46 – Marketing for the Holidays

Does it seem like the holidays come sooner and sooner every year and with it the pressure to get your holiday marketing plan in order? In this episode, Laura and Nikki chat about social media marketing, email campaigns and sales, breaking it down so it’s not so intimidating and feels more doable.

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE ON:

Topics discussed

Social Media

  • The two main categories of social media and which ones you should choose
  • Types of posts to consider
  • How often to post
  • Tools that can help you create video and plan / schedule your posts
  • Ways to expand your social media reach

Email Marketing

  • What to say in emails to engage your audience
  • Selling without being overly salesy
  • Providing free value
  • Thoughts about coupons and sales
  • Importance of consistency
  • Announcing product launches

Resources Mentioned

Laura

0:00

Nikki, why does it seem that every year the holidays come sooner and sooner, like you walk into a store in September? And Christmas trees and holiday decor already set up? I mean, what’s up with that? And, and in all this holiday craze, how do we as artists get our work and products seen?

Nikki

0:19
Oh gosh, don’t ask me. I tend to stick my head in the sand and pretend that none of it is happening. But that’s probably not the best tactic for growing my business, is it?

Laura

0:30
Probably not, Nikki.

Nikki

0:33
Alright, since that tactic clearly isn’t working for me, what can we do to market our art and products for the holiday rush?

Laura

0:39
Well, today we’re going to cover a lot of ground in this area. Let’s chat about social media, traditional marketing and advertising, email campaigns, sales and promotions and PR opportunities just to name a few.

Nikki

0:53

Laura, that sounds like more than just a few. In fact, it sounds pretty overwhelming.

Laura

1:00
Well, let’s break it down so it’s not so intimidating, and that it feels doable.

Hi, this is Laura Lee Griffin.

Nikki

1:10
And this is Nikki May with the Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting your own way and start building an art business and life that you love.

Laura

1:18
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination, that keep you stuck.

Nikki

1:34
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours.

So let’s get started with everybody’s favorite love/hate relationship. Social media. You thought I was gonna say bourbon, didn’t you?

Laura

1:54
Isn’t that the truth, there’s just no way around it. We live in a world where people spend a big chunk of their day surfing on social media. So it’s important to have our products and artwork there during the holiday season, or really any season to get seen. And I often feel the pressure and hear from others that I need to be on all the platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, TikTok, you know, all of them, which just feels exhausting.

Nikki

2:24
Well, really, the truth is, you can’t do a great job if you’re trying to focus on all the things in all the places. There are really two categories of platforms. One is for connecting you with your audience like Instagram, Facebook, etc. And the other one is more of a search engine. Pinterest and YouTube are really search engines. Okay, so it’s important to figure out which platforms your customers are on to connect with, and to find your products when they’re searching.

Laura

2:53
Personally, if you’re selling a physical product versus let’s say, an online course, I think that Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are better places to focus your energy. But they definitely have different demographics. And all of the platforms right now seem to be favoring video in their algorithms.

Nikki

3:13
That is definitely true and very intimidating to people who don’t have any experience with video.

Laura

3:20
Yeah, definitely. I’ve been learning more about video since creating my first online Skillshare course. However, I also have discovered the awesomeness of Canva for animated stories, videos, etc. They basically have templates that are plug and play that let you just insert your images into the template and it can look super professional. So it’s nice to know that you don’t have to know how to do all those fancy things yourself.

Nikki

3:48
Absolutely. So let’s talk about what to post to promote our holiday products and how often so that we’re sharing enough of our work. But don’t feel like annoying salespeople.

Laura

3:59
I hate that they annoying salesperson syndrome. And but if you don’t want to come across as an annoying salesperson, don’t have every single post in your feed be something that you’re selling. Yeah, it’s good to have sort of a ratio of say 50/50 during holiday season so that people are inspired by lifestyle shots, inspirational quotes, and other you know other different posts that you’re offering and not just you touting your wares.

Nikki

4:27
Personally, I prefer snarky quotes and cocktail recipes, specifically with bourbon

Laura

4:31
Of course you do. But let’s talk about the sales posts that you do create and think about. Think about the accounts that you follow that you’re attracted to. You know what about those posts makes you want to purchase a product that they’ve made.

Nikki

4:55
Alright, so the obvious one is to show beautiful images of your finished product.

Laura

5:00
Yeah, I think that once a given, but for me, it’s also things like giving a behind the scenes peek at the process of making your products, maybe two to three images that show the progression before you get to that final image. and engage your followers along the way so that they can help choose something related to your product to spruce up engagement. So help them name something, maybe choose the color of something, you know, things like that I think can really help bring your audience along for the ride.

Nikki

5:31
Yeah, definitely getting your followers involved in the process is always a good way to get some excitement going. And show some process videos of you creating your work that helps people appreciate what goes into what you do, and really to see the value in it.

Laura

5:47
I totally love those. I love seeing time lapse videos on someone’s process. And what I’ve also seen work really well is to post regular video stories with your face and them talking about what you’re working on, you know, showing a glimpse of the projects, but also actually having your face on camera at the same time.

Nikki

6:07
We always say we need to do this. And we never do.

Laura

6:11
I have a few times. But yes, I’m definitely working on this one. And I think there are some people who do this really well. And it works for their engagement. For example, Jenna Rainey. I think she posts like 40 videos a day, like direct face to camera videos, and she has insane engagement.

Nikki

6:33
Yeah, there’s just no way in hell that I’m going to do that. I’ll be lucky if I post 40 videos of me talking to the screen in my lifetime.

Laura

6:45
I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have the time or energy to do that much. But honestly, if I could share one a day or one every other day, I think that could make a difference. Yeah, we know that it would. So when I sell products for this holiday season, I’m committing to showing my face at least every few days or so and doing this.

Nikki

7:04
And I’m committing to liking your posts when you do.

Laura

7:09
All right, let’s get back on track. What else can we post about?

Nikki

7:15
Well, if you’re offering any promotions or coupons, you absolutely must share the info on that as well as any specific launches that you’re planning of products or collections of products. And not just one time.

Laura

7:31
I forget that that lovely algorithm shows your post to like 3% of your followers. So you’re definitely not bugging them by sharing it more than once.

Nikki

7:39
Right? And even if they all saw your original post, which we know they didn’t, it takes what is it like seven times of seeing something before someone’s ready to hit purchase?

Laura

7:49
That’s what I’ve heard before. I don’t know if that’s still the number but yeah, seven’s what I’ve heard too. And in general, the people who are engaging with you the most will actually want to see your posts and not be mad if they see them multiple times. I mean, yeah, that’s one thing if it’s 40 times in a day, but if it’s just you know, a couple times, it’s not going to be that big of a deal for them.

Nikki

8:10
Yeah, so we should definitely post multiple times. But how often should we post every day, three times a day, three times a week.

Laura

8:17
I’m, I’m not sure if there’s a magic number. I think it has to be sustainable for yourself. So for me, if I could post once a day consistently to my feed and post at least one to two stories a day, and they don’t all have to be of your face. That would be ideal, and still completely doable for me. And in a perfect world. I’d probably post twice a day to my feed, but I just have to keep things realistic. And I think quality of content is way more important than quantity.

Nikki

8:47
For sure. And I’d say it’s fine to adjust those numbers based on your own comfort level and experience. Just make sure that you’re sharing consistently. But don’t just share the same post over and over again, you can use the same products and some of the same images, but consider doing a video post one time and then your next one may be a carousel post, throw in some stories and some reels. And you can also use the same videos and images on your blog in your email newsletter all over the place. Also, you can do Instagram or Facebook Lives with a Q&A or a product and collection reveal.

Laura

9:27
It may feel overwhelming doing the four to five posts that Nikki just mentioned. But there are two really great tools that make this easier and more doable. So we already mentioned Canva which is totally free and allows you to save out different formats and mini videos with still images you can sit down and probably like one hour and make 20 different assets to use for a launch for example.

Nikki

9:54
Right and if you have the paid version of Canva you can easily take the graphics you’ve created for one platform and have it just kind of automatically resize them for you for all the different platforms. It’s really a great feature.

Laura

10:07
Oh, I love that. I don’t have the paid version yet, but I’ve definitely been considering it for just for those types of reasons.

Nikki

10:14
I actually don’t either for myself, but I have clients who do. So I’ve used that to help save me some time and doing work for clients.

Laura

10:22
Yeah, cool. Well, the second thing that I think is a big time saver, is having a social media planning tool. Now I use one, myself, and we use one for the podcast called Later. And it helps you create and schedule posts in advance. So you can literally bulk plan your social media and not feel tied to your phone all the time.

Nikki

10:47
Wait, you mean there’s some people who actually put their phones down?

Laura

10:52
I’ve heard there’s a world where that happens, Nikki?

Nikki

10:55
Laura, that world is called 1992.

Laura

11:00
Okay, so back to Later. If you have a business account on Facebook or Instagram, it will auto-post almost everything for you whenever you schedule it to go out so it can post things like Instagram, Instagram posts, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter. And they have a really generous free account where you can post 30 times per month on each of those platforms.

