Running a gallery is not easy. Just keeping track of the artists and artworks on a daily basis is a full-time job, let alone the numerous other tasks that just have to get done...by yesterday! Added to the daily struggles of running an art gallery, the Covid 19 pandemic has changed the face of the art world as we know it. It is therefore important for galleries and art businesses, in general, to constantly re-evaluate, restrategise, and most importantly adapt to an ever-changing world.
Here are 5 things you could and should be doing to manage and grow your art business more effectively:
1. Create a clear business strategy
Strategy is everything when it comes to business success. It is impossible to get a sense of success or failure without knowing what your benchmarks are. By clearly defining your goals and writing these down in a consolidated format, you will subconsciously start making them happen.
Be optimistic but realistic. Next to each of the goals include ways in which you can achieve that particular goal. By way of example, if my goal is to get more traffic to my website, I could include the following four ways to achieve my goal:
Increase frequency of paid social media posts
Write a series of newsworthy blogs that the target market will find interesting
Use online viewing rooms to broaden my audience reach and engagement
Send out personal emails to existing buyers and collectors highlighting new artists, artworks, and exhibitions with the necessary links to the website
All your content, emails, and anything you communicate should relate back to at least one of your goals. Constantly review and track your goals by using sales figures, social media insight reports and google analytics.
2. Manage your art inventory online and adopt a hybrid business model
2019 marked the start of many lockdowns globally as countries all over the world attempted to deal with increasing numbers of positive Covid-19 cases. The closing down of our borders, our fairs, our exhibitions and even a trip to a local gallery saw many galleries shut their doors for good. The lockdown restrictions drove consumers to look to the internet and social media for their purchasing requirements, entertainment, and even social interaction.
Businesses that did not have a website interface slowly started losing market share. These fundamental and drastic changes in consumer behavior and the slow move back to some semblance of normality have led to many galleries, fairs, and artists adopting a hybrid business model approach.
The hybrid business model as the name suggests uses both a physical as well as a strong internet presence to conduct their business. While the uptake of consumers buying art online has been relatively slow compared to other less expensive products, more and more buyers and collectors are looking to the internet for their art. According to Statistica, global online art sales increased significantly in 2020 over the previous year, rising from 4.8 billion U.S. dollars to nearly 7.9 billion U.S. dollars. This trend is expected to continue to grow.
As a gallery, it is now vital to have a strong online presence. What is really helpful to know is that your entire business, back, and front-end, can be managed through art management software. This has been an absolute game-changer for galleries that have started doing so. Not only can artist’s information and artworks be stored online, but any relevant information on the artwork such as the location, related provenance, and the condition can all be stored in one place. It will always be available at the touch of a button. Imagine not having to rely on notes and memory to find what you are looking for?
Some platforms also offer content functionality such as the ability to include news posts, press coverage, videos, and images for artists which makes the online sales pitch that much easier. Another key feature to look out for is CRM features such as keeping track of client/collector information in terms of sales and contact history which is key when retargeting or communicating to them.
You can also create professional, beautifully designed consignment and inventory lists/catalogues ready to send to buyers and collectors.
One of the key benefits of using an art inventory management platform is the ability to access your entire business from any device, from anywhere in the world. Not to mention the time you save...
Most art software packages offer different price options, are subscription-based, and offer a free trial. The best practice is to draw up a list of key features you require and hunt around for a perfect fit. Please click here to find out more about Artfundi’s features.
3. Create a targeted Content Strategy.
We’ve all heard the phrase Content is King. In a social media-saturated society, this is particularly relevant. With over 4.55 billion social media users being targeted by companies with huge budgets, it is important to clearly define what you want to say and who you want to say it to.
It is best to start with your target market. Who do you wish to reach? A clear and defined example of a target market is:
Mostly reside in the US
They are in the top upper-income bracket.
They enjoy the finer side of life. They go to art exhibitions, art fairs, theatre, wine tastings, etc. They are visually driven and like beautiful things. They are well-read and enjoy reading up about current art, sport, and business trends.
