What does the Contact page of your website say about you?
Are you approachable? Do you welcome questions about or comments on your work? Or do you project an image that implies “I don’t want to talk to you unless you are going to buy something”?
If all you do is list your email address and phone number or have a form there for people to fill out, you may not be projecting the image you want. Sure list your email, phone #, or whatever method you want to be contacted. But why stop there?
Your Contact page is a chance to talk to your customers directly. Let your customers know you want them to contact you. A warm welcome invitation to learn more about your work, ask questions, or join your mailing list. Be personable and approachable.
Remember art is a very personal business. Customers often want to feel like they have some sort of connection with the artist. A nice personable greeting and an invitation for customers to contact you with any questions may be more effective than simply listing your contact information.
© Martha Braun
Have you ever considered taking pictures of your artwork on display in your or your customers’ homes? Displaying these images on your website can be a very useful sales technique.
This is particularly helpful in conveying such factors as scale. Standard jury type photos are great but sometimes they give absolutely no idea of the size of a piece. I remember arriving at a gallery with pieces for a show and the curator remarked that she had expected my work to be much smaller. I said “Well I sent you the dimensions.” She said “Oh I know it’s just that I didn’t expect clay sculptures to be that large.” It was fine, the exhibition went off without a hitch. The point is that even someone experienced in dealing with jury slides had difficulty envisioning the size of the pieces in the photos.
So why not include a few images of your work “in situ” on your website. Images of your paintings, sculpture, furniture, etc installed in a residence may help your potential customers better visualize the work in their own home.
Artists Jennifer Lucht and Carol Kaleko at an art fair
I’m not a natural salesperson. I’m sure I’m not alone in this respect. I think a lot of times as artists we retreat to the safety of our studios. This is where we feel most comfortable. When it comes time to promote our artwork, something about it feels very uncomfortable.I was recently perusing the web for inspiration and found this great blog post by Alyson Stanfield of the Art Business Blog. She suggests approaching the idea of promoting your work with a whole different mindset. Think of it as sharing vs selling. What a brilliant idea!
I have needed to write this post for some time but have always hesitated because I don’t like dealing in the negative. However, I have decided that it’s just too important a subject so here goes.
This is about what is commonly referred to as a “Nigerian Scam” (click to read the wikipedia article on the subject). You know like those scams where someone tells you they need your help getting a large sum of money that they are due and they’ll cut you in - IF you send them money to get past the legal fees. For some reason, artists seem to be a particular target.
In one type of scam they pose as a buyer but they are actually trying to get YOU the seller to send THEM money.
Here is how one type of these scams goes: Some one contacts you regarding purchasing artwork. You’ll email back and forth with them and finally come to an agreement on the sale of a piece of artwork. They’ll send a cashiers check and when it arrives it is for too much money. They’ll ask you to refund the difference or to give the overage to their shipper. Then low and behold, the cashiers check is a fake and you are out the money you’ve refunded them. Nice huh?
Now of course we don’t want to assume everyone who approaches us looking to buy a piece of artwork is a scammer, but we do need to be aware that these people are out there.
There are some typical signs that are often indicators of these types of scams:
- Their english doesn’t seem very good or the wording may be a bit off. Now some people are just not very good at writing, so don’t discount someone soley on this basis.
- They’ll be really vague in the wording, making you question if they’ve ever even seen your artwork.
- They’ll be specific and name particular artworks, but then they’ll ask for the price on work that is clearly priced on your website.
- They are often located in another country.
- They’ll try to pressure you for time – often stating something like they’re in the process of moving to another country.
- They’ll ask you to work with their agent or their shipper.
Basically, something in their emails will just seem off. If something in your gut is telling you to watch out, please listen to your instincts.
Never ever refund someone money for an overage or pay any third parties- ask for a new check for the correct amount and make sure that it actually clears your bank before sending any artwork. Or, have them pay you through a service like PayPal- and make sure it clears there as well.
Everybody be careful out there and protect yourself.
Google’s Matt Cutts discusses the issue and how good content leads to good links.