For Minted, customer service is an Oscar-worthy performance

“Sir, I’m literally sitting on a bench with a gun on my lap. I’m calling you from a military phone in Iraq — regarding envelopes.”

That’s a slice of what an American soldier, a Minted customer, described to Donald Antoine, Minted’s customer service supervisor, in 2014. The calm-voiced soldier called Minted on behalf of his fiancée, who had ordered save the date cards for their forthcoming wedding ceremony back home in the States. They needed their return address corrected on their envelopes — and they needed it yesterday.

Enter Donald to the rescue. “Rest assured we’ll do everything we can,” Donald said to the soon-to-be husband. Donald corrected the address, reprocessed the order, and shipped the envelopes to the bride-to-be the same day. Three months later, Donald received an email from the Mrs., thanking Minted for its service.

Donald Antoine heads up Minted’s customer service team. Minted Customer Service not only benefits customers, but also our community of independent artists who produce the products you see on Minted. The Customer Service team helps “close the deal” with customers and retain them as loyal shoppers. By providing this service, we free up time for our community of artists to focus on their creative work and spend less time on administrative work.

This is just one of the stories Donald shared when we asked him to recall some of the most memorable customers he’s met on the job. Donald and his team of associates serve customers around the world, many of whom are celebrating life’s most memorable moments — weddings, births, graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries. “It’s amazing the people you come across,” Donald says, gleefully.

Donald retells a number of stories from the front lines of customer service with vigor, but one is particularly close to his heart. In 2014, Donald “hit it off right away” with a customer who was also a nearly-wed — this time, a Golden Girl who needed help with the process of ordering her wedding invitations online. She loved the elegance of many of Minted’s designs and knew she wanted crisp black text — but was searching for something a little more simplistic. Like a trio in harmony, Donald, the customer, and her fiancée talked on the phone for nearly four hours, throughout the course of a day. Donald helped to personalize the couple’s invitation design and message, and the more they talked, the more they got to know each other. Donald got choked up when he learned the customer’s first name — which is the same as his sister’s middle name. “My sister passed away in 2012, and we were very close. Then when we realized the couple’s wedding date was the same day as my sister’s passing, they started crying,” Donald says. “We established a wonderful relationship, and they invited me to their wedding.” Although he wasn’t able to attend, he’ll never forget the experience.

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4 Pinterest Tips to Help Your Content Drive Traffic + Sales

Pinterest is a platform of discovery. In 2016, the Pinterest community has grown to more than 150 million monthly users around the world who use the social media network to find over 75 billion ideas for them to save, to try, and to purchase. It’s the only social network that people go to save ads. To help you generate traffic and sales, we’ve put together four Pinterest content strategy tips to help you cut through the clutter and advertise your products.

1. Know Your Keywords & Popular Search Terms

To generate traffic and revenue, you must generate awareness of your product pins through proper keywords and pin descriptions. Think like an SEO strategist. What is SEO? Search Engine Marketing is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. Check out the Moz beginners guide to SEO here.

Once familiar with SEO, align your Pinterest profile, boards, and pin descriptions with the popular search terms under the umbrella of your products or services. Not sure how to find keywords related to your product? Try the Pinterest search bar as a starting point. Type in a keyword and see popular associated searches.

Not only will you be found on Pinterest, you’ll also be found via the major search engines, like Google.

Additionally, artists who have their own professional website with ecommerce capabilities should consider adding Product Pins. Product Pins update keyword text directly from your website, which makes it easier for Pinners to find information about things you sell by including color, style, pricing, and availability. Alongside increasing searchability, Product Pins also enjoy more prominence on Pinterest feeds by offering eye-catching branding icons and bolded text.

