How to Prep Your Art Business for the 2020 Holidays

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Even as shops in your area open back up for the rush of sales they're hoping to get, there’s proof that shopping has forever changed. With that said, take these 14 tips to prep your art business so you can be ready for this holiday season.
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14 Best Marketing Tips to Prep Your Art Business For The 2020 Holiday Season

Many small businesses have already planned for the 2020 holiday season. Since we just relaunched, I’m a bit late posting this, but I couldn’t leave it out.

With the 2020 holiday season in full swing, now is the time to plan.

I’ve curated the 14 best marketing tips to prep your art business for the 2020 holiday season.

Before we get to the guide, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.  The internet.

Following that is a “gotta-have-it” list of stats that will help you use this guide in today’s post the best way possible.

Now more than ever artists must rely on the internet, especially this holiday season.

If you’re thinking digital sales will decline once COVID19 is over, think again.

Even as shops in your area open back up, there’s proof that shopping has forever changed.

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Instead, people found the convenience of ecommerce a welcome change to come out of this whole ordeal. Online shopping has only begun to ramp up.

And when shoppers head to their phones or their computers this holiday season, they’ll be on a mission more than ever.

Most are realizing they need to order earlier as shipping overload on small and big businesses alike is a real problem.

Also, your current and future customers are looking for more ways to make their purchases. They’re wanting to do it through a multitude of digital channels.

(Salesforce has an in-depth explanation of this called “pushing your brand to the edge” if you want to know more.)

The goal is to reach them wherever they are online (and offline). Engage with them not only on Facebook, Instagram and so on, but also on the right devices.

Be sure you can be found and accessed easily on desktop, but more importantly, on mobile.

With that said, here are the shopping trends that relate most to your small art business.

Small Business Shopping Stats 2020

What changed during 2020?

Those are staggering, I know.

And they refer to you.

Without adjusting our mindset to prioritize online traffic and convert fans and visitors into buyers, we risk becoming lost at sea.

Overall, when thinking about how to reach your audience this holiday season, remember that your buyers very much want to experience your work and connect with you (quickly and easily).

So, meet them where they are.

Use as many of the tips in this guide today as you can.

Solely relying on in-person, face-to-face experiences and connections to drive your sales this 2020 holiday season won’t be a winning strategy.

With that said, I have a great roadmap for you.

It’s a true step-by-step sequential guide.

Categories

1. Reflect

Start this process by thinking back.

What worked best in marketing and sales previously? Ask yourself if those same tactics will work this year?

Anticipate holiday orders by going through and looking at your available stock. Do you need to increase your available pieces or performances?

If you want to increase your volume, decide what’s doable.

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Finally, reflect on what kinds of networking events can you attend to get the word out about your holiday promos.

2. Calendar

Create your 2020 holiday calendar.

Map out dates you want to acknowledge, your promo timelines, deadlines for works you’re currently creating and shipping and outreach deadlines.

Here are some dates you may want to include:

  • November 27:  Black Friday – Black Friday is the unofficial beginning of the holiday shopping season. In 2019 total sales were 11.9 billion (a 20% increase over the previous year). Blackfriday.com predicts a slight decline this year to 11 billion.
  • November 28:  Small Business Saturday – created by American Express to encourage people to become patrons of their local businesses. It generates a lot of revenue for a lot of small businesses.

It’s interesting to note that more than 112 million holiday shoppers reported shopping on this day to celebrate small businesses last year!

  • November 29:  Artists Sunday – Newly established, Artists Sunday is an alliance of over 2,000 artists, local arts agencies, organizations and more who have come together to encourage shopping favorite local artists and craftsmen.

It’s dedicated to the promotion and sales of art in all forms. Use this day to offer your best deals. It’s about sales, but also about rewarding this shoppers. Kick of this first Artists Sunday in epic fashion!! After all, it’s a day about YOU.

  • December 2: Cyber Monday – The Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday was created in 2005 and has grown to be the biggest online sales day of the year. Last year, online sales on Cyber Monday were $7.9 billion, 54% of which came from mobile devices.
  • December 14: Free Shipping Day – This one started just 12 years ago in 2008. Free shipping day is a one-day promotional event in which more than 1,000 participating online retailers offer free shipping, without minimum purchases and guaranteed delivery by December 24th.
  • December 21: Super Saturday – This one is also known as Panic Saturday. Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas and is primarily an in-store, in-person event.

