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Did you know the Artist Market Co. came to be because I realized my website clients didn’t know how to market and sell themselves? It didn’t feel right to build them a website - then say “adios!” when they didn’t know how to get that website in front of their people. My service, to me, felt a complete waste of time and money without also helping them get a steady stream of traffic.
So I pivoted, and created a more learning-based business focused on helping artists make it online - The Artist Market Co.!
This comes up because in our Facebook Group a few weeks ago I asked, “How do you get traffic to your website?”. The overwhelming response was, “I don’t know.”
I forgot my original mission, and thought by the time you got to me, you had your own favorite way to get traffic to your site and needed help with more in-depth stuff. What I realized is traffic is an ongoing need - and even if you do have a steady stream of website visitors, you could always use more.
So I apologize for losing sight of that.
I’ll be making it right with this next back-to-basics series:
“The Most Effective Ways to Get Traffic to Your Artist Website”.
We’ll cover some of the biggest ways you can get eyeballs on your art including:
While I want you to read all the emails, I just want you to focus on using one of the first four ways for this Spring Season.
If you try to do too much - it’ll all fall flat because it won’t have your heart and creativity - it’ll have your overwhelm and distaste. One attracts, one repels. Guess which is which? And our goal here is... to ATTRACT.
I’ll start with the most popular way to get website visitors for artists - Social Media!
You use it regularly. You obsess over it. You spend way too much time on it. But it’s still not getting you the amount of traffic you want.
There are thousands of courses dedicated to the subject - and there’s no way I could cover all their small picture tweaks in this email.
Instead, I want to give you four BIG PICTURE tips that are game-changers for driving traffic to your site. All you have to do is use them - preferably together.
Tip #1. You know this one, but are you using it? Include a call to action!
A call to action (CTA) is simply a request for your reader to do something at the end of your post. A big mistake people make is always making their CTA, “buy my art”! In fact, I wouldn’t use that more than once a week. Instead, your calls to action should be visit my website, sign up for more like this in your inbox, or answer the question I just asked. The first gives you traffic, the second will help with sales, the third helps establish chatting and friend making (which indirectly helps with traffic and sales).
Tip #2. If you spend all your social media time posting, you’re doing it wrong.
Your posts act like a digital flier, if you will. Every post you make gets tacked to the top of billboard and quickly gets buried under all the other posters. That’s not to say they won’t do you any good, but if you rely on social media posts to drive all your website traffic, you’ll have a hard time of it.
If you don’t want to become quickly forgotten, you’ll need to be memorable.
How do you do this? Easy, make friends. Go find your people and start talking to them. Give them compliments when you’re impressed. Ask them questions when you’re curious. Go to their website and mention something you saw. Interact with them - don’t wait for them to come to you.
PRO TIP: Don’t make comments about yourself.
You know those people who say things like “Cool post, check out my art!” who you just wanna smack then banish from your feed? Don’t be that person.
Tip #3. Leaving comments is good. Direct messages are even better.
If you wanna catch someone’s attention, leave a comment. If you want to genuinely connect with someone and almost guarantee they’ll be curious to learn more about you, send them a direct message. The same rules follow as in #2. It’s not about you, it's about them.
Tip #4 Reframe how you think about algorithms.
Algorithms can feel big and scary - mostly because you don't know all the ins and outs of them. Here's the deal: no one does. They change all the time.
There's one thing that never changes though. Algorithms were created to make the most interesting and interactive content show up at the top of the feed. If all Instagram or Facebook showed you were boring, mediocre posts, you wouldn't spend all your free time scrolling up now, would you? You'd leave. Then businesses would stop spending money on ads, and their whole business model would come crashing down.
To stay ahead of the game always ask yourself, "how can I make this more interesting?" and "how can I encourage people to interact with this?". It's as simple as that.
I am a kitchen appliance junkie. But I don’t want just any kitchen appliance, I want the BEST. If I’m going to spend hard-earned money on one, I want it to work... and work well. I’ll save up for months when something catches my eye that I know will make eating tasty, nourishing food easier.
I just bought a beautiful wheat grinder, which made me wonder if I’m starting to go off the deep end towards weirdo land, but I’ve had it on my wish list for years.
Now I can make my famous whole wheat dark chocolate chip cookies with fresh ground wheat in a snap. They've got loads more flavor and vitamins. Or I can have fresh ground wheat for my favorite Irish Potato Brown sandwich bread (that I make in my favorite bread maker). I'm thrilled. 🙂
Sometimes tools that make your life so much easier take a little time and effort to get. Life will be improved for sure, but not yet. They require a little delayed gratification.
That’s how this second way to get traffic works.