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Minted Holiday Playbook 2016

For the 2016 Holiday season, we recommend that Minted Artists aim to drive traffic to product description pages (PDPs; see an example of a PDP here). We also welcome you to join Minted’s Affiliate program, which gives Minted Artists the opportunity to earn supplemental revenue while promoting their Minted products. Minted Affiliates use trackable URLs to promote Minted products to their own social networks and followings. As a Minted Affiliate, you are eligible to earn a 10% commission on sales resulting from traffic that you drive to Minted. As a Minted Artist, the 10% affiliate commission is in addition to your artist sales commission of 6%.

Here’s a roundup of articles to help you with your holiday marketing.

SOCIAL MEDIA, MARKETING, & BRAND ADVICE

Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand

Minted Affiliate Marketing 101

What are the Best Social Media Platforms For You?

6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content

9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following

How to Build Your Creative Brand on Instagram

MINTED ARTIST STORE ADVICE

10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

Top 10 Tips for Curating Your Minted Artist Store

How to Merchandise Your Minted Artist Store for the Holidays


Published October 18, 2016

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Minted Affiliate Marketing 101

Minted’s Affiliate program gives Minted Artists the opportunity to earn supplemental revenue while promoting their Minted products. Minted Affiliates use trackable URLs to promote Minted products to their own social networks and followings. As a Minted Affiliate, you are eligible to earn a 10% referral commission each time you refer a customer who makes a purchase. The affiliate fee is paid in addition to any artist commissions that you receive for sales of your products. Affiliate fees are an advertising expense and are only paid when an affiliate refers a paying customer. Artist commissions are paid on every purchase, regardless of where the customer comes from.

The holiday season can be a particularly fruitful time to experiment with affiliate marketing; like many retailers, November and December are very important sales months at Minted. Regarding how much time the program involves, keep in mind that the bulk of the work will likely involve content generation (which we’ll touch on in a minute). Once you’ve signed up for an affiliate account, it’s just a matter of creating specialized links.

Here are the basics for getting started with Minted Affiliate Marketing, along with tips for success.

1. Set Up Your Minted Affiliate Account

Visit minted.com/affiliate. You’ll have two choices of affiliate networks: ShareASale and CJ. We recommend using ShareASale, because it’s the network that we’ve integrated into Minted Artist Stores.

Once you register, you should be approved within one business day, but keep in mind that during the busy holiday season, the process may take slightly longer. If you have questions, email the Affiliate Support Team at affiliates@minted.com; please tell the team that you’re a Minted Artist.

2. Create Affiliate Links 

Go here to create affiliate links. You can link to any page on Minted, and we recommend linking to specific product description pages (PDPs), as opposed to focusing all your energy on your Minted Artist Store landing page.

When a customer clicks on one of your affiliate links, a tracking cookie is placed on their browser. All sales referred by you through affiliate links will yield a 10% commission (based on sale price) and tracked via our affiliate network, ShareASale.

Minted offers a generous 120-day tracking window from first click to sale. All sales made on that “cookied” device/browser would net you a commission for the length of that 120-day window.

Please note these commissions are processed separately from artist commissions paid out directly from Minted. They are tracked and distributed by our affiliate network (ShareASale or Commission Junction).
3. Use your Artist Store Vanity URL
If you have a Minted Artist Store and you’re on our ShareASale affiliate program, you can also direct visitors to your vanity URL (yourname.minted.com), and it will automatically redirect through your affiliate URL. It’s your choice whether to direct your followers to a product details page or your Artist Store. Both options can get you credit as an affiliate.

4. Pick Your Promotional Platforms

As you’re developing a content strategy, focus on the promotional channels that work best for you. Whether it’s a particular social media platform, email newsletter, a blog, or your website, there are a number of ways that you can drive traffic to the Minted URLs of your choice.

Some Minted Artists include affiliate links in the navigation bars of their personal websites, social media accounts, and email signatures to monetize the traffic they receive to their personal blogs.

Minted Artist Kristy Kapturowski of Hooray Creative uses Minted Affiliate links on Pinterest. ”A few of my Minted designs have enjoyed a lot of action on Pinterest, so it’s a great way to drive traffic to a Minted Artist Store and spread your personal brand,” Kristy says. “It’s also a fantastic opportunity to incorporate an affiliate link to boost your commission.”