Nikki

11:29
Yeah, just one thing to note that although it posts automatically to most of them for TikTok, you can still use it to set it up and schedule it. But it will actually send you a reminder of when to post it. It doesn’t post automatically to TikTok for you.

Laura

11:45
Yeah, I think on Instagram, the carousels also aren’t automatic. Yeah, you want to do a carousel post. So but it does make it easy because it’ll like pop up with a little reminder.

Nikki

11:54
Yep. And I have to say one of my favorite features of Later is the way it lets you drag around your uploaded images and videos. So you can preview exactly what it’s going to look like on your grid.

Laura

12:05
Mm hmm.

Nikki

12:06
Yeah, like you said, the only downside is you can’t schedule the carousel posts, at least not when we’re recording this, right? Hopefully they’ll add it.

Laura

12:15
And I’ll tell you, I’ve tried a lot of different planning tools over the years, I’ve tried ones like Planoly, Plann, Buffer. There, there’s a slew of other ones out there. But what I really love about later is that it covers so many platforms, but it also houses a database for your images that you can tag and you can upload an unlimited amount without it counting against your monthly numbers. So you could literally upload 300 images and then schedule out 30 and it’s still on the free plan.

Nikki

12:45
Yeah, it really is the most bang for no buck of any that I’ve tried.

Laura

12:50
Now I’ve actually upgraded to one of their higher plans because it allows some additional functionality like tracking comments and tags so that you can easily respond and not miss anything from your feed. It also has a cool link and profile feature where you can add picture links to every single post you make, which is really helpful if you don’t have that swipe-up feature on stories if you don’t have 10,000 followers yet. I don’t use this myself, but I know people who do and they really like it.

Nikki

13:16
Okay, so Later clearly needs to hire us as ambassadors. But, although I haven’t really explored Pinterest as much as I know that I should and want to I know that Tailwind is another social media planning platform. That’s supposed to be the best scheduling tool for Pinterest. Yep. And as I briefly mentioned before, Pinterest is really more of a search engine than a social media platform. And many, many artists and designers say that they get more traffic to their website from Pinterest than any other source

Laura

13:50
Later started out as an Instagram tool, so that’s its specialty. But Tailwind’s specialty has always been Pinterest and it enables you to take a single post and schedule it across multiple boards, like for the next year or so. So the system doesn’t think that you’re spamming it and it works with Pinterest algorithm, versus you manually having to schedule posts on each board throughout a tool like later.

Nikki

14:14
Yeah, that’s definitely something we need to explore. Alright, so we could geek out about different tools for probably a month’s worth of episodes. But let’s move on to how else we can use social media to our advantage for marketing specific products are collections.

Laura

14:32
So one thing you can do is create a collective with some of your other artist friends, and perhaps you all create holiday ornaments or prints to sell. And you can market them across each other’s social media platforms for a week or so. Maybe you know through posts through your stories, and it’s all about community over competition. You’ll all end up with better sales and you’ll broaden your audience and you can even create your own Instagram account for the collective if you want, I’ve seen that done before successfully too.

Nikki

15:05
Okay, let’s move on and talk a little bit about using your email list if you have one to promote holiday sales, okay, if you don’t have one yet, don’t freak out. It’s never too late to start. And in a future episode, we will help walk you through that whole process. But, but it doesn’t have to slow down your holiday marketing and other areas.

Laura

15:26
Okay, so what do we say in an email? And how often do we send them? Again, we don’t want it to be all sales all the time. And just like your social media posts, you can share about your process, maybe a personal story, because people want to get to know you. After all, you can warm them up to the idea that you’ve got some really great gift ideas in the hopper that you’re planning on launching in the future.

Nikki

15:50
And your email list is a perfect place to provide some free value, give your readers a coupon code or a free printable holiday card to accompany their gift purchase.

Laura

16:00
I love that with like a little illustration you’ve made on it, and they can just print it out themselves. That’s cool. coupon codes are actually a great way to build your list by offering say a 15 to 20% off discount for someone’s first order if they sign up for your list. But let’s talk more about coupons and sales and what makes sense for a small business owner to offer when you aren’t a big box store. And they’re offering huge discounts for the holidays, right like the Black Friday sales. How do you compete with that?

Nikki

16:32
Well, I think that you don’t even try to compete. You’re an individual artist or a small business offering a more personalized product or service. And that’s where your strength lies. I don’t think we should offer coupons and sales all the time like big box stores do. But an occasional very well-planned offer can be effective.

