Gallery Insights

Gallery Best Practices Toolkit

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To sell art online you need an online strategy

To sell art online in today’s art market, it is essential to build an effective digital strategy for your gallery. Most collectors and prospective clients and partners will research your gallery online before actually visiting in person. Therefore, you will benefit immensely by staying ahead of the curve with a well-thought-out online presence and digital strategy. In order to do this, you will need to gain insight into your gallery’s brand, outline your goals, understand who your core audience is, and invest time into creating your strategy. We’ve compiled a list of 10 clear steps to take in order to improve and strengthen your gallery’s digital strategy. We promise you the time and effort you put into this will pay off.

1. Outline your current digital strategy

Chances are, you haven’t yet taken the time to actually sit down and evaluate all the things you are already doing in order to manage your online presence. Ask yourself what your current digital strategy is, create a point-by-point list and note the gaps in your strategy that become evident while going through it. Also ask yourself questions related to what already functions well, and where you need more work and more help. From here, you will be able to get a clear picture of what you should invest in, in order to improve the development of your gallery. 

2. Define your target audience

After outlining your current digital strategy, take a good look at your gallery’s target audience. For example, are these mostly seasoned collectors or rather a younger crowd interested in starting to develop an art collection? Based on this, you can decide which digital marketing channels you should use, and which might not be so necessary. Will you focus mostly on Instagram, Facebook, or e-mail in order to communicate with your audience? Making a clear decision in this regard will help you manage your time and avoid unnecessary spending.

3. Define your goals

It’s important to define exactly what your gallery’s goals are, both long-term and short-term. Ultimately, as a gallery, your aim is to increase the amount of sales, but the goal for your online strategy should not necessarily be to create direct sales. Instead, it could be to improve your existing channels, build new relationships or drive more traffic and brand awareness to your gallery. It’s important to ask yourself these questions because you want to make your goals actionable by tracking and evaluating your efforts. We explain this in more detail in point 10.

After defining your goals, also decide on the budget you can afford to allocate to your digital strategy, which will make it easier to decide which channels to focus on afterwards.

4. Identify the channels with the biggest potential

If you want to build a successful digital strategy, you need to understand the potentials and limitations of different communication channels. Which channel has the biggest potential for your gallery, and how will you make use of it in the most effective way? Outline the main digital channels you are using or could be using – website, social media, e-mail, third party platforms etc. – and define their core features, their potential for your digital strategy, and the differences between them. Ask yourself what the exact purpose is of the channels that you have chosen to use.

5. Bring your exhibitions online

Your gallery’s online activities should reflect the life and working flow of your gallery, which revolves around your exhibitions. Keep up a steady flow of fresh visual information related to your current exhibitions to engage with your audience. You already have the content (images of artworks, installation shots etc.) to show visual impressions of your exhibitions, but there are also special tools available to you which will help you improve this even more. For example, Artland offers the unique 3D exhibition feature to galleries who choose to become partners. This feature allows your audience to view your exhibitions in high-quality 3D online.

6. Review and update your social media profiles across all platforms

Make sure your gallery’s profile is the same across all social media platforms you’re using. This is all part of creating and maintaining a certain brand identity for your gallery which people will connect to and respond to. The more your social media profiles differ from each other, the more confusing it will get for your audience. Finally, make sure you always link back to your gallery’s website and consider partnering with an online art platform like Artland to make it easier for collectors to browse your inventory, ask questions related to specific works of art and get an extensive visual impression of your exhibitions.

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7. Be a resource for your audience by developing valuable content

The online world is built from content. The more effective the content you create, the more of an online presence your gallery will have and the more people it will reach. For a successful digital strategy, it is therefore essential to develop a content strategy. First of all, make sure you align the topics of the content you create with the needs, interests, and wishes of your target audience. Since you, as a gallery, are catering to art lovers and collectors, you should be sharing informative and visually attractive content which shares relevant stories and information about your gallery and the artists you represent. Naturally, a big part of your content strategy is presenting the works that your gallery sells and updating your audience about current and upcoming exhibitions. Therefore, the idea should be that you think about how to present the different types of content in the best possible way on various online channels. For example, written content in the form of articles can be shared as blog posts on your website, and can also be shared across social media. If you want to show 3D exhibitions, this can be done by embedding 3D content on your website. Post images and videos from your gallery on social media to keep audiences engaged with new visual input from your gallery.

When writing content for your gallery – be it articles, artist bios or exhibition descriptions – always use a clear and concise writing style and think about how formal or informal you want your tone of voice to be, by considering whom you are addressing. Note which articles perform well by paying attention to how many likes, shares and comments different content receives, and use this information as a guiding thread for your continued content strategy. Finally, your content strategy would not be complete without paying attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). When we speak of SEO we mean the process of increasing traffic to your gallery website by making sure your website shows up high on the list of search results in search engines like Google. Some easy steps to take in order to improve your SEO are using keywords in your content that people would search for when searching for your gallery, like the name of your gallery, the names of your artists and the titles of your exhibitions; moreover, creating a constant flow of fresh content will improve your website’s ranking in search engines.

8. Engage with your online audience as you would do in person

Make it a priority and a habit to communicate with your online audience the same way you would in person. This means responding to any messages and questions quickly and with interest. The way you treat your online audience has a direct impact on the growth and success of your gallery.

9. Create a calendar to manage your digital strategy

Now that you have defined your gallery’s goals, target audience, streamlined your gallery’s identity on its various platforms, and developed a content strategy, create a calendar to manage your full digital strategy. Without a structured plan of which content will be created, published and shared when, where and by whom, you will run the risk of getting into confusion with your colleagues and will lack consistent output. Including clear deadlines, tasks and an overview of the various social media channels you use will help you get into a productive workflow and will make sure everyone has a clear overview of what should be done when. This will result in an efficient and effective digital strategy with constant, consistent output.

10. Track, evaluate and iterate

Based on your goals, you need to decide on the way you want to track your activities. If you want to drive awareness of your gallery brand among your audience, you will need to look at how often and where your content is shared, and how people are responding to this.

Make a structure with which you collect the most important KPI’s and evaluate these on a monthly basis in order to always steer your digital strategy in the right direction.

Most likely, you will make some mistakes along the way, and discover things that don’t work for you. We suggest that you organise an in-depth digital strategy meeting once every quarter to touch base with your team, identify points of success and points of improvement. This way, you will be able to keep fine-tuning your digital strategy until you find the best approach for your gallery.

Written by Shira Wolfe

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From New York to Berlin, London to Sao Paolo, Artland 3D let's collectors step into your gallery space and view artworks hanging on the wall from the comfort of their home.

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