Master Art Supplies

After some success making and selling their own oil paints through sites like Amazon and eBay, the founder of Master Art Supplies was looking for ways to drive more sales to their own site. Our feedback includes a teardown of their current website and social media activities, as well as some recommendations to grow their traffic

How do I go about advertising my products without looking spammy?

Recently I’ve started making my own oil paints and selling them in bulk online. They’ve been doing pretty well on other platforms like Amazon and Ebay but on my site, it’s completely dead. I find it extremely hard to drive ANY traffic to it and I already feel bad about asking anyone directly to view my site and hopefully buy something.

I’ve tried Facebook and instagram ads with no success. Social media doesn’t seem to be working much for me either. Is there any other way I can drive traffic directly to my site and get some sales? For anyone interested, my site is https://masterartsupplies.com/

Generating More Sales for your own site

Increasing sales through your own site is really about doing two key activities:

  1. Increasing the number of people that visit your site
  2. Increasing the rate at which those visitors convert into customers

With MasterArtSupplies, they mention both that Facebook/Instagram ads haven’t been successful, and that they’d like to look for other ways to drive traffic to the site, so it’s quite probable that we need to focus on both of these areas. Let’s start with the website first, as there’s no point in driving people to the site if it’s not going to capture them as customers.

Website Teardown

Landing Page Feedback

  • Ditch the carousel. It’s 2017, you should only have a single image/item the main focus of your site, the “hero”.
  • Your hero images look grainy/low-res – use a single high-res one instead. If this is intentional (some artsy thing), then you need to do it in a way that doesn’t look like the image failed to load properly
  • That whole “Shop now” call to action is stupid, because it involves an extra click for me to get to a purchase. To increase the number of sales you get, you want to reduce the number of clicks the customer has to click. This is why Amazon has the 1-click buy. Not to mention, all that “shop now” does is take me to the same 3 category options I have on the front page. Redundant! Put your best selling products on the front page with a “view more” button
  • Second section is too many words… Remove it and skip straight to the Art Supplies section. At best a customer will skip past this, at worst the customer will close the browser because they’re looking for cool products to buy, not words.
  • Your product images suck… in fact, these aren’t even products. These are categories. This should be your chance to showcase your coolest stuff, with add to cart buttons front and center!
  • Mailing list signup looks like an after thought. It’s not very exciting. I’d look at saying something like “Get 10% off your first order for joining our mailing list!” or “Opt-in for your chance to win a free jar of our pigment of the month!”. In this case, I’d also excuse a pop-up signup thing that shows up when I do an exit-intent, or after x seconds (15? I dunno, whatever’s not annoying). Alternatively, move the e-mail signup to directly below your hero image… throw a brighter colour on the background to make it pop.
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Site Content/Design Review

  • Overall everything is very white. You sell colourful stuff, right?
  • “About Us” -> “Our Story”… this is very yawn. Swap this out and swap in your personal story instead. The tale of a struggling young artist who was fed up with the price and vibrance of colours on the market… or whatever.
  • Blog -> Ditch the menu link if you’re not updating at LEAST every 7 days. Instead, what I’d do is just use the blog posts for inbound marketing. Tweet links to your blog posts on a semi-regular basis using relevant hashtags, post them to LinkedIn (on your account, and make sure you’re connecting with lots of artists). Do the jerk thing people do where they post an article in forums and then say “for a better formatted version, refer to my blog”. Use the blog posts as mail-outs to encourage people to visit your site to read the rest.

Ecommerce Review

  • Your menu should include a products drop-down that links to products directly in your store. I’d probably have “Oil colors” (man that was hard to write without a ‘u’), “Oils and Mediums”, “Dry Pigments” as top level menu items.
  • Take better photos for your 3 product categories.
  • Why is there a Dry Pigments section if you don’t sell them? Maybe consider ditching the pigments/oils and focus solely on the oil colours. You know, I would take the oil colours page and just add it to your home page, underneath the mailing list signup… so… header, then mailing list signup, then colours.
  • I like that your cart is accessible on every page of the site
  • Checkout process is straight forward, though more attention should be given to the steps (info/shipping/payment), or even better streamline all of that into a single page (payment and shipping and customer info on one form)

The Instagram Teardown

I’m not super artistic, but when I think paint I think bright, vibrant colours… I look at your instagram and it all seems a bit washed out to me. My guess is you’re using a lot of filters when you post – don’t do that, take better photos that let the colours pop instead.

Instagram content:

  • For your brand it should all be original content – no Bob Ross memes, for a start.
  • You want to create a nice mix of product photos, behind the scenes photos, photos that evoke emotions with your target demo (“that feeling when you mix pigment with oil”), finished products and art created with your paints, etc. Think on the different themes you can post about, mix it up a bit. See what gets good responses.
  • But most of all, original content.

