Many factors influence a collector’s decision to purchase your art, and one of the biggest ones is trust.
When buyers, collectors, and potential collaborators visit your website, they’re looking for something to reassure them that you’re a trustworthy and legitimate artist. If you want to build an artist website that sells, you must find a way to build trust through your online presence.
That’s where social proof comes in. Social Proof is a powerful social and psychological phenomenon in which individuals copy other people’s behavior. It is responsible for the “buzz” that follows success and the way popularity comes in waves.
It works like this: Say you’re an art gallery opening. People are laughing, having fun and red dots are scattered across most of the labels on the artwork. Sales are happening, and they’re happening quickly. Buyers are prompted to jump in and buy while they can. Sales beget more sales.
The reverse is also true: Say you’re at the same art gallery opening and no one is buying the work. There’s an uneasy feeling in the room – you ask yourself why is no one buying this work? What do they know that I don’t know?
Which art gallery opening vibe does your website give?
If you want your website to give the impression that the art on your website is selling, and selling fast, you should focus on adding social proof.
Here are 8 types of social proof that are easy to create and use on your art site:
1. Collector and Dealer Testimonials
Testimonials are blurbs written by past collectors (or dealers, gallerists, or collaborators) telling others about their experience in purchasing your art or working with you. They reassure people who are new to you that in fact, you’re great to work with and that there is a high chance they will be pleased with your work.
You can get testimonials by asking happy collectors to write one for you. You don’t need to be elaborate – just ask them in a follow-up email if they have any feedback. If they send back a few sentences that are positive, add them to your website with quotes.
You can anonymize their name by using initials. If you would prefer to have their name associated with their comment, make sure to ask their permission.
2. Reviews From Prior Art Sales
Reviews work in the same way as testimonials. They tell potential collectors the pros and cons of your product.
An easy way to get reviews is to encourage people to leave them directly on your website site. If you are also using a marketplace such as Etsy or Amazon Handmade, you can pull reviews from there. Again, be sure to either anonymize the reviewer’s identity by using initials, or ask permission to use their name.
3. Endorsements from Colleauges
An endorsement is social proof from a colleague in the art industry. Colleagues such as fellow artists, art dealers, or other influential people in your field that will give a recommendation about you and your art are a valuable tool in building trust.
Reach out to colleagues you have worked with in the past and ask if they’ll write a quick recommendation about your art. Offer to do the same for them in return. It needn’t be long, a few quick sentences can do the trick.
4. Certifications, Workshops and Educational Accomplishments
Letting your potential collectors know that you are continually studying and advancing in your art journey shows them that you are not just a flash in the pan. Collectors want to know that you will be around for a long time and that their investment in you is a good one.
5. Speaking Engagements and Educational Opportunities
Look for speaking engagements in your local community. Make sure to highlight any workshops and talks you have given (or will give) on your website. These show your potential collectors that you are an authority in your medium.
You can also create events by offering online educational opportunities like webinars. Even just putting a form on your website saying you’re available for speaking opportunities can lend you some expertise in your visitors’ eyes.
6. Awards, Art Shows and Artistic Achievements
Make sure to emphasize your artistic awards and achievements. Did your work get accepted into a juried art show? Have you won a grant? Your accomplishments as an artist are important to your collectors, make add these achievements to your website.
7. Recognition and Publicity
If your work has been recognized on a website, blog, newspaper or magazine article, this is an excellent example of social proof. This type of recognition should be front and center on your website!
Many website builders will allow you to leave your sold items in inventory. If you can do this, you should keep a few sold items showing in your art shop. This shows potential buyers that other people are buying your work.
Using social proof on your website can feel a bit like bragging, but it is essential to building trust. When potential collectors, art consultants, gallerists, and collaborators find their way to your website, they are looking for reasons to believe in you and your work. You can accomplish this important goal by prioritizing gathering and creating social proof as part of your regular website content strategy.