The Business of Art

Your Website

Your website is a pivotal asset to which everything feeds back to. Any posts you make on social networks should include links back to your website. It’s crucial then, that your website should reflect your style and values.

What did I want my website to tell visitors? My main message was to convey my passion for animals and our pets specifically since they are an important part of our family. Then it was also paramount to create a gallery of my best artwork.

I always like finding out more about a person, so a couple paragraphs ‘About me’ are always a good idea. This is a good way to build relationships and come across as approachable.

SEO, SMO and Keywords

This is something I learnt about over time: Optimisation is about earning links to your content. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) aims to improve search rankings, whereas Social Media Optimisation (SMO) is about creating content that is more likely to be shared.

SEO basically covers all the ways you can help your website become more visible to search engines.

The Keywords (search words) you use are important. A good exercise to try is to look at another website in the same industry as yours and think about what you consider good keywords might be. Then google these words and see whether the website you looked at, appears on the first page. Also have a look at keywords used by others. Finally, check Google Suggest for variations.

If you have a blog as part of your website, the titles you use for your posts are also very important.

How to work out what your keywords and titles might be? Think about your audience and their interests. Remember not to be too generic as the competition for ranking will be high.

Spreading your word

As a high proportion of consumers purchase items they have seen on social media; the trick is to create content that appeals to a wide audience, rather than only a niche market.

One way to pitch your content is to word it so consumers realise what is missing in their life. Is it that beautiful artwork you can create, that perfectly compliments their decor because you have taken the time to find out what they envisage?

Other ways I have used to promote my art is to participate in exhibitions, drawing in a sketchbook somewhere frequented by dogs, follow potential audiences on social media or even striking up a conversation with pet lovers.

Pinterest as a marketing platform

Pinterest is great for artists as it is a visual platform. It’s been shown that a high percentage of users look for information and research products when planning a purchase, particularly for milestone events such as birthdays, weddings and buying a new home. Artwork can be a perfect solution for these major life events.

Since you link back to your website make sure to showcase your work in the best possible way. In fact, Pinterest is one of the most effective ways to steer traffic to your website.

Pinterest basics for artists: I created a few ‘boards’ that relate to what I offer. For example, there is one for my artwork, one for my blog and one with testimonials. Again, keep SEO in mind when you name your boards.

Tip: look at Pinterest for similar products to yours and analyse presentation, strategy, website links.


A quick word! These are very important to include on your website. Potential customers will definitely refer to them as part of their decision making process, so good testimonials are very influential.

Ensure they are credible and authentic. Consumers will look for reviewers that are in a similar context to themselves.

Creating content that will be shared

This is where SMO (mentioned earlier) comes in. Creating engaging content is important, but to increase your reach, you should consider what type of content is more likely to be shared. Research has shown that sharing is an internally motivated behaviour rather than sharing because it is expected of users. Content that appeals to a wider network and creates conversation is more likely to be shared. That’s the social aspect of social media!

  • Think about what your audience is looking for. What might their interests be? List all the relevant interests to your art. What else would cat lovers be interested in?
  • What type of content are they sharing?
  • What is it that makes you unique?
  • Provide a brief story about an art piece. This creates a more meaningful connection with the audience.
  • Include social sharing buttons on individual pages of your art.

Other practicalities

Keep your art business records separate from your personal ones. I have a separate bank account only for art related income and expenses. It’s much easier to keep track of everything.

I also use an Excel spreadsheet to keep a record of commissions. This includes order numbers, names, contact details, pet names and commission details such as size and paper colour.

About Headlines

In only a few words, you need to grab your audience’s attention to keep them reading.

Even though who, what and why need to be identified, the emphasis should be on ‘why’.

That is, why should anyone read on? Whats in it for them?

A good tip is to create an emotional connection by using emotional language. CoSchedule has a great article on Emotional headlines.

Secondly, don’t give too much away in the headline, so your audience is compelled to find out more.

Setting Social Media goals

Setting goals helps keep you on track and focused.

But first, why are you active on social media? If your reason is to build awareness and hopefully gain some sales, then choose specific goals and have a way to measure progress towards them.

These are called ‘social media metrics’ which will be the data or numbers you will look at. Depending on your goals, these can include number of followers, post reach, web traffic, likes and shares.

Sprout Social has some great information on this topic. Have a look at media goals

Consumer decision-making

In a previous blog I mentioned about putting a twist on your products that create a ‘want’ in consumers. This is the initial step in a consumer’s decision making process: they recognise a problem, such as not having the ‘thing’ they want.

Next, they will go searching for information. Of course, this is where your marketing efforts come to play with links to your website, where they can find out the information they need. As consumers evaluate a limited number of alternatives (to avoid information overload) they will refer to your testimonials, reviews and ratings. Also outline your processes and make it clear what they need to do next.

Other strategies include time-sensitive deals and limited edition products which is about the psychology of wanting something more if we think we can’t have it.

Segmenting your market

This is the process of dividing your target market into distinct groups with common needs and characteristics.

Why? Because this enables you to design strategies and offers which will appeal specifically based on their unique characteristics.

Segmenting can be based on geographic areas, demographics and psychographic (lifestyle, personality, motives) as well as behavioral (spending and browsing habits) and benefits sought from available products. For example, demographics will influence lifestyle choices and income to afford a unique piece of art.

The takeaway here, is that many social media campaigns fail – up to 50%, because the strategy is not matched to the target audience. By segmenting your market, you will be able to deliver a more valuable message to them.

What is engagement? provides a great analogy: imagine having a dinner party and lots of people turn up, but no one speaks. That is just like engagement on social media. You want a party where everyone gets involved.

This can be measured by ‘comments’, ‘likes’, shares, etc.

To see how your party is going, look at your best performing posts. This might already give a picture of what is working and what is not. Ask yourself how your product adds value to your audience’s life. Does it improve it, simplify or make it more interesting? List all the benefits of what you create.

To increase engagement, you need to create some valuable and interesting content. According to, useful content helps your audience in some way. So instead of saying ‘this is what I sell’ you could include styling tips for artwork, framing suggestions or ask your audience to share how they have displayed your artworks.

Naturally, party guests like to meet their host, so make sure to include some ‘behind the scenes’ information about yourself. Include images and videos as most consumers prefer to engage with them.