Greetings Site Offers Free Publicity

Charlotte CowellIn May 2011, British PR and media strategist Charlotte Cowell launched news and product review service Gifts & Greetings Review and has just created the Gifts & Greetings Directory offering free company/brand listings to industry retailers, suppliers, service providers and trade bodies. She speaks about her business goals.

 

AS: How does Gifts & Greetings Review serve artists in the UK and beyond?

CC: My aim with Gifts and Greetings Review is for it to become an online hub for the globalised industry – a friendly and independent resource that nurtures and supports talent and keeps people up to date with important news developments.

I offer artists and suppliers of gifts and greetings products the chance to get some publicity, both via the Gifts & Greetings Review website and a number of interconnected social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and various Linked in Groups. There is no charge for any of this.

The Gifts and Greetings Directory is another way for artists to build their presence online and improve the visibility of their company and brands. Anyone can create a free listing, which includes company name, contact details, logo and hyperlink to their own website. Over 1,500 companies from around the world are already listed.

People browsing the easily searchable Directory have the useful option of creating a list of ‘Favourites’ – for example of preferred suppliers and interesting new companies – that we hope will prove to be a handy resource for retailers and help listed companies to attract more customers.

There is no catch whatsoever to this and people who sign up will not suddenly be hit with advertising or IT support costs. Gifts & Greetings Review has developed the Directory in order to create an effective online hub for the industry and we hope it will prove to be useful for all concerned.

The benefit for me in all of this is that if people throughout the industry – retailers, suppliers and service providers alike – get into the habit of using the Directory, this will in turn help to drive more traffic to Gifts & Greetings Review. The power with online PR and marketing is in the network.

AS: Greeting & Gifts Review offers an opportunity for artists to submit products for review. How does that work?

CC: It’s very simple – just email me at [email protected] with a bit of background text on the product, ranges, service, or description of the art work, along with up to five JPEGs. Submissions should include information relevant to retailers or people who might wish to license artworks, such as RRPs, minimum orders, whether or not carriage is paid, what type of licenses are available and so on.

 

AS: What are the biggest mistakes you see artists making in their product lines, and in their presentation?

CC: You see a lot of exceptional artists and designers floundering because they lack commercial sense. It’s very important to stay grounded and develop a canny understanding of what really sells to consumers – something that your customers, the retailers, have to always bear in mind. Also have an understanding of the levels at which consumer price-resistance kicks in and don’t price yourself out of this highly competitive market.

There are also a few tricks of the trade when designing for greetings, which is an easy business to get into but not so easy to become really successful at. For example, artists need to think about how the design will look on a card once it’s on the shelves or racks – if half the image is covered by the one beneath it, it’s going to get lost in the crowd.

Captions are also very important. It’s a long-held truism that an image attracts attention but it’s generally the words inside (and out) that actually sell a card. This is a sentiment-driven business and successful greeting cards tap into human emotions and psychology, so think about what will move people – a beautiful painting isn’t always enough, although fine art cards do sell well in the right markets.

I also see new publishers suffering because they don’t offer broad enough ranges – a retailer might love your cards, but if they really need a range that solidly covers a broad base of occasions and relations and you only have six designs in the collection, they might regretfully move on to someone with a more developed line.

Another good tip for artists starting out in greetings is to think niche and look local. There are often opportunities offered by independent retailers and other business owners for more bespoke cards featuring regional landmarks, beauty spots and so on, so it’s well worth doing some research in your area to see if you can create custom-lines for local businesses. Personalisation is increasingly important in this market and it’s relatively easier to carve out a niche for yourself in your home town, where people want to support local artists and companies.

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