This Is Only A Test: Marketing Experiments to Improve Results for Your Art Business

Painting by M. Jane Johnson

You are undoubtedly investing a lot of time and resources into your art business: websites, blogs, social media, newsletters, postcards, and more. As an entrepreneur interested in earning money from your art, you want to understand what’s working and what isn’t.

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

Every marketing effort should be a test. Nothing on your plate should be considered sacred.

You aim for increasingly better results. Test it!

What brings you the most clicks? What has given you the most shares on Facebook? What did you send that encouraged immediate responses from recipients?

Here’s a list of numerous things you might want to test to improve your results.

Online

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

Increase the size of the image. Decrease the size of the

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Afraid of Sending Too Many Emails to Your List?

©2013 Nadia Nadege, Caminus. Mixed media on wood, 42 x 62 inches. Used with permission.

You have a lot going on. Back-to-back-to-back exhibitions, openings, and events.

How do you make sure the people on your list receive invitations without bugging them too much?

©2013 Nadia Nadege, Caminus. Mixed media on wood, 42 x 62 inches. Used with permission.

Building on my recent article about a schedule for your marketing tasks, I thought it might be helpful to cover a schedule for email – specifically for those times when you have a packed calendar.

Newsletter Content

Your newsletter or ezine is sent on schedule no matter what. If you promise monthly, you send it monthly, which, by the way, is a good timetable for most artists.

Your newsletter is for keeping your name in front of your list and building a relationship with the people on it. Most newsletters have multiple articles or sections, including an upcoming calendar of

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5 Steps to Take Charge of Your Art Marketing (and Why You Must)

©2014 Claire Browne, Stem. Mixed media, 7 x 3 feet. Used with permission.

Stop waiting for the famous gallery dealer to call you up. Stop waiting for the artist agent-fairy to wave her wand. Stop waiting to win the lottery.

©2014 Claire Browne, Stem. Mixed media, 7 x 3 feet. Used with permission.

Start taking charge.

You have to plan for business growth. It doesn’t happen on its own. Nobody cares about your success more than you do, and nobody can do a better job marketing your art than you can.

Here are five steps for taking charge of your art marketing, which will send you well on your way to getting what you want from your art career.

1. Write down what you want.

Many people don’t get the life they really want because they haven’t taken the time to define it. They haven’t asked for it!

It’s a bold move to commit to an idea,

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Capture Attention with a Whisper

Secret Kiss From One Boston Terrier to Another

Steve Cranford, Creative Chairman of the New York agency WHISPER, was my guest in the Art Biz Incubator last week.

When I asked him in the interview why in the world a marketing firm would be called WHISPER instead of SHOUT, he replied: “The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.”

The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.Click To Tweet

Think about it.

When you take out an ad or post to your blog and social media sites, you are broadcasting to the world. You would love it if thousands of people see your message.

Because of this public forum, the language is less personal than if you were to have a private conversation. And therein lies the power of the whisper.

Anatomy of a Whisper

A client told

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How to Make Your Mailing List More Useful

Everyone who buys a copy of my book from me is grouped together in my list. This is Eszter Rajna reading my book in the elegant tea lounge at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford.

One of the biggest excuses artists give for not being in more frequent contact with their lists is that they don’t want to bother people. You know what it’s like to receive tons of email and don’t want to contribute to the overwhelm.

I understand. Even though everyone on your list has opted in to hear from you, it still doesn’t feel right to email so many people if you haven’t established a marketing groove.

There’s a solution: Send emails only to people for whom they are appropriate. In other words, target your messages rather than sending every email to every person on your list.

All of the attendees at my Nashville workshop are grouped together on my list. Photo courtesy of Mary Claire Crow

Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Emma have the capability to

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Activate Your Marketing for a Bigger Audience

Yellow Male Cat

Is your marketing too passive? Are you putting your art out there and hoping someone will see it, buy it, or give you a show?

Jack isn’t always interested in being active.

I’ll confess that I’ve become complacent with my marketing. I write my blog posts every week and post to Facebook and Twitter. Then I sit back and wait for something to happen.

And I rely too much on my existing list without reaching out to new potential audiences.

Fortunately, my coach is correcting my ways. She’s amazed that I have had such good results, and pointed out that I could help a lot more people if only I’d become more active with my marketing.

This got me thinking about all of the passive marketing that we do. How could we approach it more actively in a way that puts us in the driver’s seat of

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A Solution for the Mailing List Conundrum

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

Have you been baffled by what to do with the two lists that many artists have: one list for newsletters and a second one for blog posts?

My predicament (and solution) might be of interest.

Please read on even if you don’t have this issue because I’m sharing big news that affects your Art Biz Coach and Art Biz Blog subscriptions.

For years I have been struggling with confused artists who don’t understand the difference between subscribing to the Art Biz Blog and subscribing to my Art Biz Insider newsletter. I get it!

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

I was confused myself. What do I post on the blog? What do I save for the newsletter?

Many of you probably struggle with the same thing. You have one list for your newsletter, while also offering subscriptions to your blog. Two lists – it’s

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Instant Relief from the Pressure of Pitching Your Art

wand

Poof! That’s the sound of the pressure vanishing like magic. That pressure of trying to hit a home run when you contact someone about your work. Maybe it’s an email to an interior designer, a meeting with an art consultant, or a letter to a gallerist. You want them to show your art, buy your work, or represent you.

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Turn On Your Cell Phones

Ayn Hanna and Barbara Gilhooly at the Visionary Art Museum. Photo courtesy the artists and used with permission.

What if, instead of worrying about everyone with a cell phone camera in front of your art, you encouraged taking photos and sharing? Don’t dismiss this right away. Let me explain. On two occasions I have witnessed audiences embrace a speaker or situation that encouraged photography. Here’s how those went down.

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How Artists Can Apply Youtility Marketing

chisel

Jay Baer, author of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help, Not Hype, says “If you sell something, you make a customer today. If you help someone, you may create a customer for life. Artists are often left out in the cold with marketing practices that seem to be suggested for more service- or product-oriented businesses. You can create resources for your buyers and collectors, students, other artists, and/or your local community, which are as helpful to them as your tools are to you.

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