Artist SEO blog

Let’s get regular art sales: 3

Video 3: converting visitors into sales

You need buyers not tyrekickers

Firstly, if you commented on the last video, I really appreciate it. I’m entirely focussed on your challenges and what you need, so obviously I read every comment, I give it proper consideration and it all helps me to help you in the best way I can, so thank-you.

This is video three. We talked in the first video about why you should focus on your prospect in your marketing, and talk 90% of the time about them, your solution to their problem, and how you take them from where they are to where they want to be.

In the last video we looked at website traffic, how to get it from social media, from forums, from word of mouth, and we said it’s not quantity we want, it’s quality. We want buyers not timewasters.

So that’s what this video is all about, how to find people who want to buy your art. People who won’t try to knock down your price or mess you around, and people who really appreciate where you are coming from.

If you want an easy button for your marketing, concentrating on quality of traffic is it. If you can get this right, it means no faffing with people who aren’t serious, and no wasting your time marketing yourself in ways that don’t bring in serious buyers.

When you put these three pieces together: customer focus, traffic and conversion quality ..  and there’s a lot more on how to actually do that in the training course that I’ll talk about later .. you’ll feel in control and frankly quite important because you’ll get fewer people with coffee froth around their mouths and cake crumbs down their front, and more people who are with you to make an investment.

So let’s just look at how we do this.

Essentially, we are going to use Google Analytics again, and don’t worry if you don’t have that, I’ll help with that and today we’ll just talk in principle. Basically with Google Analytics you can look at where your visitors are coming from and then look at the stats for each route, or channel.

The numbers I’m about to explain are not only great for helping you work out which are your best channels for sales, but they are also great to give you an overall judgment on your website as a whole, or even on individual pages.

One important number is the bounce rate. That’s the percentage of people who arrive and leave without interacting any further than the page they landed on. Remember, Google sees this. You want a low bounce rate. That tells you most people when they arrive are tempted by what they see to explore your website further and click around. A bounce rate of perhaps 30 or 40% is quite common. Looking at the figures for my artist friend, they have a bounce rate of 45% from Facebook, and the same from Pinterest, and 46% from Google search, so we can’t conclude anything from that. Another client has 50% bounce rate from Google search, an 86% bounce rate from Google Pay Per Click ads, and a 81% bounce rate from Facebook with a 72% bounce rate overall for their website. So we can possibly conclude that at 86% bounce, their ads aren’t working right, and nor is Facebook at 45%, and I would want to dig in to the searches people are using on Google to find this artist to see which searches led to a satisfied visitor and I would want to build on that.

The other important numbers are average session duration (how long they spent on your site) and pages per session. For the two sites I’m looking at the average duration was 1m 38s for one, and 2m 49s for the other, and 2.47 and 2.95 pages respectively. More time and more pages is good so long as it’s not because people are struggling to find what they want.

Sometimes I like to multiply it all out to really see the difference. So for instance where one artist had 606 sessions from Google averaging 3m 43s, that’s 37.53 hours, from Facebook they had 410 sessions and 3m 28s so that’s 23.68 hours. Google search is bringing this artist 1.58 times the attention that Facebook is (and perhaps relatively effortlessly).

Remember that we should always be talking about the prospect. That artist with a 72% bounce rate on their website really has some work to do to check that their website is talking to the prospect about their issues in a persuasive and attractive and confident way right from the off.

So that’s channels but let’s talk about your website in general. There’s a load of persuasion psychology you can bring to bear to your practice without being sleazy.

Firstly, if something is scarce, people want it more. So I always advocate marking works as sold because it gives that feeling that if you like a work and you want to buy it, you shouldn’t delay in case someone else nips in and buys it first. I suggest using red dots so long as your people know what that means.

If you can work out a way to give visitors the feeling that other people like them are buying or have bought, that would likely increase your conversion. In the example in the last video where we talked about upbeat art in schools, if you can use photographs of your art in schools, link to press stories where the head teacher is standing in front of the work .. that’s super persuasive because it reassures your prospect that other people like them have bought and been satisfied.

Urgency is another possibility. An exhibition has a start and end time. If you are selling pieces quickly then it’s good to give the impression that there’s a rush on.

If it works for you, I recommend the rockstar lifecycle because it automatically contains a lot of these psychological elements. Honestly I’ve no idea whether we still have rockstars, albums or even tours now, but back in the day a rock star would be inspired to write a coherent album that made some sense as a body of work, the band would record it, the record would be released, and they’d tour it. At the end of the tour, they’d rest. And eventually, inspiration would bubble up and the cycle would start again.

