One of the frequent questions I get goes something like, "Matt, I'm on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok. So, is it even a necessity to have a website?
I get it. Websites can seem so last decade. But an effective website can be the best marketing tool an emerging artist can use to grow their business and expand their influence. So, I want to give you a new perspective on websites while highlighting what I see are the four primary purposes of every artist's website.
All Roads Lead to Your Website
So, I'm a big fan of Social Media. I'm currently on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, while at the same time, my podcasts are being distributed across a dozen different platforms. I've been interviewed on radio, tv, podcasts, and in magazines, books, and blogs. The common thread that holds this all together is my website.
I like to think of an artist's website as the central place or the hub of your artistic world. Your website should be the place that all roads from the social jungle point back to. Your social pages should link to it, your blog should live on it, and when you're interviewed online, on-air, or in print, you should mention it.
Why? You ask. It's simple. Your website is where your Artist Statement lives. It's the place where all the images of you working in the studio, of the trajectory of your work, and the history of your creative process are displayed. Your site is where you showcase your current work, share your event calendar, and talk about your journey as an artist.
Now, the whole point of having a website, though, is not just to have a website. The whole point of having a website is to move people through a process where they can do four things.
Learn About You
As you are designing your website, you want to speak about what you do in a way that connects with what your site visitors are looking for. If you go to my website, www.MattTommey.com, you can see how I speak to people that are looking for unique, nature-inspired woven sculpture.
I am speaking not only about myself, my art, and my creative process, but I am intentionally sharing what I do in terms of what my potential clients are looking for. In marketing, we call that the WIIFM – "What's In It For Me?" When you ask this question, you have to think about it from the client's perspective since that is who you want to be able to connect with.
Have Their Needs Met
I remember walking through a store one day when U2's "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" began playing in the background. I had a chuckle because it was true for me that day, but it also brings up a great point.
Your website needs to persuade visitors that the solutions you offer, the art you sell, the classes you teach, or the book you wrote is something that they need. The language you use, the pictures you share, and the stories you tell on your page need to connect with these potential clients in a way that makes them want to take advantage of the opportunity you're offering based on their values, their desires, and what they are looking for.
Number three, your website has got to have a clear invitation. You want to have an opportunity to invite visitors to get involved in your world. It can be as simple as an invite to a show, an offer to take a class, or even an opportunity to purchase a piece of work.
The secret is you have to ask the visitor to take action, and you've got to be really clear! In the Marketing world, we call that your Call To Action. Your CTA is effective when a site guest can clearly understand what they are being asked to do and quickly and easily do it.
Lastly, you want to make it easy for your site visitors to stay connected with you. That's why I tell the artist in my Created to Thrive Artists Mentoring Program to make sure that there is an opt-in page on their websites.
An opt-in page is where somebody can make a purchase, register for a class, or even give you their email address. Again, your website is not of any real use if it is just a brochure out there. You want to make sure that it's a vehicle to connect, persuade, invite, and enable your clients to communicate with you, do business with you, and refer you to others.
I hope this helps as you take that step of creating or refining your website. If this article has helped, take a moment to share it with a friend, share it on social media, and comment below!
Thanks for reading.
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.