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Refining the Art of the Free Giveaway

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Fine Art Views by Clint Watson
ISSUE #110 - Daily Edition -
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FineArtViews Newsletter
Straight Talk about Art, Marketing,
Inspiration and Fine Living

For Artists, Collectors and Galleries
(and anyone else who loves art)
Refining the Art of
The Free Giveaway
by Clint Watson

We've been proponents of the "free giveaway" or "ethical bribe" method of marketing for some time.  But today we've come across a new idea that is so clever that we wish we had though of it.  The idea is to give away a "digital edition" and we give credit to ArtNewsBlog to mentioning this marketing technique as practiced by Hazel Dooney (warning - if you visit Hazel's site, her images are fairly sexually explicit.  We are focusing here on a marketing technique, not on the art itself.) . . .




Wednesday, October 17, 2007 
San Antonio, Texas


* Refining the Art of the Free Giveway

* Don't Worry about Google...Too Much, Revisited
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Refining the Art of the Free Giveaway
By Clint Watson

Dear {{FirstName}},

We've been proponents of the "free giveaway" or "ethical bribe" method of marketing for some time.  But today we've come across a new idea that is so clever that we wish we had though of it.  The idea is to give away a "digital edition" and we give credit to ArtNewsBlog to mentioning this marketing technique as practiced by Hazel Dooney (warning - if you visit Hazel's site, her images are fairly sexually explicit.  We are focusing here on a marketing technique, not on the art itself.)

Now the idea of a free download is nothing new, but it has fermented in our mind and we think we now can present you with a pretty viable plan for marketing utilizing this idea.  What Hazel has done is offer a high-resolution digital image of one of her works and called it an "ink-jet/laser media unlimited edition" which is a clever "artsy" term meaning "print it yourself."  This is brilliant because it addresses some concerns that many artists have: 

1. Solves Copyright Issues
First, this idea puts the artist back in control of the downloading and licensing.  Instead of trying to install those annoying right-click disablers to "protect" her copyright, Hazel has taken a clear stance and said "you can download it and print it as much as you want, but the image is still copyrighted and is mine." 

2. Virtually Free to Produce
Secondly, and more importantly in our opinion, it solves the cost issue.  The problem with free giveaways has always been the cost.  As a "starving" artist, how can you justify giving away a print when it costs you money just to produce even a small print?  For a lot of artists, the giveaway idea was difficult, but a digital download?  That doesn't cost you anything.

3. High Perceived Value
But is a digital download really a print?  Won't clients think it's just a gimmick?  Before today, I would have said yes.  However, this is where Hazel hit upon a simple and brilliant solution.  Her download page reads, " For those of you who would still like to have Hazel's 'real' signature, along with an authenticating stamp, on the work's verso, you can send your print of the image along with an adequately sized, stamped, self-addressed envelope to the studio."  You see...brilliant.  Hazel is giving away signed editions at essentially no cost to her.  Most people won't send the print in for a signature, and those who do?  Those people are gifts.  If someone goes to your web site, downloads an image, prints it out, and sends it (at their expense) to your studio for signing, then let me tell you:  that person is a hot prospect.

4. Ways to Improve the Idea
We think there are a couple of ways to improve this idea.  Mainly, the idea could be a better marketing tool if access to download the high-resolution image was granted in exchange for the visitor signing up for the artist's email list.  That way, you would know who downloaded the image.  A variation might be to allow the download without registration, but require the person to register on your site to get the signature.  Another variation might be having one "digital edition" available that does not require registration, but let people know that registering gets them access to several more digital editions that are available exclusively for your web site's "members."

What if you were to combine this idea with your print advertising and promote the free giveaway in your print ads?  We suspect your site visitors would go up dramatically.


Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

Related Posts and Pages:

How to Advertise in Art Magazines (FineArtViews/Clint Watson)

Complimentary Marketing (FineArtViews/Clint Watson)

Hazel Dooney's Web Site

Free Art Print from Hazel Dooney (ArtNewsBlog)

Prince and the Art of Monetizing Free Stuff (Art Print Issues/Barney Davey)

Prince and Free-Flowing Intellectual Property (ArtBizBlog/Alyson Stanfield)

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    Don't Worry About Google . . . Too Much, Revisited

    Marsha Robinett

    I read your newsletters religiously, and have tried to incorporate the advise you have been so generous to give.

    Todays article about the value of Google vs the value of Links is something I can personally give testimony too!

    In the past you have said to garner links from other artists who's work you admire...so I did. In the beginning I looked for artists of the same quality and medium as myself...I sat back and monitored my site. Traffic increased but not substantially.

    There were three internationally successful pencil artists whom I admired greatly. They had very few links on their sites to other artists and I thought as an artist I was probably to unknown and insignificant. But since I had prepared a standard letter to use for my link requests, I sent each a copy...they each looked at my site and to my surprise added my link to theirs. I was overwhelmed beyond words to have received the endorsement of these three internationally known artists.

    It's the words "QUALITY LINKS" that I want to emphasize. The first links that I added to my site were an important step, and they are all very good artists...but these three links from internationally known artists have more than trippled the traffic to my site...they have truly proven to be invaluable.

    For me, they are "the repeat traffic and referrals that no one can take away".

    As usual Clint, your advise is right on the money.

    Great Advise,

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