If you’re an artist trying to broaden your reach online, and looking for more ways to reach a wider audience, one strategy you might want to consider is holding an art giveaway.
You may not relish the idea of giving away a piece of your beloved artwork for free, but hear me out.
If used effectively, an art giveaway could be a useful promotional tactic.
Why Give Away Your Art
Everyone loves a bargain, and what could be more of a bargain than getting an original artwork for absolutely nothing? The reason you might consider giving away a piece of art is that the mere mention of a freebie can bring a lot of traffic to your website, and if you play your cards right, you can also get quite a bit of free publicity.
How it Works
For a giveaway to be effective, you don’t want to just give one of your artworks to the next person who visits your site. You need to create some buzz around the giveaway and get people to do a bit of work for their chance to win the prize.
Select a Prize
You want your giveaway prize to be of some value. Obviously you don’t want to give away a painting you’ve spent months working on or something that’s worth thousands, but on the other hand, if you just give away a sketch that took you five minutes, it’s unlikely that anyone will be bothered enough to enter. I would recommend choosing a small to medium painting or drawing that won’t cost you a fortune to deliver, and one that you won’t resent giving away for free.
Decide on Your Terms of Entry
This is the part where you can get people to work for you and help to promote your art. You need to come up with something your visitors have to do in order to enter the giveaway. It should be something that will be useful for you in terms of promoting your work, but not so complex or long-winded that it will put people off entering. Common ways for people to enter a giveaway are leaving a comment on a blog post or sharing the post via Facebook or Twitter, liking a page on Facebook or some combination of those things. The easiest method for a visitor is probably to simply click a ‘like’ button, which you could embed into your page, but this won’t help you very much in terms of promotion.
Sharing the giveaway on Facebook is useful for you, but it’s hard to track so it’s probably best to leave that optional. My preferred terms of entry for an art giveaway are for visitors to simply leave a comment stating why they want to win. I then provide easy ways for them to tweet and share the giveaway, making it clear that this won’t increase their chances of winning, but it will bring them good karma! If you prefer, you can specify that a comment and a share are both required to enter, but you may not be able to verify that people have shared on Facebook if their profiles aren’t public, so in that case, you might have to take their word for it.
Note: The reason I like to ask visitors why they want to win is to increase the likelihood of giving the prize to someone who really appreciates it, rather than someone who just enters every competition they can find.
Write Your Blog Post
You’ll want to announce your giveaway on a blog post (you could also post a teaser beforehand on Facebook/Twitter saying that there’s an exciting giveaway happening very soon). The blog post should show visitors what they stand to win, clearly explain how they can enter, and specify the entry deadline, including the exact time (with time zone). I tend to keep giveaways open for a week, which is long enough to get a decent number of entries, but not so long that people lose interest. You should also specify any restrictions in your post, such as who is eligible to enter, any age limit, country restrictions (you may not want to ship the prize internationally).
Spread the Word
Once your giveaway has been announced, you want to get as many entries as possible, so I recommend tweeting about it daily and mentioning it on your other social media profiles every few days too, encouraging your fans and followers to help spread the word. You can also post your giveaway on certain online sweepstakes sites such as online-sweepstakes.com and prizey.net, which can help to bring in a lot of new traffic. The visitors from these websites are more likely to be serial contest enterers than true art fans, but if they share your post with all their friends, there’s a good chance that you’ll pick up a few new fans along the way too.
Pick a Winner
Make sure you plug the giveaway a few more times on the deadline day to try and get a few last minute entries, and then at your deadline time, stop accepting new comments on your blog post. Now you need to pick a winner at random, so count up how many entries there are, and then use an online random number generator to get a random number within that limit. Now count down from the first comment until you get to that number and you have your winner. Contact the lucky person by email to tell them they’ve won and get their delivery address, and update your blog post to say that the competition is now closed. You can also announce the winner on the post so that the other entrants can see who won. If you can’t get hold of the winner within a reasonable amount of time, you can select another winner at random.
Is it Worthwhile?
It’s hard to say whether an art giveaway is worthwhile or not. On the one hand you stand to get quite a bit of free publicity and some new fans, but on the other hand you could potentially be devaluing your artwork by giving it away for free, and you have to pay to deliver the artwork to the winner. It’s probably worth giving it a try if you’re looking for ways to get new fans, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it too often, or people might be reluctant to buy your work because they think they have a good chance of winning it if they keep entering your giveaways.
What’s Your Experience?
Have you ever held an art giveaway on your website? Do you think it was beneficial? If you haven’t, why not give it a try and then come back and leave a comment below to tell us how it went.