Some visual artists use sales funnels effectively, but they are rare. In theory, artists get great results from sales funnels, but not so much in real life. It’s not their thing, and I get it because it’s hard to learn and just as hard to stay competitive.
I’m using this post to explain why funnels for visual artists don’t work. As the author of the book, Straight Advice: How to Market Art Online and this top-ranked blog post, The Definitive Guide to Email Marketing for Artists, it seems contrary to state that digital marketing sales funnels don’t work for visual artists. But my eyes don’t deceive me. Every artist I know who is selling is using their unique art marketing concoction like a Mulligan Stew with a little of this and a little of that.
Sales Funnels for Visual Artists Work… for Outliers.
While quirk examples are achieving success with funnels, the vast majority aren’t. Instead, I want to set the record straight that digital marketing and sales funnels for visual artists are powerful tools when used correctly. The problem is funnels are hard to master when you have a passion for them, and without – as with most artists – it’s a very tough row to hoe. And so, no wonder artists back off from artists’ sales funnels and choose other ways to get to market.
Your Next Golden Nugget…
But read on because you’ll learn valuable information and get practical advice.
I believe it’s helpful to understand the funnel marketing concept because you can easily apply relevant concepts from it to your unique art business. So, I will break it down for you.
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a marketing tool businesses use to track leads from interest to conversion. (Read “Learn about the sales funnel and how to optimize it for the best results” for an in-depth review. It helps companies understand what works best to convert visitors into customers. The process starts with a lead magnet (something free) which attracts potential buyers to sign up for your list. From there, you send them content they want related to their needs. This action helps keep them engaged and interested, so they don’t click away. And finally, you follow up after the sale to keep them returning for more.
Sales funnels work for other industries because they’re based on psychology. They know that people buy from those who care about them. So, when someone signs up for your email list or buys your product, you’ve earned their trust. You can then continue to market to them in ways that will make them feel special.
A Sales Funnel for Visual Artists
For visual artists, things aren’t simple because there is no one repeatable technique that converts traffic into buyers. Instead, artists must look at each step individually to determine how to get their art seen by the right people. The next step is finding ways to engage them once they see it. Finally, prospective buyers need care and nurture to progress them through the buying process, aka the sales funnel, until they become customers.
Step 1: Getting Your Art Seen
Getting your art seen is the first step in any sales funnel. When starting, you’ll probably be focusing on building your portfolio. But if you already have some pieces online, you should still be thinking about getting new ones seen.
There are many ways to get attention. One way is to post your art on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Another option is to create a website where you sell art prints. Or maybe you could even try selling t-shirts or posters. Whatever method you choose, the goal is to get your art seen by as many people as possible.
Step 2: Engaging with Potential Buyers
Once your target audience begins to see your art and messages regularly, your next move is to engage potential buyers. One way is to email people who like your artwork and subscribe to your email list. It also means reaching out to people who commented on your posts. These are all great opportunities to build relationships with your audience. The point is to stay engaged.
You might feel that frequently sending emails is spam, but it’s not. If a contact does not unsubscribe, they are a viable prospect to buy your art. Your task at this level is to send a targeted series of emails in drip campaigns. Drip campaigns are emails scheduled to be sent to people who expressed interest in your work.
Step 3: Nurturing Them Until They Become Customers
After you’ve been nurturing your audience, you’ll reach a point where you can invite them to buy your work and support your art career in some cases. Having an ecommerce platform to help you manage your business and sell your art efficiently is very helpful and virtually mandatory.
On your ecommerce website, you will set up products, manage inventory, and handle shipping. In addition, you’ll accept online payments and collect customer contact data. And you’ll have tools to track all activity from customer traffic and origins, order history, and customer satisfaction.
Sounds Good on Paper, but…
So far, this scenario sounds plausible, but it’s in the cracks and crevices where artists fail to use sales funnels effectively. Funnel hacking is synonymous with funnel engineering. You should test different methods, techniques, and components to find what works best.
Funnel hacks do not apply to most artists. However, hacking can increase your conversion rate if you sell your prints online. But funnel hacking will probably hurt your conversion rates if you sell original artworks instead of helping them. It would help if you found a good fit between your product, audience, and business model. If you sell art on Etsy, then funnel hacking is worth considering.
The most important thing to remember when using a funnel hack is that it will be specific to your business model and product. You can’t just apply any funnel hack to your business. However, some circumstances only apply to particular situations but won’t necessarily translate well when used in other ways, such as selling fine art.
The most common type of funnel hack is called “funnel optimization.” This task involves changing your funnel to fit your business model or audience better. For example, let’s say you have a freebie giveaway at the end of your funnel. If you want more people to convert, you could remove the freebie from the end of your funnel and replace it with something like a discount code. Another way to optimize your funnel would be to change the order in which you present information. In the example above, you may show the price first, followed by the freebie offer. Or maybe you’ll start with the freebie, followed by the price. These tweaks are known as “optimization” because they improve your funnel’s effectiveness.
Another type of funnel hack is what we call “conversion rate optimization.” This hack means changing the elements within your funnel to match up better with your business model. For example, let’s say you’re running a subscription service that charges $10 per month. And let’s say you have 10,000 visitors who visit your site each month.
If you were to add a video tutorial to your landing page, you’d get even more traffic. Well no. That’s because people aren’t interested in watching videos on their computer screens. Instead, they want to watch videos on their phones. So, if you want to maximize conversions, you need to rethink your funnel.
In other words, funnel hacking works best with products that are highly targeted toward a particular group of people. For example, when you’re dealing with a general audience, funnel hacking doesn’t work. Instead, optimizing your funnel for your target market would be best.
Here is a video explaining why I believe sales funnels for visual artists don’t work. Enjoy.