In part 1 of this series of articles, I gave some insight into why these blog posts are being created. Not only is it giving me the opportunity to update outdated information in my book, it is giving me an opportunity to share the results of my online marketing experiments with other artists who are seeking to develop an Internet sales strategy.
An effective marketing strategy for selling art online begins with a very basic premise: “People don’t purchase products they don’t know exist.” Quite simply, this means that it is necessary for as many people as possible to be informed of our products if we plan to successfully sell them. Statistically, the greater the number of people that see our artwork and images, the greater the chance a purchase will be made. Because of this, we need to discover and implement techniques with which to put our products in front of the eyes of as many viewers as possible. In this modern age, what better way to reach an enormous potential customer-base than by using the Internet?
According to Internet World Stats, as of June 2012, 78.6% of the North American population has access to the Internet. Statistics also indicate that 67.6% of the population of Oceania/Australia have online access. Many other areas of the world show similar percentages and it is obvious that a large segment of our population currently has daily access to the World Wide Web and social media sites.
As the years have passed, Internet social-networking has seen an explosive amount of growth:
- Facebook reports 874 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products as of September 30, 2013.
- Facebook reports 727 million daily active users on average in September 2013.
- Facebook reports 1.19 billion monthly active users as of September 30, 2013.
- Statistic Brain reports 645,750,000 total active registered Twitter users as of January 1, 2014.
- Twitter reports 76% of Twitter active users are on mobile as of January 2014.
- Twitter reports 230+ million monthly active users as of January 2014.
- Twitter reports 500 million Tweets are sent per day as of January 2014.
- YouTube reports more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
- YouTube reports 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Traditionally, product purchasing recommendations from family and friends have been the most trusted. According to Cone Communications Inc., however, 81% of US consumers now go online to do additional research, with 55% looking for user reviews, and 10% soliciting advice from their social network groups. ExactTarget‘s research indicates that 90% of people trust the recommendations of their Facebook friends while Edison Research claims that 31% of daily Twitter users ask their followers for product opinions.
With the increasing level of Internet, social-networking, and e-commerce utilization, it is only logical that we should investigate marketing our artwork through this easily accessible channel. It allows you to promote your business while receiving immediate feedback from potential customers. Spending a few minutes a day posting messages and comments of interest to your target audience opens a line of communication that allows you to learn about your customers and to connect with them in real time. I utilize Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and a business web site to reach my social-network follower-base in order to promote my original paintings and prints. Each of these services provides an avenue with which to present information to potential clientele. Although similar in concept and design, however, each social-network operates in a unique fashion and combining them into an effective centralized marketing strategy can be confusing to first-time users.
While it is tempting to simply create user profiles on every social-networking site in existence, haphazardly proceeding without having a preconceived marketing plan can lead to frustration. I have found through extensive experimentation that it is much more effective to create a central base of operations to which all other web-presences point. This essentially creates a marketing network which is designed to attract potential customers and to drive them to a central storefront from which they can purchase products or services. For example, I have a business web site at http://powersfineart.com/ designed to directly sell my fine art prints and original paintings. It contains my biography and artist statement as well as additional information about my art and portfolio books. I utilize Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to direct traffic to my main site and StumbleUpon to notify people of new paintings as they become available. The key to making this strategy effective, however, is to develop a follower-base in each of the social-networks one plans to utilize.
The next article in this series will illustrate why I believe in the importance of having a central website or storefront. This will be followed by tips to help the central site rank higher in search engines by having an optimization plan.Tagged with: art, business, ecommerce, marketing