Free art can lure people in the door and lead to sales. IF you do it right.
I was alarmed when I saw this subject line in my inbox:
David Castle Art: FREE Flapjacks This First Friday to Kick Off Denver Arts Week!
“Flapjacks” is the name David Castle has given to 3″x3″ watercolors that he gives to visitors at his open studio during a citywide gallery night out.
He planned to give away 1 Flapjack to each of the first 40 people who visited his studio that night.
I quickly wrote him back: HOLY COW! You're giving away 40 paintings?!
I thought he might be just a little crazy.
David said (my paraphrase), Yep, that's my plan. He further explained that he gives away 40 at the event, 5 to commenters on his blog, and 5 to fans on Facebook.
Why It Works
But, and here's the key, people don't walk out of the studio with one of David's miniature watercolors in their hands.
Instead, they select an unfinished painting and write their name and contact information on the back [see image at right].
David adds the names to his contact list, finishes the painting later [see examples at top], and sends them the finished painting along with information about him and his art.
If people grabbed a painting and left, the promotion wouldn't help him out much. David wouldn't know anyone’s names or have their information.
Why Do It At All?
David said he wouldn't give away his art if it weren't fun for him. Each one takes about 5 minutes to paint, and he enjoys giving gifts to his studio visitors.
He can help cover his costs by offering to frame each painting for the low price of $25.
Most importantly, David can attribute $1000 in sales directly to this one promotion!
David has not only made sales from giving away his art, but he has also expanded his contact list and undoubtedly made a lot of fans for life.
David just might be crazy: crazy like a fox!