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February 2, 2017

How to Market Your Calligraphy Business

Business Tips

Reading time: 4 min.

It’s a question I get in my inbox often: How do I market my calligraphy business and get wedding clients? So I did a little audit, pulled together the ways I’ve found success marketing my services as a calligrapher, and wanted to ship ’em your way today.

Keep reading to learn how!

How to market your calligraphy business by Atlanta and Alabama wedding calligrapher Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes

Calligraphy can be tough to market: it’s a luxury, and you can certainly have a wedding without it!

Before you dive into these tips, I think it’s really important to zero in on WHO you want to attract—are you looking for the brides who will pay $4.50/set of wedding invitation addresses? Or, is your style more informal and democratic, and you want to churn out calligraphy prints for $20 a pop?

Here’s a post I wrote about HOW to write to those clients on your website.

Feelin’ good about your target?

Let’s jump into tactical marketing steps … and don’t forget your free wedding addressing etiquette swipe, something that helped me explode my email list, so you can see how to market to your calligraphy business with a freebie!


Market grassroots-style at meet-ups.

Before I had a steady stream of inquiries, I leaned on a LOT of word-of-mouth referals.

So, when I went full-time with calligraphy and copywriting, I leaned into that a bit more to max it out.

What to do before a creative conference - tips I do before every event by Ashlyn Carter - Trouvaille Workshop

Go to local meetups, like the Rising Tide Society or calligraphy guilds and make connections. I can’t tell you how many orders I’ve gotten as a result of getting to know wedding stationers and planners in Atlanta!

The key is serving those relationships well: be an active encourager in the Facebook group, drop ’em an email just to say hi sometimes, and remember names. Soon, you’ll be “the calligrapher” in their head.

Before you go to these events, have your elevator pitch ready to go so you can quickly explain what you do (for example, we DON’T do one-off chalkboard or wood signs—just full, head-to-toe suites and then signage for our full-service clients only). Click here to grab the blog post where I talk through how to explain what it is you do.


Drop off sample kits.

In keeping with the grassroots theme …

… make a batch of envelopes, attach your business card, and drop off a set at your local wedding stationer or invitation shops. I did this around Paper Sources and the like in ATL, and have gotten business due to that.

You could also elevate it a bit: add a bottle of champagne and go to your higher-end wedding planners in your area … at least for me, I found that as a good way to get referred from local planners. 😉

Read how to market your calligraphy business! @ashlynscarter http://ctt.ec/NW317+ (Click to Tweet!)

Ashlyn Carter Atlanta wedding calligrapher Georgia wedding


Make a PR & marketing plan.

Decide what you need to book in a year, and be strategic in going after that: HAVE A PLAN! If you only need one wedding a month, but you’d love to sell more prints from your shop, goodness gracious—let us know through your platforms!

While I’m all for styled shoots for how to market your calligraphy business …

… I honestly just found they were best at getting me some good images to use in my own marketing. Don’t depend on them to bring in business on their own.

Even though I used to design marketing plans, content marketing schedules, and pitch calendar for large businesses and I’ll be honest: it still took me a solid 22 months of running a small business to design a marketing plan that works for the nimble life of creative entrepreneurship and doesn’t stress me the heck out.

I break down what a marketing and PR plan is over in this blog post, and you can grab a free template of my marketing plan, too!

Classic southern wedding invitation calligraphy for North Carolina wedding by Ashlyn Writes Wedding Calligraphy Atlanta Wedding Calligrapher


Work the SEO system like a wedding photographer.

I feel like our wedding photographer compadres hack SEO like no other—but a lot of us don’t work on it as stationers and calligraphers.

Ben Turner has a minimally-priced SEO course for photographers, and y’all, it’s been crazy helpful for me. I have gotten a LOT of inquiries from people who found me on Google, and that didn’t happen before!

