Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Best Way to Sell Art Online

According to the latest from the marketing gurus, a consistent, engaging e-newsletter is best way to build your customer base and make online sales.

"Properly utilizing an email list to have meaningful conversations with your followers is currently the most powerful online marketing strategy artists can pursue." ~Clint Watson

I am happy that my website provider (Fine Art Studio Online) provides me with a built in, professionally designed newsletter that I can send to up to 1000 subscribers. I send out my
 newsletter once a month, and occasionally more frequently if I have a special event to promote.

Since studies have shown that a well written, engaging e-newsletter is THE best way to make sales, you'll want to create a  newsletter that is personal, newsy and showcases a few art pieces – and, perhaps counter-intuitively – doesn’t try to “sell.” You want to keep your collectors (and potential collectors) engaged, intrigued and informed.

How does this convert to sales?  People are more likely to buy from a trusted source – someone they feel they know and to whom they feel a connection. Your newsletter is your ticket into the hearts and homes of people interested in your art – and you. 

A few don’ts, before I get to the do’s of your newsletter. 

1. Don’t use your newsletter as a platform for whining (Please buy my art. Please, please please! I need the money. It's so hard to sell art. I’m depressed.) 
2. Don’t use it to spout off your political views (unless that is a part of your art…) 
3. Don't write a book.  Most people just skim.
4. Don't just write an email and send it out using your email program (ie. Outlook) - you might get marked as a spammer, and besides, you will look like an amateur.

The do’s are so much better!   

1. Do write about your personal process – do you use unusual materials, paint blindfolded, sing while you create? 
2. Do write about what motivates you. Write about what inspires you. Give us a glimpse into your heart and soul. 
3. Do share your successes, and don’t be afraid to share the work of another artist if you think your readers would be interested.
4. Do keep the newsletter short – create a link to your blog/website if you want to write something more in-depth.
5. Do showcase your artwork – but don’t put prices in your newsletter. Create a link to the image on your website or your gallery’s website.  (That also allows you to see how many people have clicked that link, which helps you determine interest in a particular piece).
6. Do be consistent! And let people who sign up for your newsletter know what to expect – how often, what type of content, etc. 
7. If your website host doesn't provide a newsletter platform, use an opt-in template emailing program such as Mail Chimp or one of these

So… you’re ready to write your first newsletter...

How do you get people to sign up? 

1. Start with friends and family. 
2. If you do Holiday shows, create a sign up to capture emails (always helps to have a giveaway).
3. Have a newsletter sign up button on your home page and on your Facebook (business) page. 
4. Create a Facebook ad to get more people to sign up for your newsletter.
5. Whenever you meet someone who is interested in your art, ask if you can send them updates on new paintings – via your newsletter. 
 6. Include buttons on your newsletter to make it easy for your readers to forward it to friends and share on social media. 

Kate Dardine is a professional artist and has been helping artists and photographers with their printing and marketing needs for over 25 years. She invites you to sign up for her monthly newsletter here.