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You only have four weeks between Thanksgiving and December 21. One important thing to note is that December 21st is the last day for UPS Next Day Air and USPS Priority Express Mail if you want delivery by Christmas.

The goal of creating your 2020 holiday art business calendar is to organize your marketing and sales, keep your sanity and make your buyers happy all at the same time.

Use my customizable Art Business Task List and Calendar for free to help you get organized.

3. Inventory

This one is easy. Make a list of all the works or performances you will offer this holiday season.

Will you add anything? For example, do you have works stored away that you can pull out and promote or events you can add?

Can you join with other performers or artists to do a holiday collaboration to leverage each other’s audiences?

Keep track of your current inventory and add to it when possible.

Maximizing the amount of your total offers is one way to increase profits.

How to Prep Your Art Business for the Holiday Season 2021 Cover Image

4. Promotions

Patrons expect to give you money, but they also expect you to offer them promotions.

Decide what your promotional offers will be and how you’ll give them.

(FYI – 96% of US internet users said free shipping affects their purchase decisions.)

Some examples of effective promos are to give a 25% discount to your email list only or a “warm holiday welcome” coupon code for anyone who signs up to your email list or makes their first purchase during the holiday season.

Another example could be to have a “12 days of Christmas” offer that releases a new and different type of savings each day of the count down.

According to Retail Touchpoints, 9 out of 10 online shoppers prefer free shipping over fast shipping.

Whatever you decide, make your offers prevalent wherever you want people to see them.

Promote, promote, promote!

5. Holiday SEO

Capitalize on holiday searches by adding your own holiday SEO strategy.

People will be heading online to use that search bar for their shopping.

If you’ve already anticipated the holidays, hopefully you decided a couple of months ago to start updating your website SEO to include holiday keywords.

If not, you can still use keywords to grab traffic.

Use keywords such as “seasonal”, “Small Business Saturday”, “Black Friday”, “Artists Sunday”, “shop local”, “holiday deals”, “handmade gifts”, “shops in (name of your area)” or any phrases that combine your specific artwork with holiday shopping words.

Be sure to focus on local shoppers too. Increase your chances of them seeing your offers by optimizing your Google My Business listing.

You can even download the Google My Business App to make it easier to message customers, see followers, edit your business, track reviews and so on.

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(I’ll be putting out a very in-depth post on local search for artists coming up. Until then, you can read more about local search here.)

Another SEO tactic would be to launch a holiday PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaign organized around your preferred holiday shopping search terms.

Overall, think about how your SEO will bring customers in through your online door.

Remember, since most are staying home, it will help your sales to take an OTO (online to offline) or full online approach.

Holiday keyword SEO should also include specific keywords that you add to your website titles and descriptions.

Here are some to consider:

  • 2020
  • Holiday 2020
  • Local holiday shopping
  • Small Business
  • Black Friday sales
  • Artist Sunday
  • Christmas 2020

Using an SEO plugin can help you in your efforts.

6. Marketing

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There are a few things to consider for your holiday marketing plan.

Think about how you’ll use your website, product feeds, automation, reviews, real-life photos and social accounts.

For example, images and video from previous fans and customers have become one of the best ways to increase sales, according to CNBC.

(Google introduced this function to shopping reviews last year, and claimed that 20% of people on Instagram — and 37% of Gen Zs — say Instagram will be their preferred place to get holiday shopping inspiration.)

And what about ads.

To make it easier, ad scheduling is getting easier. There are several platforms you can use for ad scheduling. Using a scheduler will help you run and pause ads when they need to be.

Here are some places to go:

  • Google Ads (ad scheduling help here).

  • Facebook/Instagram (ad scheduling help here).

  • Twitter (ad scheduling setup here)

Build your holiday marketing around your Ultra Value Proposition. It’s what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Why will customers choose you this holiday season? What makes you unique? Determine the answer, and build a marketing campaign around it.

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7. Social

Take a look at your social channels and decide how you’ll get your social media followers in the holiday shopping spirit.

