by guest blogger Mckenna Hallett
There are a lot of do’s and don’ts that can make or break your career as an artist. If you’ve been creating in the studio and honing your skills, you are in that foundational place. Perhaps you have done some of the other basics: put together a cohesive body of work, figured out your profits, branded your business, and set up the systems to take in sales, process them, and ship them. Bravo.
Then there is the all-elusive thing called marketing. How do people find you? How do you make your art visible? The adage, “build a better mousetrap, and they will come” was before the crowded aisles of the giant supermarket we call the internet. While there are many ways to reach the whole world, you can’t accomplish it if you leave out the basics.
How will people find you online, learn more about you and your art, remain connected and eventually become your collectors? This will happen through actions that you deliberately take to become visible and remain visible:
- Have a website with your own domain and in your control
- List contact information on your website
- Include sufficient information about your work on your website
- Have a way for people to sign-up for emails
- Engage in professional email marketing, on a set-in-stone schedule.
Website: You are not truly a visible business without a fully engaged website. Further, you run the risk of being out of business if your third party site (Etsy, Facebook, etc.) changes the rules and makes it too costly or just plain kicks you to the curb. You must have a secure place where people can learn more about you, your work, your policies on shipping and returns. Offer details about the individual pieces for sale, and of course, the all-important “About” page. They need a place to learn more before they will buy.
Contact information: When people visit your site, they should have access to your email and phone number, in multiple locations. A generic contact form is not enough. They like your art, and they have a question. Let them call you – right now, when they have your work in mind and are ready to buy.
Details of your art: If you don’t have descriptions of your work on your website, including size, medium, care instructions or whatever else applies, you are leaving money on the table. A page with FAQ’s can work for general information. More details might be needed, depending on your art form. Use written content, images, or videos. Inform your customers, draw them in, let them experience your work.
Capturing their emails: People rarely buy on the first visit. They may have come from a shared link from a friend or web search, or learned about you in a newspaper story. You must have a way to capture their information so you can stay in touch with them. Otherwise, they may never even think of you again. In fact, you can bet they won’t ever return to your site again without a reminder. You need to be a reminder. Following up is key to winning and selling customers, in most every type of business. And if you are an artist who wants to sell you are in business – so you must follow up.
Use email marketing: If you have been avoiding emailing to avoid being “pushy,” or believe that social media is your best way of staying in touch, you have been misled. Email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined for gaining customers.
If email marketing seems “old school,” that’s because it is! That is also why it is effective. Being tried-and-true is a good thing. Being used by nearly every single person every single day means it’s a communication that people use and understand.
Emails are also more personal. And now that Facebook has changed its rules and requires payment to boost your posts, email’s appeal is clear. You naturally grow sales because you are sending communications, with permission, direct to their inbox. Your message is unblemished, unlike the countless distractions and ads of Facebook. A front and center picture of your fabulous art is in the inbox of people who were interested enough to sign up. You can bet you won’t be unknown for long – certainly not by those who are on your list!