A guest post by Victoria Rose Martin
“If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Here in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving in November. It’s the time of year when we’re thankful for all of the blessings that we have in our lives. Goodness knows there are times when I get so wrapped up in life that I can overlook all of the wonderful things that I have. As an artist I am thankful for the obvious things like my hands, eyes, the ability to purchase art supplies and the time to make things that I love. And if you sell your work, making money from what you love doing, well that’s really something to be grateful for.
Let me ask you this, if you do sell your work how do you thank you customers? How do you make them feel special? And more important, what are you doing to build a client base of potential repeat buyers? Are you saying thanks and making each customer feel special? Ask one hundred artists and you’ll probably get 100 answers of what they do. For example any time I have a sale on my Etsy shop I include a handwritten thank-you note to the buyer and no less than 3 postcards with images of my artwork. And 99% of the time I gift-wrap the parcel. On the extremely rare occasion when I do not gift wrap, it’s because I ran out of paper and I want to ship as promised. Sure it takes a little time in the packing process to do it but I see this as a good will gesture. And seriously, who doesn’t love getting a present in the mail?
In the world of business word of mouth is paramount, which is why I usually include 2 or 3 postcards with the same image in a parcel. It’s my hope that my customers are generous and will want to share extra cards with a friend, building a larger exposure of my work.
If you’re not sure of where to start, here are 5 ways to say thank you to your customers.
1. Always include a thank-you note when you sell a piece. If you sell through galleries you could make postcards and provide them to the gallery for collectors or browsers who will one day become customers. Be warned, art galleries usually don’t want you providing contact information like your home number. You might want to ask them first if they mind if you make cards. They’re your agent selling your work so try to keep the cards generic. Often times I will make a batch of cards with my name, the gallery logo, and their contact information. It’s a good way to inform the purchaser of whom you are and a nice way to build a relationship with the gallery.
And don’t worry if you don’t have money to buy professional cards, use an image of your best artwork and create prints. Write a thoughtful thank you on the back of the print personally addressing it to the recipient. Who knows one day when you’re famous it could be a collector’s item.
2. If you sell online in your Etsy shop or another comparable site be sure to thank your customer immediately by sending them a convo (private conversation or message) and acknowledging their purchase.
3. Provide small free gifts or giveaways. A quick Google search of promotional products can show you all the options available. If you’re known for your drawing skills perhaps you could order pencils with your name and web address printed on them. Include them with each purchase and your name can wind up in a lot of hands.
4. Gift-wrap your item. I try to keep a stash of wrapping paper in my closet and after Christmas I stock up on wrapping paper and ribbon with generic motifs like solid colors so I can use them year round and I am not limited to specific holidays.
5. And finally offer discounts to repeat buyers. Etsy allows you to set up promo codes or a coupon codes for buyers to use on their next purchase. I mean, who doesn’t love a coupon and saving money? Next time you order business cards why not include information on them about your promo codes. Include the cards when shipping sold pieces to encourage repeat purchases and pass them out to the public in hopes of creating first time buyers. There are a lot of online printing companies offering very inexpensive options.
And for those of you who took the time to glance over this article I offer my thanks to you by providing thank you tags. Please feel free to use them, print them, cut them out and give them to your customers. If you want to get really fancy, paper punch a hole into a tag and thread it through a piece of ribbon or sisal and wrap it around your artwork. And don’t forget to mention your discount promo codes on your blog and other social media sites. It’s the little things and attention to detail that will develop a loyal following and show your clients how thankful you are.
Victoria Rose Martin is an artist and designer currently living in South Florida. She is the Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. You can visit her website at: VictoriaRoseMartin.com.
You might also enjoy The Successful Artist’s Career Guide by Margaret Peot.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS