Zachary Sosa from Boerne Texas posed a great question to Ask Art Marketing Secrets this week – one that troubles artists in every country on the planet and in every stage of their careers. Zachary writes:
How can I increase traffic to my website? Everyone I have asked have said that they think my art is really good. I just need someone to give me a chance.
You’re in great company Zachary – most artists start marketing online with a dream of a great website that will attract many visitors who buy buy buy! The reality mostly ends up a little differently – their beautiful website typically sits online with only a handful of visits from people – many of whom are not even particularly interested in art. Family and friends visit for a while to offer support – but they aren’t buying and after a while even they lose interest. Yikes!
What to do? Here are 6 proven tips which will help you bring quality visitors to your artist website…
Focus On Attracting Quality Visitors: After being in the online art and art marketing business for several years now I can tell you something really important! I would rather have 5 visits a month to my artist website from seriously interested potential buyers than 50,000 visits from any old “traffic”. Now to be fair this advice also depends on whether you are wanting to build relationships and sell higher-value artworks – or whether you want to sell low cost reproductions to the gift market. If you focus on low-price work you might actually like those 50,000 visitors because that could translate into a consistent revenue stream.
Integrate Your Artist Website With Your Art Career Strategy: Don’t underestimate the importance of physical shows in your local community. Host an open studio, group show, or solo show in your community regularly – at least 6 times per year. Have show visitors sign up for your mailing list and email them regularly about new work, upcoming shows, etc. Be sure to regularly update your website with the same information – upcoming shows, latest work, etc and include links in your emails so that people can click through to the pages which tell them about the new work or events. This way, you are training your art community to visit your website regularly to see what’s new. We have a great article series called “How To Stage A Successful Artist Open Studio” which will help you with setting up for regular local shows.
Optimize Your Website For Search Engines: Search Engines, like Google and Bing can help a lot to bring new potential buyers to your artist website. This is especially true if you sell lower cost small artworks or reproductions in the $50 – $200 range which can attract gift and tourist-market buyers. Example: Mary and her husband just came back from a great vacation in the Caribbean. After a week or so, Mary is pining for the Caribbean and decides to buy a piece of art as a reminder. How might she find such art? An obvious way would be to google “Caribbean Art” or “Caribbean Paintings”. If you paint Caribbean scenes and your site shows up on page 1 of the Google results you may have a potential customer. You can read more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in our article series, “SEO For Artists: Share Google’s Love For Art”. If you’re really inspired you can also check out our “Artist SEO Success System”.
Use Social Networking To Increase Visits: There are a myriad of social networking sites online today. In our experience focus first on building a presence on facebook. Setup a Facebook page for your art business – this needs to be in addition to your personal Facebook page. Post your latest artworks and updates there regularly. Invite others to visit your website. Twitter is also very useful however in our experience a much larger number of potential buyers are using Facebook. Lori McNee and Tara Reed are great resources for using Social Networking to build your online art presence.
Join Free Or Low Cost Online Galleries: Your own artist website should always be the place where you bring people to see your work. This is because it is here that you have the most control over the presentation and information flow. That said, online galleries can be a great way to get your flag out in places that people can find you. The most important point is to ALWAYS include links back to your own artist website so that visitors have the option to visit your artist website. This strategy has the added benefit that it can help you with search engine rankings by building incoming links to your artist website. Moshe Mikanovsky has a great article listing some of these gallery and resource sites.
Personal Networking: This is the most powerful way to do anything but it’s also the one many of us seem to avoid the most. Here is a simple start: Go to a local art event – a gallery opening or show, or talk at least once every month (preferably every week). Make a point of talking with 5 new people each time and “be the artist”. Share your business card (which must have your website URL on it). Nurture the relationships and friendships that develop with artists and arts professionals.
These simple tips will take some effort! But everything good in life requires us to exercise and grow – that’s the point really. One final point:
Consistency Is King
It is much better to do a little consistently every week that to do a handful of mad-dash all-inclusive efforts each year. Rome wasn’t built in a day – it was build brick by brick. So it is with your art career!
I've been confused about something lately: I have the idea that getting people to my website and then (hopefully) having them sign up for my mailing list is the *best* thing I can do.
And if I really work the Facebook angle, posting my blog there, etc… then why would anyone want (or need) to even go to my website? How do I reconcile this?
Of course, I do use FB, but honestly I haven't worked it as much as I could b/c I'm stuck with this issue.
And to note, my experience mirrors yours – I have made a handful of sales as a direct result of Facebook, where there have been no sales made as a result of Twitter. (I've used both of these social networking sites for 2 yrs now.)
I also hear you on this > "It is much better to do a little consistently every week that to do a handful of mad-dash all-inclusive efforts each year." I have been better at the latter, but am working on the former…
Thanks D. 😉
The mailing list comment is really true and thanks for bringing it up. Building relationships is really important and regular WELL WRITTEN and INTERESTING email updates can be a real help with that!
I've tried this for a few years and I completely agree about the importance of regular shows. Most of my website visits have built over time and I know that a large part of my "traffic" consists of known collectors and others who have visited my local shows. I've come to appreciate that my artist website is something that helps me build and support my local success.
Thanks for the thought provoking post.
I love these tips, and I agree especially on the quality over quantity tip. It’s not necessary to get thousands of visitors – just attract those that will want to buy your art or become a fan of your work.
My experience is similar to Latifah Shay's and she asked one question that you didn't answer: Twitter seems useless, I should do more with Facebook, but it has brought in a few buyers… why do I need a website? Or as Latifah asked, why would anyone want to go to my website?
P.S. I'm wondering if I should get one or not. I'm pretty scared about art theft.