Promotions For Artists – Give Your Art Business A Boost!

The purpose of a sales promotion can be to sell more to existing customers or attract new customers. You can have sales promotions directed at consumers or to others in your distribution chain such as retailers, agents or wholesale distributors. Sales promotions by their nature are limited in duration and try to create a sense of urgency and possibly scarcity. Some reasons for having a sales promotion include:

  • Introduce new products
  • Reduce slow moving items in inventory
  • Sell seasonal items
  • Increase the average sale per customer or customer visit
  • Quickly sell items that are one time inventory purchases
  • Reward your customers
  • Expand your customer base

There are a million ideas on conducting a sales promotion, some are very good and some not so good. When you are developing a sales promotion you need to keep your brand in mind and how the promotion will affect it now and in the future. Develop promotions that fit with your customer’s tastes and demographics.

With any promotion you need to act in an honest manner, not be misleading and offer something of value to your customers and prospects – you do not want to be the subject of a local consumer reporter! Don’t do anything that could be considered a scam, in poor taste or inappropriate for you audience. Test your promotion before you roll it out to make sure you are on the right track.

Promoting Your Promotion

Once you have developed your promotion you will need to promote it. If you don’t promote your promotion it is much like having a party and forgetting to invite the guests. Here are some ideas on how to get the word out:

  • Place a sign in your store, gallery or retail location
  • Email your current customers and prospects
  • Advertise in a medium that is appropriate for your budget and business
  • Utilize public relations if your promotion is newsworthy (having a sale may not be newsworthy)
  • Use direct mail or other direct marketing techniques
  • Announce on your website

Getting the word out on your promotion is just as important as the promotion itself. Give yourself plenty of lead time to make sure your message gets out well in advance. Don’t put yourself in the position of having to scramble right before your promotion is about to begin.

Consumer Promotion Ideas – Promotions for your retail customers

The Simplest Promotion

Say Thank You! This is one of the easiest and more powerful promotions you can do and do not have to be tied to any particular product or service. Here are some ideas on how you can tell your customers you appreciate them:

  • Offer them a thank you button or ribbon
  • Offer them food or drink
  • Loyalty programs such as earning points, goods, or discounts the more the customers spends
  • Offer them a small gift
  • Give them a big hug!

Promotions Involving Price or Terms

  • Sales such as 10% off
  • Buy one get one free
  • Buy one get a free gift or service such as hanging your painting.
  • Use a coupon and get a discount. Coupons could be placed in publications, products , online or mobile
  • Installment payments
  • Bill me later
  • Trade in offer
  • Bargain bin
  • Special pricing to members of an organization or club

Promotions Involving Free Items or Services

  • Free trials
  • Free services
  • Free shipping
  • White papers or informational reports
  • Consultations

Promotions Involving Interaction

  • Contests or sweepstakes – be careful not to violate laws.
  • Games
  • Giveaways
  • Demonstrations
  • Newsletters
  • Guest appearances
  • Speakers / Experts
  • Entertainers
  • Seminars

Promotions Involving Exclusivity

  • Frequent or Preferred Customer Cards
  • Sneak peek and discounts
  • Exclusive items or content not normally available. Only available in conjunction with a purchase.

Promotions Involving Co-Marketing

  • Co-promotion with other businesses
  • Charity tie-ins
  • Social cause marketing

Ad Specialties – do they work?

Ad specialties are also known as promotional products, swag, tchotchkes may play a part in your promotional efforts. Promotional products include shirts, caps, mugs, bags, pens, bumper stickers, toys and just about any other item that you can put your name and logo on. You may want to consider using them as free gifts or the more expensive promotional items for special customers. With the proliferation of cheap promotional products I would carefully consider if they are worth the money and if they resonate with your customers. Better yet create your own original giveaways!

Trade Promotion Ideas – Promotion for your distribution channel members

  • Price reductions on certain products
  • Help with marketing and traffic generation
  • Promotional materials
  • Spiffs for the personnel in your distribution chain. These could be money or gifts, trips etc.

These are just a few ideas of promotional ideas available to you. If your promotions are creative, unique and well targeted they can give your art business a boost. Remember that promotions have a limited duration and you don’t want to wear out their effect on your customers – so use them wisely.

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto