Having your own website is critical these days with the drastic shift towards e-commerce. While creating and launching your website today is easier than it has been in the past, that doesn’t mean that everyone knows where to start, or is ready for a full website. While tech knowledge is often a hurdle, finances to pay for a website and time to make it can also be challenging.
This blog post outlines 5 steps online for artists and creatives who need to begin marketing and selling online but don’t have a website.
1.Begin an Email List
Email marketing is big and if you haven’t started collecting emails, now is the perfect time to start. Your email list isn’t about how many people are on your list, it’s about quality. A list of just a couple hundred followers can easily help build your business!
Option 1 for Your Email List:
If you are at square one with starting an email list, you don’t need to sign up and learn a new email software to begin. Simply begin creating a list of contacts, send the email BBC (meaning blank carbon copy – so everyone’s email address is hidden), and send an update to your friends, family, and art collectors.
Option 2 for Your Email List:
If you have a decent-sized list of people for your email list, say 100+ people, then it’s time to consider using a web-based platform to help send out your emails. Mail Chimp and Constant Contact are two popular email service companies where you can manage your email list, build newsletter campaigns, and send out automatic email blasts. (I use Mail Chimp – and there are plenty of options for training provided by Mail Chimp to learn how to use the platform).
TIP: Check out this blog post below to help you develop your content for your emails:
This blog post will help you create emails (rather than generic newsletters) that convert readers into subscribers.
2. Find Websites with Artist Profile Accounts
Find websites from organizations or companies that host artist pages (or artist accounts) that you can use as an early or first website. Note, you oftentimes must be members of these companies or organizations.
For example, NEMAA (Northeast Minneapolis Artist Association) allows artists to create profiles, upload art, and contact information. Artists can use these as early as the first versions of websites.
TIP: These accounts can oftentimes link to your social media accounts or point to your eventual website as well. This is great because it creates an external link pointing to your site. The more external links point to your website creates better SEO (Search Engine Optimization), meaning it’s easier to find you when people browse the internet.
3. Make a Facebook Artist Page & Utilize Facebook Shops
It’s never too late to get involved in social media. Facebook is not going away. (And if you didn’t know, Facebook owns Instagram). Get a Facebook artist page in addition to your personal profile.
TIP: You will want to set your artist page as public so people can view your art. You can always keep your personal profile private. It’s easy to confuse the profile vs. page at the beginning of using Facebook, but know they are two separate (but connected) accounts within your Facebook. Keep the profile about you, and market the page as your art or business.
Facebook introduced Facebook Shops this year so you can list and sell items on the platform. Using this feature is a great way to utilize Facebook beyond a marketing tool and include e-commerce.
4. Make an Instagram Account
Instagram is easy to use and all image-based, which is perfect for the artist who has images of their artwork or creative merchandise to sell.
Instagram allows you to directly link to a product directly by tagging. The Instagram TV, Instagram Stories, and areas for captions also allow you to talk about your product, demonstrate it, and sell authentically.
TIP: If you want to see how people are selling merchandise, check out vintage sellers on Instagram, they have really developed ways to sell using the platform without spending money on advertising.
The most challenging aspect of Instagram is the pace of content. What you post is old news within hours, so be prepared to post daily here if possible.
5. Make an Etsy Shop to Sell Online.
You don’t need an ecommerce site to begin selling artwork online, list your artwork on Etsy. It will take some time to load your art or products in the shop interface, but what’s great about it is that it is widely used, secure for payment, and already built (no creating your own e-commerce store from scratch!).
Next Steps….Planning Your Website
While utilizing other channels to sell online, start planning or working on your first website (or perhaps website refresh).
To get you started, I created this brand new freebie to help you as you prepare for your website.
Grab this free 2-page Website Planning Tool to help you plan your site! (And you don’t need to give me your email to download it!)