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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I have just created an online art gallery. It's the first one in the county I live in. Need some help on how it should be marketed and advice on if I should first keep prices down to draw the business then gradually raise the prices.


Answer from our Guest Expert Laura Wiegert of Creative Consultants


Congratulations on cooking up such a unique web site! The first thing you need to do with your online art gallery is to market it offline. Once you've done offline marketing, such as a press release and local networking with other art groups, then consider ways to market online. Both these efforts will increase traffic. And the good news is you've already got the promotional angle -- being the first one in your county.

Get a Press Release Ready to Brew

So whip up a press release about your accomplishment and serve it to the art sections of all the newspapers in your area -- both small and large. (Small papers especially are more apt to print your release word for word.) Include key information about your online gallery, such as when it opened, what's featured there, why you started it, and how to access it. Mention that it's the only one of its kind in your county too.

If you're not too sure how to write a press release, there are tons of hearty public relations books that explain this relatively easy writing task. You could also go to Idea Cafe's Fridge for a news release form.

Don't forget to send the release to other art, entertainment, and trade publications in your area as well! How far-reaching you want to be is up to you. You can send the press release to state and national publications as well as local. Any print publicity you get that mentions your URL will brighten your day!

Plaster Your URL Everywhere!

Another marketing must is to include your web site URL everywhere and anywhere you can. Put it on your business cards, stationery, brochures, newsletters, ads, forms, etc. Include it on any printed material you produce that promotes your gallery. This is a simple, cost-effective idea that creates awareness of your web site and can increase hits. Repeat exposure is the name of the game when it comes to marketing.

Check out Exchange Links

You can also look at several online marketing avenues. Consider "exchange links" with other online galleries. If you put a link to their URL on your site, they'll put one to your gallery on theirs. This also works with different types of sites that draw similar audiences. This "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" method works very well on the World Wide Web. See what kind of partnerships you can stir up while surfing the Net.

Banner Ads Beef Up Hits

Banner ads are another online option that can work very well if done properly. If you decide to create a banner ad for your new online gallery and market it to other sites, keep these tips in mind to create a sizzling banner ad:

  • Include the words "click here" somewhere on the ad.
  • Put a blue border around the ad to remind viewers that it's clickable.
  • Think of the banner ad as a mini-billboard. It's gotta grab -- quickly!

Get a Buzz Going

Another way to create awareness of your online gallery is through discussion groups. This is a "soft sell" approach that allows you to showcase your knowledge. Start participating helpfully in online discussion groups while casually letting people know what you do. It's a nice way to position yourself as an industry leader and increase awareness of your web site at the same time.

Regarding pricing strategies, there are different routes you can take, Michael. I'd suggest you research this avenue carefully. There are several books on this topic on the market that'll help you come up with a strategy that's in line with your goals, demographics, and company image.

Good luck with your new online gallery!

Have a biz question of your own? Go post it in CyberSchmooz

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