Collecting Art Data: You Don’t Need to Be A Mathematician
There is power in numbers! Monitoring and tracking data is key because there are a number of ways you can utilize it to drive a successful creative business.
Where is creative data is applicable?
Grant proposals are a great area to utilize your analytic data. Proposals are stronger when there is data that you have researched and can prove. You can make a strong argument on why you need financial support when there are numbers to back it up. Track all types of data for getting key info that could make your proposal that much stronger.
You can also learn to make key business decisions based on a strategy when you learn the numbers behind what you are doing. You can be informed about what series of art to make next, how much to spend on refreshments during your next studio visit, what your top-selling item is, whether or not you should re-order a promotional item or freebie.
Analytics and insights to your website or blog and your social media can help you build your audience, viewers, fans, and readers. They can tell you which types of images and posts received the most responses. That way you can devise a strategic plan to post or share that type of content.
Being organized is also achieved when you know and track your receipts, other financial information, and your art inventory. The more you know about your business and operations, the more professional and organized you will be.
What data should I be logging?
There are a variety of ways to track data. This list will get you started on ways to begin tracking your data:
Count Attendees: this data tacking is easily done by hand. A simple tally sheet or a clicker (which you can get on Amazon or Office Depot) makes things easy to count. You can track your traffic over the years and note what art you had on display, what the weather was like, how much you made, and use this information to make a better strategy for other exhibitions, events, and open houses. Note what worked by having evidence to show why it works. This can make future events successful and worth your time.
Tacking Sales: If you use a Point of Sale software you can have the system tack most of your sales. These systems can tell you final sales counts, best sellers, inventory numbers, and more.
Tracking Receipts: If finances are difficult or unorganized, you probably are avoiding something. Knowing how much money is going in and out is necessary to turn your business around and make more money. Tracking receipts is an easy first step in getting your money in order. Once you have that tackled and collected in an organized system, begin to improve other financial information.
Database: A database will be a one-stop-shop for collecting your data and perhaps your artwork inventory. It should not be a system that adds additional work or cause double input. There are many online paid artist database options but you can also use Salesforce if you have a large collection of work or Airtable.
Insights: Many social networking sites already have analytic systems in them to track your post and progress. These are great because the work is done for you. Most sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Mail Chimp will provide you with the number of interactions or opens.
Analytics: Data and tracking information can tell you how your audience is reading your materials, for example, Google Analytics can tell you a lot of helpful information. For example, if the majority of your audience views your webpage or blog on a mobile device, desktop computer, or tablet. It can also tell you how many people return to your website as well. Touch base with your web designer or coder if you need help with inserting the code into your website coding.
Mileage: Tracking your mileage is a great and easy business choice to make. While to and from the studio doesn’t count towards your mileage, any other mileage calculated related to your arts and business activities counts. It’s worth counting when you can get reimbursed or a tax break.