There’s a lot we can do to start showing up on Google for “[your area/city] calligrapher” search results, most of which I didn’t know until I took his course. Double thumbs up for this one—ignore the photographer references and you’ll be just fine!

Auburn, Alabama wedding invitation design by Atlanta wedding calligrapher Ashlyn Carter - classic copperplate calligraphy font


Show up in Pinterest

Likewise, Pinterest is a search engine that’s helped me get found a lot when it comes to how to market your calligraphy business.

We need to market where our dream clients are hanging out, right? I’m all about marketing that meets people where they are—and for our couples (ahem, my brides making the paper decision), that looks a lot like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

According to the latest stats, Pinterest users are 25-44, with an average household income of $100k. It’s one of the top tools women use when making purchasing decisions.

So, pop quiz for you. Does that sound like your ideal bride or client? I don’t know about you, but THAT Pinterest user is my girl … and I’m guessing it’s not too far off track from your dream client or bride, either.

Since becoming a small business owner, Pinterest has gone from being my home/wardrobe/meal prep inspiration parking lot to the #1 source of my traffic in my business. We’re talking it outranks Google, Instagram … everything when it comes to bringing my dream clients to my website.

And here’s the thing: I don’t spend any more time than I used to on Pinterest. I just use the time slightly differently than I used to: Boardbooster to schedule and reschedule pins.

Atlanta calligrapher and creative copywriter Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes

Take a Pinterest course (I love Melyssa Griffin’s and my client Jenna Kutcher’s!) and learn how to use Boardbooster as a traffic machine in your calligraphy business!


Those are five ideas for how to market your calligraphy business have helped me keep a steady stream of calligraphy clients, before I was to the point where I was creating freebies …

… which brings me to this: one thing that REALLY helped was growing my email list with a freebie for brides.

My sweet, sweet Southern brides were interested in etiquette and collecting names, so I created a wedding addressing etiquette cheatsheet download for them, which I sent along as soon as they inquired as a way to say thanks for reaching out. Here’s a swipe so you can see what I mean below!

What’s helped you? Do you have a marketing plan? And if you liked this, share with your calligrabuddies!

6

comments

  1. Madeline Kelly

    September 30th, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Hey Ashlyn,

    I love your blog – so many super helpful things on here for an aspiring calligrapher like me. I started researching starting a small business (taxes, registration forms, and so much more!) about 3 weeks ago. It’s been a really fun experience and I can’t wait til I have my first customer. When did you start your company? What were the first months/year like for you?

  2. Ashlyn Carter

    September 30th, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Hey, Madeline! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m excited for you and what’s coming! I had been working PR for a decade and doing calligraphy at night for about 4 years, but just bought my LLC and went full time in February. It’s been the best roller coaster ride of them all: I highly recommend it!

  3. Margaret

    June 7th, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Great post, Ashlyn! Reading this made me realize how blindly I’ve been going into starting a calligraphy business – and I have a background in marketing too, ugh! Super helpful stuff here – will start putting together an actual plan now based on these tips. Thanks!

  4. Ashlyn Carter

    June 19th, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Well, Margaret, aren’t you just a doll? Thanks for your sweet note. And, don’t worry, sometimes I forget that my background means I know how to do things! It’s all about applying our old knowledge in new — and exciting — ways! Go rock it, girl! xo. Ash

  5. annette1214

    April 10th, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    This is really helpful! Thanks so much for being willing to share your expertise. Your calligraphy is lovely!

  6. Ashlyn Carter

    April 15th, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, thanks so much, Annette! I still love the craft so much. There’s nothing like the sounds of a nib moving across paper. I’m glad you found it helpful! xx. Ash

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Hey, y'all! I'm Ashlyn.

Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure you stand out as a copywriter and calligraphy. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.

free mentoring? yes, please

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Welcome to the AW blog! I hook up women with words. Grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine, and enjoy a peek behind-the-scenes of my ink stained life. 

LET'S PARTY:

I'M ASHLYN

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