Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Online Updates, Improvements, and Messing Around

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on improving my online studio presence.  A good online capability is crucial for successful marketing these days.  I gotta admit, I am the world's worst salesman and marketer.  I will talk somebody out of a sale.  Salesmanship is just something I never, ever, got the hang of.

But it was time to take a look at what I had and how it could be improved.  I had several things going already that were kinda/sorta okay: the web site, the studio Facebook page, this blog, and an Etsy site.  Each required some attention and there needed to be some additions.

The web site came first.  It was just okay as it was.  The home page was up to date but didn't have a whole lot of information and wasn't laid out well.  The individual pages for different series of paintings were not visually compelling.  There was no information about purchasing or commissioning anything.  All that needed some work, so I took advantage of Weebly's capabilities,  templates, and drag-and-drop features to spruce things up a bit.  The home page now has a LOT of information about recent and upcoming events, along with links to other places where my work can be seen.  And it makes much better use of the available real estate on a computer screen.  I also tweaked the pages for the different artworks series so they are more visually interesting.  Finally, I added a section devoted to purchasing art.  This included a page with links to Etsy and Saatchi, as well as a page where art could be purchased directly.  All the marketing experts say that if you don't make it easy to buy, people never will.  I've certainly proved that over the years, so it's time to try a new approach.  So take a look and let me know what you think.

The studio Facebook page was pretty good.  There are a lot of images on there and it's updated several times a week.  That's good.  But it still didn't have a large reach, especially considering it's been active for several years now.  So I tried an advertising campaign and it actually worked out pretty well.  I need to go back and take a look at the campaign, figure out lessons learned, and do another one.

Etsy isn't that great a site for visual artists.  It's a crafts-oriented site where the average sale is under $20.  That may work well for crafters who do a lot of inexpensive stuff, but not for visual artists whose work often entails many many hours of labor.  Despite that, there are some really good visual artists on Etsy.   Don't believe me?  Check out the list I put together on figurative artists.  I've got about 30-40 small works listed there, like figure drawings, quick oil sketches, photos, that sort of thing.  I've had a few sales.  You really have to market Etsy hard to get any traffic since there are thousands of others on there, and with the low price points, it's hard to justify.  Still, I'm there, and I'm going to push it a bit through the end of the year and then re-evaluate.  There are a few other artist sites that may be better for me.

One of the biggest of those is Saatchi Art.  I used to have a page there many years ago, but never pushed it and never had any traffic.  It eventually went into hibernation.  An American company bought Saatchi Art Online in 2014 and has aggressively expanded its capabilities and growth since then.  So I reactivated my account and built a new page.  There are just a few paintings on there now and more will be added.  One of the neat things about Saatchi is that they will also do open-edition giclees from the photos we provide.  Pretty cool.

I've been doing a newsletter for a number of years.  They come out aperiodically, just a few a year.  Email marketing gurus say that newsletters should come out much more often.  I don't want to spam people with too much information, and occasionally there's not much to say for a long time.  But that's an excuse.  I decided to step it up and send out a newsletter at the beginning of each month.  I sent one at the beginning of October and another yesterday, so I've got a string of two going!  The newest took some work as it was significantly revised to be more inclusive and informative.  If you're interested in getting these newsletters, go to my web page and you can sign up on the Home page.  Or send me a note and I'll add you.

Instagram is another site that I finally joined.  I'm using it strictly to promote my studio biz.  I post once a day (max) and have been very slowly building up my number of followers.  If you're interested, look me up: @skiprohde.  And follow me.  I can say a lot more about Instagram, but that will be a separate post.

So that's what I've been doing to improve my online presence.  It's taking a lot of work.  Once things get started, though, they get easier to update.  Got any thoughts on what else I should be doing?  Or about what each of these sites needs in order to be improved?  Let me know, I'm looking for advice.


SillyLittleLady said...

If you need any data analytics or marketing help, let me know ;)

Small detail:
On this page of your website:
the first column says "...through the "Shop" button below. " but there is no "Shop" button below.

Love you Uncle!

Skip Rohde said...

Thank you, SillyLittleLady - I fixed it! Love you too!