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

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]

©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.


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 image.
Crop your photos differently.

Make the font larger.
Make the font smaller.
Make the font a different color.
Switch to a different font.

Add more space around the text.
Shorten the paragraphs.

Newsletters & Emails

Your goals: more subscribers, more click-throughs, increased action from recipients.

Include the Online list (above) also.

Put a banner at the top.
Put only your art at the top.

©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.

Break it up into two columns.
Stick to one column.

Add links within your text.
Add links only below paragraphs.

Make the background light blue.
Stick to a white background.

Write longer articles.
Send only short updates.

Use more images of yourself.
Use fewer images of yourself.

Feature just one image of your art.
Show multiple images of your art.

Send on a Monday.
Send on a Saturday.
Send in the morning.
Send in the afternoon.

Use your name in the subject line.
Use a different subject line each time.

Use buttons to encourage clicking.
Use plain text links.

Social Media

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

Tell more personal stories.
Be more mysterious.

©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.

Show personal photos.
Stick to photos promoting your business brand.

Share your blog posts.
Share only original content.
Share other people’s blog posts.

Share inspirational quotes.
Add quotes to images of your art.
Never use quotes.

I’ll bet we could come up with even more items for our list. What have you discovered in your experimenting?

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

  • 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!

  • 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…
    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.

  • 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?

      • 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.

  • Thank you for a great read Alyson!!

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