Design and Development Essays and Prose

Creative artists often struggle with the question of how to convert online fans into buyers of their art. The key to making sales as an artist is to think of it as a business.

For some creatives, that sounds stuffy and boring, but it doesn't have to be! If you apply the same creativity to your online marketing that you do to your art, you can generate leads and make the sales you need to support your career as a creative artist. Here's our top 7 SEO and lead generation ideas for creative artists.

1. Offer a free piece of artwork in exchange for subscribing to your email newsletter.

Although we live in the age of social media, email is still key to generating leads and converting them to paying customers. When you post on social media, you're competing with millions of other people to get your audience's attention -- and you have to hope your posts reach your intended audience instead of the people who aren't interested. But when people sign up for your emails, they are not only indicating that they are already interested, but they are giving you permission to contact them directly.

A great way to get people to subscribe is by offering something for free if they sign up. The free item has to be something people really want so that they'll be willing to give out their email to get it. For creative artists, a PDF of a piece of art they really like is a great option.

2. Optimize Image Files for Google Images

Most people think of the Google search engine when they think about SEO. It's important to optimize your website for Google, but it's also important to optimize your image files before you put them on your site or anywhere else online. Optimizing images allows people to find them easily if they search for you on Google Images, and as a bonus, some of them will come up if they search for you on the Google search engine.

To optimize image files, use this formula for naming them: Title of artwork, size and medium, by your name. For a painter, that looks like this: My Painting 8 x 8 Oil on Canvas by John Smith. For a writer: My Story 545 Page Romance Novel by Jane Doe.

3. Use Pinterest Strategically

Pinterest is an overlooked social media site. It's not as flashy or popular as some others, but it can help you generate leads if used properly. Pinterest allows you to link each image you post to a website and place images in "boards" that tell other users what to expect, and users can share your images to their own boards. Many artists create a board for their artwork and link each image to a sales page, but that's only one way to use it! If you blog, you can share an image from your blog on your Pinterest with a link to the blog, and you can also share images you find elsewhere (as long as you don't violate anyone else's copyright.) Pinterest images tend to rank higher in Google searches, so if you choose images that will be of interest to your audience, link them to your website or sales page, and use the formula for naming the files before you upload them listed above, you can generate a ton of leads.

4. Create SEO-optimized videos

Videos are great for lead generation. You can make a more personal connection with your audience and entertain them while advertising your art. For writers and performing artists, reading and performing your own art is an option. If you are a visual artist, you could tell the story behind a piece of art or take video of you creating your art. Either way, you'll need to optimize your videos to get them found more easily. Do this by including a keyword in your video title and description and uploading a custom thumbnail for your video that also includes the keyword in the filename. You'll also want to embed a video or two in your website to increase rankings.

5. Use Quantum to Make your Website Faster

Quantum's preloading services are beautifully designed for creative artists and designers. By having a super fast and responsive gallery of your work, you're more likely to generate leads and keep your audience viewing your work. Even though Quantum doesn't effect your search engine rankings, using Quantum will greatly improve the viewing experience of your potential customers, meaning more sales, conversions, and repeat viewers. Request an invitation to get started using Quantum on your Squarespace, WordPress, or regular HTML website.

6. Stay Active on Social Media

It's not enough to have an artist page on Facebook. If you want to generate leads, you need to update it often. Social media should be used to make connections with people, advertise your business, and encourage followers to sign up for your email list. You can't do that if you don't post relevant info on a regular basis. Make sure to respond to comments, too -- it makes your followers feel special and turns them into loyal customers. Plus, your artist pages and profiles will rank higher in Google if you update them regularly.

7. Support Other Artists Online

One of the best ways to get leads is through the community of artists. People who like a certain artist trust his or her opinion when it comes to art, so an artist's support can be invaluable to your lead generation campaign.

The best way to do this is by being supportive yourself. Give favorable reviews online to other artists whose work you enjoy, share and retweet links to their art, and respond to posts asking for help with artistic matters. This will get you a reputation as a helpful part of the community of artists and other artists will return the favor! Plus, when people Google you they will see all of your helpful posts and be inclined to support your art because they like you.