Most artists and makers I know would love to sell more online. After all, it’s kind of the sweet spot of selling your work – you don’t have to stand outside in a tent in the rain or blazing sun hawking your wares and you get to keep your full retail price.
Yet selling your art or craft online isn’t as simple as building a website and sitting back and watching the sales roll in. Because despite all the hype about how everyone is shopping online these days, it takes a lot of work to build consistent online sales.
When it comes to growing your online sales as an artist or maker, there are three areas to focus on – awareness, connection, and conversion.
Awareness is simply making sure that enough people know who you are and what you make. Connection means letting the customer see the person behind the products so they’re more likely to want to spend their dollars with you. And conversion is helping customers see why they need your art or products in their life, right now, so that they complete their purchase.
There are lots of different ways to address each of these areas on your website (I even did a training about them you can access inside Artists and Profit Makers) and in your marketing, but one of the best ways to hit all three is through blogging.
Let’s start with awareness.
Blogging, when done consistently, can increase traffic. The first is organically, through SEO. That’s because every time you write a blog post, you’re creating a new page on your website, with new keywords, for Google to index. And when you combine blogging with a targeted Pinterest strategy, you should see even more traffic to those blog posts.
Admittedly, blogging isn’t the fastest way to grow awareness. It takes time for posts to index on Google or gain traction on Pinterest. But unlike other ways to build awareness, like pitching the press to harness other people’s audiences, which has unpredictable results, blogging is an action you can take consistently to build your traffic over time.
Beyond awareness, where blogging really shines is connection.
When you’re selling art or handmade products, especially at something beyond an impulse buy price point, connection is key. People buy art and craft because they want to feel a connection with the person who made it.
You can do this on social media, but since you don’t own your content or your audience, it’s dangerous to make social your only place for connection. The same types of posts that help you connect with your audience on Instagram can also be published to your blog, where they can also work for you on Google and Pinterest.
Blogging lets you be more real with potential customers than you can be on a product page, as well as share glimpses of your business and creative process behind the scenes. Plus, it doesn’t take lengthy blog posts to build a connection. By sharing images and simply writing like a human, you can create connection building posts in as little as fifteen minutes.
Of course, we started this post by talking about how blogging can increase sales. Which is why it’s also important to consider how blogging can increase conversion.
When it comes to conversion, for my money, nothing works better than email marketing. That’s why one of the goals of blogging should be to drive visitors to your email list.
But blogging can also increase conversion because it can help customers see how your art or product fits into their life.
Someone may be aware of your work and feel a connection to you, but they’ll really only buy if they can also picture how your art or product fits into their life. They want to see how a painting will look on their wall or a ring will look on their finger. That’s why another key element of your blog should be showing your art or products in use.
And just like with connection, these posts don’t have to be complicated or time consuming. I’ve sold bracelets from a blog post featuring a picture of me wearing them in my messy studio, taken with my iPhone. The more you can answer the question of “how does this fit into my life?” on your blog, the more likely you are to make a sale.
Now, blogging isn’t a one and done activity. You can’t write one blog post and expect Google to send floods of paying customers to your virtual door. And blogging works best when paired with other marketing activities, like email marketing, as well as strategies that let you leverage other people’s audience. (Like pitching the press or selling your products in stores.) But over time, the more you blog, the more those posts add up to drive traffic, connect with your customers, and help sell your art and products.
Plus, unlike with social media, when you share images and thoughts on your blog, you’re building authority and clout for your own website, not someone else’s platform. Which makes blogging even more powerful in the long run.
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I know there’s a big gap between knowing you should blog and actually doing the work! That’s why this July, I’m running The 30 Day Blog Boost: Artist, Maker, and Designer Edition. Each week, I’ll give you a prompt so you can quickly and easily put together a different kind of blog post – ones that are designed to drive traffic, connect with your audience, and show how your art or product fits into your customer’s life! The Blog Boost starts July 2nd (and all lessons are recorded in case you’re traveling or have plans one of the weeks) but you can save $50 when you register by Thursday. Click here for all the details and to claim your spot!