How to Advertise an Art Gallery Show
Art galleries are constantly in change, showing new artists and creating a loyal group of patrons. Although there are many non-profit galleries, most galleries receive their income from the sale of art. The best way to promote newly acquired art is by holding an event. Some galleries hold regular openings when they feature a new artist, while others host shows promoting more than 1 artist at a time. Whichever way you choose to hold your gallery show, there are many ways you can promote it. Usually it requires a mix of older methods, such as print advertising, and new methods, such as free social media event invitations. It is a good idea to develop a customer database and to determine your ideal customer before you begin advertising, so that you can use your marketing budget wisely. This article will tell you how to advertise an art gallery show.
Gallery Advertising Preparation
Identify your demographic.Not every marketing method is appropriate for your ideal customer, so only choose the ones that will get the word out to those who will buy the art. A trendy new gallery, with affordable art, may want to attract young professionals, where a fine art gallery would appreciate an older, art collector, crowd.
Hire a promoter and/or graphic designer, if you don't have the time, skill or contact to dedicate to your marketing materials and several promotional avenues.A graphic designer can design web banners, flyers, posters, emails and more. A promoter should be chosen based on their experience because they can get the word out through local contacts.
Write an elevator-pitch about your event to be used on marketing materials.This should be 1 paragraph or less explaining your event in an exciting way in order to intrigue your customers. Include the name, artists, work, date, time, address and links to your gallery or works of art.
- The language that you use in your elevator speech should speak directly to your demographic. If you want to encourage a fun, jovial, youthful atmosphere, then don't use technical artistic terminology. If you want to encourage collectors, then be somewhat technical and include any awards or famous collectors of the artists' work. If you want to encourage other artists to come and bring their friends, then use technical terms about the artist's vision and creative style.
Create a marketing plan and budget for your gallery show.This should be based on a mixture of print and online campaigns executed between 6 months and a few days before the event. If you hold shows regularly, and your plan is successful, then you can execute a similar marketing plan each time you have an art gallery event.
Approach other businesses about joining your gallery's promotional efforts.The following are ways that you can get other businesses to help promote your art show for you:
- Choose an alcohol distributor that agrees to pay for some promotion of the event. This is especially beneficial with charity events, because companies like positive cross-promotion and social responsibility.
- Ask neighboring or local businesses to cross-promote with you. Choose a local caterer who will post your flyer or give you a neighborly discount. Ask other businesses to post or hand out flyers and stay open later to take advantage of sales. They can also have a sidewalk sale or block party to draw attention to the whole area.
- Plan your art show on the same night as another art event, such as "First Friday." In many towns, galleries stay open and invite patrons to view new art on the first Friday of a new month.
Gallery Print Advertising
Submit your event to quarterly art and local magazines.Research your area online to find any print or online arts quarterlies. They require events to be submitted 1 to 3 months in advance, so begin your research as soon as your dates and other information is set.
- If your demographic is over the age of 40, it is a good idea to focus equally on print and online marketing.
Submit your event to monthly print art and culture magazines.Most local magazines list social calendars that require events to be submitted up to a month in advance. Submit photos if that option is available to you, and ask to be listed on the website as well.
Advertise the art show in a monthly magazine that targets your demographic.Many local magazines and newspapers have reasonable rates. Print advertising will generally be cheaper if you can provide your own graphic design.
- Do not advertise an art event with a print ad if you are promoting a very exclusive show for collectors. If your show is by invitation only, then you will encourage large, famous collectors by creating a buzz of exclusivity around the event.
Print flyers, postcards or invitations 6 weeks from the date.This means you will have them back to send to your gallery database and post 1 month from the show's date.
Create postcards or calendars.Postcards can be sent by mail as an announcement and given out at the show. Calendars can be sold at the event to supplement income from art sales; just make sure you have the artists' rights to print their photographs.
Gallery Online Advertising
Send out a Save the Date announcement via Facebook, Twitter and email blast as soon as your date is set.Follow that with an additional invitation via email blast and Facebook 2 to 3 weeks before the date. Indicate if you require a response via email or phone.
- If your demographic is younger than 40, it is a good idea to focus on online blogs, magazines and social media. All advertising should match your gallery's brand, in an attempt to create repeat patrons.
Send a press release out to local newspapers, radio stations and television channels 2 weeks before the event.Personally invite society columnists and photographers to the show for coverage. This is mostly done through email, but can also be done by a marketing service, fax or mail.
Invite local bloggers to the art show.Ask if they would like to cover it for their blog, and if they would be interested in doing an interview or a feature of an artist before the event. Post all blog advertising on your social media accounts.
Advertise on online art forums, such as Visual Art Source.It is free to list an event on most of these sites, and some art websites list galleries. Make sure your event is listed on Yelp and local newspaper websites.
- You may also want to look at radio advertising, if you are looking for a large, general crowd. It is hard to target radio advertising, but it can be useful to drum up enthusiasm the week before the gallery show.
- Include high-resolution images of the artists' work or gallery space whenever possible. You are trying to attract a visual audience, so your advertisements should be visually stunning.
- Remember that in most cases print ads, Internet ads and printer contracts and sponsorship are negotiable. Try to choose based on who is willing to offer you the best deal or increase the amount of promotion they agree to for the same price.
Video: Art Business - How to promote your art business
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