Why "Pay for Advertising" when you can be "Paid to Advertise"
Most of the valuable information that I use to support my family with my creativity I stumble upon. Just a life principle I follow where "any behavior rewarded gets repeated" I wait to see a pattern then exploit that behavior. The concept of being paid to advertise is one of those behaviors. in the 1990's I thought I would make a portion of my income creating and selling notecards. Although I did make some income it was no where near what I planned on, but I did start to notice a unexpected result. I was bringing in more income from the sale of original works and prints due to people sending out messages using my notecards than I actually made sellingthe cards. That's when the light bulb went off. I had created what amounted to a jumbo sized business card and now people were purchasing them and mailing them out to friends and business associates. Brilliant!
Once I was aware of this behavior I set out to exploit it. When a creative individual prices any piece you have a range in your prices. Retail or sale price over the counter, wholesale or the price you sell to a business that resells your item usually 40 to 50% of retail. I added a third pricing to the mix. Corporate orders. A series of prices set to encourage quantity price breaks. So if I sell a card for $4 retail at a show then I would sell it for $2 to a store that wanted to sell my cards to their customers. Sold by the dozen with a minimum order size. The corporate price uses this as a high low marker. So it could look like this. 50-100 cards $2.50 each101-499 cards $2.25 each and 500 cards or more $2 each. Incentive based with the lowest price at or above what I sell the cards for wholesale.
The brilliance of a corporate account is that the order quantities could be higher, they don't compete with your resale markets, and you know they will be sent out soon. Not a trickle like retail sales. So what it costs for you to send out a mailing is now set into a model where you are paid and they are mailed to individuals who might not even know your work.
Take the Basin Harbor Club where I stood and painted for many years. While their gift shop sold a few dozen cards a year the real benefit came when the resort decided to send hand written notes to their guests on Birthdays and Anniversaries. A order of 1000 cards mailed to individuals familiar with the resort. A practice that increased my visibility and status with my market and I was paid to have this happen and the resort got a image their guests could relate to. Win/Win.
So other ways to create a product or to use your work to be paid to advertise. Calendars are good because the customer sees your work throughout the year. If you need 5-10 points of contact to stick in a customers mind imagine having them see your images daily. Another possibility, although trickier, is to sell limited use rights to a image. I will blog about this more in the future but basically you charge a small fee for a group or business to use your image under a tight understanding of how and for how long they can use the image. The cover of College Magazines, Posters, even to dress up a brochure are all potentiual income sources so don't fall prey to those "it would be great exposure for you" folks. You are providing a service for which you should be compensated for just like a garage, plumber, insurance agent would expect to be. As part of the use they need to include a small bio and possibly website information although with google the website is less critical. With only your name and the painting name people should be able to find you on a search.
So in a nut shell look for those markets that it would benefit for them to use a image of yours. One that puts you in touch with your market. Then have the confidience to know the value you are bringing to the project and sell sell sell. Because as Artist's we shouldn't pay to advertise but we should be paid to advertise.
Reed A Prescott III