Why have a website?
Why bother having your own website these days when you can simply use Instagram?
It’s a good question. After all, a website requires maintenance, updating, monitoring and filling with content in a more complex way than social media platforms.
So is it worth it?
The answer is yes, but you have to be prepared to put in the effort to get it right. If you do, especially as an art and antiques dealer looking for new clients as well as moving stock, the rewards can be fantastic and you have a 24/7 promotional platform for you and your business.
Tell me more
One thing that the most successful dealers today have in common is a trusted brand. How you project yourself in the marketplace matters. It tells potential customers quite a lot about you, from how much care you take over your ‘appearance’ to how well you understand what is important to your client base.
First impressions count. Creating a first class website is a great way of projecting those brand values, connecting with your audience and building trust and credibility.
As you build content, sell and interact via your website, you also build you own database of information on clients, which can help you shape your business and hone your client service skills, especially as it means that you own any leads sourced here.
Recycling knowledge and adding value
Your website can also be a central repository for all your research and learning, providing a platform, which you control, for boosting your credentials further through publishing guides and articles on your specialist subjects. In doing so, you can also create a valuable portfolio of images, which can then be licensed out for promotional purposes, including media coverage.
In fact, repurposing your content is one of the most important ways in which you can use your website to add value to your business.
On top of this is the important consideration of messaging and brand control. How you present yourself matters, so you need to ensure you have 100% control over how you market your image and messaging. Consistent brand messaging is one of the most important qualities of online engagement for consumers, recent research has found.
Compare how much time and money you might spend on this with your costs for placing advertising elsewhere.
Building your stock portfolio
Whatever the deal with a service provider like a marketplace platform, no limits apply to what you can upload to your own website for sale – you are only restricted by the time it takes. Featuring as many great quality pieces as you can not only boosts your opportunity to sell, it also boosts you reputation as a great source for the best quality items, and at no extra cost. Having your own website means that you can list a new acquisitions as soon as you can upload it.
Why not just use marketplace portals?
As we at Ronati know only too well, marketplaces can be a superb way to expand your business, attract new audiences and sell more pieces. However, without your own website, you become wholly reliant on those marketplaces staying in business and working properly. You can also have little control over your data because you have no central digital store of your own to hold and process it.
If a marketplace’s website crashes or data is lost due to a crash, you lose out on business and/or data. So it makes sense to establish your own secure digital database first and then use it to work in tandem with marketplaces for the best outcomes.
SEO and the importance of brand
We’ve all heard of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the goal of all businesses in their quest for pre-eminence and free digital marketing that ensures they get before the right audience in the right way at the right time.
Importantly, it also helps you learn more about how people are searching for and finding information about your brand and your competitors.
The more business you do and the more you update your rich content, the better your chances of achieving great SEO – but again, you need to have your own website to benefit from this properly, otherwise all your efforts will simply go into promoting someone else’s brand, such as the marketplace that hosts your sales.
The importance of thinking local
Just as important is geography. Almost half of all search engine searches are for local businesses. People are used to looking for suppliers and retailers using the Near Me search facility on Google and other search engines, with Google ranking local businesses higher in searches to meet searchers’ needs.
Having a website that makes it clear where your locale is means that you will feature prominently in any such searches, creating the potential for new and loyal clients nearby, who are likely to be a reliable source for return business.
It’s what people expect
One of the first things people do when hearing about an art or antiques dealer they may be interested in is to check out their website. According to Hubspot, more than half of all new company or product searches today take place on smartphones, while three quarters of online users judge the credibility of a company by the design of their website.
There are a number of other reasons why having your own website is a key consideration for business success. Here are some other article you might like to read on the subject:
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