For you and your art, I suggest you do something similar. Start with rest. Just stop and wait until you really are inspired to get back in the studio (which, granted, might only be in five minutes time). Develop a coherent set of work. Book an exhibition. Publicise it. Have the exhibition, and then .. rest.

Let’s just check the psychology. First, if you create a body of work that’s connected in some way, the implication is that the next collection will be different, so .. this is the only time you can get these works, because next year you’ll have developed your practice and you’ll be on to another collection. That’s natural scarcity and urgency.

The alternative is quite dampening to sales. If you just keep producing work .. I might like to buy the painting you did this week, but I’ll know if there’s another one coming up next week, what if I spend my money now on this one, and then I prefer next week’s?

It’s much more exciting for everyone to have a moment to consider the whole collection and when you buy a piece you become part of it. Part of the history of this artist’s development. You’ll remember this moment when there’s a retrospective. You’ll be able to say the equivalent of “oh, yeah, well I prefer their early albums / I knew them before they were famous” :-).

The other benefit is that your reason for working on this idea applies to the whole body of work. So you’re not uploading this week’s painting to Instagram with not a lot to say about it because it’s the same thing as the last ten works you uploaded. 

In the rockstar lifecycle you’ve been quiet for a while, you’ve teased and hinted about what you are working on and why, and now you can reveal a couple of pieces and if people want to see the rest, they’d better come to the exhibition.

And it gives you complete permission to disappear into the studio for a while to make the work. You can come up for air later to support the exhibition, talk to buyers and journalists and so on. Mentally, you’re not constantly switching between states and you can get properly into the flow of what you are doing.

Another technique that really can double your sales is upsells and downsells. I’m sure you are familiar with the idea of having original works, prints and greetings cards or mugs .. these would be downsells. But seriously consider making upsells too .. larger, more accomplished pieces that are clearly worth that huge price tag.

So if someone would love one of your main artworks but they are not in a position to buy one, they can connect with you by buying something smaller. I have a Maggi Hambling that cost £1,000 about twenty years ago and isn’t much bigger than a packet of cigarettes.

But also, if you’ve danced with this person all the way from “never heard of you” to them stood in front of you with their wallet out, a good percentage will be open to considering a larger investment. All the preparatory work is done, they obviously love your work .. if they have the money, why not? 

I have an idea for an annual week-long art barbecue gathering as an upsell for all of your buyers .. I describe how that works on the course.

And finally, have a usable website. As I’ve said before, artists websites are often awful. Make sure you answer the basic questions and don’t trip people up. Is it framed? Size. Mounting. How will you ship it? What about returns if we change our mind or it arrives damaged? Is it insured in transit?

Check your website works on mobile devices.

Website speed is important, if it feels like you’ve fallen into a vat of golden syrup the sale isn’t going to happen.

With Analytics, you can set goals. If people are really going to buy off the page, you can make that a goal, and over a period of a year or so, you can work out where your buyers come from. Then you can decide to concentrate your efforts on the things that lead to sales and cut down on the other stuff.

And even if people don’t buy, you can set a goal for something like .. they spent more than 2 minutes on my website, or they got in touch, or they shared or followed me, or they looked at more than 7 pages or whatever, and that makes it really easy to decide between different traffic sources, different traffic types, and different search terms.

Hopefully you can see that although we are focussing on the sale, it’s not because of the money, and it’s not because of some hyped up motivation target hitting nonsense. It’s because you’ve identified your worth to people and society and you are out to improve the world with your art.

Waggons roll, you’re on a mission now.

OK, so let’s recap. We’ve focused on your values and on your worth to your buyer. We’ve got traffic. And we’ve converted that traffic into art sales and cash in the bank.

I’m sure you can see how that all comes together to give you more certainty and security in your ongoing practice. It’s a happier place to be.

It cuts down on timewasters, and on time-wasting activities that you think you should be doing but actually they’re not working for you.

Ultimately, you end up with a coterie of superfans who will support you on your journey, and at that stage much of this marketing work falls away.

So as I’ve mentioned, part of the reason for making these videos is to give you a flavour of my flagship Artist SEO course. If you’ve found yourself thinking .. OK, but how? This course takes you through all of that in bite-sized pieces. And you can skip through it at your own pace, a lot of my people join and then run through it at their own speed .. I know I do that pretty much every time with the courses I join.

In the next video I’m going to open the doors to the course for a short time for if you want to make this real and get some help to build your art sales.

I only open up once a year, so look out for the next video and don’t miss out.

As always, do email me at john@johnallsopp.co.uk with any questions or comments, or comment underneath.

Until then, stay safe, sell art.

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