|Posted by Manuel on March 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM|
7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE
Too often, artists start down the online art marketing
path and quickly find themselves bogged down in “how-
to” details. They reach burn-out before they ever get a
fundamental marketing plan in place. Trying to connect
the dots in a half-baked, half-finished marketing plan is
disheartening and counter-productive.
If you make good art
the world is filled with people
who would love to
buy, own and enjoy your work.
Isn’t that comforting to know?
they don’t know you exist.
They would buy it right now except...
So what can you do to change that?
7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE
It all comes down to Inbound Marketing, which means:
1) Getting people to find you online.
2) Turning your visitors into followers, then leads,
As you read through this book you may occasionally think
“I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.”
When that happens, remember Universal Rule #1:
Those who know HOW work for those who know WHY.
YOU(or, soon to be you)
In other words:
• You don’t have to do everything yourself.
• You don’t even have to fund everything yourself.
• Stop the self-torture. When needed, enlist the help of friends, family,
patrons and freelance writers/designers.
Let’s take “how-to” off the table for the next
12 minutes. Instead, let’s focus on WHAT to do
and WHY you’re doing it. HOW is easy. HOW will
take care of itself.
Now let’s fix your online marketing > > >
YOUR WEBSITE & BLOG
Your Website & Blog are the center
of your online sales universe. You
can roll them both into a single site
(best) or keep them separate, but
artists need both components.
Your WEBSITE is your well-organized art gallery, showcase and
museum. It stays still, it stays dependable and it looks awesome.
Ideally you want your own dedicated domain with a streamlined URL,
not a sub-domain hooked to someone else’s site with a confusing
(or too-long) URL.
Serious buyers will visit your
website several times before
buying. Make it easy for them.
• Make sure your website looks like it was designed RECENTLY.
• Make sure your website is optimized for search engines (SEO).
• Make sure your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for,
again and again.
• Make sure your visitors can easily opt-in to your mailing list.
• Make sure your pricing is clearly visible. Do not force people to call
you or email you for pricing.
• Make sure buyers can easily BUY your art, right from your site,
when they’re ready.
Thinking of using Flash? Don’t. Flash is virtually
invisible to search engines. Further, it is banned on
some newer devices, which means visitors with those
devices literally cannot view your site.
Your BLOG is an ongoing, linear dialog and running commentary
on you and your art. The primary purpose of your blog is to drive
visitors to your website, whether through search rankings or through
• It moves, it’s exciting.
• It expands and explains.
• It builds trust.
• It updates and highlights your creative activities.
• Visitors can comment and you can respond.
Unless you’re a naturally gabby person and a good writer, blogs
are HARD WORK. Be prepared for some serious starts and stops before
you get a rhythm going. The important thing is to get your blog firmly
in place and online. Start posting. Make mistakes. Your blog is the engine
that keeps people coming back to your site.
The more you update your
blog, the more visitors you
attract. More visitors mean
more fans for you and your art,
which leads to more sales.
If you find that you can’t keep your blog current
and functioning, farm it out.
Yes, it’s that important.
7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE
KEY YOUR OPT-IN MAILING LIST
Email is the best way to keep in touch
with your patrons, collectors, buyers
and fans. If any of the 7 Keys are
magic, it’s this one.
Your opt-in mailing list contains
peoples’ names and email addresses
who have specifically given you permission
to send them periodic emails about you and
your art. It is the single most powerful
online sales tool you can have.
Building your opt-in list is
tedious work that yields amazing results.
It enables you to send anticipated, personal and relevant emails to
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
• Display an email subscription sign-up form (preferably “above the
fold”) on your website and blog.
• Your social media profiles generally allow for multiple web addresses.
Make one of them your email sign-up form.
• Include a link to your subscriber sign-up page in your email signature.
• Mention your free email Newsletters/Updates/Status Reports in all
outside communications: press releases, postcards, feature articles.
Capture email addresses in person at your art shows with guest sign-in
books. When you exchange business cards, ASK your new contact if
you can keep in touch with them by newsletter.
Use a professional
email service provider such as
MailChimp, AWeber, Emma or Constant
Contact. They range in price from free
to inexpensive and provide automatic
subscription and list management,
tracking, customizable templates and
have many other advantages.
An important distinction: Your newsletter is not your blog. It should
contain more valuable content. If you promise your subscribers “inside”
information, then do not send them a recycled blog post. Your opt-in list is
your “inner circle.” Treat them with respect.
Write directly to ONE person. “Hiya Gang” is the worst possible way to
start your newsletter. You may have hundreds or even thousands of names
on your list, but each email is sent to a single address and (first) read by
a solitary reader. That person has INVITED YOU into their inbox and
TRUSTED YOU with their email address.
Finally, always remember that your newsletter is a prospecting and
lead generation tool. Gently SPRINKLE your offers into your email, and
always ASK your readers to take action. (buy now, read more, forward
to a friend, etc.). Otherwise, there’s no reason to send it.
7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE
KEY YOUR BACKLINKS
BACKLINKS (also known as Inbound
Links) originate on other websites
and point to yours. Search engines
grant higher priority to sites with
large numbers of quality backlinks.
Okay. So where do quality backlinks come from?
Blog Comments — Find active blogs on topics that interest you, preferably
with large commenting communities. Write comments that add value to
the discussions. Like-minded folks often reward quality input with a click
through to your site to learn more about you.
