This is part 2 in a series on selling more effectively through creating an experience for your customer. Make sure you catch up on part 1 if you haven’t already. It’s crucial.
Continuing with the concept of providing your customer with an experience that connects with their souls and keeps them coming back for more and raving about you everywhere, it’s important to make a bigger impact on your customer while simultaneously reinforcing your distinctive brand by packaging your art to match your business and feel instantly special.
There are a gazillion ways to package your products. You can find tons of inspiration on Pinterest or you can poke around at other people in your niche and see if they have photos in their shop of the product all gift-wrapped and beautiful. Or just look around at what you have and use your creativity to make something gorgeous in a new medium – gift wrap!
But the key is to develop a look that you use with all your packaging so it distinctly feels like it’s YOURS.
You know, the whole branding thing. It’s not just logos and fonts – it extends to the very shell your product arrives in.
A great way to ensure that your packaging fits your brand is to use the same colors you’ve chosen for your brand. It sounds simple, but that distinctive blue you picked for your website could be just the thing to make your package instantly recognizable. That’s what Tiffany’s has done. No one wonders about a box in that particular shade of aqua. They know it comes from Tiffany’s. Now your brand won’t be on that same scale (or maybe it will!) but your regular customers will know you that well. And that’s what matters.
Give the package the same level of whimsy as your work. Do you typically offer simple, black and white line illustrations? Then your package should be crisp and clean as well. On the other hand, if you do colorful, abstract, active pieces, you may want to have curly ribbons or an interesting print on the wrapping paper. You might draw some shapes onto the box or pin some fresh flowers to it. Whatever you do, make it vibe with your work. When you’re in the packaging planning stages, it’s helpful to ask a friend. Show them the front page of your online shop and the packaged up product and ask if they came from the same place. Simple test, but it works.
Overall, your goal is to make a statement that shows that the piece came from you and only you. That could be a beautiful ribbon around the cello sleeve. It could be a small illustration on the outside of the package next to the shipping label. It could be using wrapping paper to cover the piece. Bows, frills, tags, flowers, etc etc.
Reimagine the way your product is delivered to your customer.
Think about how their face will look when they receive the package. Make the experience of unwrapping your art a joyful, anticipatory, surprising one – one that fills them with giddiness and really drives home how special it is that they now own a piece of your art.
Spend 20 minutes popping around your workspace and finding supplies that will work. If you need to order something, go ahead and do it. Then schedule a spot in your calendar to play with packaging. If you’re starting at zero, plan to spend at least 2 hours on it. Report back here.
This is a guest post by Jennifer Lee.
In fourth grade we had this project: to draw what we wanted to be when we grew up. Then our teacher would hang all the drawings on the same wall and give it some inspirational title. I drew an artist… and was laughed at. I remember my classmates saying, “That’s not a job!” Twenty years later, I still get the same thing. But now I can say, “Yes. Yes it is. I pay my bills by being an artist.”
When I was in college, the focus was on your work. Developing your style. Refining your technique. Going outside of your comfort zone. All of those things are great, but there was zero talk of what to do after graduation. All of the art kids would joke about how we would probably end up working in restaurants. And that’s actually what I did for about five years afterwards. I was a bartender, yet continued making art on the side.
Never did it even cross my mind to try to sell my art anywhere.
In 2010, I grew tired of the restaurant scene and took a “real job” at a medical company. A 30 minute commute, 9-5, my own office, and more Microsoft Excel than any one human being could imagine. This is what everyone told me I was supposed to do. This was the kind of job that everyone said you were supposed to have. And I hated it. While the rest of the world seemed to have this “That is how life works. You are supposed to hate your job and live for the weekends” attitude, I didn’t want to accept it.
It was then that I really started to think long-term about what I wanted to do with my life. All thoughts came back to art. One day I was browsing the handmade empire that is Etsy and I found a section of articles called “Quit Your Day Job.”
It was like 1000 light bulbs went off all at once.
Here were HUNDREDS of stories about people who were making a living selling art, ceramics, jewelry, you name it: in their own stores online. People were doing this, and not just a handful of them.
The internet is this amazing tool we have nowadays that makes things possible which were not even in the realm of possibility ten years ago. Not only are there sites like Etsy, Society6, Red Bubble, and Big Cartel (just to name a few) that allow you to create a store where you set your own prices and list anything you want, we also have social media that allows us to promote it. Start a Facebook page, a Tumblr site, post photos on Flickr, pin your work on Pinterest, shout it from the mountain tops on Twitter. Get your name out there any and every way possible. One thing I did not expect is to be contacted for so many freelance projects.
Make yourself find-able!
If you believe in what you are doing and are proud of your work, people will see that and follow you.
Now, here is the most important part.
