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Holiday Marketing for Artists: A Step-By-Step Guide

The holiday season means pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, and “chestnuts roasting by the open fire.” However, it also marks the biggest art selling time of the year. That’s why we’ve put together a holiday marketing plan to help you tap into the fourth quarter, otherwise known as the “art gold rush.”

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Understanding Q4

This just in: According to PwC’s 2016 Holiday Outlook, holiday spending is expected to increase 10% this year, reaching its highest point since the Great Recession, and a whopping 33% of consumers say they’ll buy handmade gifts, like art. Furthermore, local, independent artisans and brands matter more than ever, as “almost 75% of consumers plan to shop locally while 56% will seek independent retailers.

In other words, if you’re an artist, the holiday season is your time to shine (and make some extra $$$).

Before we delve deeper, here are some important holiday shopping dates to mark on your calendar:

Black Friday (Day After Thanksgiving)

Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, in which businesses of all sizes offer various sales including doorbuster items to increase traffic.

Small Business Saturday (Saturday After Thanksgiving)

Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday that encourages buying gifts from small businesses, as opposed to large retailers.

Cyber Monday (Monday After Thanksgiving)

Cyber Monday is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

Green Monday (Second Monday of December)

Coined by eBay in 2007, Green Monday is the third-largest online shopping day of the year, behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Free Shipping Day (Third Monday of December)

You guessed it—when businesses offer free shipping!

Super Saturday (Saturday Before Christmas)

Since Super Saturday falls on the last Saturday before Christmas, it brings in more revenue for businesses and marks the end of the holiday shopping season.

Create a “Grinch-proof” (AKA Bulletproof) Campaign

What’s your goal?

Before you embark on creating your holiday campaign, you need to decide what you want to accomplish. In other words, what’s the goal of your holiday marketing efforts?

You can have one goal or many goals, but every goal needs to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound).

Here are some examples of holiday-inspired SMART goals:

  • Make a seasonal coupon to generate 25 painting sales by December 18, 2016
  • Use a stocking stuffer giveaway to gain 70 new Twitter followers by December 13, 2016
  • Host a cookie exchange to motivate 10 customers to visit your studio by December 22, 2016

Target Audience

Next, it’s important to define your target audience in order to make smarter and more cost effective holiday marketing decisions. If you haven’t already created buyer personas, or “fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers,” Hubspot has super easy-to-use free buyer persona templates.

Holiday Offer

Depending on your goal and target audience, it’s time to create your holiday offer. Typical offers include prizes, discount coupons/codes, and resources (like ebooks, webinars, online courses, etc.). Since there’s a seemingly never ending list of offers to choose from, it’s important to come up with a holiday offer that speaks to your unique brand and fans.

If you create comics, perhaps consider offering a comic-filled calendar for the upcoming year. If you create high-quality blog posts, why not publish a few of them in a limited edition holiday ebook? The holiday season is a great time to show your fans you care.

If you’re on Patreon, you can use holiday offers to gain new patrons.

For instance, check out The Dynamic Duo of Yamino and Ash’s ultra unique holiday offer, in which they invited patrons to join in on a live-write of the Sister Claire Holiday Special.

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Pentatonix has also tapped into the holiday season, offering patrons a “special holiday TV performance.”

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Make Your Promotional Plan

No matter what holiday offer you choose to implement, no one will know about it unless you promote it!

Email

Already have email subscribers? If so, great! Send them a short and sweet email detailing your holiday offer, while making sure to wish them a happy holiday season. These fans are most likely already leads, but telling them first gives them the opportunity to check out your holiday offer before anyone else.

Blog/Website

It sounds obvious, but don’t forget to promote your holiday offer on your blog/website. Since people are tight on time during the holidays — opt for a short promo post, which offers a quick introduction to the offer, a few bullet points on why it’s awesome, and a compelling CTA (call-to-action).

Social Media

Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., make sure to let your followers know about your holiday offer. Instead of repeating the same post over and over again, come up with 5-6 compelling messages (with images, of course).

Not a graphic designer, but want to make eye-catching graphics to for your emails, blog posts, and social posts? We’ve got you covered.

Here’s how Camilla d’Errico, an artist with a manga-influenced style, gives a sneak peek of her upcoming Black Friday sale to her 177k Instagram followers:

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Public service announcement: If you’re someone who likes creating content calendars (WE DO!), start today! Also, strongly consider scheduling your emails, blog posts, and social media posts ahead of time. Buffer is an awesome way to schedule posts for later. Set it, and forget it!

Go Live

During the holiday season, many people are thinking about finding gifts for their loved ones. As people increasingly shop online, this can often mean huge spikes in traffic for websites—especially creative ones like yours.

To make sure your site is holiday-ready, consider the following:

  • Include seasonal photos and other decorations on your site
  • Highlight art pieces that are great holiday gifts
  • Check for broken links

Now that you’ve created your holiday offer, come up with an effective promotional plan, and made sure your website is looking its best, it’s time to launch your holiday marketing campaign.

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Regardless of when your holiday marketing campaign ends, set a goal to interact with your followers, subscribers, and fans during as many of the important holiday shopping dates as possible. Whether you offer free “stocking stuffer” pieces with every purchase on Black Friday or simply send a thank you message to your Patrons for choosing to support small businesses on Small Business Saturday, the takeaway is this: Spread holiday cheer to the people who’ve believed in your art and will continue to support your creations throughout the years.

Once your holiday campaign has ended, it’s time to see what you can learn from it. Did you hit your SMART goal(s)? If so, pat yourself on the back! If not, on worries—just see what you can do to improve next time.

Holiday Marketing Bonus!

Here are some bonus things to think about during your holiday marketing initiatives:

Incorporate charitable components, like donating a percentage of your art sales to a local charity. For example, if you make sculptures of various animals, consider partnering with an animal shelter. Not only will you feel good about giving back to your community, but consumers favor brands that are committed to illustrating humanity in action.

Leverage non-traditional holidays, like Movember! Not only is there less competition, but it’s a great way to connect with fans.

Support fellow artists. Buy artwork, become a patron, or simply cheer creators on. Being an artist requires some serious guts, so give each other encouragement during the holiday season.

“Wrapping” Up

A recap on what you need to know to tap into the fourth quarter art gold rush:

Q4: This year, holiday spending will reaching its highest point since the Great Recession, and 33% of consumers say they’ll purchase handmade gifts, like art.

Campaign Creation: Come up with SMART goals, define your target audience, and decide on your holiday offer.

Promotional Plan: Promote your holiday campaign via email, blogs, and social media. Be creative!

Go Live: Make sure your website is holiday-ready, launch your holiday campaign, and analyze your results.

Bonus: Consider incorporating charitable components, leveraging non-traditional holidays, and supporting fellow artists.

Now, Painter! Now, Sculptor!

Now, Comic and Artist!

On, Designer! On, Author!

On, Singer and Guitarist!

From the bottom of our hearts

To the top of the Great Wall,

Now create away! Create away!

Create away all!

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