How to Get Traffic to Your Artist Website By Clint Watson for Artsyshark.com
First off, while it's commonly phrased this way, I hate using the word "traffic" in conjunction with marketing art.
It's so impersonal and doesn't, as a concept, capture what you actually need. You don't need tons of "traffic" to sell art. You need the right, targeted potential buyers.
Many artists have the idea that "setting up a new website" is pretty much all they need to do to "market their art." They think that potential customers will magically appear at their website once it's online. Or, perhaps they think that somehow their web host will be doing the bulk of their marketing for them.
That's simply not the case, and it's a recipe for disappointment. Some artists do understand that they need to entice people to their websites. But, they think that getting their site listed in Google will bring them buyers. That's not true either. It's perfectly possible to have your site indexed by Google and never have anyone search for you. Search engines don't create new demand. Search engines harvest existing demand. Guess who has to create demand for your art – you do!
It's never been easier to publish online and it's never been harder to get noticed. Setting up a website is not the last step in marketing your artwork online. It is the first of many steps. To bring potential buyers to your website requires a focused and ongoing marketing strategy.
Important Elements of Your Marketing Strategy
Your marketing program needs to include, first and foremost, a regular email newsletter. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this step. The old advertising guys used to say, "The money is in the list." There's a reason they said that. Make sure you build and utilize your own "house list" of potential collectors.
Your marketing program is also going to need some real world exhibiting of your art. It's very difficult to sustain a lot of sales by utilizing only online marketing. People want and need to see artwork in person. Your online activities support your offline activities. Sending newsletters is important. But who is on your newsletter list? Often, it's people you met offline, in real world settings. Your offline exhibitions might be in art galleries, they might be in art fairs, they might be at plein air events, or they might be open studio events. But you need some regular, offline exhibition opportunities to create (what we call in tech) "deal flow."
Referrals. Your marketing program needs to take advantage of referrals. Once you have some devoted fans, they will be eager to support you. And they can be an excellent source of potential new collectors. Another type of referral involves your colleagues: you can partner with other artists to cross-market one another's works (This idea has huge potential and is woefully underutilized.)
A full answer to this question is beyond the scope of this one article, but there are a lot of resources to help artists with maximizing marketing and website traffic. Check out as many as you can!
Clint Watson is a former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, the leading provider of professional artist websites.