Our 2021 Black Friday Learnings – What Artists Did Right (and Wrong)


Now that the colossal Black Friday weekend is over for another year, let’s take a look at what worked for photographers and fine artists, and what didn’t.


Hot on the heels of Black Friday week, let's waste no time in breaking down how it all went down. 

Total sales in the US once again hit an all-time high this year, and we expect that to be the case for the art industry as well. 

Fine artists and photographers on Art Storefronts, combined, sold more than 2X as much art as last year! A special congratulations to them.  

So, what made the difference this year? And what were the pitfalls? 

Let's break it all down so you can make the very most of what's left of Q4.


1. Test, test, test (and then consider a test)


Not a year goes by that we don't hear about a number of art sales that could have been made if only the artist had ran a test! 

The most important test? Your coupon code. Make sure it works exactly as intended.

If you haven't processed many (or any) orders through your site, you'll also want to submit a test order yourself prior to a big sale to ensure the full checkout process is functioning. 

What else?

Test every hyperlink in every email.

Test whether or not your Lead Capture Tool is actually popping up on your site after you set it up.

Test the links you use for Facebook posts and ads.

Test your ManyChat Flows.

Test absolutely everything you do, so that not a single sale is missed due to something as silly as a broken link or accidental typo.


2. Don't Stall Out, Pivot


There will always be forces outside of your control, but it’s important to take command of what you can control, rather than give up.

There were some issues with the Facebook Ads Manager not working for some people over the weekend. It would be easy to throw your hands up, blame Facebook for getting no sales, and call it a day.

We've found those with the most success online see a situation like that as an opportunity not to slow down, but to speed up and try new things.

Boosting a post instead, for example. Or re-directing the focus to Instagram Stories. Or even extending the sale once Facebook ads are working again.

Things are always going to break in high-stress campaigns like Black Friday. How you cope (and persist) will often dictate your success.


3. Done is Better Than Perfect

There's not a photographer or fine artist in the world that doesn't wonder what they could have done with just a little more time in Q4.

There's just never going to be enough of it. So don't worry about your limitations – what you can't get done, what you'll never have time for – worry about making the most of what you can accomplish.

If our holiday advice is too much work for you, just do as much as you can.

If you want to run a free print giveaway, but ManyChat is too much to learn at the moment, create a page on your site with a simple opt-in form and have people enter your giveaway that way instead.

Simplify things so they work for you, take baby steps, and focus on making progress. Most of all, never lose momentum.

Every single step you take to market your work during this busy time is a step further than the leagues of artists that do nothing.


4. Perspective Is Everything


No small business of any kind, in any industry, would expect to be immediately successful in their first couple of years. 

Your art is a small business, and the same expectations apply to you! With this in mind, be sure to keep perspective on what success looks like

If this was your first Black Friday, success isn't sales - it's leads (new people to market to in the future), it's data (tracking which efforts earned you attention, which did not), and it's experience (allowing you to replicate the campaign faster and more efficiently next time). 

If you're in your first couple years of running an online art business and you managed to pick up new leads, some data, and a bit of experience – congratulations, you knocked Black Friday out of the park!

Artist Bill Wensel put it well in our members-only Facebook group, #SmallWins:

Bill followed the Romance Marketing Playbook, he followed the Holiday Playbook, and he never gave up. And by the time the holiday season came back around, he saw the results of his efforts.

All along the way, he kept the right perspective: that each small step, each small win, was a step towards his successful holiday sale this year. And he’s only going to continue to improve.


5. Offer a Competition-Crushing Feature

What do you do when every artist on earth is running their best sale of the year right along side you?

You give your audience something they can't get anywhere else. 

For the greatest possible sizzle feature available anywhere on the internet right now, we recommend Live Preview with Augmented Reality – a cutting-edge tool available exclusively on Art Storefronts websites that allows your site visitor to instantly launch an AR experience right in-browser.


In seconds, your potential customer goes from looking at a still image of your art, to viewing it on their actual wall-space - allowing them to make critical decisions (such as sizing and framing) with confidence. It's a game-changer


6. Track Your Learnings + Results

After the dust has settled, make it official and throw all your data in a Google Sheet. Then, write up everything you did for your campaign in a document.

You'll thank yourself next time a promotion comes around and you can't remember what the heck you did last time.

With a detailed breakdown available, it will take minutes to get back up to speed on what worked and what didn't. 

Plus, if you have all the data recorded in a spreadsheet (traffic, lead generation, sales, ad results, etc.), it'll be a simple task to compare a future campaign with a past one to get a clear picture of your progress over time. 


What's Next? OVERTIME. 


Sure, Black Friday weekend is over. But your campaign isn't. There's still one thing left to do, and we call it the "overtime strategy". 

The most important step? Contact your unsold carts and try to close those sales!

You can learn more about everything we recommend doing immediately after a sale by listening to this podcast episode.

That covers it for this year! 

Whether you had your best sales weekend ever, or just ran a strong campaign and learned a lot for next time, congratulations on making it through Black Friday.

Next up: Christmas season. The best part about Q4 is that the holidays just keep coming. Fold the learnings discussed here into your Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's campaigns. There's still time to improve.

Don't feel you have an edge on the competition? We can help with that. 👇

Request a demo to see why thousands of photographers and fine artists choose Art Storefronts as their secret edge over the competition » 

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