Artists Open Houses (AOH) is a joyful celebration of all things creative throughout Brighton, Hove and surrounding areas and takes place every weekend during May and December.
As the name suggests, at AOH artists, creatives, and makers display their work in their own (and each other’s) houses. Twice a year, thousands of art fans flock to our wonderful seaside city to enjoy art in unique home settings.
The event is immensely rewarding for visitors and artists alike. Last May one million pounds worth of work was sold. SOL Design Collective is proud to be sponsoring this event for a second year, and offering some simple business advice and support to the artists taking part.
So, if you are planning to participate or have another forthcoming event, how can you plan for success?
A key part of this is your marketing. We suggest you use social media to promote content that showcases your work in the run up to (and during) the event. If you want some hands on help, then make sure you head over for our Socially Savvy workshop, but in the meantime, here are a few top AOH marketing tips to show you how to spread the word about your upcoming event:
1) Using a mixture of immediate and teaser posts
To keep people engaged, it is important to create a mixture of post types.
Some should be immediate content, enjoyable then and there on the platform (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter). For example, a picture of you in your studio as you prepare work for the event.
Other posts should be teasers that encourage people to click through to your website to find out more about your work. For these posts, you need to show a glimpse of your work with a written “call to action” that encourages click-through.
An example of this would be posting a picture of a close up of brush work on your painting. To encourage click-through you could post this with a message that says “The beauty is in the detail. See this new piece in all its glory here >> [link to your website].”
2) Choosing key website content to promote
The approach we’ve described is designed to drive visitors through to key pages of your website to find out more about (and hopefully buy) your work.
To use this strategy, first you need to decide which website pages you want to promote.
These could be product pages where people can buy your work. Or they could be blog posts you have written that explain why you are taking part in AOH and introduce people to your art.
3) Creating a posting schedule
A posting schedule helps you plan out posts in the week leading up to the festival.
This is a great way to get fans excited about your exhibition. If your content catches their eye in advance, they may put the house you are exhibiting in on the top of their list.
To create a posting schedule, list out each platform along the side and each day along the top. You can use this to plan a daily post for each platform.
4) Share your bio
It is important to have a written bio prepared for the AOH event itself. You can also use this as part of your marketing in advance.
Share a series of key facts about yourself from your bio on social media. You can accompany each fact with an eye-catching image.
This is an engaging way to introduce yourself to your fans and build a connection with them. Read our recent blog post to find out how to write a winning bio.
5) Sharing photos of your work
As an artist, visual content is one of the most relevant things you can share. Particularly when it is of your own work.
Take photos of the pieces you will be displaying at AOH. Drip feed these to your fans in a series of social media posts. This gives them a taste for the work they can enjoy at your exhibit.
6) Explaining your process
Those who love art are often fascinated by the artistic process. Explaining your process is a great way to engage your audience.
Write a series of posts to explain how you create your work step-by-step. This reminds people how much creative love and labour goes into each piece. In doing so, you help them to appreciate your work’s true value.
7) Sharing what inspires you
Art fans are also interested in what inspires you. Create a series of posts that call out famous peers who get your creative juices flowing.
Select a quote from or about the artist who inspires you and lay this over an image. (If you don’t already have software to do this, Canva is free and easy to use.)
8) Inspiring people to buy
A key role of your marketing is inspiring people to purchase a piece of your work. One way to do this is to help them imagine what it would be like to own your work.
To do this, take lifestyle shots of your work being worn, displayed, or used. This brings the idea of owning your work to life for them, enticing them to go ahead and buy.
Include a series of lifestyle shots of your work before and during the AOH event. Photos of people with work they have just bought at the event are ideal for this.
It is a good idea to include a link through to a product page on your website with these posts.
9) Celebrating your fellow artists
AOH is a collaborative event. Sharing the work of your fellow artists captures the spirit of this.
Create a series of posts that mention those you are exhibiting alongside. Share photos of their work and give them praise and recognition.
By tagging them in social posts, you are helping to reach a wider audience and attract them to your exhibition. This is a great marketing tactic which is in all of your interests.
10) Measuring your success
Our tenth and final AOH marketing tip is to measure your success. Jump into the analytics each social platform offers and see how your posts are performing.
Ask visitors with whom you engage, how they heard about your house, or trail and if they know anyone in particular’s work. It is always a great way to engage with people and strike up a conversation and this way you can ask them to follow you on Instagram or Facebook, thus potentially further developing a relationship with them.
From a technical perspective, if you have Google Analytics set up, check how many visitors your social posts are driving to your website, and be sure to monitor any increase in online sales.
Measuring your success, and noting what has worked well, helps you improve the way you market your creative business.
We hope our ten top AOH marketing tips have given you a head-start on your marketing plan for each of this year’s events.
Marketing is just one aspect of AOH preparation. For in-depth advice about all of the ways you can prepare for success, sign up to our mailing list and get a FREE pdf of our detailed guide of TOP TIPS for this year/s event.