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Coupons and Discounts as a Way to Boost Sales

When we mention the word ‘coupons’ what comes to mind? Does your mind jump to thoughts of Sunday newspaper inserts overflowing with grocery coupons? Probably so.

As artists, we can learn something from those grocery makers. Have you ever wondered why big food companies consistently issue coupons? Because they recognize that coupons and discounts, even small, are one fantastic way to get people to try a new product. Similarly, you can use coupons and discounts as a way to grow our art-buying audience.

Coupons and discounts are a surefire way to capture the attention of your buyers and potential buyers. But how do you even begin developing your coupon/discount strategy? Consider the questions below:

    -->What photography or art is your proven seller? A consistently strong seller isn’t immune from coupon possibilities. Consider creating limited edition prints or photos and raising the price, then offering a small discount to current art patrons.

    -->What pieces or prints are stockpiling, taking up valuable space in your studio? If you’ve been trying to ignore that pile of prints taking up space on the edge of your desk, now is the time to act. Consider using the prints as a ‘freebie’ given to people who purchase other work. Have a 2 for 1 sale offering people the chance to buy one for them and one for a friend. Offer them at 75% off their original price..

When you have an idea of which pieces are collecting dust while other pieces are collecting checks, you can develop your coupon/discount strategy even further. A few things to consider:

    -->Online, offline or both? When developing your promotion, think about how you want to deliver coupons or discount offers.

    -->Online: Coupon offers are easy to add to your current online activities. Place coupon offers in your e-newsletter, your e-mail signature block or feature them prominently on your web site.

    -->Offline: Mailing or hand delivering a coupon adds a special touch and gives you a large amount of creative freedom. Consider making coupons available at the counter of the gallery where your work is being shown, and make sure you have your patrons’ mailing addresses so that you can keep them abreast of the latest exclusive offerings.

    -->Consider cross promotion: If there are other artists with whom you partner, consider cross-discounting and promoting each other’s work both online and offline. Additionally, if there is any cost incurred, this partnership offers the perfect way to share the financial burden.

    -->Define your limitations. Good news travels fast—and news about free stuff travels even faster. Should you decide to offer a freebie as an incentive, be aware that news of your promotion may travel farther than you ever anticipated. The Internet is filled with web sites and message boards focused on freebies and bargains, with people gleefully signing up to receive any free thing you’ll send them. Consider limiting availability of your initial offering unless you're capable of producing and meeting any exponential demand.

    -->What you see is what you get: Coupons are very literal, tangible things. Make sure you think through all of the elements of your coupon: from the size and format to offer language. Think about it this way—if you depict matted work on your coupon then the customer will likely assume the product will be matted. Make sure that you’re creating the right expectation.

    -->And speaking of matted: Scrap materials (like scrap matting, overrun photos, etc.) can be creatively used to develop your offline promotion. Showcase not only the offer, but also your expertise by creating an attractive, attention-grabbing coupon. Don’t be afraid to combine a variety of different materials into a 3-D object—a coupon doesn’t have to be flat and boring

Coupons are a fantastic, easy way to reach your audience and reach out to new audiences. So the next time you’re looking at increasing sales or moving-out slow moving product put your coupon-creator hat on!


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