Updated: Sep 30
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As we head into the holiday season, now is the perfect time to attract casual gift buyers to your art. You’ll get a great bump in revenues but also increase the awareness of your art, which can have added benefits in the long term.
You need to plan how you are going to price and market your art over this time, considering different factors from your eventual goals through to how you sell it.
Valuing Your Art
The real secret to pricing your art over the holiday period is deciding what your goals are. Depending on these goals, your pricing strategy will be different.
1. Are you looking to maintain the value of your artwork?
Very few changes. Your goal is to maintain your price and stand out from all the pricing changes happening around you
2. Are you looking to maximize the increased activity and make a profit for the rest of the year?
You might look at offering multiple purchase discounts or even increased pricing on themed artwork to get a higher margin
3. Are you looking to increase awareness to help your art sales for the year ahead?
You’ll offer more aggressive discounts, cutting back on margin, but you’ll be well known to a wider audience
Decide in advance of the holiday season and prepare accordingly. It’s important to be sure about the direction you want to go and then follow through on the strategy.
Check Out the Competition
This might not be something you would ordinarily do, but over the holidays it is important to do a comparison with what others charge because gift buyers are doing that exact same job. Outside of the holidays, you will focus more on the value of your art and what you think it is worth because you are selling mainly to those looking for something for themselves, so cost is less of a factor.
With gift buyers, whilst still looking for something they think people will like, comparing it to other pieces of art will become important in the buying process. In marketing they talk about the purchase drivers of your ideal customer – over the holiday season, these purchase drivers change completely.
Price becomes a driver because people are looking around a lot more. The second increased driver is ego! People want to buy something unique that makes them stand out and gets a favorable reaction when someone sees what they have been bought.
Go Early with Discounts
You want to create a sense of urgency with gift buying. As price is a key purchase driver over the holidays, get your discounts in early and try to get gift buyers to purchase before the height of the holiday season. For example, offer a 25% discount on purchases in October, 15% in November, and remove discounts in December.
If you use this approach, then it’s critical to make it clear. Knowing that the discounts disappear is what creates a sense of urgency in a buyer. If they don’t realize that 25% is going shortly, then the incentive to buy in October disappears.
Another trick with discounts is getting someone to purchase for more than one person. Discounting on multiple items is a good holiday tactic as it gets the gift buyer wondering who else would like some art. To a lot of people, gift buying is a chore, and seeing a way to cover multiple presents in one go and get a bargain – will appeal to a lot of people.
Your Selling Method Matters
One factor to consider is if you are selling direct vs. using a 3rd party like a gallery or a platform like Etsy. The 3rd party will normally be responsible for promoting the holiday season and should attract an increased level of traffic, so you should be cautious about discounting in these places because your margin will already be hit by commissions to the 3rd party.
Just monitor what others are doing on these platforms and listen to advice from the 3rd party themselves. They are experienced and will be able to offer guidance on where to set your pricing to be competitive.
Always Remember Your Margin
Forgetting about the ‘value’ of your artwork for a second, the one element you should never forget about pricing your artwork is how much it costs to deliver. With original art, this is normally a little simpler because you will be selling it for more than the value of the canvas and paints, but when we get into art prints or place your art on other items (like t-shirts) you have more fixed costs to consider.
When selling prints or other reproductions, the starting point for your pricing is a lot simpler – the cost of printing + your costs to market/sell the item + your markup.
Over the holidays, that first factor doesn’t change. The second factor (cost to market) might vary, but in your favor, because you won’t need to spend as much promoting the art when people are so active. The final factor is where you need to make decisions, which should revert to your goals for the holiday season.
Selling Commissions as A Present
As a final tip on pricing to make the most of the holiday season, why not include commissions in your gift options. In fact, priced correctly this could be one of the most attractive options for a gift and create your work for months ahead.
If you offer a commission service, in the lead-up to the holiday season why not start offering a discount on commissions for anyone looking to purchase it as a gift. The idea is that the gift buyer purchases the commission but then the gift receiver gets to say what they are after when they get the gift.
By specifically offering a discount on this item, you get to tick two of the key purchase drivers over the holiday period – an offer + something unique.
The holidays can be a great time for artists to increase sales, make some additional revenues for the year ahead and improve awareness. As a final tip, just remember packaging. Very often the person receiving the gift won’t be aware of you, so put information in the package, including some discounts for the new year.
“If you liked the gift you received, why not purchase some artwork yourself at 20% off”
Comment below to share your views on this blog post and let me know how you prepare for the holiday season as a creative!
Best of luck and have a great holiday!