General Instagram principles:

  1. Each post caption should be a story, Create a narrative that makes people want to tap “read more”. Once they do that, you’ve got them
  2. At the end of each caption, include 14 hashtags. 4 big ones, 4 mid-tier ones, 6 small ones. Post at the end of the caption because it means your photos start ranking instantly on those tags, and the quicker you get likes, the more engagement your photo will get. For hashtag ideas look at posts on #art #artlover #artlovers #artporn, etc. and look at the other hashtags they’re using. I recommend: TagsDock (iOS).
  3. Post twice daily. No exceptions. Use Prime for Instagram (iOS) to determine best times to post. Do a weekly/monthly photo shoot day to where you take a whole bunch of photos.
  4. “Engage with engagers” is the #1 big instagram advice for 2017. So find those big art hashtags, go engage with those posts, but also go engage with the people that are commenting/liking those posts. Because they obviously like art, or are artists themselves. Make meaningful comments. Do it between sets at the gym, do it while waiting for paint to dry (lol), while your coffee maker bubbles, while your lunch microwaves, on your morning commute, etc. Find the moments when you’re not doing stuff to pick up your phone and go comment on other people’s posts.

Facebook Teardown

Don’t just post your instagram posts to Facebook. Create unique posts for each platform

Most of IG comments apply here. Make sure you’re not just posting product posts. Don’t just drop a link to your mailchimp archives.

  • I’d suggest finding a graphic artist that can produce sharable images in a style you like. Think of quirky/funny/original crap that you can share on Facebook to capture those people.
  • Given your type of business, I’d imagine 2-5 times a week should be fine for posting to Facebook. You want to make sure you don’t bombard your ‘likers’, and that every post they see from your page they like (or enough that the Facebook algo keeps showing them the posts)
  • I’m not the best at organic FB growth, but generally speaking when comparing FB to Instagram, if Instagram is original, beautiful content that encourages people to hit ‘like’, then Facebook is more about creating things that people want to hit ‘share’ on. So don’t be afraid to post a few links to external companies… here’s a neat painting tutorial, here’s a great article on storing pigments longer, etc. The type of engagement people are looking for on Facebook is a bit different… maybe throw up a weekly painting challenge and have people submit their paintings. Maybe make it a competition. Maybe throw up some painting inspiration stuff
  • Consider setting up a group for your customers, and then linking it to your page (relatively new feature). Your customers can share feedback/hints/tips/etc. and you can build a community from your customer base (which I assume keep buying paints on an ongoing basis).

Twitter Teardown

  • Don’t just share your Instagram posts here. Create original content and be aware of image size differences. Also only use 1-2 hashtags on twitter.
  • Engage like crazy. Be part of every conversation to do with art on the platform. Make meaningful comments/contributions. Use Tweetdeck to monitor hashtags
  • To be honest, I don’t imagine twitter will drive a ton of traffic, but hey, it’s easy to do so why not. I would just queue a bunch of photos/videos/gifs/asinine-statements up in Buffer, then do the same engagement behaviour as for Instagram

General Growth Strategies

  • LinkedIn is super hot right now. Network effect of “if I like someone’s post all my connections see it” is super exploitable
  • Make sure you include stuff with every order that encourages your customers to engage with you. Be aware of any terms that amazon/ebay put on you with regards to this, but there should be some sort of flyer in every box telling them to join the mailing list, or follow you on instagram, or… whatever.
  • Chase customers up to see what they’ve painted with your supplies. Ask to use those photos on your social media. This will encourage other customers to share their stories.
  • Identify the places where your customers are online. It might be forums, reddit subs, facebook groups, etc. Go and be there. Don’t be spammy but at no time hide that you sell paint supplies.
  • Generally build yourself up as an authority. The blog posts you’ve got are actually pretty good. I’d also look at building a “StartupStash.com” for painters. Create the go-to resource for painters to bring them to your site. Write as much content as you can yourself, but don’t be afraid to put links to other resources in there. A YouTube channel explaining various tips and tricks wouldn’t hurt in 2017 either. You can re-share clips of those videos to FB/Insta

The Response

Amazing feedback!! The best I have ever received. Most of us are blind to what our real weaknesses are when it comes to this type of business. Most costumers will not point out what is wrong with your business either, they will just visit the site and if they don’t like it, they will just leave. Getting feedback is critical to the success of any business and this was some of the best I’ve ever seen. Thank you!

The Aftermath

It’s sad to say that two months after providing our website and social media feedback, we can still see many of the same problems on the Master Art Supplies site. The fact that they have a whole section of their site dedicated to dry pigments, when they don’t actually have any dry pigments for sale, is a little crazy to us.

Fortunately, we have seen them upping their social media game, and some of the photos and videos they’ve been posting are amazing, and also very “on trend” with modern social media tactics. That said, checking back in we did notice that the Instagram link on their website doesn’t point to the right place! Ah well…

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