How to maintain success is a tricky subject for artists. ArtWeb.com hosts more than 10,000 artist websites, as well as providing a platform for artists to sell their work, so we’re well aware of the issues many artists face. One of the main reasons artists miss out on potential sales is by not analyzing or tracking their previous success. Here are a few tips that should help you on the path to business growth…
1. Know what sells, and where
Tracking and analyzing your sales is key to maintaining future success. Every time you make a sale, you should record:
• Where did you sell it? Was it online, at an art/craft fair, in a solo show, or through a contact?
• Who bought it? How old, male or female, and from where?
• What did you sell? Was it a print, original artwork, and was it a small or large piece?
• How many? Did you sell more than one to the same person?
Once you begin to track this kind of information, the better informed you will be about where, when and with whom you’re at your most successful.
2. Understand your audience
This is one of the trickiest things to get right — understanding your target market and going after them.
• Use Google Analytics. This will enable you to see where your website visitors are coming from (through which links), how long they are staying on your website, as well as their age, gender, location, etc. You can also see keywords people have searched to find your website — this is important, as it will allow you to really understand what people are looking for. You may start to see patterns or trends that could reveal a great deal about your target audience.
• Ask for feedback from previous customers. It’s always a good idea to contact your customers after a sale, as it enables you to link them to your website or blog as well as tell them about upcoming exhibitions of yours that they might be interested in. At the same time, why not ask them for some feedback about how they found you, what inspired them to buy your work, etc. The more you can learn, the more understanding you’ll have of how to target future sales.
3. Track your progress
Tracking your business growth is essential in staying in control of your path to success. Here are things you should be analyzing on a regular basis:
• Email open rates. If your newsletter mail-outs are being opened by less than 25 percent of readers, you need to think about how you can reach more people. A lot of this will lie in your subject line, being the first thing people see. So think again about your audience, what they’ll want to hear about, and tailor your newsletters accordingly. Using a specialized newsletter service such as MailChimp is a great way to see this information whenever you log in.
• Number of email subscribers. Do you notice an increase in sign-ups after specific events or times of year? Think about why this happened and how to replicate those situations.
• Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest engagement. Again, when do your likes get bumped up? Also look at who’s talking about your page on Facebook, and whether this is bringing in a wider audience.
• Link open rates. In your emails and on social media, what links are being clicked through the most?
• Finances. This is really important, and any serious business will be comparing their sales month-by-month, as well as comparing each month to the previous year. There will be changes throughout the year (With Christmas being an obvious busy period), so by checking with the previous year you’ll be able to see if you’ve made progress or not.
• Set aside time. A useful way to keep on top of finances is to set the first day of the month as a review day. Look at the previous month’s sales and expenses, and plan for the month ahead.
Sara is an author on the ArtWeb.com Blog. ArtWeb helps artists build their own website, plus promote and sell their artwork online. The Blog is for aspiring and professional artists covering everything from approaching galleries to optimizing your website for buyer confidence.