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« Art Marketing: Being Kind Creates Connection. Connections Create Collectors. | Main | Art Heals: What do Mohammed Ali and Maysoon Zayid Have in Common? »

Artist Donations: Give, Gain, and Grow

This I know for certain: Artists are generous people. Their creative hearts and understanding souls lead them to be sensitive to the needs of those around them. That's one reason I love working with artists so much. 

Many artists give back to help others and also do giveaways as part of marketing their art. Both are good, and generous, but are not the same thing.

Many artists give back by helping other artists who greatly benefit from shared experience and knowledge.

Also, many artists do giveaways as a vital part of marketing their art. Giveaways can be used to encourage people to sign up for a mailing list, increase social media reach, and to remind and update collectors of events and new work.

Unfortunately, few artists are strategic about giving back and giveaways and end up using the "spray and pray" method of offering the same info to everyone they know, artists and collectors. This approach is not particularly effective.

You can enhance your effectiveness in both giving back and giveaways by following a few guidelines:

1. However you keep your mailing list, put artists and collectors into separate groups.  

You can give artists useful information to help them grow and collectors something different to showcase and market your work.

Do you have photography tips, a great system for organizing your studio, a special technique, or gallery feedback that you found useful? Share it with other artists! For collectors, keep you and your art front and center in their minds with regular updates about shows and events, insights into your creative process, and photos of your work.   

You can automate the process on your website signup form by asking them what they are interested in:  "I am a fellow artist" or "I am interested in your work and upcoming shows and events."   

Same goes if you use a signup list at an event. Let them tell you what they are interested in by checking off columns for "I am a fellow artist" or "I am interested in collecting your work." 

When someone gives you their business card, make sure you ask if it's OK to add them to your mailing list and jot down on the back of the card that they "opted-in" with a date. Then add them to your database in the appropriate category. 

2. Make sure that what you offer is something truly useful.

Many artists I work with assume they know what people want and are surprised when nobody appreciates their offerings. Resist the urge to tell them what you want them to know and instead think about what that group would find truly useful and interesting. Then design your giving back or giveaway around that. 

Don't know what people want?  Listen and ask! People will ask you questions. The questions you hear more often are those that most people will likely be interested in. Ask some fellow artists or potential collectors at an event what info they would like to have.  You can ask them in person or via your signup forms. 

3. Use the right delivery platform.  

Think about what your groups will be wanting and where you will find them, and make it easy for them to find and receive your offerings. 

If you use an email broadcasting system like Constant Contact or MailChimp and have segmented your lists yourself or via your signup form, you can use autoresponders to deliver your giveaway. Set up two different email templates, one for each group, and send information and images of particular interest to that group.

On social media sites you can often segment your lists and send posts and info to specific groups. Google+ lets you segment your lists into groups. You can also set up lists on Twitter, and Facebook allows you to add pages from your website to your business/fan page including your signup form.  

4. Beware of  "saturation" and vary what you give away.  

The same offer for months and months can go stale and people will lose interest seeing it day after day.

Mix it up a bit!  You have more than one piece of art, more than one technique, and photos of your creation process are always fascinating to collectors. Make short videos of your tips, take photos, write stories. Do what you like best. 

Set a calendar reminder so you don't forget to change your offerings every so often.

That's it for this month. Stay tuned for February's topic: "Using Giveaways as a Marketing Tool."

Need some help with anything in this article?  If you haven't already had one, you can sign up for a free 15-minute conversation here. If you have had one, email me with any questions. We'll be happy to help you with useful suggestions on things you can do and how we can help you do them.

Read more posts on this topic:

What do Mohammed Ali and Maysoon Zayid Have in Common?
One Artist's "Trash" is Another Artist's Treasure
All Those Deals...But Art Heals

Sometimes it's all a bit overwhelming, we know. Remember, you don't have to go it alone. We can help by supporting you with advice on DIY, website updates, and new websites plus social media setup/fine-tuning, database setup, artist inventory setup, email newsletter setup/templates, and just about everything you need in your art business. We can also tutor you on various online systems for websites and email and getting up to speed on your software.

Let me know if we can hand-craft some business support just for you!

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