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7 Marketing Tips Stolen from Bansky

Banksy is the most amazing anonymous England-based street artist. His satirical street art combines dark humor with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. Though, he’s perhaps best known most recently for “Girl with a Balloon.”

Furthermore, his art’s marketing is similarly artful. So today we’ll take a look at seven successful marketing techniques he uses that you can apply to your business.

Here’s how to steal like a marketing artist from Banksy

1. Be selective about social media

Bansky has 7.5 million followers on Instagram. And clearly states in his bio description there that he’s “Not on Facebook. Not on Twitter.”

There are more than 20 social media channels today. And, many are seeing decreased engagement or are grappling with disinformation. Furthermore, value-based millennials, are looking for brands to take a moral stand.

Get ahead of the digital marketing trend, and decide what channels to be on by aligning your audience and their interests with your strengths. Only participate in the social channels that are best for engaging with your customers and leads. And clearly state where to find you, and where not to find you.

2. Empower personalized selling online

While Banksy may shelter behind a concealed identity, he advocates for a direct connection between an artist and his constituency.

“There’s a whole new audience out there, and it’s never been easier to sell [art],” Banksy has maintained. “You don’t have to go to college, drag ’round a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries or sleep with someone powerful, all you need now is a few ideas and a broadband connection. This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people.”

For those already online, empower individuals to sell your products through personalized pages. In the same way that the Girl Scouts now let each junior money-raiser set up their own profile page and offer cookies, or the way that races let each team set up a fundraising page, add a feature to your website to let customers customize their own shop page. Let them build out information they’d be proud to show off, as well as handpick and arrange your products they’d like to offer. Bookshop has recently brought this to life by allowing individuals to curate a list of available books on their own unique profile page, and providing them a 10% affiliate opportunity.

This could be a great way to get your “portfolio” into the hands of affiliates, while setting them up for higher conversions.

For brick-and-mortar businesses or freelancers just getting started, it can be tempting not to develop an online presence. But there’s a reason DTC is a quickly emerging industry: the Internet makes transactions fast and easy, and 4. 39 billion people use it every day.

You don’t even have to write code for your own website. There are simple drag-and-drop type options: SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress, Blogger, Shopify, and Medium. There are also sites that make it easy to just list your products such as Etsy, Zazzle, Society6, Craigslist, CafePress, Amazon, Yelp, Google My Business, and eBay.

Want to keep it super simple? Capture payments using Venmo, put your product as your profile photo on your Venmo page, and add your Venmo URL to your business cards.

3. Create a compelling supporting offer

Pest Control, is tongue-in-cheek-titled organization set up by Banksy to authenticate the real Banksy artwork. It also protects him from prying outsiders. On Banksy’s website Pest Control reports on which upcoming shows of his art have not been approved.

Pest Control, is tongue-in-cheek-titled organization set up by Banksy to authenticate the real Banksy artwork. Click To Tweet

Like Banksy you could create a value-add service or limited time offer that improves your core product. A few ideas are: secure delivery, installation of the product, lifetime support for the product, or authentication.

Or you could put a web page that explains things that go against your core values (sort of a “we would never” page), to build out your brand – which might strike up some controversy and get your website shared more frequently.

Or similar to how secondary markets emerged around Beanie Babies, such as a Beanie Babies magazine, and Beanie Babies hang tag protectors, you can create your own collector’s market, which could actually increase demand for your core product.

4. Repurpose content

Banksy created the guileful documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop which was a behind the scenes look at some of his art and process, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Basically he reused content he already had in a new way to create more art.

You can do this by taking blog posts and turning them into ebooks, podcasts, Youtube videos, emails, and direct mailers. Or take tweets and Instagram photos and turn them into blog posts.

Your best performing topics will always resonate with your audience, so don’t be afraid to put a spin on them and do them again.

5. Master native distribution

Banksy brought his own brand of prankster performance art to major museums, including the Louvre. There, he succeeded in installing an image of the Mona Lisa plastered with a smiley-face sticker.

This is Banksy doing a great job getting the word out about his brand in a way that was very natural to the medium. You can do that by finding other places your audience lives: buy email placements in newsletters, magazine ads, ad spots in podcasts, and product placement in Youtube videos. You could even try to pay for a “takeover” of a website where you plant easter eggs around the site.

Regardless, ensure your content matches the vibe of that publication by working with the editors closely. For example, if you place an ad in The New Yorker, make it a lengthy word-heavy article rather than a big image. Basically, be mindful to build on the content expectations that specific audience already has.

6. Play with context for bigger impact

Banksy’s Ruined Landscape, a pastoral scene with the slogan “This is not a photo opportunity” pasted across it, sold for $385,000.

By employing this juxtaposition technique you, too, can grab more attention. Use the sound of a phone ringing in your Youtube or Spotify ads. Use a Youtube thumbnail with a play button image in your emails. Use a text-message type interaction to complete help users complete lead capture or check out forms. Use a photograph from the outrageous 80s to welcome people to your natural skin make up website. When you surprise people just a little, they’ll stick around to investigate.

7. Encourage consumers to share your brand

On Banksy’s website, he provides high-resolution images of his work for free downloading, making it super easy for fans and media alike to spread his brand for him.

Give away infographics with your best data or witty sayings on them, pay a photographer to take a set of diverse photo images and give those away, or embed social share buttons in your blog posts. If you host an event, pay a photographer to capture a ton of photos, and let people know to visit your website to find ones of themselves.

Use Banksy’s marketing techniques

Need even more marketing tips? Banksy uses urgency through limited time offers (such as a 31-day residency in New York) and the element of surprise (you never know when or where a new piece will pop up) to delight his fans. Now, you’re equipped to create your own brilliant marketing.

Would it be too crazy to ask you to please send a $5 tip to my Venmo tip jar if you learned something new? @megsterr.

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Up next, check out how to best use Facebook Groups marketing to drive more traffic back to your website and build your brand.

A torn up Banksy book
The time my sweet, sweet angel tore up my Banksy book & I couldn’t even be mad, because she gets it: she made her own art inspired by his. 😂

By Megan Mitzel

I'm the wearer of overalls behind the marketing advice website Marketing Overalls. I'm also a senior marketing director with more than ten years of experience leading acquisition and lifecycle marketing at successful startups. Before that, I got a business degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before that, I owned a seashell shop. And that's the tea on me.