If you are looking to build an effective digital strategy that is both manageable and delivers results, you will need to invest time, focus, and resources. Often, it’s about understanding the balance between what works for your team and what works for your audience. To quote Dakota Sica, director of Leslie Feely Fine Art Advisory and an Artsy partner, “Developing an online presence is an organic process, which takes time to grow.”
From social media to search optimization, we worked with our industry experts and compiled the steps you should take to strengthen your gallery’s digital strategy for the year ahead. Take a look below and find out what your gallery wants to focus on this year.
01 Understand your current digital strategy
Before you can move your gallery’s digital strategy forward, it’s important to develop a sense of where your gallery is and what you want to focus on in the coming year. What are your goals, and how will you achieve them? Sit down with your team and determine how much of your budget you can allocate to growing your gallery’s online presence. Then, figure out the areas where you are the strongest, and where you need a bit more help. Will this year be about growing your collector network, or do you want to focus on driving sales online? Answering these questions will help you figure out what you should invest in and put your gallery on a path to growth and success.
02 Update your social media bios across all platforms
Set aside some time to review your gallery’s social media profiles. First, check to make sure your profile images are streamlined across all platforms. Then, treat your bio like the valuable real estate that it is—link out to your gallery’s website or an online art platform like Artsy so collectors can easily browse and inquire about your inventory. On Instagram, add your gallery’s official hashtag so it’s easy to find.
Finally, review your posts. Make note of what’s performing well with your gallery’s audience (receiving likes, comments, and shares), and what isn’t. Ideally, your content should be informative and visually captivating in order to get higher engagement. If you want to learn how to take photos and process Instagram, read our Beginner Social Media Toolkit.
03 Use Instagram’s story highlights feature to educate collectors
One of the best ways to engage collectors online is through education. Whether it’s on social media or an online art platform, collectors want to know more about your gallery, its program, and the careers of the artists it represents, so that they can make informed decisions about their purchases. Instagram’s story highlights on your gallery’s page make it easy to curate content for education. Try organizing your highlights by category, such as “Press Highlights,” “New Shows,” or “Fair Booths.” This will allow your audience to become more familiar with your gallery without even having to scroll through the feed.
04 Bring your fair booth online
Art fairs continue to be prime events for networking and meeting new collectors—but today, it’s just as important to establish your fair presence online as it is offline. Write about the fair and your gallery’s booth and artists in emails and on social channels. Encourage artists to self-promote their presence at the fair on social media, and link to your gallery’s online booth.
As an Artsy partner, galleries can upload their fair booths online with all of our fair partners. For the duration of the Artsy Fair Partnership, Artsy will promote the fair in a dedicated campaign across the Artsy website, social, and email. This helps you broaden your connections with more international collectors and art lovers in-person and online, as they can browse and inquire before the fair or even during it, if they can’t make it in person.
05 Identify the purpose of your gallery website
While most galleries with an online presence have a website, it’s important to determine what function you want your gallery’s website to provide to your collector audience.
As the online art world continues to grow, you should develop a strategy to make your gallery’s website more collector-friendly and transactional—whether through highlighting current works available or by partnering with an online art platform like Artsy, where collectors can easily inquire, make an offer, and purchase a work directly. These changes will improve your gallery’s online presence and make it easier for collectors around the world to support your gallery and its artists.
06 Keep your gallery website’s content fresh and relevant
One of the primary functions of a gallery website is to tell your story and your artists’ stories. The next step is to make sure that collectors around the world who may not know your gallery, but are interested in the type of art you sell, can discover those stories.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine such as Google. You can improve your gallery website’s SEO by updating its pages with the most recent show information to keep content fresh, and by using the words you want to rank for—your gallery’s name, your artists’ names—in your site copy.
As the top-ranking art marketplace on Google, Artsy’s partners benefit from strong SEO. Simply upload your gallery’s available works, and Artsy automatically creates beautiful, optimized pages designed to boost your own digital marketing efforts. If you would like to learn more about what you can do to improve your website’s SEO, take a look at The Gallery’s Guide to SEO.
07 Grow your email audience
Though it may seem old-school, email remains both an easy and effective way to engage a collector audience. This year, focus on growing your email subscriber list so more collectors are aware of your gallery’s current programing. For example, Mark Moore Fine Art does a fantastic job of promoting its artists and shows through email. A recent email highlighted artist Joseph Rossano and linked out to his Online Exclusive show which was featured on the Artsy homepage.
Make sure to include a sign-up portal on your gallery’s website, and try collecting emails in-person by leaving a sign-up sheet at your gallery’s front desk or at your next fair booth. Already have an engaged Instagram audience? Encourage them to join your email list in your next post. Check out The Gallery’s Guide to Email Marketing for more tips and tricks.
08 Keep an up-to-date list of shippers
Shipping one-of-a-kind objects presents an array of challenges. To ensure that you give your customers a seamless buying experience—from discovery to ownership—make sure to keep a list of shippers you can trust on hand. Whether you’re selling art online or connecting with collectors through social media, shipping works internationally is becoming more and more common. Take a look at our article, The Fundamental Shipping Practices Every Gallery Should Know, for more tips and an aggregated list of international shippers.
09 Treat an inquiry from collectors online like you would an inquiry in-person
First-time and seasoned collectors alike are increasingly turning online to learn about and purchase artworks. Whether it’s through Instagram or an online platform, make it a habit to be available and respond quickly to any questions or inquiries—you never know what could turn into a sale, whether it’s day-of, in a month, or in a year.
Need help managing your online inquiries? Artsy’s messaging software makes it easy for gallerists to communicate with collectors from around the world, helping them form long-lasting relationships that support their artists and programming.
10 Be a resource for your audience
Providing accessible, public-facing, educational information about your gallery, its artists, and its inventory is critical for your business’s success online. On a website or online platform, this includes everything from multiple images of a work to the pricing. Distributing content through multiple channels will help increase brand awareness for your gallery and empower collectors to discover and buy works from you. You can do this by sending out a long-form artist-curator interview through email, or by doing a Q&A about your current show on Facebook Live.
Interested in improving your gallery’s digital strategy? Artsy works with galleries in over 97 countries to help their programs thrive online. Join our weekly Artsy for Galleries newsletter to learn more about growing your gallery’s digital strategy.