by guest blogger Mckenna Hallett
Selling anything is about exposure – a “numbers” game. Sales also require luring in qualified traffic and getting new traffic. That’s why retail shops in a popular mall have much higher rents than a stand-alone shop on the edge of town. Access to more people costs you more money.
If you are on the edge of town (which most of us are on the internet), you will need to use more advertising to drive more traffic to your shop. However, once they walk in the door or visit your site…now what? Even the shop in the high traffic mall needs every visitor to stick around and consider a purchase.
In the online world, it’s much harder to create a buying atmosphere. You can spend money on ads and drive traffic to your site, but to what end? More traffic on its own won’t bring more sales. It is more than volume – it’s also the quality of the experience on your website.
Your website represents you, your brand, and your product. However, over half of the people who land on a website page stay for less than fifteen seconds. (Read that again!) You need to tell your story, be understood, and create trust in this very fragile environment. Competition is everywhere and the noise levels keep rising. Tick-tock…click-click…gone!
In addition, you need to sell without being salesy. You need to straddle the line between too much information and too little. More than ever today, you need each person landing on your site to consider purchasing – even if just for a few seconds – then hope that leads to deeper consideration (lingering beyond 15 seconds!) and then a sale.
To be effective, it helps to have a few things in place when you drive traffic to your site:
- Pre-sold or pre-disposed to considering a purchase
- Send them to a highly relevant page – a landing/sales page
- Have any and ALL purchasing information on that page with access to more as needed
- Provide them a secure and simple way to click and purchase now
- Invite them to “Join My List” and keep them returning. You never know how they found your site.
Pre-sold or pre-disposed is the ultimate goal. To achieve that requires that you nurture every single contact on your email list. Pre-sold would mean this person has some relationship with you and, over time through emails, has grown to trust you. They have been motivated to buy your art and (finally!) go to your site to see what appeals to them. They click on a link in your email. Ultimately, where that link takes them is critical to your success.
You need to create a landing page. Whether you are selling a product (original art, reproductions,) or a service (art classes, wedding photography) having a landing page is essential for success.
There are many ways to send traffic to your landing page. Number 1 is emails, but be sure to keep it simple. Sending them to a home page is ineffective and could even be frustrating.
If they fell in love with a painting in your email and click to “learn more” you must send them to a page that is devoted to that painting. That page should also have a link to buy now. Keep the purchasing simple. “Buy now” or similar words really do work.
One type of email marketing message that is gaining popularity is a 30 to 45-second video. Clicking on the video link in the email takes them to your landing page to watch the video. This video can have a long life. Once completed, you can add the video to social media posts, too. Always include a link to your landing page for “more information.”
You can also create a snail-mail postcard campaign and use a QR code to link to your landing page. For more expensive or exclusive works of art, it would be worth the investment to send a more formal invitation to your best collectors and again include a QR code along with the landing page URL. They will appreciate that extra attention.
The good news is that when you have a landing page that works, you can repurpose it with minor changes for many future marketing campaigns. I have a bunch of landing pages for different products and services for my business. They are re-used all the time.
A landing page has a specific rhythm and it takes some knowledge to get it right. However, if you are serious about making sales online, you should take to time to learn the best practices for slowing down today’s hectic online shopper with landing pages. And, don’t let the landing page be an orphan. While you may or may not include all landing pages in your menu, you can certainly have it mentioned at various spots on your website, including your front page.
In addition, because you never know where the traffic to your site comes from or where visitors will land, I recommend having a menu item called New Work and/or Upcoming Events. Those are both topics that require a specific landing page.
For example, if you have an upcoming a one-person show or will be at an Art Fair – each of those events deserves a landing page. Think of it like an online flyer announcement. Some pages are naturally prone to a landing page, like a service, like classes or commissions. These will be more or less static “sales” pages.
Bonus tip: In all cases, try to find a way to create a sense of urgency. Remind people that original art is one-of-a-kind, art classes fill up, weddings are being planned and their chosen date might not be available “so book now”…and so forth.
Even that beautiful formal invitation should say something like, “Because you have collected my work in the past, I am sending you a preview of my newest work for your consideration”. You would add a subtle “warning” that they have been given this opportunity before you send out your email on XX (have a specific date) to your full list. And… Oh by the way, that means you still send the email if it’s sold. You then would make that email be about the sale: “Great News!”
Bottom line: Once you have a landing page, you truly have a serious sales tool. You have a place to send interested people and a place where your selling efforts can collectively shine. You will increase the impact and help create a focus that will lead to more sales. The longer visitors remain on you site, the more opportunities for trust to develop.
If you meet someone in line for coffee and get to chatting, you can even pull your page up and show off your new work. You never know when your landing page might land you a sale.
Mckenna Hallett is a successful studio artist and the founder of My Golden Words where she writes two blogs. You can get a taste of her blog “For Artists Only” on her website. She is on the faculty of the Arts Business Institute and a frequent blogger here and on Artsy Shark. Mckenna also coaches and gives seminars about emailing and other marketing subjects and does private consulting. Among her publications, she co-wrote the 160-page e-course, “The Artsy Shark Success Guide for Email Marketing for Artists” with Carolyn Edlund.