Laura

16:52
Yeah, exactly. Offering coupons all the time can basically devalue your work. I think it’s it’s all about elevating your product and showing the value that you provide. You’re bringing beauty into the world and having amazing product images and descriptions. And sharing the story around your products and your art can really help do that. But during the holidays, it can still make sense to offer those sales. For example, last year, I know Stacie Bloomfield of Gingiber had a sale on her products for just a 24 hour period only. And it was the week before Black Friday, and the entire store was 50% off for those 24 hours. Now, that’s a tremendous sale. She sells wholesale, so this actually is not a big hit to her bottom line because she is used to selling the products at that price. And because wholesale had taken a pretty big hit last year. This was not going to be a big issue for her in her bottom line, right. So it’s my understanding that she had the best day of sales in the history of her company. But if you tried to purchase anything after that 24-hour flash sale was done, the discount couldn’t be applied. And I know because I tried. I really wanted some Gingiber dish towels, and I just waited slightly too long to buy them.

Nikki

18:08
Damn it. Right, so that was a great sale for Stacie. But if you aren’t as big a brand as gingerbread with a whole large wholesale business, that approach might not make financial sense for you. You might do a smaller percentage like 15 to 20% for 24 hours.

Laura

18:25
Yeah, yeah, it definitely wouldn’t make sense for my own business. Right. So if people think they have 24 hours to purchase something, though, they’ll make a decision quickly. If they think they have a week or two, they’ll just wait and totally forget about it. That’s my experience anyway.

Nikki

18:42
Oh yeah. Another option for you might be something like bundling a few items together into a curated gift box. So that a single purchase might be three items at a price that’s slightly discounted off the full price and you’ve turned a single item sale into a bigger purchase.

Laura

19:00
Yeah, I love that idea. And honestly, any idea that gets someone to perhaps purchase an extra item they wouldn’t have originally. That works financially for you. I’m a numbers girl, after all…

Nikki

19:12
You mean geek, right?

Laura

19:15
Of course, I’m a geek, we will establish that by now. numbers. So perhaps you have a physical print or a product that didn’t sell well that you have a surplus of why not offer that as a freebie for any sales over a certain dollar amount. And if you happen to be an educator and sell courses, you could bundle your courses together or you can provide a special value add that isn’t normally included in the non-holiday season. So for example, a special &a live zoom session with you.

Nikki

19:45
Those are all great ideas. However, we kind of took our email topic off on a sales tangent. So let’s get back to it. Let’s get back to it and talk about how often we should send emails. I know that I was really great about sending an email consistently once a month for several years, but this past year, I got off track quite a bit. I don’t think I’ve sent one since April. What do you think is ideal for emailing our lists leading up to the holidays?

Laura

20:16
Honestly, I don’t have the best track record this year either. But I’ve historically sent an email once a month that incorporates my upcoming class registration, my studio news, holiday market events, etc. I haven’t done it more frequently, aside from my automated welcome email. But I think in a perfect world that subscribers would hear from me once a week on the same day for consistency purposes, but not all sales emails.

Nikki

20:42
I completely agree. This is a great example of do as we say, not as we do.

Laura

20:48
Exactly. But for the holidays or any sort of product launch, I’d likely send a series of emails across a couple of weeks leading up to the launch date. So the week of the launch, I’d probably send out three to four emails, especially if I had a collection launching at a very specific time or date so people wouldn’t feel like they missed out on that opportunity because they didn’t see the email.

Nikki

21:11
So we’re going to do that for this holiday season, right?

Laura

21:15
Heck yeah. That’s if I can get my ornaments ready by then. Note to self: start painting ornaments.

Nikki

21:20
If not, you’re going to have some great print on demand products available pretty soon.

Laura

21:26
Yes. which we’ll talk about in a future episode. Yeah.

Nikki

21:30
Okay, so we were going to talk about advertising and traditional promotions and PR, but we’ve already covered a lot in this episode. So let’s make that a second episode on marketing for the holidays, shall we?

Laura

21:43
Sounds like a good idea. Now it’s your turn. Share with us in the Startist Society, Facebook group, your own marketing techniques for the holidays, and any questions you might have on what we discussed today.

Nikki

21:55
For today’s Startist Society, show notes and links to all things holiday marketing, go to Startist Society comm slash holiday marketing.

Laura

22:04
If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, we’d love for you to leave us a five-star rating and review. Reviews help us reach more Startist like you and keep us inspired to continue creating new episodes.

Nikki

22:15
Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

When you purchase something using the links in our resources section, we may earn a small commission with no additional cost to you.
We only promote products and online shops that we use and love!

pinktop

Join Our Facebook Group

Join the Startist Society in our Facebook group where we go deeper into the topics from each episode, share more about what we are working on in our creative businesses and help keep each other accountable.

pinkbottom