Start with a festive feed.

Update your profile image, add holiday pics, post holiday-related videos or photos of your work, and so on.

Announce upcoming holiday events and promotions to build excitement.

Fresh holiday content will keep fans and patrons engaged and inspire them to check back on your page often.

How about running a series of posts such as count-downs, daily gift ideas, or traditions, recipes, Christmas art projects, etc….

65% of shoppers say they’re more likely to shop with small businesses they can message. So, now is a good time to set up Facebook Messenger if you haven’t. Use it to engage with fans and patrons and promote your holiday sales and events.

Stories have also become highly engaging. Use Instagram and Facebook stories during the holidays. Last year, more shoppers watched or posted videos on Facebook Stories or Instagram Stories than ever before. Consider creating stories ads to promote your special sales and events.

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8. Email

Email is one of the most effective ways to reach your tribe.

A whopping 68% of holiday shoppers pay attention to emails. On the whole, email is responsible for 20% of online holiday site visits.

That speaks volumes.

In fact, research shows there has been a 20% increase year over year on Black Friday email opens alone.

Here’s how to use email during the holiday season:

  • Promos – send out pre-holiday sales promotions
  • Humanity – share holiday thoughts, tips, recipes, or photos from yourself, your family, your small team, your spaces and your works.
  • Offers – your list is expecting an offer such as free shipping, discounts, coupons
  • Referral Advantages – encourage your customers to share the deals you send them with friends and family by offering a free gift or discount for each referral.
  • Strategy – send reminder emails to those who abandon cart  encouraging them to complete their purchase (use scarcity and urgency). These emails have great potential, especially when you add a discount for the viewed items.
  • Count-downs – cater to last-minute shoppers who are primed for conversion

Email campaigns play a part in two-thirds of all sales.

“Email works,” Jon MacDonald says on The Good. “And the better you do at coaxing your audience to open the mails in your campaigns and act on the content you send them, the happier you’ll be with the conversion rate your emails produce.” Jon MacDonald

One important email to remember, as I mentioned, is the abandoned cart reminder.

Beka Rice, the head of product at Jilt, says you only have a few hours to save an abandoned shopping cart on days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Emails that communicate a little urgency after 60 minutes, then a follow-up at two hours post-cart abandonment, increase sales.

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9. Optimize 

Optimize your website for:

  • speed,
  • security and
  • mobile responsiveness

Having a fast site that’s secure and works well on mobile is more important in converting lookie-loos into real customers than you might think.

There are some great, free tools out there for checking your site speed.

These include GTMetrix (pictured below showing results of Artsrow.com) and the Google Developer PageSpeed Insights tool.

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The goog thing about the Google Developer PageSpeed Insights tool is that it will not only show you how your site performs on desktop, but also how it performs on mobile devices.

You can optimize images and enable lazy loading to increase load times.

Monitor your video content. It often slows down your site and affects user experience.

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Overall, working on your site speed and performance is always important. However, when it comes to the holidays, it’s even more essential.

Avoid a slow site and you’ll keep people from hopping right over to your competition. And we can’t have that!

You’ll also want to give customers the calm they’re looking for by ensuring that you protect their data.

Everyone is a target for a cyberattack, but during the holiday shopping season, any site that sells is a prime target.

Use this free tool by Sucuri to check your site security.

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Here’s a great list of security plugins you can install on your site.

If you are familiar with working on the backend of your site, you simply download, upload onto your site, activate and adjust the settings.

Showing that you offer a secure site is worth its weight in gold!

You’ll also want to take a look at your checkout experience. Be sure it shows buyers that it’s not only secure, but that it’s optimized across all devices with as few taps or clicks to purchase as possible.

Mobile buying has officially surpassed desktop on digital, and mobile devices will take up 52% this season.

A whopping seventy percent of digital visits will come from a mobile device, going as high as 75% on peak shopping days.

Test the shopping experience of your site yourself fixing anything that might be a barrier.

If you don’t deliver a quality experience, you’ll get high bounce rates no matter how great your works are (and we simply can’t have that).

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10. Urgency & Scarcity

Urgency and scarcity are two tried and true marketing methods for selling anything on the planet.

