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The road to digitization for art and collectibles businesses

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps much of the world indoors, businesses in the art and collectibles industry must quickly adapt to the virtual sphere to ensure their businesses remain sustainable. Regardless of where your gallery or auction house is on its journey to digitization, the steps outlined below can help you begin or round out a newly urgent digital marketing strategy. Read on below for 5 tips to help you turn this period into one of growth.

Start by ensuring your social media presence is robust and well-respected

You’re likely already maintaining a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, but perhaps not unlocking their fullest potential. Using these platforms to grow your art business requires publishing frequent, thoughtful, and inspiring content. Instagram is becoming notably important in the art industry as younger generations become a larger share of the market.

Art Basel’s latest report shows HNW millennial collectors are now spending the most of any other demographic. One trend being compounded by the pandemic and its resulting stay-at-home orders is the emphasis on video content. Posting videos or Instagram Stories is a great way to display your gallery’s collections, preview a lot for auction to pique interest, or host a Q&A session with a prominent artist you’re representing.

According to Hootsuite, 500 million people around the globe are using Instagram Stories every day, with 62% of users saying their interest in a product or a business increased after seeing their content on Instagram Stories. Art Basel’s 2020 report shows that 61% of HNW collectors have used Instagram to purchase art, so this type of marketing is certainly worth doing well.

Don’t ignore SEO

Having a solid social media presence and a well-organized website is a good start in making sure those who are searching can find you. There are plenty of tools to utilize in the ever-changing world of search engine optimization, but if you’re just now needing to grapple with its importance in the wake of coronavirus, there are some simple and effective ways to help your business gain online visibility.

Perfecting your SEO title and description is key to both rising in a search engine’s rank and telling users what they’re about to click on. Choose a title and description that concisely state the name of your business and its intention, the most popular departments in your business, and your location. Include only the most intentional keywords, and place them toward the beginning of your title and description. Make sure the items displayed on your website are neatly organized in well-labeled and easy to find categories, making it easier for search engines to understand what you’re offering.

Additionally, nurture a feedback loop that encourages people to sign up for your mailing list, and use your emails to drive traffic to your website, which in turn makes your site more visible to search engines.

Ensure subscribers are opening your emails

Companies spend varying degrees of resources on making sure their email open rate stays productive. Regardless of your business’s approach, it’s wise to follow some basic principles. Your subject line should be well-written, to-the-point, personalized, and easily digestible. You should be conducting A/B tests to make sure your subject line intuition is aligned with how your audience is responding. Consider personalizing the subject line with the recipient’s name, which has been shown to increase open rate by up to 25%.

Let value to your audience be your North Star: clearly state that value in your subject line, and truly deliver the promised value in the body of the email without being too self-promotional. The important thing is that the customer knows what value they’ve gained from opening your email, and choose to do so again and again. Seeing only items curated especially for them will increase the likelihood that they will buy, as well as build interest for subsequent emails.

There are many tools available to help you create quality emails, from email subject line testers to AI technologies, in order to deliver only the most relevant content to each and every collector.

Consistent email open rates are nothing without a healthy click-through rate

Subscribers opening your emails is a great start, but what they do from there is just as crucial. Again, it’s important to ensure they open your next correspondence by delivering them valuable, timely content. Remember: someone visiting your website, perhaps from your email, in turn, makes your website more visible to new searches.

Be as specific as possible about your call-to-action: perhaps you’re inviting them to view an exhibition, bid at an upcoming online auction, check out new works in your viewing room, or have a look at your full catalog. Consider social sharing options linking to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Ensure your emails are optimized for mobile. Avoid all unnecessary content and visual filler, and streamline the user’s path to your CTA.

But perhaps most important of all…

Personalize your content

Open rates and click-through rates (and your business) improve when content is specific to the collectors it’s sent to. Use what you know about your subscribers’ online activity, purchase history, or how they came to subscribe to your mailing list, and at very least, separate your subscribers into smaller lists and send content specific to each. According to Campaign Monitor in 2019, the use of segmented campaigns can increase revenue by up to hundreds of percent. But it doesn’t need to stop there, and the capability of technology to curate personalized content is rapidly growing.

AI algorithms can generate fully individualized content for each person on your mailing list, ensuring each customer is only being shown items, events, or news relevant to them. This not only cultivates loyalty among your active users but is a great way to re-engage inactive customers.

In this period when businesses must act quickly to stay afloat in the online sphere, delivering your already-established audience exactly what they’re interested in is a vital way to generate business and get your art and collectibles into the hands of the people looking for it.

Key Takeaways

  • Publish frequent, thoughtful, and inspiring content and emphasize the use of videos and Instagram Stories.

  • Include only the most intentional keywords, and place them toward the beginning of your title and description.

  • Make sure your customers know what value they are getting from opening your email.

  • Include specific and clear call-to-action in your email marketing.

  • Personalized email campaigns provide proven added value to your customers and drive high engagement and revenue.


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