The best online sales pages for art include a description of the piece. An effective page actually includes both fantastic images and great prose, as well as the factual details of the work like the size and title.
When you use prose, you connect with the person reading on a different level.
Humans need visual and lingual components in order to feel compelled toward something. So when you’re trying to get someone to buy something, you’ve got to have both.
I often get push-back with this because no one wants to manipulate someone into buying something.
The thing is, people are smart. They won’t let you manipulate them. If they don’t want something, they’re not going to buy it.
It’s the other side of things you have to be careful of. If they want something… they won’t necessarily buy it.
So your job is to make it clear to the right person that this piece of art is perfect for them.
You’re not manipulating the wrong person, but you’re allowing the right person to really feel great about making the purchase – no hesitations.
Now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about what goes into a really good art description.
The prose part of your description should tell some sort of mini-story.
This isn’t a traditional beginning-middle-end story, but a tiny bit of prose someone can relate to either from their own experience, their desires, or their imagination.
You should pick one idea so there’s not too much going on, distracting and confusing your potential customer. What idea?
Think about what makes this art piece so wonderful. That’s the best thing to write about.
It could be what inspired you to create the piece. It could be how your style of brushstroke reflects the theme of the piece. It could be the color choices. It could be the subject matter. It could even be what it would feel like to own the piece.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as describing what the art will look like in a particular room that you think it’s best suited for.
You want this prose to feel interesting and engaging, so try to use unique words where you can – but never use words so unusual that most people won’t know what they mean. That will make it sound like you’re trying to hard.
Keep this prose section fairly short. It can be as little as two sentence or up to around three paragraphs. If you go longer than that, you will bore your readers. Remember these descriptions are on the internet and people have perhaps their shortest attention span when they’re on the internet.
Don’t be afraid to throw a few strong keyword phrases into your description if they fit naturally. It will be a nice little boost to your SEO (search engine optimization). But if it takes away from the natural feeling of the prose, don’t do it.
After your prose section, you want the factual details.
The title, of course, but also the dimensions (in both inches/feet and centimeters/meters), materials, whether it’s framed or not, whether prints are available and where to find them if they are, year completed, and the price if it isn’t noted elsewhere. (I have firm beliefs about showing prices on your website, but that’s another story for another time.)
You can finish off with a welcoming sentence that offers to help them with any special needs like framing, different print sizes, or rush shipping.
So when it’s all put together, after the big image of your art, it will look something like this:
The large, circular movement of this piece is meant to mimic a mandala, a traditional Indian spiritual symbol that represents the universe. We forget that we are an essential piece of the universe – of the whole – and that without us, the whole is incomplete. This thought inspired me to paint in the round.
A Complete Whole
2015, oil on canvas
20 x 20 inches (50.8 x 50.8 centimeters)
Framed with 1″ black frame; not matted. Prints not available.
This piece can be framed differently to accommodate your personal style or decor. Rush shipping available for an additional fee. Please contact Laura to discuss the details and costs of any special needs you have.
See how much more compelling that description is than what I usually see artists doing:
A Complete Whole
oil on canvas
20″ x 20″
For inquiries please contact the artist directly.
Does that make you want to own the art? Probably not. The key is that the good description is written with the customer in mind while the bad description is written with the artist in mind.
It’s pretty easy for an artist to write with themselves in mind (isn’t that easy for everyone?) but when you challenge yourself to write what a customer wants, you come up with something that really connects to the customer and gives them not only all the information they need, but also a sense that this piece is somehow special. It’s not just any piece of art.
If you want your art to feel special to your customers, start with beautiful photos, but then focus on learning how to engage potential customers and collectors with your descriptions.
[EDIT: spots are full] I’m open to helping a few of you on a description that’s proving extra-difficult for you. I’ll cap it at 5 people. Post a link to the piece’s current sales page in the comments and ask for me to review it. I’ll take a good look and give feedback that would help you take the description to the next level of effectiveness (still without manipulating your customer, of course!).
If you’d like more tips about selling your art effectively, you should sign up for my emails. I regularly send out advice for making your art business succeed.