Did you know that Pinterest now allows use of affiliate links? Learn more here.

Suggested Reading: “What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?

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Second Live Art Night Draws Full House at Minted Local

On September 22, we hosted the second Live Art Night at Minted Local, drawing more than 130 people for an evening of Bay Area artists painting, drawing, and talking with guests. The popular monthly event featured Minted Artists Madeline Trait, Sylvie Lee, and Jenny Partrite, in addition to local artist Michael McConnell.

Pictured above, top row, from left: Bay Area artist Michael McConnell and Minted Artist Madeline Trait; bottom row, from left: Minted Artists Sylvie Lee and Jenny Partrite.

Live Art Night sign and art by Minted Jenny Partrite

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How to Overcome a Total Creative Void

Written by Amy Fontes

In my dreams, I am a designer with never-ending creativity and one who has the artistic chops to whip out amazing designs one after another. In reality, I am a mom to two active elementary-age kids, a wife to a busy surgeon who works long hours and weekends, and a daughter to a terminally ill mother.

And while I mark down “graphic designer” as my occupation, in any given day I could be handling the management of my husband’s practice, running soccer practice for my son, discussing medical options with my mom, or just plain doing the things to keep our lives going. Nothing that is really unique or different from others, but things that have me wearing many hats with limited time for design.

So as much as I love design, truth be told, the creative process is often a struggle, and inspiration doesn’t always come easily for me. Sure, ideas would pop into my head here and there and was enough to keep me designing, but for all of 2015, I found myself in a complete and total creative void. The stress of life became so great that, in short, all creativity and inspiration just stopped.

While I was happy to focus on my helping my family, I was quietly growing more and more frustrated during this creative void because, in a way, design had been my therapy. This was the one thing that was mine and mine alone. I needed it. It was my place where I could escape for a while, forget about everything, and hopefully create something that brought me (and others) happiness. It was my balance. But the more I forced creativity, the larger the void seemed. I had to figure this out.

How To Move Forward

TURN OFF THE NOISE
The first thing I did was walk away from design. It might seem counterintuitive, but I was putting so much pressure on myself to “be creative and produce” that it only made things worse. I turned off my computer, stopped participating in challenges, tucked away my pens and sketch pads. I stopped “pinning,” swiping, scrolling, and following blogs and just left design behind. I needed to wipe my mind clean from what I thought I should be designing or what I thought would be the next big design trend.

Above the Las Vegas desert on one of my hikes

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8 Tips for Pricing Your Commissioned Original Art for Minted

For customers seeking unique original art, photography, and design, we’ve launched Minted Commissioned Original Art (BETA), a new program that is limited to U.S. consumers and Minted artists during our initial beta period.

Minted believes in protecting the value of artists’ work and creating a marketplace that will help independent artists thrive. To prevent a pricing race to the bottom, we’ve set a minimum price of $75 per commission. Our independent community of artists create a variety of styles, mediums, formats, and with that comes varying prices. Artists set their own price for Commissioned Original Art (BETA) projects. Please keep in mind that artists keep 80% of the price quote and Minted retains 20%. Your price quotes must include shipping costs.

Pictured above: Lauren Rogoff is a Minted Artist who specializes in custom pet portraits. She posted this photo of herself on her Instagram, @wanderinglaur, during a Minted press event in New York in July 2016.

How Does Pricing Work in Commissioned Original Art?
Minted artists will set an estimated price or price range for various sizes (S-L) and complexities (Simple-Complex) of projects you will have available for commission. You will not set a final price for a project until you discuss the project with the client and agree on the scope. By this time, you’ll also know the estimated size/weight of the finished product and the shipping address, so you’ll be able to accurately estimate and account for the insured shipping costs. You may also need to include any sales tax in the price depending on the state where you live, and the location of the customer.

