A funny thing happened in my life. The Internet. I have become spoiled rotten by the Internet and as a result my behavior has changed. If I hear about something, I make a note and go to the web site or I try to remember the name and I do a Google search. When I go to a site I look through their product line and if there is nothing there for me…I move on. I may return another time to search for something new… or not. I do comparative shopping on line too. Oh, and if the website does not answer my questions and have a solution to anything I can think of that I want to know… I am annoyed. AND I am really irritated if the site MAKES me have a human interaction like "call for price." Guess what. I won’t. I want to see the price, I want to make a purchase decision at that moment, and if I cannot click to buy it I will try to find somewhere else that does have a price and purchase engine.
Of course in the gallery world you have UNIQUE pieces of art (unless you’re selling prints). Many gallery folks I know refuse to put the price on their site because they want to force someone to call… so they can up sell them or use their sales skill on the potential buyer. Makes sense, and maybe it works. But not for me. You see I do most of my shopping after the kids are in bed or on those nights when I cannot sleep and I’m on line. I want instant gratification. Having to phone does not offer this.
What does this have to do with response? Advertisers tell me that "response rates" for all of their advertising has gone down with all publications (not just mine thankfully!) The phone simply does not ring as much anymore. Why? People shop on line. Even people who have good relationships with your gallery. (And others of course). Your ads still get response. They PROMPT people to go on line to look at a show, a painting, an artist and if you’re a net-savvy marketer, they can see your entire inventory. Of course you’ll never know they were there looking through your inventory in the middle of the night… unless they found something they had to own. Then they clicked and bought it… or maybe if you’re lucky they phoned. But only after they saw that you had what they want.
Advertising is valid, continues to create awareness and it sells artwork. But, the phone does not ring like it used to. Its a fact of life.
What do I recommend?
1. Make sure your ads point to your website.
2. Make sure your website relates to the ads you are running. (For instance a featured painting).
3. Make it easy to look at the inventory, know the price and buy.
I believe that if you "make people call" some will and a lot more won’t. If I were in your business I too would RATHER people call. But the reality of all business has changed. Now you have a potential world audience 24 hours a day. You still need to advertise to make sure they stumble to your site. Just make sure your site can meet their needs and make it easy to buy.