I like to call this way “getting referrals”, but it’s so much more than that. If someone has the ear of someone else, be it one person or a huge audience, I’m grouping it here because the process is the same.
Decide what medium of referral you’d like to explore right now. It could be being featured or interviewed in an article, video, blog, podcast, email blast etc. or even catching the eye of your local art collectors’ favorite curator.
Step 1: Research that medium to find out who has a similar audience to your ideal art buyer.
If you think being interviewed on a podcast would be fun, spend a few hours searching for podcasts that are a good fit. Start creating a list of podcasts you’d love to work with.
Step 2: Pretend you’re Sherlock Holmes.
Listen to those podcasts for awhile. Get a feel for their vibe. Would you be excited to align yourself with the creator? Do his/her business values line up with your own?
Step 3: Pay attention to which of those places regularly plug other people.
If they don’t do it already, it might not be something they’re interested in doing at all and pitching them down the road will put them, and you, in an awkward spot. Go ahead and cross those off.
Step 4: Find 5-10 places that are great fits.
You don’t need to end up with a huge list! Quality interactions are better than stretching yourself thin.
Step 5: Make friends
Over time, interact and become friendly, if not friends, with these people.
After 4-6 months of this, they may come to the conclusion on their own they’d like to feature or interview you, or you can pitch an idea that would be a great fit for their audience.
This one sounds like a lot of work up front, but can be a huge payoff in the end. Even if nothing “big” comes of the connection at once, the benefits will show up at random, unexpected times. AND you’ll have made a new friend and ally. Never underestimate the power of friendship for your mental health and happiness (or your art business).
How many times a week do you open up Google and search for something? I know I use Google 50+ times a week for anything and everything. Just this morning I've searched for "how many days to harden off asparagus", "game of thrones new episode dates", "and "train dogs to only bark at predators". What if you could harness the power of all that searching to help you make money selling art?
This week we’re talking about keywords!
Keywords can be an awesome way to attract people to your website. They're often underutilized because either artists don't understand how to use them or they want sales now.
Keywords are an investment that will grow, just like a retirement account, if they lead to content that is interesting, informative, or inspiring and won’t become irrelevant. If you do them correctly now, you can save yourself a lot of constant hustling just to get website visitors down the road.
They also require a little pre-planning. For example, if you sell an original, the work you put into keywords leading to that original will no longer be relevant.
If you regularly paint poppies in oil, you might create a page just for those paintings instead. The headlines, paragraph text, and image titles could contain your keywords. You don’t have to junk up your menu with all these pages - just publish the pages and let the keywords bring people to them if they’re interested enough to search for them.
It usually takes about a year to see significant results and a steady stream of traffic - so make sure you’ll still have something for them to find!
What keywords should I use?
Ask yourself “WHY would my ideal art buyer be looking for my art”?
Are they looking for a memento from their trip? A way to make their kitchen more modern without a full remodel? Pictures to spark their child’s imagination? A huge piece of trophy art to show off to make an impression on potential clients?
Then put yourself in their shoes. If they are going to search for their “ideal artist”, aka your counterpart, what would they type into the search engine?
Don’t do a bait and switch by filling up your page with keywords that aren’t representative of what you’re offering. Use them to tell what's on your page. If people think they are getting one thing and you give them something else, it will actually hurt your ratings.
The more you think about why your ideal art buyer would be looking for your art, the less you will attract people who aren’t buyers. This is true not only for the keywords you use, but the content you create. A common example I see is creating a how-to tutorial that attracts artists when you are trying to sell to hotel interior designers.
[Content examples: product descriptions, blog posts, website pages, series descriptions, etc.]
Where should I use keywords?
Although general keyword advice will tell you to use keywords on all your main webpages, I don’t think that’s always great advice for artists trying to sell online. You want your website copy to be intriguing and relatable to your ideal art buyer (see: 4 reasons people will buy your art). Keywords might muddy up pages that matter most - like your about page.
Instead, here’s a few practical ways for artists to use keywords:
PRO TIP: Big keywords, like “art for sale” are hard to get traction on by themselves. Combine with longer, more specific keywords like “River Thames oil painting”
This email has a lot of information all jam-packed in, so let’s break down the most important parts:
- 1Know who your ideal art buyer is.
- 2Decide why they’d be looking for your art.
- 3Create keyword-rich blog posts, product descriptions for Pinterest, or hashtags for Instagram that will lead them to what they’re looking for!
For most of my life, I’ve hated talking about myself. Maybe you can relate?
Heck… I didn’t really like talking at all, at least to people I didn’t know well. It’s not so much that I was “shy” as I only wanted to talk with people I knew would be interested in what I had to say. If they didn’t want to hear it, I wasn’t going to waste my breath.
