5 tips from Andy Warhol on how to make your website stand out

Andy Warhol is famous for being an artist, but he was also a shrewd businessmanAs an average art school student in Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol aspired for a career teaching fine art, unaware that he would eventually move to New York, earn the moniker “Pope of Pop,” and become one of the most inventive, influential, and successful artists of all time.
If your site isn’t engaging your target audience (or helping you rank at the top of search engine results pages), it’s hurting your bottom line.

With billions of web pages online, everyone is vying for your customers’ attention. Take center stage and maximize your results by implementing these strategies—from Andy Warhol (1928–1987)—to make your website stand out from the competition for the right reasons, and, hopefully, for more than 15 minutes.

In this post, we will discuss five techniques Warhol used to capture the world’s attention and how they relate to tried-and-true website design strategies that you can use to boost your website traffic (and your sales).

Be authentic

A lot of people in marketing throw around the word “authenticity” when describing how companies interact with customers, but Warhol put the theory into practice by staying true to himself.

Though he was known for being the king of reinvention, even as the format of his artwork changed and evolved, Warhol’s core values, interests (such as the power of advertising, cult of celebrity, and front page news), and his general aesthetic—more or less—remained the same throughout his career.

For example, does your website include a lot of cringe-worthy stock photos? Create a plan to replace them (or improve them). If you can’t afford custom photography, you’re better off taking the time to customize those images. Try different crops or an graphic treatments (like gradient overlays using your brand colors) to create new, modern versions that will look fresh (and that your customers just might better connect with).

Adopt new technology

Warhol was always curious. One of the earliest big-name artists to use a home computer to make art, Warhol first played around with an early Macintosh computer that Steve Jobs gave to Sean Lennon before he endorsed and began creating with the first model launched as part of Commodore International’s Amiga 1000 line. So invested in the computer as a tool, he even took part in Amiga 1000’s launch event, adding artistic star power alongside Blondie’s Debbie Harry.

Warhol used an Amiga 1000 to create digital art At the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, you can use a replica Amiga 1000 to browse some of Warhol’s digital art.

Like Warhol, you should make the most of technological progress to reach your business goals.

You don’t have to settle for an underperforming web page. Is your team wasting time by maintaining static web pages instead of using a content management system? Are you using the industry’s top tools to track your analytics? Are you using inbound marketing campaigns to support your website?

Your website should be constantly evolving. If you’re having trouble figuring out what works and what doesn’t, take a hard look at your website with an audit.

Focus on your tribe

Connecting with the right audience is crucial, and—from the get-go—Warhol knew he would find success by staying loyal to his primary retinue of supporters.
Why Warhol?

Many know the iconic pop artist for his campy Campbell’s soup paintings and vivid portraits of icons, but the truth is that Warhol was also a very clever businessman and his enduring popularity is proof that he was on to something.

Some art historians claim Warhol’s love for making money was greater than his passion for creating art, perhaps convinced by his philosophy that “good business is the best art”?

However you think of him, it’s clear one reason Warhol remains a household name is due to his business savvy, fine-tuned initially during his early years spent working in advertising.
If your website is trying to please everyone, it probably isn’t doing a very good job appealing to your target audience.

On the other hand, only going after new customers is also a mistake if you aren’t nurturing existing customers (and strengthening those relationships).

Take a step back and figure out who you want to be your customers and how your website can help you attract these people and keep them satisfied (and coming back again and again). To do this, create website-specific personas by interviewing a sampling of customers so that you can create a plan for effectively meeting their needs online.

Go ahead and embrace change (but stay consistent when doing so)

From commercial illustration and screenprinting to film and interactive exhibits, Knowing message was more important than medium, Warhol wasn’t afraid to take chances in his art.

When you revamp your website design, don’t be afraid to try new things.

Just follow Warhol’s lead and consider which improvements you can make that will best represent your company, differentiate you from the competition, help you with sales and attracting more leads, and—ultimately, gain a greater return on investment.

Fun fact: Twenty years after his death in 2008, a private art collector bought Warhol’s 1963 silkscreen Eight Elvises for $100 million, making it one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

For example, if your main competitor isn’t doing offering text-based customer service yet, but you know it’s a way of providing customer service your leads would use because most of your web traffic comes from smartphone users, try it!

Collaborate with the right team

Warhol grew his notoriety by working with the right partners. From the 1984 Winter Olympics committee to Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones, Warhol was the epitome of squad goals. To protect his creative reputation and grow his business, he was selective, only choosing those collaborators and project that would help grow his prestige (and, therefore, open the door for new opportunities and greater success).

If you decide you need some help as you begin to work on your website, make sure you choose an agency filled with experienced experts who love what they do and have a reputation for bringing the right fresh ideas to the table to ensure you’ll get the most out of your investment.

Warhol (right) with President Jimmy Carter President Jimmy Carter (far left) with Andy Warhol (far right) at a 1977 reception for portfolio artists. (NARA, 175147)

Though Warhol left an indelible mark on pop culture, not every one of his schemes was a winner (e.g., he once considered opening an underwear store to sell famous people’s used underwear).

Find your own success by using Warhol’s best ideas as inspiration for optimizing your digital strategy, and you’ll make your website stand out from the competition in no time.
What’s your website missing? Find out with a free audit
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About the author | Joy Miller

Joy is the creative director at TBH Creative and uses her expertise to help clients use their online communications to build, design, and manage their brands. She likes to blog about content marketing in all its forms, the latest trends in digital marketing, and share tools with readers.

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