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New year, new marketing goals!

For some people, the beginning of the year is the time to make New Year’s resolutions, but that’s not for me. I find that the pressure of ‘New Year, new me’ is a negative influence on my thinking and I’d rather plan some short- and long-term goals that will help me to get things done.


Look back, before you go forward

One of the things I did in December was to look back on what I’d achieved last year and on reflection, I realised that I’d done a lot more than I recalled ‘off the top of my head’. For my work as a visual artist, I’ve started to keep a list of all of the projects and exhibitions that I’ve been part of, and I’ve realised that this would be handy for the freelance marketing part of my work too. It’s a simple spreadsheet with dates, details and links that’s useful when I am updating my CV, preparing for interviews and planning ahead.


Set your goals

Setting goals is important to success and making them SMART goals is a way of making sure that they work for you. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, so instead of saying, ‘I want to make more money’, the goal could be, ‘I want to increase my income by 20% by April 2025.’ You could then work out how to do this, e.g. by increasing sales of your artworks or getting an additional commission.

Black text on yellow reads, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely
SMART targets are useful

SMART goals

  • Specific: Is your goal clear?

  • Measurable: Think about how you will measure your progress.

  • Attainable: Is this goal achievable?

  • Relevant: Is the goal relevant to your vision as an artist and personally?

  • Timely: Is the time-frame realistic?


For organisations, a SMART goal could be, ‘We will add an additional 200 people to our mailing list by 30 June.’ This could be achieved by targeting a social media campaign ‘call to action’ to new signups, alongside asking people booking for and attending live events to join the mailing list. It can help to break down your figures into months too, so that you need just over 33 people per month to sign up, to achieve this goal in a 6-month timeframe.


Your goals might be more about managing your time, health and wellbeing, so you could concentrate on rearranging your worktimes, negotiating flexible hours or working from home. In this case, you could start by scheduling a conversation with your line manager and seeing if you could test out some new working hours for a specified time, before reviewing how this is working for you and the people you work for.


For artists, it can be about balancing creative time with other commitments. Personally, I have found that blocking out time in my diary has been a great help with this, and I have an ‘out of office’ message for my marketing-work email address. This explains that I am working on art projects on Fridays, so I won’t see work emails sent on Friday until I’m back at my desk on Monday.

Goals can change


Remember, a goal is a starting point and goals can change as situations develop. They are very useful in helping us to achieve things, but it’s important not to punish yourself if things don’t work out as expected. When you’re planning, try and put in review time, so that you can see how things are going and adjust your plan accordingly. It’s useful to check in with how your plan is working every three months. Look at what you’ve achieved and what still needs doing. Adapt your plan if things have changed.


Vision Boards

A tool that lots of people find useful is a vision board. It’s something that I first learned about in a group workshop that I attended with Mel Larsen, who coaches a lot of creative and wellbeing entrepreneurs. A vision board is a visual reminder of your goals, which you can use to inspire yourself throughout the year. Start by tuning in to what you want to achieve, and put images together that align with this, for example, if you want to travel, you can put images of amazing places on it, or if you want to increase your income, you might want to put images or words that relate to this on your board.


You can make a vision board by going through old magazines and cutting/tearing out pictures, words and phrases that appeal to you, before pasting them onto a sheet of paper. You can also do this by saving online images etc. and using photoshop or Canva to make a collage. Pin it up somewhere you can see it every day, to inspire you and boost your motivation.

A colourful collage with images of gardens, artworks and inspiring words, cut from magazines and prints.
My vision board is about creativity, growth and adventure

SMART Marketing

When setting marketing goals, it’s always best to have a plan that you can stick to. Remember to think SMART and make your goals achievable. Begin by thinking about who your audience is and who you want to reach. Where are those people? What do they like?

If you’ve got a mailing list, a newsletter is a great tool, as the people who’ve signed up are your most interested supporters. What would they like to hear about? It could be; behind-the-scenes stories; talking about yourself or your team; or what you are working on. Include anything you’ve got coming up that you’d like people to engage with, for example, ‘Come to my exhibition at The Gallery from 6 – 30 September to see a new series of paintings about childhood memories.’


On social media, be realistic about how much time you have to spend, and plan accordingly. If you only have time to post once a week then do that, and don’t worry about comparing yourself with people who post every day. Pick the platform where your audience is likely to be, and that you most enjoy using, and concentrate on that. For example, if Instagram is your thing, plan your posts for that platform. It’s better to do things well in one place than to try being everywhere. Think quality over quantity and check the analytics information to see what’s working well. Do more of that and leave the things that don’t get much attention behind.


Get going!

Having a plan will help you to see where you are aiming to get to and measure how you are doing against your goals. Don’t worry if you have to change things as you move through the year: it’s a framework that can be adjusted as things develop.


Good luck!

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