The number one reason your artist website does not make you any money

Today I want to talk to you about a topic that not many people think about before hiring someone to build (or redesign) a website for them or before they create one for themselves.

However, overlooking this one simple step will either make or break your site.

It is the one single most important prerequisite you need to be absolutely clear about before you start planning the structure and the design (we will cover these other topics in the next couple posts).

You might think that the most important things to consider are the colors, graphics and how pretty it will all look in the end.

You couldn’t be more wrong on this one.

And if you do not invest some time and thought into the really important stuff, your website will never be successful.

The secret to making more sales right from the start:

You might have just decided that you want to start selling your art or music online. Great, so it’s time to get a website.

Or maybe you already sold on a third party platform like Etsy or iTunes for a while and decided you wanted to be more in control of your online shop.

Or maybe you already have a site but it’s outdated and you’re struggling to get traffic, let alone buyers.

Whatever your situation, here is what you need to do right now to make sure your new site will be worth the investment of your time and money:

Define the purpose of your website!

Ok, I see you’re confused. “What are you talking about Yamile? The purpose? Well, the purpose is to sell my creative work, what else would it be?”

Wrong again! It’s not that simple.

Here is a quick question that will show you that it is a bit more complicated than that:

How often have you bought a work of art or a song from a site you had never visited before or who’s owner you don’t know?

Exactly!

You can have the best looking website ever created and offer the most beautiful and exclusive products but still not sell a single item.

Not because your creative work sucks or because your website is not pretty enough but simply because your visitors, just like you, are not really inclined to buy from someone they don’t know.

So what is the main purpose of your website?

The main purpose of your website is building a relationship with your visitors!

Studies show that a potential customer/client needs to be exposed to your products or services at least seven times before they will even consider buying from you.

This does not mean that they need to see that handmade necklace 7 times in a row.

Please don’t go and flood their email inboxes or Twitter streams with sales pitches all the time.

So what can you do to build a lasting relationship with your potential customers?

Well, don’t forget that your blog posts, your emails and your social media presence can also be considered products or services even though they are for free.

That is if they are useful to your fans and followers. Use them to bring value to other people and not just to serve your own selfish purposes.

Get it? It’s really not any different from the offline world. You need to build trust and yes, it takes time to build that trust.

Here are some ways to build a lasting relationship with your website visitors:

  • capture your visitors email addresses with a service like Mailchimp or Aweber. Then send them regular emails that in some way either educate, entertain or do both. An example would be to send out free downloads of new songs coming out just for email subscribers (maybe in exchange for a share or tweet).
  • share your social media profiles and get them to connect with you there. You could have special giveaways on your Facebook page or do a live concert using a hangout on Google+ (which you can automatically record and post to Youtube)
  • provide your phone number on your website so people can call you directly. This builds a lot of trust right from the get-go.
  • come up with other ways to educate or entertain your customers and share them in the comments so we can all learn from each other.

(We will talk about all of these in detail in upcoming posts, so make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter to not miss out.)

Take 5 min to Improve your business in a major way (yes, right now):

What I want you to do right now is to go and get pen and paper or open Evernote on your laptop and jot down the primary, secondary and tertiary purpose of your site.

Remember the main purpose is to build a relationship with your site visitors but there are multiple ways to achieve this.

So take a look at the examples above, come up with your own ideas and find the best ways to build this relationship.

Then, based on your earlier defined purposes, find the one action you want visitors to take on every single page of your site. Each of them should have a’call to action’ that serves the overall purpose of your entire site.

Have a look at my About page as an example. There is nothing else to do but to read my story and sign up for my newsletter. I removed the sidebar completely and also got rid of any other distractions that do not serve the purpose of this specific page which is to capture email addresses.

You will see that these modifications to your website will increase the overall number of sales because they will make your visitors and potentials customers want to come back again and again and therefore also buy more of your products.

Questions? Leave them in the comments and I will answer them!

image by Marcin Wichary