Artists should use postcards and embrace the idea of guerrilla marketing – words Alan Woods
How awesome is it when you find something you didn’t expect? And we’re not just talking about some spare change in a jacket you haven’t worn in a while, but more specifically a great piece of art that comes out of nowhere.
There are, of course, many ways to promote yourself as an artist, but the idea of guerrilla marketing is that it requires minimal effort and can produce maximal results.
As the success of Banksy’s work has proven, people love to discover art on the street. Sure, not every artist is going to reach the dizzying heights of Banksy and get the chance to open theme parks, but sometimes talent and word of mouth are all it takes to get noticed and consequently, earn some money. Whilst it’s not a given that all art is made to make money, but if you’re at the point where you wouldn’t mind selling the odd painting or two but don’t have so much time for advertising, then perhaps a form of guerrilla marketing is your answer.
The dictionary definition of guerrilla marketing is basically an “advertisement strategy designed for businesses to promote their products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend.” Major brands love using guerrilla marketing because of its cost-effectiveness and mass visibility, but perhaps more importantly, the general public get a kick out of it too. This is because guerrilla marketing rarely inconveniences anyone or gets in their way. These aren’t TV or Spotify adverts that we’re forced to sit through – these guerrilla methods are merely a harmless distraction from our lives.
So, how does the idea of guerrilla marketing help an artist who definitely doesn’t have the budget to spend on large adverts to capture attention on the street? With a humble postcard.
Now, we’re not suggesting you send everyone in your city a postcard from the Bahamas that contains a cute message and your website name (although that does sound fun), as it can be much simpler and cheaper than that. First off, if you don’t have a website or even an Instagram, then get one. Seriously, people in 2017 are going to expect it. Secondly, get some postcards made up – you can find places online that can get this done for you. Now comes the guerrilla part: leave your postcards in places where they can be seen.
Postcards outdo business cards in terms of sheer noticeability and size, and have a slight advantage over posters because people can take one with them. So, where to leave them? We obviously don’t condone littering, so the idea of leaving them somewhere outside and unguarded is a no-no. You can leave them in cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, hotels, hostels, petrol stations, doctor’s offices, hairdressers… we could go on. However, always ask permission to the owner about leaving your postcards somewhere, as it’s not just polite, but they may even ask what your art is about – that’s one more person who could be a customer.
As for the design of the postcards themselves, well, the sky is the limit on this. Showcasing your best art on one side and your contact details on the other is a good option, but you can also get a bit creative. Perhaps the front side could have a phrase that draws focus, and the other side simply contains your website or Instagram link – daring, but crazy enough to work. Perhaps phrases like these would steal attention from someone:
- ‘Turn this over to feel an emotion’
- ‘You’re so close to seeing something amazing’
- ‘The best art you’ve never seen’
Doing something different gets you noticed. What about postcards that need to be found in different locations to collect a set? Like a treasure hunt of sorts. We can already imagine a blog post on Bored Panda or BuzzFeed with the headline: Artist Leaves Cute Postcards Around Shops And You Simply Need To Find Them.
Sure, real guerrilla marketing is usually on a grander scale than just postcards, but the whole idea we’re presenting is to be inspired by it. Leaving postcards in places still adheres to the description we saw earlier: “promote products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend”. You might say that a postcard in a shop is quite conventional, but that’s why you should try to think outside of the box with your design. See what others in your area are doing, and do the complete opposite. Remember, the public responds well to the eccentric and the unusual.