It’s November. That means that the holidays are coming swiftly and people will start shopping soon. I’ve heard of people challenging themselves to finish all their shopping before December 1st!! Kooky? Maybe. But it’s something you need to be aware of as an artist who sells their work.
Here are the basics of a successful holiday season.
1. Communicate. Send out weekly emails, even if it’s just a paragraph reminding your fans that you do some of the other things on this list. Stay on your customer’s radar.
2. Gift wrap. And really, do it for free. You should be doing this anyway, whenever possible. Take a picture of the first wrapped piece you send out and add the photo to your online listings so people can anticipate your prettily-wrapped package. And especially during the holidays, this is an edge that could get your art chosen ahead of the competition.
3. Discount. People are looking for those holiday deals, especially toward the end of November. Run a promotional offer that gives a percentage off, a free print, or an actual dollar amount off. Do a BOGO even! Run the numbers before you tell anyone to make sure you’re still covering your costs.
4. Save time and money. Buy shipping supplies in bulk. Don’t go crazy. Expect around double the business you normally get unless you plan on marketing a lot more than usual. Don’t forget to keep posting on your blog and social media (see tip #1). But if you’re worried about how much time it takes, you can just take a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram and share them on social media, one at a time. Then put them all in a post together for your blog. And send out an email a few days later letting everyone know they can see you in the midst of the holiday rush. Automate whatever you can with tools like HootSuite.
5. Suggest. If a particular piece would be a good fit for a gardener, a young mom, or a busy professional – let your customers know. Put it in the item description or do a roundup on your blog or in a newsletter that shows “The Best Gifts for ____”. And don’t forget to cross-promote in your listings by linking to similar things. If they like that watercolor of a rose, perhaps they’ll also like the one of a lily. This can help your customers find the right pieces, or even get them to buy more!
6. Communicate more. Make sure your customers know shipping deadlines to get their orders by each holiday, especially Christmas. Follow up with customer orders with a personal note at each stage of the process. Receive the order? Let them know. Collected all the items and packed them up… and planning to send them out tomorrow? Send an email! Order shipped? Give them the update and tell them when they can expect to receive it. Thank them and put them on the list for a followup in the new year. I think it’s a nice touch to contact them in January and ask if everyone liked their presents and perhaps give them a coupon for future purchases.