Sales Funnel for Artists

For any of you artists or creative people that are attempting to sell some of your creations online, the chance of you selling anything by simply posting it on Etsy or some other site is ridiculously small.  If you think that’s the way to sell it, you will be incredibly frustrated and probably quit before too long.  You need to understand The Sales Funnel for Artists!

The problem is you don’t understand human nature and you don’t understand the sales process.  Humans almost never see or hear something once and buy immediately.  There are many defense mechanisms in each person set up against buying spontaneously.

Luckily, “The Sales Funnel for Artists” is here to help us.  The concept of the sales funnel is simply an idea or description that helps you to understand the process of helping a prospective buyer actually move forward and eventually pull the trigger and purchase some of your art.

The Sales Funnel for Artists

Example of Images I have Sold with The Sales Funnel For Artists 

The purpose of that this article is to first help you understand some of the natural defense mechanisms that keep people from buying your art and secondly to help you understand the sales funnel so that you can help people get comfortable and finally purchase your art.


5 Reasons Why People Don’t Buy Art

  1. Insecurity:
    In general people are afraid of many things. In particular, they are unsure about their tastes. They may be new to buying art.  They might not know you. They do not understand issues of color and quality. They are not comfortable with what pieces of art will go together well in their home or office. You wouldn’t know unless you asked. Regardless of their buying status, digging into what they want to do with the piece they are considering will help you assist them to make a confident decision.
  2. Assurance:
    They don’t know if your art is worth what you are charging. As with some other points here, there is a crossover in the reason for not buying and the result. This point is one of them. In part, buyer assurance happens when your marketing, your presentation and your appearance and demeanor, or that of your gallery, has set the table.  They need to know you create quality work and you stand behind your work.  You can do that with money back guarantees, or buy back policies etc.  You can even let them take the art home and try it on for size.
  3. Money:
    They cannot afford your art. This situation can be a question of unfocused marketing. If you cast a marketing net too wide, you will waste time attempting to sell art to those who actually cannot afford it. If that is the case, fix it immediately. In the buying process, you subtly need to learn enough about your prospect to determine if a sale is possible or if you are wasting your time. Have they made other fine art purchases? Do they collect art? Where do they intend to display the piece? Part of your job is to sort through those not ready to buy and keep them in the sales funnel while removing those who are not prospects from it.
  4. Confusion:
    They don’t understand your pricing model. If you sell through multiple distribution channels and do not have uniform prices on similar pieces, you confuse your buyers on what is the real price and value of your work. Are your prices are fluctuating in ways that there seems no logic to the price? For instance, how can you price four times more for a piece that is only 25% larger than other works in your portfolio?
  5. Remorse:
    Post-cognitive dissonance is the fancy way to describe the sense of regret buyers often have after they have made a purchase. There are situations where customers anticipating remorse kill a deal even though part of them wants to own your work. Let’s call it pre-cognitive dissonance. You can answer this in advance by offering a return policy. Maybe it is 90 days with return shipping not included and with the art in the same condition as when it was sold.

The Sales Funnel for Artists

What is a sales funnel you ask?

A sales funnel is a visual representation of the steps required to sell your product or service (in this case, your art). The sales funnel gives you a complete overview of where in the sales process your prospect is.

For about as long as people have been selling products, they’ve been thinking about where to find customers and how to reach them. The classic sales and marketing funnels date back to the late 1800s and provide a simple metaphor to think about the path a customer takes on the way to purchase.

The Sales Funnel for Artists

General Concept of Sales Funnel For Artists

The sales funnel in the figure is a common example of how a funnel can map the journey a person takes from prospect to customer. It can also be used as a starting point in building a journey map.

Funnels show that people move from becoming aware of a product or company to becoming interested to eventually making a purchase. They provide some clear stages for understanding the customer journey and targeting marketing, advertising, and sales efforts accordingly. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about pricing when people don’t want or haven’t heard of your product.

Simple Sales Funnel

The Sales Funnel for Artists

Simple Version of Sales Funnel for Artists


The funnel concept of AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action) is to me the most simple and concise way to explain and use the concept.

Despite some minor differences, funnels generally share a similar pattern of customer behavior:

  1. Contemplate a purchase.
  2. Narrow down on a choice.
  3. Purchase the chosen product.
  4. Experience post-purchase effects.

So now that you understand a little bit about the sales funnel, how can you set up your online presence so you’re actually able to walk people through the process?

First and most importantly people have to know about you.  This is why you can’t just post your art on some art website and expect people to find you and buy your art. They will never find you. You have to make you and your artwork known.

This seems to be the most challenging part for most artists. Artist like to create they do not like to brag or “toot to their own horn”.  Is there a way to make this process easier for the average artist?  Yes!

You Must Have Your Own Website

The most important tool in your sales arsenal is your professional website.  I always tell people they should own their own domain name and they should host their website through an easy online hosting company.  Check our partners page to see who we recommend. Then simply use WordPress and a theme set up for artists to best highlight your work. .  All the other third-party easy website building online tools will leave you hamstrung by not giving you the ability to market the way you need to.  Also you are not building any value in your own online real-estate.  Yes your own online domain that you arrange the hosting for has real long term value.  If you use one of the free or cheap online hosting tools like etc. you are completely at the whim of their marketing decisions. When they go out of business or decide to raise their prices on you, you are completely stuck.  On the other hand, if you have managing the hosting of your website using WordPress and something goes wrong with your hosting company you simple export or website and move it to another hosting company.

Your website is where you will be able to present your professional portfolio then you will be able to write very professional blog posts that show your work and experience and expertise.  These blog posts are then found by Google and it makes it easier for people to start finding you online.

Building Your Sales Funnel Through Social Media

Your website is your hub or the middle of your sales funnel.  You can put anything you want there to build your brand.  Once you start having great content on your hub then you can start sharing it around to all the other social media networks. The beauty of the Social Network’s is that once you get very good at producing great content, other people will share your work also.  This in turn spreads the mouth of your sales funnel making more and more people aware of your work.

Special Offers

The next step in the process of building your sales funnel is that once you are watching some of the traffic flow through your website, you know how people are responding to your work so you can start creating special offers and coupons and present to those on your website.  Of course those will be shared on your social media networks again.

Results of the Sales Funnel

Once this mouth of the funnel starts getting quite wide you will notice that people start contacting you asking questions about your work and how they might be able to purchase some of your work or license some of your work or hire you for a special project etc.  Once you’re in contact with people like this you know they’re interested in your work and it’s much easier to negotiate a final purchase at this point.

Example of the Sales Funnel for Artists in Practice

Consider this story as an example. I recently sold a handful of prints to the legal department of a large National retailer here in the Twin Cities.  I had never met the woman who was responsible for the purchase before the purchase had happened, but she had become familiar with me from my online presence. We originally connected through Twitter I believe actually ended stay connected ever since.  She had gotten to see my work she had gotten to see the type of person I was and how I interacted with people in general.  At the meet the artist Prince signing event she shared with me that when she had the opportunity to purchase prints for the office she just knew she was going to be buying from me because of the relationship built overtime through the online sales funnel.  Do you get it?


So can you see this idea of the sales funnel and can you see how important it is to implement it?

While it certainly is true that a sales funnel cannot be set up overnight, the actual process of setting it up is not difficult or complex, it’s really quite simple to understand and to implement.  You just need to understand how important it is and the basic steps for implementing.

These images and many more are available for purchase.

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Find the complete online gallery here: Wayne Moran Fine Art Photography

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~ The Sales Funnel for Artists

Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website