Getting Ready for Seasonal Art Sales

Getting Ready for Seasonal Art Sales
getting ready for Seasonal Art Sales
Each week I write a brand new article for members of our three wonderful art groups on Facebook, The Artists Exchange, The Artists Directory, and The Artist Hangout. This week we take a look at the biggest selling season of the year and figure out some of the best ways to approach marketing our artwork over the holiday season and on the lead up to it.
Nearly Christmas…
The holiday buying season is just around the corner and at about this time every year I write a new article reminding people to start their marketing campaigns early. 
I walked through a city centre high street at the end of September and noticed that most of the shops had already started to put up their Christmas decorations. A few had the upcoming Halloween theme going on, but one thing was evident, they must have been planning their marketing campaigns for months. 
The local supermarkets now have dedicated aisles displaying plastic pumpkins and witches capes, right next to the aisle displaying festive tree decorations and mulled wine. Every coffee shop is ruining good coffee with spicy flavours and Christmas songs are playing in store, and I’m confused because we haven’t even got to Thanksgiving yet. In the U.K, Marks & Spencer are now selling Jaffa Cake cocktails, seriously, what a time to be alive. 
Preparing artwork that has a tie in to whatever marketing period we are in is one thing, but having a marketing campaign at the ready to then go and sell that work is another. The way social media works with its fancy algorithms has changed too, and it means that we now have to start thinking about social media posts earlier than ever because organic reach isn’t what it used to be and we need more time to build up the story and engage people with our posts.
Halloween…
Halloween is just one of those busy periods for artists who are into darker or fun and spooky artworks. Over the years I have noticed more and more that people are looking for things like posters which can then be reused next year, and for items like drinks coasters and T-Shirts.  When I took a walk around my local supermarket there seemed to be two very distinct markets, one where the youngsters would be clambering to buy fake blood and Halloween themed face paint, and another one where the adults were looking for decorations and party glasses and mugs, presumably for the mulled wine which was on offer for Christmas or that Jaffa Cake cocktail. 
As for when the marketing campaigns should begin, my local supermarket started selling Halloween items back at the beginning of September so we might be a little late to the game for this year. But there are still a few weeks so if you already have work that has a fit with Halloween it might be worth looking to see if Zazzle or any of the other print on demand sites have something that might have a great fit for a potentially lucrative short selling season.
If you have a website you might want to add a Halloween fun theme to it, although this doesn’t necessarily lend itself to every artist website, or you might want to consider creating some Halloween themed posts and share a few autumnal recipes and no doubt we will see so many photos of falling leaves, fireworks and pumpkin spiced latte. 
Build up awareness…
Once Halloween is out of the way we can start to turn our attention to the major selling season which is littered with special days on the lead up to Christmas. I usually find that the beginning of November can be a bit hit and miss as I am sure there are many people who will be saving up for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but this is the perfect time to start raising some social awareness of your products. This time can be used to plant the seed so that people remember your work towards the start of the more frenzied last minute buying period.
This is also the perfect time to start looking at sending out emails if you already have an email client list, and my recent article on building your web presence in a weekend which you can read here, will point you in the right direction about managing email campaigns. 

autumn art sales
Autumn Campaigns…
My strategy this year will be to start introducing a new series of artworks with a very autumnal creation being at the top of my social post list, and I will be snapping a few autumn themed reference photos for you to use in your own art projects, although I might struggle a bit as the leaves on the trees where I live are still very green!
November 22nd to the 26th are huge opportunities for Thanksgiving sales in the USA, and even if you don’t live or work in the USA you can still participate. Having spent some significant time in the US, Thanksgiving is one of my favourite days of the year and I love how people in the US really come together. 
Thanksgiving is also a great way to spotlight what’s going on in the community, so social media posts which highlight what’s going on in your area or even wider afield might be a good play. Not everything you do has to be about marketing your own work, so bring some added value by spotlighting local community arts groups or arts projects that will be taking place over this special weekend because not everyone wants to go shopping!