Based on the photo she received of her client’s French bulldogs above, Lauren Rogoff created this pet portrait.

What’s the Right Price for My Work?
If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all formula for pricing commissioned work, you might not find one. But after interviewing several experienced commissioned artists, we’ve identified common threads for best practices. Here are eight tips to help you find your pricing sweet spot.

1. Do Your Research to Get a Ballpark Figure
When initially thinking about your price range for commissioned work, it’s helpful to get a sense of the market on other sites, especially for your particular style and medium. “You don’t want to charge $10 or $1,000 when your competitors are at $500,” says Lauren Rogoff, a Minted artist who specializes in animal and pet portraits. “Even if your work is distinct stylistically, it helps to know what customers are spending.”

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How to Ship Commissioned Original Art

When it comes to best practices for shipping Commissioned Original Art (BETA), we knew exactly who to contact for advice: Rich Baiardi. As Minted’s Vice President of Manufacturing Supply Chain, he’s an expert in shipping all of Minted’s assortment products in the safest way possible.

Before we dive into the Q&A with Rich, please keep in mind that during the beta period, we are limiting Commissioned Original Art to U.S. customers, so our tips are based on domestic shipping methods. Also remember that you must insure Commissioned Original Art and require the customer’s signature upon delivery. We highly recommend that you confirm the customer’s shipping address and message the tracking number to the customer once you’ve shipped the order.

How can I protect small unframed art, design, and photography?

Rich Baiardi: For a initial layer of protection, I recommend placing art in a plastic bag, which you can order at clearbags.com.

Then sandwich with cardboard chip mailers (.03 thickness) — one piece on each side.

If the art is small (anything up to 11’ x 14’), the best thing to do is ship in a flat mailer, which you can purchase from ULINE. The cardboard makes the packaging stiffer and helps to prevent damage if it’s bent during the shipping process.

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8 Tips for Getting Started in the Design World

If you’re a recent college graduate on the hunt for design work, good news. Not only is there demand for traditional full-time jobs, but opportunities are on the rise for becoming your own boss. “There are so many resources for independent designers, platforms to sell your work, and opportunities to create passive income streams,” says Hailey Myziuk, who works full time for her company Snow and Ivy. The 31-year-old Detroit artist joined the Minted community in 2010 and says now is “such an exciting and fun time to be a designer.”

To help you curate your career, Hailey and Genna Cowsert — a fellow Detroit area designer and Minted artist — share these right tips for getting your digital foot in the door and developing your career.

The Sky Is the Limit” by Genna Cowsert

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5 Tips for Building Your Creative Brand Online

With loads of Internet tools and resources just waiting for your personal touch, developing a creative brand can seem at once exciting, full of possibilities… and overwhelming. Which is why we tapped industry experts to share their insights at the Minted headquarters for San Francisco’s Design Week 2016.

Photo by Tiffany Tran

On June 7, we hosted a lively panel discussion featuring Minted Creative Director (and one of our first Minted artists) Annie Clark, Chronicle Books Design Director Kristen Hewitt, and artist and jewelry designer Lisa Anderson Shaffer. Here are the top five takeaways; view the panel recording here.

1. Cohesiveness Is Key

Do you want to build a website and create social accounts for your creative business? If so, focus on creating a cohesive body of work to share online.

“A lot of new artists and designers are all over the map, and it’s hard to understand where their focus is or what style they want to bring to the table,” said Kristen Hewitt, Design Director at Chronicle Books. She advises that designers and artists present a sense of who they want to be and what they want to make. Showcase a clear, cohesive body of work to attract clients and help them understand your vision.

Minted Creative Director Annie Clark said it’s equally important to keep your portfolio fresh and up to date. “It’s not important to share everything you’ve ever done in your career online,” Annie said. For example, you can keep those works from when you dabbled in oil paint during art school offline if it’s not something that will be central to who you are now as an artist and what you will be selling.

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