How to Use Testimonials to Sell More Art

by Carolyn Edlund

Testimonials are positive, unbiased statements made by real people about the quality of your work or their satisfaction as a collector. Here’s how to get them and use them in your art marketing.

 

Testimonial from a satisfied customer

 

Why do testimonials work so well? They act as a stamp of approval from people who have done business with you. Happy customers who offer praise for your art do so because they believe in you, and offer their recommendation freely. A testimonial is a form of social proof. Most people assume that if others give an endorsement, they are probably right.

Testimonials are mostly “word of mouth” which is one of the most trusted forms of marketing. The majority of people do not believe advertisements, but they do trust referrals from their friends. When your collectors offer them, they literally become brand advocates for you.

Testimonials may be quotes from your existing customers who share how your art has enhanced their lives. But you can also gather quotes from curators, gallerists, or even other artists who are impressed with what you do and want to offer a recommendation. Authors do this frequently on behalf of other authors, which you can easily find on many book jackets. Artists can use quotes from their peers and experts in the field to endorse their work, improve their credibility and appeal to people considering a purchase.

Social testimonials are another form of endorsement. They appear as positive comments made on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They are often spontaneous and written by raving fans and followers who want to share your work with their audience.

Online reviews are still another way that customers can offer positive recommendations for artists. Reviews can be very powerful, since a whopping 88% of customers trust them. Google or Yelp reviews are common forms of these, and are typically seen when using online search. If you have a business listed online, you may be reviewed too.

How can you obtain testimonials?

Ask for them when you receive praise from a satisfied customer. You may be surprised to find how many people will agree to write a short testimonial on your behalf. You can also ask a colleague, gallerist, or other expert who knows you well to write a recommendation.

Permission is necessary to use personal quotes, and you should email the person offering the testimonial to let them know how you intend to do so. When they reply affirmatively, it gives you written permission, which can be provided as proof in case a question comes up.

Encourage online reviews as well. Mention this to your customers and let them know you would love to have them give a rating and express their opinion of your business.

How should testimonials appear?

Concise, meaningful quotes have a lot of impact and can be easily read. A simple sentence or even a phrase can be used. Avoid publishing long, rambling sentences or paragraphs which will cause readers to lose interest.

Identify the person giving the quote as fully as possible to increase credibility. Initials or a first name and last initial can make the testimonial seem suspect; first and last name are preferable. Include their job title and/or company when it is relevant.

Use a photo of the person with their testimonial quote to make it even more real to the reader. The optimal version of this is showing the customer with a piece of your work in the same photo.

Social testimonials can be gathered by taking screenshots of positive social media comments for marketing use. These often show the logo and formatting of the social media platform. That makes it easy for the reader to ascertain the source.

Where can artists use testimonials?

  • Place them on your website. You may find that a concise quote on your Home page is a great lead-in for potential collectors.
  • Include them in the content of your email marketing campaigns
  • Use them as part of your social media marketing campaigns
  • Use a quote from a collector in your email signature
  • Print them in brochures, business cards, postcards and other collateral
  • Place on signage in your studio or exhibit booth
  • Use them in online and print advertisements
  • Include them in your artist media kit

Testimonials are usually “evergreen” and are useful for a long period of time. A few good quotes from enthusiastic collectors or experts should be in every artist’s marketing toolbox.

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for the expanded list of ideas where testimonials can be used. I think I’ve only done 3 of these ideas, I need to get busy. 🙂

  2. Rosemary Colyer says

    Thank you for this interesting and helpful article! As you mention, for artists self-promotion does not feel comfortable, but I will now follow your advice and get to work using some of your suggestions. Thanks again!

    • Rosemary, I think you will find that other people are usually happy to write you a short testimonial because they love what you do and want to support you. This is part of the wonderful relationship you will often build with collectors and fans.

  3. Very good to verify you will share their testimonial.

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