February 27, 2013 | Alyson Stanfield

Are You Nuts?

You’re probably familiar with this quote:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It first appeared in 1981 text from Narcotics Anonymous and has been misattributed at various times to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Mark Twain.
If the quote is true, are you nuts?

Cynthia Morris photo of Walnuts in Sicily
©Cynthia Morris, Walnuts at Palermo Market. Used with permission.

Have you been promoting your art the same way for years and expecting improved results?

Persistence And Consistency

I’m a big fan of persistence and consistency – in doing the same thing over and over again – in marketing. You must commit to certain repeated marketing tasks before you can judge their effectiveness.
At the same time, I believe in tweaking aspects of your marketing as you go along.
You should learn something with each new artwork, email, newsletter, or blog post, and you need to use that knowledge to get better results in the future.

Expect Improved Results

Let’s assume that you seek the following results, regardless of where you are in your art business:

  • More sales
  • More inquiries
  • Additional subscribers
  • More quality connections
  • Better venues
  • Improved work

Constant Tweaking

To see improved results like those above, try any of the following with your marketing.

  1. Reduce the amount of text
  2. Break up the paragraphs into 1 or 2 sentences only
  3. Simplify the options
  4. Change the colors
  5. Resize the format
  6. Increase the font size
  7. Add more bullet points
  8. Add more white space
  9. Put your name at the top
  10. Put your name at the bottom
  11. Test a different image
  12. Enlarge the images
  13. Decrease the size of your logo
  14. Adjust the length of the article or message
  15. Use a photo of yourself
  16. Remove the photo of yourself
  17. Be more personal
  18. Be less personal
  19. Send it email
  20. Send it snail mail
  21. Use the phone
  22. Deliver it in person

Don’t implement these changes all at once. The only way to understand what works is to modify one thing at a time.
Since you’re here, I know you’re not nuts. You’re willing to experiment to get better results. You can do this!
What has worked for you? When did you change part of your marketing and see an improved outcome?

22 comments add a comment
  • An absolutely excellent list! I’ll keep it handy.
    I am nothing if not persistent and change is my middle name. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t change too much. So I wonder too about the parts that should stay the same…what you’d call, I guess, the ‘branding’ factor.

  • I love tweeking and I love this list! I love tweeking my sculptures too. Which I am going to do right now! Weeeee! Bye!

  • Sari

    Made a mobile version of my website using my wix.com provider, been creating newsletter like pages that have links that can be stuck on social networks using MadMimi provider, entered & squeaked in to a juried show that will present to alot of local collectors (I don’t usually do juried shows but the space is wonderful )…Made some pretty postcards of a sketch to attach to my sculptures with hanging or care instructions…

  • Thank you for investigating my mailing list sign up form. I’m horrified to think you couldn’t even find it! I have already moved it. But I tested it and don’t think it’s working!

  • More pictures! When time is limited, people will look for the photos to tell a story. I also remember to send notes of gratitude to clients and friends for just taking the time to look at my art. I think a genuine outreach helps me connect with more people. But as for the blog….no matter how many people say they love what I have to say, I still don’t have the following I’d like. So, now it’s time to “tweak” my content. Thank you for the list to get me thinking of what I might do next!

    • It’s amazing how many artists leave out the pictures, Kellee. Glad to hear that works for you. And ABTC (always be tweaking content). I read some of my earlier posts and newsletters and am amazed that people stuck around for so long.

  • last year i started entering more art gallery competitions and found tremendous success with that (awards & sales)…so i will continue doing that. i post 2-3 times a day in FB (with interesting posts)and am starting to get conversations going, more likes and shares, so my following has slowly increased. i just have to get more consistent with my newsletters and see where that takes me.

  • great list – just printed it out for future reference (and frequent reading!).
    i started blogging to further network and promote my work. unfortunately, it’s been inconsistent due to a loved one’s illness, but i’m ready to get back to work and do what i need to do.
    thank you.

  • Yes – I am nuts. Anyone who pursues a career in the visual arts has to be at least a little. It is sometimes the only way to cope with the insanity of the art world. I’m not big believer in lists but I do persist because I believe in what I’m doing.

    • Don’t you think every business has its insanity? I think of Wall Street and politics. Then I recall that I worked in the nonprofit world for 10 years in museums. I think nonprofits have a particular kind of insanity around them – what with having to deal with patrons, boards, volunteers, professional staff and support staff. Ugh. So glad I’m not there anymore!

  • Thanks Alyson for this great list, perfect for changing one thing when you post a couple of times a week!

  • SO, I’m diggin seeing all of my thoughts and ideas in print. Oh, and by the way… I’ve also learned something. Thank you Alyson! I look forward to meeting you someday!! Kathy “The Earcuff Girl”

  • Barbara Muir

    In answer to your question — yes, and no.
    Thanks so much Alyson. You are always an inspiration.
    XO Barbara

  • Well, you did it. I overhauled my newsletter today to better organize the content, including a new “feature” of offering a small original oil for sale, since yes, increasing my sales are a high priority. I’m also going to go to monthly from quarterly because I’ve got a lot going on that I think will be interesting to my subscribers and needs to be posted while the news is hot. I may lose a few due to the increased frequency, but I think I’ll more than make up for it with what I’ve got going on.
    I did make multiple changes, but feel that I’ll be able to track the results from the click-throughs of the links and it was how my content was presented overall that needed brushing up. I now have set headings that will largely remain from issue to issue, so that should be a timesaver, too.
    Within a hour of sending it out I got a “great job” note from an important show curator.

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