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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15 Questions to Inspire Quality Art Critiques

By Nathan Bond & Amy Schroeder

Many Minted artists say peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of our community and challenge process. After submitting your work to a challenge, Minted artists are encouraged to share feedback on other artists’ work and invite fellow community members to critique their own work.

We’ve found that when artists ask specific questions about their work, they are more likely to generate quality feedback. Armed with this constructive feedback, many Minted artists iterate their submissions or put the feedback in their back pocket for future projects.

We asked Nathan Bond, an art instructor at Parsons School of Design, to create the following list of prompts to inspire quality critiques. We recommend that you copy and paste the questions that resonate with you into the “Ask for Feedback” pop-up field after submitting your work.

Fossilized Rock” by Frooted Design

With more than 20 years of experience, Nathan said he created this list for a wide range of artwork, including paintings, drawings, and photography. “These questions focus on the fundamental elements of all works of art, regardless of genre or style,” he said. “I organized them in an order that develops similarly to how you would develop a formal critique, starting with the basic foundations of the image and developing toward the more interpretive aspects.”

15 Art Critique Prompt Questions

1. Does the composition effectively move the viewer’s eye around the image?

2. My intent with this composition is to take the viewer to ____________ location. Did your eye go there?

3. Are there any classic compositional errors? For example, is the subject matter too centered or too far off to one side? Are things cropped in an effective way? Is anything “kissing” the edge?

4. Is there good positive-negative space, and is it balanced and harmonious?

“Skyward Angles” limited edition print by Gabrial Reising

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Minted Artists Critique Holiday Designs at Atlanta Meetup

Story and photos by Kristen Smith

In late April, I had the pleasure of organizing an incredible live holiday stationery design critique session with six fellow Atlanta area Minted artists. The meetup was especially exciting because it was the very first in a series of gatherings we’ve planned this year as part of the pilot Minted Ambassador program.

In addition to Kristen Smith, the six artists who attended the Atlanta meetup were Stacey Meacham, Ashley Ottinger, Kelli Hall, Camilla Acosta, Zanne Bedore, and Susie Stern.

We all gathered at the lovely home of Kelli Hall, who was so very gracious to host us, and we each brought print-outs of designs we were currently working on. Because the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge is one of Minted’s biggest and most competitive challenges of the year, sharing live critiques was absolutely invaluable. Being able to take a break from our computer monitors and interact with the printed, tangible work was a much needed, fresh perspective. We scheduled our critiquing meetup about a week before the day final submissions were due, so it was the perfect little boost to motivate us and carry us weary and cross-eyed through the finish line.

As there are quite a few Minted artists in the Atlanta area, we were fortunate to have veteran community members like Stacey Meacham (pictured above) as well as a few first-timers and recent first-challenge participants. Our hope is to see many new faces at future meetups as our talented community of independent artists and designers continues to grow.

Stacey said she enjoyed the holiday critique because it gave her the confidence to move forward with submissions that she was questioning. “I often have designs that linger on my artboards that I know have something but am unsure if they are finished or good enough,” she said. “Having in-person feedback from respected designers, friends, and artists is invaluable. Even if there are not changes that need to be made, just getting the confirmation that ‘yes, this is good—you should definitely submit’ is so helpful.”
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