But I was really doing a disservice to myself and the people around me. I didn’t give either of us a chance to see if we connected.
This next way to get traffic to your artist website could feel a little scary to people like the old me, but to them, I say: You owe it to yourself, the people in your vicinity, and your dream of having a full-time art business to at least see if there is mutual interest. Start the conversation much easier by knowing what to say in advance.
Way to get traffic to your artist website #4: Tell everyone what you do!
Have a little elevator speech prepared that says who you are + what you do + why you’re unique in about two sentences. If you need help with this, you can download the first guide from the Get Started Marketing - Artist Bundle for a free lesson on elevator speeches.
If you really want a career as an artist, you have to be willing to give the world a little push in the right direction. Just the simple act of being able to name who you want to work with and what you want to make will start to spark some magic. Add some elbow grease and you’ve got a winning combination for things to start happening for you.
Your elevator speech should be used to tell people what you do when you meet them, online and in-person. Especially if they ask you about yourself. You’ll totally stand out from all the other people stumbling over their words who aren’t prepared and probably don’t know the answer well enough to articulate it anyway. You’ll give off the air of being a pro from the start.
Other ways you can incorporate your elevator speech:
- 1Towards the top of your about page
- 2Email people you know who might be interested in your art to let them know what’s going on in your life and check in with them
- 3Email people you know to ask if they’ll spread the word about your art to anyone who might be interested
- 4Put up real-world flyers and hand out business cards
Create a new landing page on your website just for these people
If you’ve been around for any length of time with me, you’ll know I like to make sure you know what’s working so you can do more of it. The best way I’ve figured out to do this with word-of-mouth marketing is by having a webpage to send those people to. If your visitors enter on that page you'll know they heard about you from your work spreading the word.
PRO TIP: Give it an easy URL like yourartname.com/hello.
This page should be an extended version of your elevator speech. Break it down into sections with headers for scannability and sprinkle in a few examples of your work throughout the page.
The sections should include the following content, but you can get creative with the name of the headers:
If your elevator speech and the landing page copy are jiving, your email sign up rate on this page should be a lot higher than your other pages. They'll already know what to expect when they type in the URL. You just have to use the page to impress them a bit and ask for what you want!
I just saw the most comprehensive exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's work at Denver's Natural History Museum on Friday. I was going to visit my sister anyway when I heard about it, and knew immediately it was something I couldn't miss. I told everyone I knew in the area to schedule the day off - we're going to the museum!
The exhibition was huge. Most of the rooms were physical recreations of inventions they deciphered from Leonardo's encoded journals. As I'm sure you know, he was not only an artist but an inventor, scientist, anatomist, and architect as well. While it was fascinating, there wasn't nearly as much art as I was hoping for. His art was mostly limited to two of the smaller rooms. I wasn't disappointed (too much), it just wasn't what I expected.
Sometimes it's good to know what to expect. Let's say one day you see a spike in website traffic. You assume it's from your usual efforts posting daily on social media, so you work with a little more pep in your step for a few weeks, but you can't seem to recreate it. REALLY what happened was someone shared your last email blast with a group of their art-loving friends.
When you're expecting something that isn't realistic or factual, you'll probably be disappointed.
How do you combat this? You pay attention. You gather your own set of facts related to your own art business with your own marketing efforts with your own unique twists. No one, even me, can tell you exactly what to expect. I don't have the specific sets of circumstances you do. It's up to you to see what works for you.
To see which of your efforts are paying off, don't guess. Some website builders have simple trackers built in, but they won't all tell you where your traffic is coming from.
Installing Google Analytics on your site is a great way to see all sorts of data about your visitors, including how they found your site.
Here's my method to get your own magical, "work more focused" set of data:
Step 1: Google "(your website builder) + install google analytics code".
Browse the how-to videos for one who talks in a way you understand. Once you have your code set up, it will start to track where your website visitors are coming from (and waaaayy more).
Wait a week for it to start gathering information, then check to see how people are getting to your site using the acquisition tab. It can't track what has happened before you installed the code, so do it now!
Step 2: Start implementing your website-traffic-getting-way-of-choice.
Choose from any of the methods listing in the four lessons above.
Step 3: Check in.
After a month, go back in and check how many visitors you're getting from the work you've been putting in. How much more are you getting than before?
Step 4: Keep going.
Write down your numbers and anything you tried doing differently once a month. You can track once a week if you want, but a month will give you a more accurate picture.
Step 5: Choose what to do next
After three months, if you haven't seen a significant increase, choose what to do next. You can either decide...
Keep in mind all of these methods work if you do them right and enough. I would encourage you to completely change course only if you aren't enjoying what you are doing.
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Do the work & create your luck,
wonderful art you website
Thank you so much!