One of the most critical errors artists make when doing art fairs (or any in-person event) is failing to capitalize on all the “retail” traffic to create more business both now and in the future.
What we mean by this, is that most artists only try to get a sale at the event, but let all the other non-buyers go without making a concerted effort to turn them into a lead and cultivate them into becoming a repeat customer.
Let’s define it… a lead, in the case of an artist, is anyone that did not buy your art that you can try to contact after meeting (whether at an event, show, etc) and nudge them to buy that print they liked.
Often times, all it takes is an email with a special offer – like a time-sensitive 30% off coupon or a “buy one get one free” – to get them to actually make the purchase and become a customer.
This strategy, in business terms, is called lead generation and lead cultivation.
It’s not just about making that first sale; it’s about earning repeat business.
It’s about connecting with your leads and customers on social media so that all your future posts hit their feeds ready to be easily shared with friends, family, and others who may, too, have an emotional connection with the subject matter. As your work is spread further by those people, before you know it your images could go “viral” amongst a broader group of people who are finding themselves emotionally connected to your art.
Think about the importance of this – you’ve now leveraged your retail presence at this ONE ART FAIR to expose you to potentially dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of new potential buyers and fans.
Art fair lead generation has huge potential to impact your future sales.
You might be thinking that doing this will be time-consuming and labor-intensive. You’ll have to collect everyone’s contact information and keep it organized somewhere. You’ll have to find their social media pages, and then connect with them. Normally, this would be a very painful process, which is why most artists don’t do it.
But using software, this process is easy.
Art Storefronts, an enterprise platform for artists, is designed to make this process simple. Our software has a contact manager so that you can have one centralized contact database for your art business.
This means anytime you do an event, you can enter everyone’s information in here where it will be permanently stored and will remain on your radar.
Once a contact is entered in, all our Social Pro tool’s algorithm needs is a single email address to show you a contact’s Facebook page, Twitter profile, LinkedIn account, and any other social media profiles.
Then, with one click, you can immediately become friends on Facebook, which means your contact will now see your future Facebook posts in their feed.
Entering in 100 of your offline contacts and connecting with them on social media will probably take you a whopping 20 minutes. 20 minutes for a lifetime of potential sales, repeat business, shares, and referrals from 100 contacts you just met last weekend. 20 minutes, and you now have a lead generation and cultivation strategy like never before.
Leveraging the Art Storefronts software to grow your OFFLINE sales is so integral and important to building a strong art business, that we decided to put a post together to explain what should be done, soup to nuts, whenever you have a “retail” event such as an art fair, gallery showing, or a simple booth in a hotel lobby.
1. Collect names and email addresses at events
An easy, fun way to do this is to have a “drop your biz card in the fish bowl” to win a free print which will be sent to the customer. Nobody loves walking around all day with a print, so make it clear that there’s no commitment and you’ll contact them if they win. Encourage people to drop a biz card in there; carry the bowl around and hold it in front of people if you have to.
Remember – the customers you REALLY want are the ones who express an emotional connection to your subject matter. These are the ones with potential friends, family, clubs, organizations that you will eventually leverage through social media if you just get a single business card.
2. Store these contacts digitally
Enter the info you attained at the event into an excel doc (which can be imported directly into our contact manager), or just enter them into the contact manager directly. Remember, collecting their email address is key.
3. Connect with your contacts on social media
Click on the “Social Pro” tab, and our algorithm will show you all of the social profiles associated with a given email address. Connect with them. In the case of Facebook, this means send them all a friend request.
4. Reconnect with your contacts after the event
Immediately send out an email blast with a thank you for visiting your booth and a time-limited offer to buy something at a great price (offer should be fantastic, maybe a buy one get one free).
Remember, all of your “leads” gave you their business card for a reason. They like your art; but maybe they didn’t want to carry the piece around all day, or maybe they weren’t sure about how it would blend in with their wall color. If you send them a great offer, this will be their one chance to get a great deal. Many will take it, which means you just made a few more sales that you otherwise never would have.
5. Keep your newly-earned contacts in the loop
Going forward, send them a new email blast at least once per month. As you add more leads and customers into your database, everyone should get these emails. Stay fresh in their minds by showing them new, great imagery. Everyone loves seeing new great imagery.
6. Take advantage of opportunities to market to your contact list
Post on Facebook at least twice per month, no matter what. If you don’t have any concrete updates to share, just post an image you love and want to share with your audience.
Once you’ve started doing lead generation and cultivation, there are more things you should be doing to grow your sales, like taking advantage of every holiday (i.e. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas). This is what all the big art companies do.
These holidays are HUGE art selling opportunities.
But if you don’t have a great website and eCommerce experience that actually converts visitors into buyers, and if you never cultivated a lead list to send out offers on these days, you’re literally missing out on the entire opportunity!
Thousands upon thousands of people are extremely motivated to buy art on these days, and you aren’t even taking part in the fun. We will get more into this on future posts.
In the meantime and in lieu of this, go right now and become an email subscriber to Art.com and any other large art retail websites so you can see how often they email (last we checked, they shockingly send emails out almost every day), how they design those emails, and what types of special promotions they run. Take what you think works and add it to your own business.