back burner. Unfortunately, if you don’t get the word out about your art, people may never know it’s even available!

If your social media posts aren’t helpful, your writing isn’t exciting, or your emails lack a call to action, you may be jeopardizing your art sales. Not testing the results of your art marketing can also be a big reason your art marketing isn’t working, explains The Abundant Artist.

Fix: Set aside the time you need to run your art business effectively. Take a class online to learn new art business skills, learn more about Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest on the Artwork Archive blog, or listen to a podcast in the studio.

Problem 3: Your Pricing

Pricing your work can often feel like the hardest part of the whole process. Set the price too low and you could undermine the value of owning your piece, set the price too high and your artwork may be out of reach, no matter who loves it.

Fix: Your prices should reflect the time, money and expertise needed to create your artwork. To learn how to estimate this price and more, check out “The Do’s and Don’ts of Pricing Your Artwork.”

Problem 4: Your Communication with Buyers

Reaching out to your customers is great, but only doing so when you are trying to make a sale isn’t. Your customers want to feel a real connection to the piece and artist they are buying from.

It may be tempting to stay in the studio where you feel most comfortable, but meeting new clients and catching up with current ones shouldn’t be overlooked. Not following up with leads is a large reason a lot of artwork never got sold.

Fix: Try content marketing. You provide value to your customers and build a connection, all while promoting your art business. Also, get creative with your art marketing so your fans enjoy hearing from you! Find some ideas on “7 Fresh Ways to Make Your Art Marketing Stand Out.” Finally, talk with as many people as possible during and after your events.

Reason 5: Your Website

If you are selling your art online, but your website isn’t user-friendly, you can kiss your sale goodbye. No one wants to waste time trying to figure out a site that doesn’t work or worry about whether their credit card information is safe.

Fix: Double check you aren’t making these website mistakes and hurting your art business. And, try using your Artwork Archive Public Page to easily connect with potential buyers and build a professional-looking online presence.

In the end...

There might be one big, obvious reason your artwork isn’t selling, or it might be a mix of more subtle reasons. So, take the time to evaluate your art business. See if you’re lacking interaction with customers, if you aren’t doing enough art marketing, or if you aren’t satisfied with your gallery space. Once you identify the areas that need improvement, you can make a step-by-step plan to take action and sell more art.

Want insights about your art sales? Sign up for your 14 day free trial of Artwork Archive here.

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