Guest Blogging — Start by leaving several first rate comments on high
quality, high-traffic sites. Then write informative, relevant posts for those
websites and offer them to the owners. These will increase your search
engine visibility and provide a steady flow of visitors to your website.
Forum Links — Join online forums. Answer questions. Make comments.
Be helpful. Before long you will be viewed as a reliable source of
information, and folks will click on your signature link to visit your website.
Social Bookmarking — Common bookmarking sites are Digg,
Stumbleupon, and Delicious, and there are literally hundreds more.
Bookmark your favorite sites, stories, blog posts, art and photographs from
all over the web. Each bookmark you add also creates a backlink to your
site. Just ONE good bookmarking site can send thousands of visitors a
month to view your art.
Article Marketing — One of the earliest and still widely used ways to
build backlinks. Write an article (or 10, 20 or 50), submit it to an article
directory and get a backlink. There are thousands of article directories on
the internet today, so choose the highest quality directories you can find.
Press releases — When you have newsworthy announcements (new
art, upcoming shows, large purchases from prestigious clients) craft press
releases for submission to popular distribution services. Identify the correct
channels by searching for related stories on Google News or Yahoo News,
and noting where the top results originate.
Popular Websites — Can you showcase your work on popular, relevant,
local or regional websites? Do it. Costs generally range from free to
inexpensive to pricey-but-worth-it. These can generate the highest
quality backlinks you’ll have
KEY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media is a process. Start by
building on existing relationships,
make new connections, and adopt
this simple strategy: Be Helpful.
Converting your social media friends, fans and followers into
buyers of your art can be an EXTREMELY difficult thing to do. But it’s not
impossible. Artists who take the time to understand the process are reaping
Social media has a long, slow sales curve. It’s SOCIAL, meaning it’s
not about the transaction, it’s about the experience. In addition to
building genuine friendships and revealing a more personal side of yourself,
it’s about getting people to spend more time with your art.
Over time, a thousand little
nudges will ultimately drive
purchasing. But that won’t
The sheer number of social networks is staggering.
You simply can’t be on all of them, nor should you try.
Monitor several networks that appeal to you. Then choose no more
than a handful (2-5) to become involved with. Be sure and set a budget for
time, otherwise you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and burned out.
Even though it may take years to find your rhythm, build your tribe and
see the larger payoff, know that each of your tweets, texts, video links
and status updates are magnifying your presence in organic search
results. So even when it feels like nothing is happening, keep at it, since
organic search is vital to your long-term, online success.
BE SELECTIVE. CHOOSE WISELY.
KEY YOUR OFFLINE EFFORTS
Traditional methods of connecting
with people still work.
Offline marketing will drive traffic to
your website and boost online sales.
Artists need POSTCARDS. They are mini works of art (your art!) that
are cheap to print, colorful and easy to carry. Print several versions and
keep them in your car, backpack, art supply box, laptop case, cargo pants
— you get the picture. Make sure they include your contact information
and your WEBSITE address. Hand them out at networking meetings and
art shows. When appropriate, MAIL THEM to Galleries, Patrons and
If you’re a public speaker, teacher or workshop coordinator — bring
Your Press Releases and Guest Articles for your online promotions can
do double duty in your local newspapers, regional magazines, even
national publications. Always include your WEBSITE address.
KEY YOUR BUYERS,
COLLECTORS & PATRONS
All of your marketing and sales
efforts come down to attracting and
holding the people who like you,
promote you, support you and who
will ultimately buy your work.
Many artists feel that selling art to total strangers is an important rite
of passage. ”Finally! Someone besides Mom appreciates my work!”
Once you begin reaching people you WILL get response, and you WILL
make random sales.
EVEN SO, in order to generate momentum and
attract repeat buyers, you must be willing to
open conversations and build relationships.
Your talents, which may seem so normal to you, are often viewed as
MAGIC by others. These are the people who love art, love artists, and
believe it is their civic duty to
bring art into the world.
Help them help you. They are not mere buyers of your work.
They are people who will ultimately become your Collectors and
Patrons. Your well-being, comfort and survival are important to them.
If you allow it, they will support your efforts in any number of ways, both
large and small:
Some will offer studio space,
even (yes!) cash.
They’ll help you with marketing and sales, introduce you to their friends,
and open doors you never knew existed. EMBRACE these opportunities
and treat these special people like the angels they are.
KEY YOUR SHIPPING
Your buyers might come from down
the street or from the other side of
the planet. Either way, you need to
be prepared when things go right.
“I’ll take it!”
When you see or hear those words, are you ready?
Can you deliver?
How are you getting the payment? Do you have to find a box, build
a crate, fill out forms for international delivery, decide on a shipper?
Have you chosen a high-quality Print On Demand (POD) service that is
professional and efficient?
The time to figure all that out is BEFORE the orders start rolling in.
Your customers’ buying experience should be flawless every time.
Remember, you’re building relationships.
Within three days after the sale, send your
buyer a separate THANK YOU card or letter . Then
KEEP IN TOUCH. Make sure they receive your regular
email newsletter. Send them a stamped, hand-
written postcard greeting every 90 days.
Make sure they know that you appreciate their
purchase and look forward to a long relationship.
Over time, your art marketing will look like this:
WRITE Blog Posts
Postcards to Gallerie,
Patrons & Decorators.
Showcases on Relevant Local
Websites. SEO & Backlinks
SHIP & Follow Through
Now that you know the WHAT and WHY of art marketing,
“you’re braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.”
— Christopher Robin (to Pooh)
Categories: Selling Art Online