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.
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.