Selling your work online as an emerging artist can be extremely rewarding both creatively and financially. With sites like Etsy and Personal Creations (and plenty others like them), it's easy to reach audiences all around the world.
However, whenever commerce is put onto the Internet, it creates an atmosphere where customer service can slip. Instead of letting your customer relations take a back seat, try these ideas to make your customers feel appreciated:
"A little effort can go a long way."
Include a personalized thank you card
When it comes to buying things online, there is a lack of personalization. We can purchase things with the click of a button without having to even speak to another human. While some people may prefer this, there's nothing like a personalized card to make someone smile. With every order, try including a small piece of paper with a handwritten message on it. If you have the person's name, include that as well. This doesn't have to be too long or require too much thought. A simple "Thank you for ordering" will do the trick. If you recognize the name because he or she has ordered from you in the past, be sure to note that as well by saying something along the lines of, "Thanks for being a loyal customer!"
It may sound small, but a little effort could go a long way. Personalization makes the customer feel like he or she knows you not just as an artist, but also as a person.
Respond to social media comments
If you have a Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other online media, then you have the option to interact with the people who follow you. If someone posts a comment on your site asking a question or making a remark, do your best to respond to it in a timely manner. Showing you customers you will take the time to respond to them may build their trust in you as an artist.
Be polite and genuine, but don't be too formal. You don't want to sound like a robot. If you have a certain style in which you type, keep this form with your customers. It will help them build a concept of you that is more than just an Internet persona.
Building trust through the Internet is no easy feat. You're working with people you may not know in real life and vice versa, so usually everyone tries to stay on their toes for scams. One way to build a trusting relationship with your customers is to establish an open line of communication when it comes to the buying and shipping process. Do you have a frequently asked questions page on your site? You should. That way, your customers can look to this for a quick answer.
One of the easiest ways to build a good relationship with your customers is through timely service. If you're selling your work on Etsy or Tumblr, odds are that you are the one who is doing all the shipping and packaging. Once you receive an order, be sure to promptly fill it. You don't want them waiting impatiently. If there is going to be a delay because of various reasons like printing problems, holidays, etc., be sure to reach out to inform your buyers.
Kindness gets you far
Above all else, remember to be kind to your customers. For people who aren't engulfed in the art world, it can be a little scary from the outside. They may feel like artists can be pretentious and mean like they're often depicted in films and television. Being appreciative and humble may sound small, but it can make a huge difference.