Sunday, September 28, 2008

Recession-Proof Marketing Strategies

Times are bad...just listen to the news. Banks are failing, factories are closing, and small business are going under. Congress will be passing legislation to bail out the banks while we are left suffering the fallout.

Sounds pretty "doom and gloom" doesn't it. You can either dwell in the mess and go down with it or you can change your direction a bit and forge ahead. I'm choosing to forge ahead.

The economists say that during a recession business slow to a slow crawl. You don't have to get caught up in this if you're willing to explore new venues and make some marketing changes.

How Do We Survive?

Be more creative in your marketing. Look for venues in your home town and surrounding communities that will allow you to hang your art...restaurants and up-scale hair salons are perfect for this. How about a one man show at your local library or bank lobby? Do you have a patron that would do an open house for you? Announce an "open studio" day.

We've all heard these things's now more crucial than ever that you take action. Set aside one morning a week to market yourself locally.

Increase your visibility...sponsor a Literary Contest at your local High School. Get involved in the Chamber of Commerce, Sponsor an award at your local art fair, volunteer at a community outreach, be active in your church.

It's a proven fact that the consumer responds to businesses that support the greater good of the need to be known locally as one of these businesses.

Another thing...we are told that consumer purchases are grinding to a halt. This just isn't true. The consumer doesn't stop buying...but they do adjust how much they are allowing themselves to spend. Therefore you need to adjust the price points you offer by creating smaller less expensive works.

I did not say...lower your prices or discount your art. This is especially true if you are in the higher end of the market. Discounting your art always raises the expectation of receiving a discount again the next time they purchase and lowers the perceived value of your work.

Try offering a 'gift with purchase'. This could be one of your smaller pieces...developed just for this purpose, or how about a Gift Certificate redeemable on their next purchase.

Update your mailing list. This is one of your greatest business assets in good times and bad. It's a proven fact...80% of your sales will be generated from 20% of your customers. It's more important than ever that you cultivate and coddle this 20% while keeping your name in front of the other 80%. If they purchased from you once they are your best bet for additional sales.

If you've let your mailing list slide...get it updated. Keep your name in front of your clients by sending a regular newsletter at the very least on a monthly basis . It doesn't have to be lengthly...give them a peek into your studio, your life as an artist, update them on new pieces and upcoming shows. Always include a photo of one of your pieces and a link to your website.

Consider Teaching...others will pay to learn the techniques you use. For decades artists have supplemented their income by teaching others. Private classes where the client receives one on one instructions are always in demand. for larger classes, contact your local library, class room space is sometimes free to those in the district.

Today's internet makes teaching even easier...if you have a video camera, record your process and present it on your blog via U-tube or Blogger...or make a CD or DVD and retail it. Consider producing an "E Book" that can be downloaded by your customer.

See how Susan Carlin is maximizing her internet exposure using video and Ustream TV.

Finally, I would tell you to GET A WEBSITE AND A BLOG. Yes, I said...BLOG! These are both inexpensive when compared to return. To learn more, read my series It's the Journey that Defines You.

Don't ever say you're too "technically challenged" to have a website. Give FineArtStudioOnline a try...sign up for their "Free Trial", you've got nothing to loose.

I will unashamedly attest to their "extraordinary artist support staff" and their willingness to help you throughout the set-up process.

Final Thoughts: This recession isn't going to last forever, we need to be ready when it turns around...and it will. Keep a positive attitude, stay focused on your goals, feed your creative mind and keep on producing your wonderful works of art. Play it right and we will all still be here when this crisis subsides.

God Bless this wonderful nation and it's people.


Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

Literary Contest
Your Greatest Business Asset
It's the Journey That Defines You
Susan Carlin's Art Journal

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment


Anonymous said...

Hi Marsha, and fellow artist---keeping a positive attitude is a big bonus and the hidden blessing is that you keep working to market your creative work--banks, grocery stores, restaurants, barber shops, women's salons, churches, hardware stores, event centers are all possibilities for showing work--and keeping in front of your local customers is a key. I personally have a web site on Fine Art Studio On Line--but I'm still not up yet--this coming week Marge and I will be up and running. This past weekend I sent my portfolio to a local gallery that has a great web site and they are going to present my work at no cost. A local banker has spoken to me about an afternoon show and they will help promote this event, and so there are options. Marge and I are working on more shows locally and regionally the key is to keep going generating more ideas--as Marsha says things change all the time so no time to quit or give up. Communicating and working with your community is a big benefit, people get to know who you are and start to look for your beautiful work. America is a great country, people are resilient, hard working, things will improve--in the interim help as many other fellow artist as you can, not only will they appreciate your help--and you'll have made some new friends--take care--happy painting, sketching, or writing--many blessing--Jimmy

Marsha Robinett said...

Jimmy,'ve got a plan and you're working it.

Thanks for contributing. You're always an inspiration.

Paula Pertile said...

Marsha, thanks for this post. Its exactly what's been on my mind lately, and today especially!
Both the gloom and doom worry part, but also the "it will turn around" part.
We do have to be more creative and assertive on our own behalves. Just today I asked the post office lady about maybe putting some art up there. They have rules and regulations, so not sure if I'll get to, but I was proud of myself for even asking.
Your point about not discounting your work is true, too. Suze Orman says "don't put your work on sale!" and she ought to know!

Angela Finney said...

Marsha, you are the best at putting forth an encouraging word. I feel that I am at the beginning of my journey. I am primarily marketing pet portraits. I got a good deal on various promotional materials at Vista Print online. For alot less than I had planned to spend, I have good brochures and business cards, which I am posting at area veterinarians, pet stores, tack shops etc. Thank you so much for the encouraging post -- will keep beating the drum and will be positive about marketing in various ways locally. Angela

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Nice one Marsha - I'll be adding a link to this into my new squidoo information site about marketing art in a slowdown

Marsha Robinett said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this post and kudos for taking the first steps in inquiring with business to hang your art. IT IS THE FIRST STEP that is the most difficult. The next time will come much easier.

I had to dig a little deeper to come up with encouraging words for this post...but I have never believed in dwelling IN the problem. (when you fall into the lake you have to swim to the top to survive)

We all need to start more than ever!!

It's always an honor to have you visit my blog and I appreciate the link in your new Squidoo lens. Will be taking a look to see what ideas others have. This is the time to be pulling out all the tricks.

Donna PierceClark said...


Thanks! Your words are timely and specific. thanks thanks thanks!
Donna Pierce-Clark

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