February 1, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Test Your Art Marketing Efforts for Better Results

Have you been promoting your art the same way for years without seeing better results? Allow me to remind you of 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?

©C. Tanner Jensen, L’Air du Temps II. Oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches. Used with permission]
©C. Tanner Jensen, L’Air du Temps II. Oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches. Used with permission.

 

Being Persistent and Consistent with Your Art Marketing

You are undoubtedly investing a lot of time and resources into your art business: websites, blogs, social media, videos, newsletters, postcards, and more. That's terrific!

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. As an entrepreneur interested in earning money from your art, you want to understand what’s working and what isn’t. This is why it's critical to track your numbers.

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.

Every marketing effort should be a test. Nothing in your routine should be considered sacred because you want increasingly better results.

What brings you the most clicks?
What blog post is attracting the most attention?
What results in more subscribers?
What leads to more opportunities?
What has given you the most engagement on social media?
What did you send that encouraged immediate responses from recipients?

Use the lists below to adjust, test, and repeat for improved results.

14 Things to Test and Adjust on Your Art Website

Your goals: more visitors, more page views, more clicks, more time on your site, more sales.

  1. Increase the size of the image.
  2. Decrease the size of the image.
  3. Crop your photos differently.
  4. Make the font larger.
  5. Make the font smaller.
  6. Make the font a different color.
  7. Switch to a different font.
  8. Add more space around the text.
  9. Shorten the paragraphs.
  10. Lengthen the paragraphs.
  11. Add more bullet points.
  12. Add more white space.
  13. Move the paragraphs above, below, or beside the image.
  14.  Simplify your navigation menu. (I'll never encourage you to add more to it. Most artists' website menus are too complicated.)

©Nancy Leigh Hillis, Red Magnetism. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Used with permission.
©Nancy Leigh Hillis, Red Magnetism. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

19 Things to Test and Adjust in Your Artist Newsletters and Emails

Your goals: more subscribers, more click-throughs, increased action from recipients.
To the above list for website design, you can also add the following that are email specific.

  1. Put a banner at the top.
  2. Put only your art at the top.
  3. Leave the top blank.
  4. Add links within your text.
  5. Add links only below paragraphs.
  6. Use buttons instead of linked text.
  7. Make the background light gray.
  8. Stick to a white background.
  9. Write longer articles.
  10. Send only short updates.
  11. Use more images of yourself.
  12. Use fewer images of yourself.
  13. Feature just one image of your art.
  14. Show multiple images of your art.
  15. Change the day of the week you send it.
  16. Change the time of day you send it.
  17. Send it regular mail instead of email.
  18. Use your name in the subject line.
  19. Use a different subject line each time.

©2012 M. Jane Johnson, Far Afield. Acrylic on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.
©2012 M. Jane Johnson, Far Afield. Acrylic on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

16 Things to Test and Adjust on Social Media Platforms

Your goals: more followers, more shares, more traffic to your own site, more sales.

  1. Tell more personal stories.
  2. Be more mysterious.
  3. Write longer descriptions.
  4. Write shorter descriptions.
  5. Use more hashtags.
  6. Use fewer hashtags.
  7. Change the days of the week you post.
  8. Change the times of day you post.
  9. Show personal photos.
  10. Stick to photos promoting your business brand.
  11. Share your blog posts.
  12. Share only original content.
  13. Share other people’s content.
  14. Share inspirational quotes.
  15. Add quotes to images of your art. (Not my favorite idea!)
  16. Never use quotes.

What have you discovered in your experimenting?

This post was first published on October 2, 2014. It has been updated with original comments intact.

21 comments add a comment
  • Exactly! Change it up.
    I felt I had to pump things up this month and kicked it off with additions of items with purchases and 10 days of giveaways. It’s already increased my numbers and made sales.

  • Finally , a test question that I can answer! Haha.
    I love the ART BIZ posts. Allison came highly recommended by my friend and mentor Janice Mason Steeves.
    Time for me to update. Thanks for the kick in the pants!
    Nicola

  • I keep forgetting this!! It is too easy to get stuck. I’ve take a step back to shake it up so this is well timed! What an important reminde!

  • The test question should be, “which is roundest?” Rounder is a comparative between two thing, while roundest is a comparative between three or more things.
    Ok, now to my point; this is a great article but sometimes we have to stay with a changed vbariable just to give it enough time to validate itself. On the other hand, change alone can generate interest. On the third hand, I wonder if change is necessary to keep our own interest in our marketing tasks?
    MailChimp has a segmentation function so that one can compare variations of one’s email (newsletter) at the same time.

  • hahaha! “This Is Only A Test: Marketing Experiments to Improve Results for Your Art Business”…You caught me! This is my Modus Operandi! I’ve been tracking different experiments on Statcounter for years…
    Results?
    Without getting into details, all I can say is that so far, despite my obstinacy, ArtBizCoach always seems to pan out to be right…
    Laughing more that Patricia had to correct the test question when you Comment here…
    Roundest it is!!! (& somehow comparing roundness seems apropos to the post too)!

  • One thing I observed with emails/newsletters is that the more personalized it is the better the response. Even though the automated emailing system I’ve used inserts a person’s name which makes it seem more personalized, it still doesn’t elicit the same response. For example, if it’s an artist I may compliment them on a recent work or ask how they’re doing. In other words in just a sentence or two I personalize it first, focusing on them before sharing my stuff. This of course requires more work and isn’t very practical with a large email list, so time is a factor and can’t always be done. But perhaps I can pick a few to send individually and not part of the general mailing, then repeat the process with different contacts the next time.
    Also on my website I have a sign up form titled “Keep in Touch” on every page of my site with an optional comment section. It’s also set so I know what page the form was submitted from which over time tells me what pages are getting better results.
    I keep any supplied information as to the visitor’s interest as well, such as commission inquiries, art class interest, originals, prints, eBooks, etc. It helps me recall who they are and how contact was made and then I can personalize a message when needed.

  • I’ve found that a good time to send an e-mail application with images to a potential gallery is Wednesday early afternoon. I suppose they’ve had Tuesday to catch up on everything, but I’ve definitely noticed a quick response at this time/day. I think it’s important to try to avoid contacting them at a time when yours will just be one of a hundred e-mails for them to deal with first thing in the a.m.

  • Phil Kendall

    Sound advice here I could not put it any better…trail and error but always keep it fresh offerings. If has not sold from your website in say 13 weeks there is something wrong…either change the offering or put a new artwork to the front.

    • Phil: Really? You can sell everything that fast from your website?

    • Phil Kendall

      Hi Alyson Ive been away for an extended weekend and off the internet grid…so good for the soul!
      Yes I got very lucky and sold three paintings in one 13 week period from my website. It was never to be repeated in the four years of selling my art.
      The website must always be kept fresh and be seen as a work in progress.
      A pet hate? words in white on a black background on artists’ websites…so difficult for the visually impaired reader…they are also still buyers of art!

  • While I LOVE the idea of experimenting and adjusting, I also get bogged down in the “is this the right thing to do?” torment of questions. It’s the perfectionist in me. She likes to overanalyze… So one of the ways I satiate and silence her is to do the analyzing, put the decision behind me, and move on to the next thing. The idea of changing things up constantly would give her too much freedom to run wild! ha!!!

    • Mandy: It’s good that you found a good working style.
      You don’t change things constantly. You test them. You need to stick with one for awhile to see your results before moving on to changing the variable.

  • I’m glad I read this.

  • Thank you for a great read Alyson!!

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