How can you make the most of holiday sales this year?  

With events like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday already behind us, it may feel like it’s too late to capitalize on holiday art sales. But in reality, Black Friday is just the start of the holiday buying season!

There’s still plenty of time left to get a holiday promotion, event, or sales effort off the ground and finish the year strong. But with so much to do and so little time, how is that possible, you ask? All it takes is a well thought out plan. 

Here at Artwork Archive, we are all about saving artists time and helping you work smarter, not harder. In this article, we’ll explain how to craft a quick holiday marketing message so that it pays off for your art business, plus some last-minute ideas you can use to jumpstart your holiday cheer.

Read on to learn about our tips for holiday marketing success and some fun ideas to get you started.

 

What do you hope to get out of your marketing efforts? 

For any small business owner, time is precious—especially during the holidays. So, the last thing you want to be doing is wasting your time on marketing efforts that aren’t going to pay off.

To make sure you’re on the right track, start your holiday marketing campaign by asking these three questions:

1. What do you want to achieve from your marketing efforts?

It can be easy to get distracted by a creative idea and lose sight of why you originally set out to do the work. Therefore, your holiday marketing goals need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) if they are going to be effective. 

Here’s a great example: Create a “stocking stuffer” miniature art giveaway to gain 50 new Instagram followers by December 20th.

The SMART acronym really comes in handy to help you refine your goals. For instance, is it attainable? Don’t expect to gain 1,000 followers in one day if you only have a couple hundred currently. Evaluate if what you are offering in your giveaway is exciting enough to gain the number of followers you are asking for. 

2. Why are these your goals? (i.e. will they actually help you achieve your overall art business goals?)

Keep in mind that different artists will have different goals! Is your goal to sell work? Gain more Instagram followers? Brand yourself as a professional artist or an influencer? Establish long-term collectors? Create a feeling of goodwill towards your business? Boost your local art community? 

Yes, gaining Instagram followers may seem like “the thing to do” these days, but if your overall goal is to sell artwork and you see that you are selling more work in your newsletter, skip the Instagram giveaway and try brainstorming how to entice people to sign up for your newsletter instead.

If you ever start to question if you are on the right track, always circle back to the main goals you have for your art business, and ask yourself how these smaller goals will help you grow towards that.

3. Which marketing methods will reach your target audience and achieve these goals?

If there’s only one marketing principle that you remember for the rest of your life, it should be the “target audience” concept! And it follows this simple logic: It’s easiest to sell your art to people who want to buy it. It’s way harder to change the minds of people who don’t. So, why not save a lot of time and effort by targeting the first group?

Every business in the world sells to a specific audience, the people who are most likely to buy their product or service. And these buyers have some common traits, whether it be age, income, location, personality, likes and dislikes, lifestyle, culture, values, etc.

In fact, this buyer persona affects what you should promote to them, how, when, where, and beyond! Think about the traits of people who would love and collect your work right now, and do this Q&A to find your target audience. How can you reach them and communicate with them so they actually buy your artwork?

 

Make a list and check it twice

Before your holiday marketing efforts get underway, there are a few more things you need to consider. First, don’t forget to promote your promotion! Get the word out about your holiday special, bring on the holiday cheer and make it sound as magical as it really is! 

It never hurts to clearly and enthusiastically explain the benefits that your artwork will bring into your audience’s lives. Remember to always be authentic, and really double down on if this promotion is special or big enough of an incentive to participate. 

And lastly, make sure the buying process runs smoothly and doesn’t turn anyone away from finalizing the purchase. 

Typically, holiday shoppers have lots of options but little time to spare. They don’t want to waste time on a website with broken links, a clunky checkout process, or missing details on pricing, dimensions, medium, etc. 

Create clear descriptions of what is for sale, how to buy it, and easy ways to contact you. It helps to pretend you are the customer, go through the process yourself, and triple-check that purchasing art from you is a breeze. Then you’ll be ready to promote your art!

 

Ready to get creative with your holiday art marketing? 

Get started with the fun ideas from this list:

  • Join other makers and small businesses in your area to create a holiday gift-basket, bundled with your goods and services for all those who want to support local this season (plus, just think of all the cross-promoting!)

  • Gain followers with a themed Instagram giveaway like “Countdown to Christmas”, “ Last Minute Stocking Stuffers”, or “8 Days of Hanukkah” (Learn how to run one here)

  • Bring people to your art studio (socially-distanced and masked up, of course) with an ornament/cookie/holiday art swap 

  • Boost your business and the local community with a citywide, outdoor scavenger hunt (For example, Boise Art Glass has hidden their beautiful glass-blown eggs and pumpkins around the city at Easter and Halloween and sends out periodic photo clues on Facebook for locals to compete to find first!)

  • Spread the goodwill with a donation to charity for every holiday purchase of your art

  • Make shopping easier by creating a holiday buyer’s guide on your site or blog, where gift ideas are grouped by price, recipient, stocking stuffers, and other themes

  • Increase the wow factor with gift sets, by grouping smaller pieces to make a larger or customizable package

  • Offer gift cards/certificates for your artwork, a tried and true method to getting paid upfront!

  • Build intrigue and sign-ups with special holiday offers only for your newsletter subscribers

  • Provide a seasonal discount for next month’s commissions or a special holiday set of art (just be careful not to devalue your work!)

  • Add in fun extras to incentivize purchases, like small ornaments or a postcard set with your art. And an even bigger plus? Things that buyers save time this holiday season like handmade gift tags or the option to have presents come gift-wrapped

  • Show how much you care by providing customer service Santa himself would be proud of (i.e. handwritten thank you notes with every purchase, even faster response times, a shipping calendar to make sure gifts arrive on time, etc.)

  • Position yourself as an influencer by repackaging content you’ve already created as a gift set or offered at a special holiday price. (Make an eBook out of old blog posts, bundle your videos into an online workshop sale, the list goes on!)

  • Generate a buzz by creating or painting en plein air at outdoor holiday events like tree lightings, holiday markets, or Santa’s workshop

  • Expand your offerings by turning your art into something else and using print-on-demand to create calendars, home goods, clothing, etc.

  • Use the numbers in the “12 Days of Christmas” or a New Year's countdown to humblebrag about your favorite moments or successes your art business has achieved this year

  • Welcome orders that won’t be able to arrive by Christmas by creating and sending a print-out of the piece that’s on its way for buyers to still wrap and gift day-of!


This list is just the start!

The holidays are a fantastic and potentially quite profitable time of the year to market your artwork, but you have enough on your to-do list already that you want to make it really count. 

When brainstorming holiday marketing ideas, always think about your goals first, and the fun things you can do to achieve them second. Make SMART goals for yourself, so you can stay on track and carry out a holiday promotion that’s merry and bright.

Whatever you choose to do, remember there’s always room to improve in the future. Set yourself up for future success by recording your sales in an art inventory system like Artwork Archive (including what worked and what didn’t while marketing your art this holiday season). These insights will give you a great place to build upon next year instead of having to start from scratch!

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be feeling the holiday cheer in no time!