This is also the time of the year when those two major sales events, Black Friday and Cyber Monday happen. I know people will be looking to introduce limited time promotions, offers and discount codes but so will everyone else. Maybe the smarter play will be to not go down the Black Friday/Cyber Monday road, but to present any offers before the day so that competition for eyes and wallets is slightly less.
Last year the first Black Friday post I spotted was posted around a week before Black Friday, and I noticed that a few brands were using the preceding week as a countdown to the day itself And some were counting down to Cyber Monday. But there’s nothing stopping you having your own Black Friday event on any day of the week. Ideally you might want to do it around pay day, but remember that Small Business Saturday takes place on November 24th in the USA. In the UK it takes place on the 1st December this year.
Small Business Saturday…
Small Business Saturday doesn’t have to be just about offering promotional and discount pricing. It’s also an ideal opportunity to showcase what you do. That could be some WIPs (Work In Progress) that demonstrate your talents or sharing your own story of how you set the business up and why. 
This gives you another great reason to bust out the GoPro or to film the creative process or even your studio and to start using the power of video together with social media and maybe even create a series of shorts that go from blank canvas to masterpiece. Facebook Creator is a great platform which you can find here, and you can even use Facebook’s own royalty free music library called the sound collection to add sound effects and music to your video without worrying that it will be taken down. You can find out more about the sound collection right here.  
This is also the perfect time to release a catalogue of gift ideas. Thankfully it’s the internet age and we no longer have to cut down trees to produce catalogues and gift guides. If you already have a website you could create a page dedicated to gift ideas.
If you already sell via print on demand, services such as those from Fine Art America will allow you to download the HTML code to display on your own website which links to your FAA online store. This is ideal as FAA will be handling the transactions and shipping so all you have to do is enable everything.
Instead of uploading five photos of funny cats or half a dozen photos of random things on social media, you could also create a gift guide album and post that. Select a few gift ideas other than the usual prints, so things like throw cushions and mugs, and the smaller inexpensive items and present them with another photo which appears on the front of the post that tells people that it is a gift guide.
This is something I will be doing very soon, and as I already post reference photos on my Facebook page for other artists to use in their own art projects, this year I am planning to create a few bespoke “support independent artists” and small business graphics and will make those available for use too.
buy from independent visual artists and creatives
Sustain awareness…
As we move through to the end of November most people will still be looking out for bargains and special gifts, and by the second week in December most people will be in full swing and will be buying last minute presents.
This is the ideal time to keep up the work you will have been doing on social media to make sure that your artwork is seen. Showcase items from your gift guide and tell a story. Provide some product information and remember to include not only the features of the product, but the benefits of owning the product too. Think about how buying this product solves a problem, and make sure that everyone knows the answer to that problem is to buy the product.
That’s not quite as easy with art as art is often seen as a luxury and not an essential, but those other products such as emergency phone chargers, phone cases, and home décor, well they solve problems so add them into the social media mix.
If you are relying on postage and shipping then be extra cautious around this time. Many of the print on demand sites will have last days for shipping to guarantee the art will still arrive in time for Christmas, but if you don’t rely on shipping then you have an extended selling period, possibly even up to Christmas Eve.
Once Christmas arrives you might want to focus on less salesy content for your social media posts, so content that wishes everyone a great time and a happy New Year, and sharing other content will give everyone a break until December 26th. That’s the date that the sales really start again and of course, the lead up to the New Year.

new year art sales
New Year…
New Year sales are usually in full swing by now so if you want to run a promotion, now is the time to do it. It is also another time when people are focussed on sharing, so creating captivating posts that have the share factor should be key. 
As artists we too often post a photo of our artwork but few actually use their posts in the same way that brands do. So consider changing your posts to better reflect what the big brands are posting and follow their lead. They have dedicated marketing teams and rarely do they ever post photos of just the product, they introduce stories and themes. I kind of get the feeling that sometimes if you want to stick out, it’s as well to blend in but create something different enough. 
In your spare time…
If you are planning ahead well in advance of sales seasons then you could find yourself with a little extra time on your hands. It won’t be much because there is always something to do when you are an artist, so the tips below are things that can be done in the odd twenty-sixty minutes.
Update tags and descriptions…
Update descriptions and tags of your existing artwork and give them some recent relevance. In fact you should do this quite often, yet so many of us upload a piece and never go back to review or promote it, and few of us rewrite the original descriptions after we initially make the art available. Adding newer and more relevant tags will help the product to rank higher in the search results.
If new products have become available through your print on demand service, make sure that your images are sized for these products too. In some cases, your art might not look great on a particular product at all. Never try to crop it or resize it because it will degrade the quality of the image. You need your products to have a consistent high quality feel on whatever the work is printed on.
Finally get around to setting up business profiles…
Setting up a Facebook page rather than a personal profile is free. You can convert your personal page to a business/fan page if you want to, but you can set up as many business pages as you want without using your personal profile.
Business Pages on Facebook will give you more tools so that you can schedule posts, find out who’s taking a look at your work, and if you want to go down the pay to play route, it will allow you to create ads. 
Other social media channels also have similar tools for business accounts and most of them will also offer similar tools that make life just a little easier.
Don’t forget the classics…
Promoting older artworks with different social posts will remind people of the work you have created in the past. If there is a work that you have sold since it was uploaded, there is a possibility that it will sell again. It’s good to re-surface artworks because you will want to take advantage of any new audiences since you last posted it.
Have a great season…
All that’s left to say is that I hope you have a great quarter four sales season and you have a great time doing the work needed for it. Look out for the reference images and graphics I will be producing and posting on my Facebook page, and don’t get too stressed with everything.
Also in the news…
Did anyone notice? Beechhousemedia.co.uk now has a sister site! https://beechhousemedia.com This site will remain and will grow even bigger and better over the coming year, but the dot com version of the site is where you will find some of my work, any offers and promotions I will be running, and in time there will be a dedicated collectors area too! It’s also where you will find some of my upcoming collections as I complete them and some behind the scenes insights! There are links back to this site so feel free to take a look!
And also, also in the news... Someone got Banksy-ed at the auction with Girl in the Red Balloon! My initial take was that it has likely added 50% to the value of the work and I got the feeling that no one had a clue that was going to happen other than two people. One of them Banksy, and the other one who was likely his accomplice and who pressed the button. Genius and then some on another level. But now I’m not so sure because the blades were pointing the wrong way... the painting came out of the bottom not the front, or have I just been watching too much Penn and Teller on Netflix? Whatever it was, it was performance art at its best!
Google+ has just about 10-months of life remaining after it was announced that the domestic Google+ service would be sun-setted next year. It’s a real shame because after all these years I had just figured it out. 
The shut down announcement follows news exposed by a journalist that the social network had a data leak to developers although there was nothing indicating that anyone was affected. It makes sense commercially for Google to choose this as the time to announce Google+ is closing because they have probably been watching the aftermath of Facebook’s own issues and have other businesses within the Alphabet group to protect. Had the issue not been exposed, I honestly don’t think it would have survived anyway, it’s a shame too because they were trying hard to be another Facebook. 
So what do you think of Banksy shredding his own work, and does the Goggle+ shut down bother you at all? Leave a comment below and let us know!
About Mark…
I am an independent visual artist who has a real passion for the work of independent creatives around the world. You can buy my artwork here: https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com 
You can follow me on Facebook here: https://facebook.com/beechhousemedia and this is where I make available exclusive and free reference photos for use in your own art projects.
And on Pinterest right here, https://pinterest.com/beechhousemedia because Pinterest is awesome, and you can follow me on Twitter @beechhouseart because, well, twitter.
You can donate the cost of a cup of coffee to support this site right here
But this week instead of buying me a coffee or supporting this site, please consider making a donation to those who are currently being affected by Hurricane Michael in the USA. Our thoughts are with everyone affected, and right now those people need help a lot more than this website does. There are plenty of campaigns on Go Fund Me and some official campaigns through Facebook so let’s pay it forward.  
If there’s a subject you want me to cover, I’ll try my best if you let me know what subjects you want. Just drop me a line or leave me a comment below!

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