This article first appeared on Fine Art Views, an online art marketing newsletter hosted by Fine Art Studios Online, a website dedicated to artists and creatives. If you have trouble commenting here, try commenting there!
LEARNING TO SEE #12: BEST. FASO WEBSITE FEATURE. EVER!!!!
(6 minute read)
It’s been right under my nose, but I just found it a few weeks ago. And I’m kicking myself I didn’t ‘get it’ sooner, but I’m glad I finally have!
Backstory: I have faithfully market my work online. I have a separate, professional page on Facebook. I’ve blogged since 2002. I have an Instagram account (which I set up to repost on Facebook), and my blog posts repost on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler. I’m on LinkedIn, and I’m diligent about updating my artist profiles on the websites of the professional organizations I belong to. I’ve been on Etsy since 2008, with the philosophy that I am not marketing to Etsy buyers, I’m giving my own customers a place to see and buy new work.
But overall, my online sales have been pretty meager. Most of my sales, even gallery sales, don’t measure up to my open studio events and the top shows I used to do.
I’d come to believe that my sales soar only when people meet me, and my work, in person. I believe in my ability to create connection on whatever level someone feels comfortable with, when people actually visit my booth or studio.
And moving to California five years ago felt like starting over, in every way. Finding a new studio, finding those important, respected art events, finding new galleries for my work, was a little daunting.
But I found the events that have slowly rebuilt a new audience, and I’ve been accepted by some great galleries here in Sonoma County.
And then the pandemic hit. Everything that was anything is now kinda nothin’.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve always thought of my website as a billboard on the internet highway. Full of art images, a place where people can go to find out who I am and what I do, if they make the time. But sales? Nah.
Etsy makes it easy for me to print mailing labels and ship my work, so why do I need that on my website? I used my FASO site for my newsletter (which had a learning curve, but I think I’ve got it down now.) But that’s about it.
Then recently, I realized I hadn’t updated my “Works” page in quite a while. Things are slow, so I thought I’d spend some time taking care of that.
So I uploaded a few images….
And two items sold immediately.
Wha….?! (In a good way!)
Oddly, I’d seen a few emails as a result of this automatic, alert-your-customers email service. I’d respond to people with a thank you. But I didn’t get how it worked, how they’d found that image. I didn’t even think to inquire about it.
That whack-a-mole sound you hear is me, smacking my head bigtime.
Since then, I now regularly post new work on my FASO, and email alerts are sent to all my email newsletter subscribers. I get wonderful comments, and respond to each one.
And almost everything I’ve uploaded has sold. Sometimes before I can even get it uploaded to Instagram! (I create a new listing on my Etsy page, then upload it to my FASO “new works” section, with a link to my Etsy listing for more images and for purchase, then repost on IG with same, which reposts to Facebook…have I lost you? Trust me, I understand!)
Then I read the Fine Art Views article by Jeanne Rossier Smith about her huge increase in sales, using not just this ‘new work’ email alerts, but also an AMP (Art Marketing Playbook) seminar. AHA! Just found the source for these videos: https://data.fineartstudioonline.com/boldbrush/video/free And the playbook! https://data.fineartstudioonline.com/offers/amp/?download=y
Re: more information on the automatic alert thingie, I suck at giving step-by-step instructions, except in person, when I’m teaching. In fact, I don’t even know if I signed up for this marketing feature, or if it’s simply part-and-parcel of a FASO website. I finally checked with my editor, and this is what she shared with me:
- “The AMP program is free to all FASO paying members (so everyone on a FASO plan, except those with a FREE plan- only used for the contest & ads). You can find all you need to know about AMP and our new marketing platform, right from you FASO control panel by clicking on the Marketing tab and then choosing one of the options. We have free videos on AMP & webinars.
- For our art alert featurethis is not extra at this time, most paying plans currently have this feature available during Covid-19. We just sent out a FASO member newsletter about this https://data.fineartstudioonline.com/nl/?nid=167771”
Other caveats: I also offer a peek on my website, and republish all the relevant information, but redirect people to my Etsy shop. My jewelry ranges from $75-$350. I know most paintings sell for much more!
I can also offer free shipping for my most of my items, and Etsy allows me to purchase postage and labels for below-market prices. So your results may vary.
But I’m also realize it’s time to educate myself about what advantages my FASO site might offer when it comes to sales and shipping.
I’ve also wondered if the corona virus is making people more aware of their mortality, and ours Maybe they’re afraid I’ll die from Covid-19, and there will be no more little horse necklaces for sale…?? (Morbid, but true?)
But in short, everything Jeanne Rossier Smith said rings true.
When it comes to social marketing, here are some ‘tried and true’ insights to get rid of:
Sales aren’t actually about how many ‘likes’ our posts get. It’s not about ‘branding’, and ‘driving people to our websites’. (Cattle herd terms.) Yes, doing good work helps, but we don’t have to be one of the top ten artists in the country.
We just have to make our work. We have to get it out there. We have to engage meaningfully with our admirers and collectors, with integrity and authenticity.
Maybe I’ll even get a little ‘pushier’. When I’m speaking in person with a potential buyer, I ask that same question Jeanne mentioned: What spoke to you about this piece? It’s time for me to ask that in an email, or even a phone call.
I have started mentioning to people that if they see the dog/fox/otter/bear/horse that speaks to them, they should jump on it, because they’ve been selling quickly. It’s actually true, so I don’t feel like I’m twisting arms (which I HATE.)
And I love that Jeanne had such success and shared that with us, too.
So take advantage of everything a FASO website has to offer. FASO knows what an artist needs, based on the owner’s own experience as an artist, a gallery owner, and a collector. (Thank you, Clint!) And it shows.
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