Now that the target market is defined, it is time to look at their key motivators. What makes them happy, what would they like to see and hear from you? Key drivers could be exhibitions of particular artists, trends in the artworld, artists’ profiles, etc.
One content form is blogging, which has become an integral part of successful marketing campaigns. Here are some interesting blogging statistics from Semrush:
On average, companies who blog produce 67% more leads per month.
The most popular type of content among bloggers are “how-to” articles (77%), followed by listicles (57%), and news and trends (47%)
Webinars, roundups, interviews, gated content, guides, and ebooks are the most effective content types.
84% of companies have a content marketing strategy.
The best time to publish to attract the most traffic is Monday at 11 a.m. EST.
To get the most comments, the best time to publish is Saturday morning from 9 a.m. EST.
The median average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds.
75% of people prefer reading articles under 1,000 words
On average, long-form content generates eight times more page views, three times more social media shares, and nine times more leads than short-form content.
There are more than 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites.
Over 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages each month.
Users produce around 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments each month.
Always keep your content RELEVANT and relate it back to your gallery. The use of active words such as How to, 11 ways, 7 tips, etc. has been found to be very effective as this is how people search.
Whether you’re a natural blogger or not, the bottom line is, if blogging is not part of your marketing strategy, it should be.
4. Target existing and potential customers through email
The POPI and similar acts have made it difficult to use blanket direct mail campaigns to target new audiences. Email marketing, however, is the perfect marketing tool (once you have received the necessary consent) to engage with existing and potential clients/buyers.
According to this Hubspot article:
There are 4 billion daily email users.
64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers.
Nearly 1 in 5 email campaigns is not optimized for mobile devices.
Marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
35% of marketers send their customers 3-5 emails per week.
78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months
If you thought email marketing was a thing of the past, this is a gentle reminder to change your thinking and quickly. It is very much alive and is an important, cost-effective tool to build and cement relationships with your existing clients. There are many email marketing platforms in the market place and some art software has built-in email capability. For more information on email marketing tools, click here.
Here are a few ideas for mail campaigns:
A Newsletter - a great way to consolidate your gallery news, highlight new artists and upcoming events. Always try and add some links back to your website and other sites. This gets you more traffic and therefore potential sales and increases your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Blogs are a great and effective way to do this.
A contact form automation - once a visitor has contacted you via your website, you can set up response automation which can go out immediately.
Surveys to find out information about your clients/potential clients, where they live, what they like etc.
5. Use Google Analytics to track your website visitors
Due to the increase in traffic to the internet, it is important to keep an eye on your website traffic. Often we don’t have a clear picture of who our website visitors are and Google Analytics helps resolve this by tracking data of the visitors who use your website. Here is a list of just some of the information you can get from downloading this handy tool:
The number of Visitors/Users to your website - both new users and returning users.
The device they are using ie. desktop, mobile or iPad. This becomes relevant if your visitors are using predominantly cell phones and your website is not optimised for cell phones ie. loading time is too slow, the website has been designed for laptops, and is not mobile-friendly.
How the visitor arrived at your website ie. organic search (they googled something), Direct (they typed in your URL or name), Referral (came from another website via a link, etc.), or Social Media (and specifically which social media).
The google search words they used to get to your website.
Who your visitors are, such as their country of origin, their language.
The user’s behaviour ie. which pages they landed on, how long they spent per page, where they moved to and where they dropped off etc. The great thing about this is you can easily see whether your user journey is optimal and which pages are working and which are not. Key questions to ask here are: are you driving your visitors from the home page to other pages effectively? Which artists are more popular than other artists? If your visitors are dropping off on the home page, you need to establish why. It could be they are not getting the information they require in order to browse further.
The effectiveness of your social media campaigns can be tracked.
It may be daunting at first, but this is the best and most cost-effective way to understand your visitor without spending a huge amount of your marketing budget - try it, you won’t be sorry.
Navigating our art businesses through these uncertain times can be scary but ultimately you have to ensure you keep abreast of the tide. You have to be in it to win it. Good luck!