Festival Network Online Newsletter
March - 2003
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A note from the editor.....
The beginning of the year is always a good time to reevaluate your promotional tools, and advertising techniques. Here's a great article to help you get started. As always, keep on, keeping on. :-) Diane
By Steve Meltzer
Want to get ahead in your art/craft/music/vending career? Well, I have three words for you -- promotion, promotion, promotion. By promotion, I mean the systematic effort of keeping yourself and your work in front of show producers, clubs, gallery owners, festivals and the buying public. It is not advertising. Advertising and marketing are all about selling your work. Promotion is about awareness.
A promotional campaign's purpose is to make people think of you and your work whenever they think about art or crafts or music. Ultimately, the goal of promotion is to increase sales, not by advertising particular products, but by continually presenting yourself as a creative professional. Promotion can have many faces. One part of my own promotional effort is being "online." In cyberspace, I can chat with craftspeople, artists and musicians from around the country in "forums" and by e-mail. I do not sell my services, but participate as a community member and occasional consultant. Last year I led a special forum devoted to crafts photography, which helps establish my credentials as a professional photographer.
Another example of effective promotion is the card shown at the XXXX. This Kodak "holiday" photo card is something I'm sure many of you have sent or received during the holidays. It can be used as a promotional piece as well. The cards are available through most larger camera stores and one-hour photo labs. To create it I brought a slide, a sketch of how the card should look and a piece of paper with the text I wanted on the card, printed to size, to my neighborhood camera shop. The cards were printed about a week after I placed my order.
The prices for these cards are very reasonable. Working from a color negative, 25 cards cost about $20, including mailing envelopes. Printing custom text adds another $12-$15 to the cost, and if they are working from a slide, $5-$15 is added for an internegative. The price per card drops as the size of the order increases. For example, 100 cards cost about $60, and 200 cards cost a little over a $100.
Be Cost Effective
Custom color printing houses also produce promotional cards and sheets. However, I have always found their 1,000-card minimums too large for my mailing list of just over 300 clients. Besides, the basic cost of these cards is at least $700. Many artists order cards in large amounts, often to distribute them at gift and wholesale shows or street fairs. If you plan to do this, I have a word of advice that has been passed on to me by many in the festival business - never put cards out for people to take as they walk by your booth. It is a great way to waste money. Hand the cards to people you have spoken to and who have expressed real interest in your work. Better yet, get their name and address, put them on your mailing list and then send them cards.
Another reason I don't order large numbers of cards is that sending out just one card is useless. Why spend so much on a single promotional piece when for the same price you can send out five or six pieces? I like the idea of sending out many different cards several times a year to my good clients. Advertisers agree on this point too. It is the number of different times that people see your name that matters. The more "impressions," the more likely the business. In the course of a year or two, you will actually end up sending people a mini-portfolio of your work.
Use Strong Images
Choosing the right image for your promotional photo card is critical. Think through your image selection. Always select the strongest images. Don't use a weak photo just because it features one of your favorite pieces or most popular item/product. I chose the picture of a jeweled pin because it has visual impact and stopping power.
The impact results from strong color contrast -- the pin jumps right off the black background. Its stopping power comes from the curved "arms" drawing the eye in and around the image, creating motion and maintaining viewer interest. So far the response to the card has been uniformly positive. I chose the right image.
Over the years, I have sent dozens of these cards to my craft and commercial clients. Invariably, when I visit a client's office or studio, I will see one of my cards pinned to a cubicle or studio wall. This is one powerful promotional technique. In fact, it works so well that I have even gotten work from people who say they saw my card at a friend's studio.
This is no time to be shy. Promotion is not about ego or boastfulness. It is about telling the world that you are a working professional -- and that is how you want to be seen.
Steve Meltzer is a Sarasota, Fla.-based photographer.
Reprinted with permission from The Crafts Report, February 1996. All rights reserved.
Diane Elliott Bruckner
Diane@festivalnet.com - dianebruckner.com
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