Is it easy? No. Are you going to be flooded with business the moment you open your online stores? No. Will there be weeks that you survive on Ramen noodles, just like in college? Absolutely. I don’t think I had protein in my diet for the first four months. If this was easy then everyone would do it. Be ready for criticism from people you know and from people you would never expect. You will have friends who won’t take what you’re doing seriously. But try to remember, being artistic is a gift that not everyone has. You can use this gift to open doors that a lot of other people do not have access to. Your friends who work 9-5 jobs will get on your case if you don’t answer a text until 10:30am because that is when you woke up. But they won’t realize that you were up until 4am painting. Because you can do that when you make your own schedule.
You just have to believe in yourself and what you are doing.
That is really all you need. That is what will get you through the tough weeks. That is what will allow you to brush the “You don’t have a real job,” comments right off your shoulders. If you believe that now, then you are already halfway there.
My name is Jennifer Lee and I am a mixed media artist living and working in Columbus, Ohio. After double majoring in Fine Art and History of Art at the Ohio State University, I left the miserable world of “real jobs” in the fall of 2012 in order to pursue my dream of making a living selling my work. You can see more of Jennifer’s work here.
06 JunFamous Artist Puppets
These paper puppets of famous artists are awesome. I know you’ve always wanted a Van Gogh puppet for your playful escapades… well, maybe not. But they are still lovely little representations of some of our favorite artists who inspire us daily.
These are just a few of my favorites, but there are many more on the Famous Artists Club etsy shop.
So many of us have difficulty making sales because we model how we sell after big, faceless companies. What’s good for Target is not going to be good for you. You’re small. You’re handmade. You’re impeccably crafted. You’re special and sometimes customized. Are any of those things words you would use to describe Wal-Mart?
Well of course not. But that doesn’t mean you know what to do instead. Here’s a little secret -
You have to give your customers an experience instead of a product. You’re job is making an impact on their soul. (Click to tweet.)
This starts with showing them your personality. Just like each piece of art you complete has a little part of you in it – maybe the color choices, the way the brush strokes curve, or something as simple as the subject of your illustration – you have to let your potential customers in on who you are. Helping your customers connect with you emotionally is the most effective, authentic, trustworthy, and feel-good way to make a sale.
You should put the focus of the sale on the experience of finding, purchasing, and living with one of your pieces. You need to resonate with them deeply. If they see your art as simply a piece of paper that will make their wall look better, they are not going to purchase. But if they experience your art as a story, it becomes much more enticing. Think about it: each piece came from your imagination and has a story behind it. You lovingly created it with the experiences you have in your past and communicated them onto the page. You crafted it with a hand that has learned a skill over time and tools and materials that come from somewhere as well… everything that goes into this piece has a story.
When your customer comes into the picture, they bring their own pieces of the experience in the reason they are looking for the piece or combing your shop, what about that piece strikes them and makes them click the link, what words in your description resonate with them, how they feel connected to you as an artist because your description gives them something to latch onto… the purchase process, the anticipation, framing it, figuring out where to hang it and why, seeing it day after day… it becomes a part of their lives. Your art is entering their lives – and not in as small a way as you initially think.
The moment you treat your art as a simple piece of paper to decorate a wall, you start communicating that to your buyer subconsciously and you steal away their opportunity to connect to you and truly experience your art. And that’s how you instantly lose a sale.
This can be easier when you’re meeting people in person and selling at galleries or art fairs. But it becomes very difficult when you’re selling online. One of the most effective places to infuse yourself into potential sales is your copy. You can make the text you use to describe your art reach into your customer’s soul by connecting with them through your human personality.
Here’s the step-by-step:
- Read up on storytelling.
- Record yourself talking to a friend about the piece.
- Transcribe the recording.
- Refine the transcription so it’s clean and clear. Don’t change the phrasing you use in real life, even if it’s technically grammatically incorrect. It should sound like you – and phrasing is the biggest giveaway.
- Have one person look over it to make sure it’s compelling, there aren’t any spelling mistakes, and that it clearly describes the piece.
- Finish the product description with very specific details like colors, size, materials, etc.
That makes it super easy to get your personality in your copy and really hit home to your buyers. You can also hire a copywriter (I know a couple GREAT ones) to infuse things with a more spirit, but it will be less authentically your voice.
So where else can you improve copy to really speak to your customers?
- shop announcements or welcome areas if you’re on a hosted shop
- about page or bio section
- policies pages (yep! those don’t have to be boring)
- emails that go out after a purchase
- your blog and social media, of course!
Got more ideas? Post ‘em in the comments. I’ve got more on this topic coming soon.
This is the first in a series on effective selling through emotional connection and building an experience. Continue reading part 2 here.
I’m usually not into the really colorful. But I’m jumping on the neon bandwagon for The Crayon Chick‘s goodies. They’re delightful!