This holiday season shoppers are being driven by scarcity.

Why?

Because they’re limited on how much they can get out and shop.

Urgency can be heightened with reminders. When you have a clock, timer or ticker in front of you, that desire to take action can be overwhelming.

Adding a countdown on your social feed, to your header banner or checkout page can get people to make those important buying decisions.

Many people browse through items even adding them to a cart only to postpone until later.

But when time is almost up, they may not remember to come back.

Instead, encourage them to “buy now” with a different kind of countdown timer such as how many days they have left to finish shopping.

Some WordPress sites make use of builders such as the Elementor page builder. If you have a WordPress site, you can use the Countdown Timer widget to display any kind of countdown for your shoppers.

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11. Website Copy

Alter the messaging on your website’s landing pages to reflect the season.

From your one liners to your long form copy, add relevancy by matching the spirit of the holidays.

Also, be sure your web copy matches your promos. You want it to be intriguing and urgent. Use “this week only” or “for a limited time”. These will help change indecision to commitment.

This time of year also brings the perfect recipe for giving your visitors valuable content. No matter what type of art you’re promoting, there are ways to come up with holiday content that relates to your genre.

Research holiday trends in your arts industry. Find out what your target audience is struggling with or looking for this holiday season and use that to create content that’s interesting and relevant.

Want to inspire? Shayla Price gives several examples on HostGator for boosting your holiday copy with content such as gift guides and personalization.

And that first impression is a doozy, says JustUno. They state that 84 percent of website conversions happen on that first visit. If new visitors are finding you because of your promos, you’ll want to be sure they fit that stat. You do that by matching your website copy to your promotion copy.

Copyranter’s Mark Duffy says be specific, but natural. Weave your holiday copy into your existing copy in a natural way.

Small business websites need to be ready for a busy holiday season. Is your design clean and tidy and easy to use? Can customers easily find your most popular works or services? Does your ecommerce checkout work well?

12. Payment Options

As our options for just about everything have increased, so have our options for payments.

Most people hate spending the extra minute entering credit card information (I know, sounds silly, but it’s true) when they’ve experienced even easier ways to pay now.

We’ve come to rely on these options in more and more places. That’s why payment options is on my list of tips on prepping your art business for the holiday season.

In fact, there’s a great article addressing online payment options on HostGator.

Why not consider letting the 2020 holiday season be the year you let shoppers pay with PayPal, Apple Pay, or some other method rather than having to use a credit card to purchase your works.

13. Opt-ins

A good way to grab yet another holiday sale is to run a holiday email campaign and target browsers who’ve left your site.

But it only works if you can capture their email. Therein lies the problem. Getting them to subscribe requires some thought these days.

With everyone being buried alive in the sea of inbox mail, there is more reluctance to join new email lists.

So, in order to win the coveted email address, you’ll want to catch people’s attention and convince them to sign up for your list using some kind of unique holiday cheer, some surprise or an awesome opt-in download, etc…

Use an exit intent strategy too. It catches attention.

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14. Holiday Spirit

The idea behind getting into the holiday spirit, decorating and joining in the celebration is to tap into the sense of community and appeal to customers.

Our culture celebrates together. It’s one of the things that brings us together and there’s no better way for your small art business to share your love of community, tradition and culture than to show it outwardly.

Decorating your website and your physical location in true holiday fashion will show your spirit and build rapport.

Getting into the holiday spirit sends patrons the message of goodwill and cheer, two things we definitely need this year when we’re all looking for a sense of normalcy.

So, adorn your online and your offline spaces with imagery, tinsel, lights, music, banners and all things holiday.

Wishing you the biggest Christmas sales ever.

Best of luck to your small art business this historical holiday season.

 

 

Paula M. Soito
Paula M. Soito

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Paula Soito Arts Row Founder/CEO
ABOUT PAULA SOITO

She is the founder and CEO of Arts Row, Inc. and and an international arts industry writer for Art Market Magazine distributed to Barnes & Noble and universities worldwide.

Paula was recognized as a “top 100 entrepreneur” for Mastermind.com and awarded the partner Impact Award by Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi and Russell Brunson. 

 

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