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Topic: Strategy

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Art Gallery Marketing

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
An art gallery is seeking to build more business. They are located in an upscale strip mall that gets some drive up traffic but not a lot of foot traffic. The art they sell, paintings and bronze sculptures from various nationally know artists, have an average sales price of $3000. They have been doing some direct mail to zip codes nearby, the demographics being upper middle class to wealthy. They do showings every 2-4 weeks, trying to draw in prospects. They capture customer data now, both from walk-ins and on their web site, but have been inconsistent about capturing email addresses. To those they have captured this data from, they send a monthly email with events and info on artists being shown. They have been making repeat sales to current customers, but their list is still rather small (600 names), which doesnít provide a consistent or growing revenue stream. They have run print ads in upscale magazines, but cannot directly ascribe any new business to these ads (no big surprise). Suggestions?

  • Posted on Member
    Have they tried renting some direct email lists as they do their direct mail campaigns? Also, what about an incentive to refer a friend in that email newsletter - have they considered this?
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Accepted
    First of all, if getting the names is not a problem, I would move forward with a direct mail invitation to an Open-House event.

    I have recommended this style of appraoch many times to people wishing to attract high income and/or "affluent" clientele to their country clubs, restaurants etc. with much success.

    Regarding approach and intimacy:

    1. I would recommend hosting a semi-formal Open-House with food, open bar, pianist etc.

    2. Have BRIEF vocal presentation, with, of course, examples of your "best" or even the complete collection of artwork. Having the artists attend the Gallo event would be a definate plus!

    3. Have brochures arranged on a table with a person there to answer questions. Not just any brochure,...I would have them screen printed or computer printed onto pieces of canvas. This would be a spectacular way of standing out and making sure everyone will not only remember you but talk about that "cool gallery with those canvas brochures/business cards". Your local print shop can do this for you.

    4. As far as approach: Mail invitations much like the ones you would use to announce a wedding...very nice stationary, ink, print, personalized, and perhaps a little picture card (made of canvas) of the gallery. Request an RSVP so you can plan your catering.

    Attire: I would suggest semi-formal.

    By sending the "wedding" style personalized invitations, you will exude class and intimacy. The semi-formal attire will make people feel a bit more comfortable to "come as they are" rather than dust off the old tux and gown. ( Given your target demographic, I doubt you risk anyone showing up in flip-flops and cut-offs)!

    Give a short welcoming speech and a summary of the featured artists, future plans, etc. Inform everyone where printed information is located and there will be staff available throughout the event to answer questions. Perhaps the female staff can all wear a particular "crystal" necklace (colored) and the men, who can certainly where the necklace if they wish, can perhaps wear a matching crystal lapel pin or a custom-made tie for identification. This will avoid tacky name badges and exude a type of creative style... the exact "subliminal" type message you want to send out...being an affluent art gallery.

    Have the champange and/or wine glasses engraved with the gallery name (and let eveyone take them home!).

    Then, just let everyone mingle, eat and check it out!

    I hope this is along the lines of what you are looking for.

    If you need get mailing lists, I suggest joining your local chamber of commerce (usually around $300). They can give you zipcode and specific demographic address lists to send out your invitations. The post office offers discounts on postage for bulk mail as well!

    Good Luck!
  • Posted on Accepted
    Gerardo almost stole my thunder (but not quite).

    At $3000 a hit, your prospects are not exactly on welfare. Businesses have events all the time, and pay handsomely for venue hire. Their invitees may align to yours.

    Maybe market your gallery as an alternative venue. Hook up with a local catering firm, waiting staff and creative team (mail outs) to offer a full service, but be very willing to work with their preferred suppliers.

    Set your price aggressively - you want to be booked out.

    Then have discrete applications to join the gallery's invitation list (or similar) on display at such events. Or maybe offer to your event clients the option of offering a door prize which they can say they are providing. As their guests / clients arrive, if they put their card in a bowl (yours), they will go into a draw to have a party for 50 for their favourite clients (clients of your client's clients) with venue hire and catering on you. And so the circle continues.

    Good luck, Hugh
  • Posted by jcmedinave on Member

    The Art is introduced by the eyes and the senses. I am totally agree that the best way is the promotion of events. The Art is a Creativity matter and it requires a lot of creativity too. Ej: to be able to visit the gallery by Internet through virtual images, to bet a couple of paintings, to carry out auctions, special events outdoors with some artists, to rent a space in the museums and develop alliances, to put pictures and painting photos in the restaurants, to send postcards with the photos of the paintings, to do a parade of paintings (Fashion events), to have copies and photos of the paintings in the main stores, painting classes in the gallery, agreements with tourist people, etc..

    Juan Carlos
  • Posted on Accepted
    Dear Piper,

    You've collected a great deal of excellent advice, above. Here's another idea you may want to consider: CALL YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS (to get the information you need to find your next customers).

    Call them up and ask them questions such as:

    "Why did you buy (the item you purchased)?"
    "What brought you into the store?"
    "What specifically brought the store to your attention (was it an ad, word-of-mouth, listing, etc.?)
    "Where would YOU (the customer) suggest that I advertise (e.g., what magazines do you read? What organizations are you a member of?, etc.)
    "Do you have any other suggestions about how to get the word out regarding our store (customers will often come up with terrific ideas...).

    Best Regards,

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