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Why Do Statistics On Your Art?

Michael J Fox quote “Do the next right thing, as opposed to doing the next thing right.”  When we track what we are doing, what results we are getting, we can get better and better at tracking what is working and what is not.  For example, this past year I added up where the money from sales came from.  It turns out very little of it came from traditional routes such as gallery and art fair sales.  Instead, more than half of my income came from online sales. This doesn’t mean I’ve completely ditched the idea of doing shows, but it does mean I’m making sure most of my activities this year are online based rather than show based.

If I didn’t have statistics and monthly and yearly analysis – I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint what the next “right thing” for me is.  Instead I would be spending time, money and resources on doing things that aren’t garnering a good ROI (return on investment) for me – but doing them spectacularly well.  For example, for me, given the very niche nature of my art, most art fairs are not a good fit. There are some that are, but if I’m at the wrong show for my art, even if I have the best tent, the best location, the best spread of products – it doesn’t matter if this isn’t where I’m target market shops.

So I try to make it easier on myself.  I figure out where the majority of my sales, leads, and activity comes from.  And I focus on those.  This is the only way I can tell what the “next right” thing for me will be.

What type of statistics do you find most helpful?

For more about keep statistics, see Keeping Track of the Wrong Statistic

 

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Keeping Track Of The Wrong Statistics For Your Art Business:

Years ago I went to a Blair Singer Sales & Leadership Conference. What I learned there, I actually now use on a daily basis, but there was one thing I got really wrong.  Blair is all about statistic – tracking what you do, so that you can adjust course, and also just keep track of progress.  Well, for years I tracked hours worked. How many hours I worked on marketing. How many hours I spent prepping for a show.  How many hours I spent painting.

While knowing how many hours it takes to paint a painting, or prepare for a show is important for work planning purposing, using hours worked as a key statistic isn’t actually helpful.  All it does is give you something to tell people who think that since you work from home, or since you are an artist you don’t really “work.”  So you can say “hey, I worked 60 hours last week on art!” In a sense, this is a “Vanity Stat” – a statistic that is created so one’s ego can give a “correct” answer.  And not a stat that is actually helpful to one’s business.  And is, in essence, a complete waste of time to be tracking.

Every year, I keep statistics, and at least once a year I reevaluate what I am tracking and decide if it is worth continuing to track, or if there is something else, more tangible/ actionable, or just plan more relevant to my business that I could be tracking instead.

Sometimes, it’s helpful to not just evaluate once a year.  For example, at the beginning of the year I got involved with the Link Love movement.  For me, I was spending hours and hours a week doing Link Love, and while I did meet some really nice people, I did not get a single sale out of it.  I did however, meet some people who ended up doing some work for me (SEO and Graphic Design) so for them, doing something like Link Love really worked – because just about everyone in the group was in need of what they were selling.  Therefore, I’m not dissing Link Love – I’m just saying that because I was keeping track of my effort, and the results (which were no sales, although people did start reading my blog) I decided after a few months to completely remove myself from the Link Love lists so that I would not participate actively or otherwise. And if I had’t been keeping track of results, this might have been going on all year before I realized this wasn’t where I wanted to be placing my energy.

Peter Drucker (a business genius) said “What’s measured improves.”

Here’s a few things that might be helpful to you to track for this coming year.  But again, if they aren’t impactfull to you, or they don’t help you adjust and expand/grow your business, try some new ones.  Or better yet, suggest a few below.

  • Sales – how many and where they are coming from
  • Number of people in email list, and how often they are corresponded with and results of each campaign
  • Number of people who received hard copy mail/ promotional material (and results)
  • On Etsy I actually track which day of the week sales have occurred, as well as promotional things I do on Etsy (like treasuries, re-listing and advertising) to see if there is also a correlation to sales for a particular action.  For example, while I do find relisting helpful in getting people’s attention and being added to their favorites I realized that when I paid to be in the Etsy Showcases it was more effective from a sales perspective.
  • Number of locations that showcase my art and the sales/ leads results

What are some of your favorite statistics to track for your art/ business?  How has this helped you move forward with your goals?

For more about keeping statistics see Why Do Statistics On Your Art?