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Sean McDunn FAA owner Transparency In Discussions posted originally in Sep or Oct of 2018

July 11th, 2020

Pull Quote:

"My biggest advice is to spend more time focusing on what you can control (e.g. creating incredible artwork, building your online following, building your e-mail list, developing a marketing strategy, collaborating with other artists and brands, building relationships with local art galleries, paying for online ads, etc.) and less time on what you can't (e.g. the FAA search engine, the FAA homepage, the FAA collections, the FAA newsletters, etc.)"Sean McDunn, owner of FineArtAmerica

The Full Article

I haven't been in the discussions in a very long time, but Abbie keeps me up-to-date each week regarding important questions that get posted, bugs that get identified, etc.

Last week, we made a small change to our search engine, and like clockwork, the inevitable "sky is falling" post got started about how FAA is terrible... the change to the search engine is killing sales... FAA only cares about big sellers... FAA is lying to everyone... FAA is on the decline... FAA is turning in Walmart... etc.

https://fineartamerica.com/showmessages.php?messageid=4278552

Those sort of posts have occurred after every single website change going all the way back to 2006.

In the past, I used to come in and explain why we're doing what we're doing, but as you all know (as active forum participants), it's almost impossible to change anyone's opinion via a back-and-forth on the internet. The discussions always go nowhere. If you think that a change is bad for you for some reason, no amount of explaining will change your mind. Sales might go up by 20% this year on FAA, but if your sales go down by 10%, then FAA is terrible in your mind.

So - for years, instead of engaging in all sorts of discussions that went nowhere, I just let people continue to post inaccurate statements and wild theories that would go unchallenged. This weekend, however, as I read through some of the advice that was being dispensed here in the forum by certain artists and the statements that were being treated as fact, I started to feel bad for the artists who are here to learn.

When a "sky is falling" post gets started, there is a lot of bad information that gets thrown around as if it's fact, and that's got to be very discouraging and confusing to the artists who are here to learn.

So - we're going to do something about it.

In this post, I'm going to correct some of the wildly inaccurate statements that have been posted in the forum over the past few years and also discuss a new feature that we're releasing which will help you distinguish fact from fiction.

I've written every single line of code that runs this business... have access to every data point regarding every single sale... and am the person making every major decision from high-level strategic partnerships all the way done to graphic design changes on the homepage. After reading through everything below, if your reaction is to say that I don't know what I'm talking about, then there's nothing that I can do to convince you otherwise. That's just the nature of the internet. No one wants to change their mind.

So - here we go.

Transparency When Discussing Sales
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There are 500,000+ artists on FAA, but only about 250 participate in the discussions. That is a very small subset of the overall artist population. Unfortunately, none of our Top 50 sellers participate here. That's unfortunate because many of the artists who are here in the forums each day are here seeking sales advice, and ideally, you want to seek advice from someone who is selling successfully on a regular basis.

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with our discussion forum, in particular, occurs whenever discussions turn to the topic of "sales", and artists start giving advice to other artists.

There is no nice way to put this. There are a lot of artists in the discussion forum who don't make any sales on FAA. In the following discussion about the search engine, for example, there are a total of 20 artists currently participating:

https://fineartamerica.com/showmessages.php?messageid=4278552

Of those 20 artists, there are four who haven't made a single sale in 2018. That means that 20% of the participants who are expressing outrage that a minor change to the search engine has negatively affected their sales actually have no sales, at all, to affect.

Half of the 20 artists have made less than 10 sales, total, in 2018.

Abbie and I are the only two people who know that information because we can see the sales numbers. For everyone else participating in the discussion, it's very difficult to know what to think and whom to listen to.

To compound the issue, there are other artists who routinely dispense sales advice, advertise their own "how to sell art online" books, etc... and never generate any sales, at all, on FAA. I've mentioned this several times over the years. One artist who routinely dispenses advice has only made one sale since 2015.

There is nothing wrong with not selling. After all - many artists are here to learn how to sell. The big issue is when someone who isn't selling is telling you how to sell... or is getting you all worked up by telling you that his/her sales are plummeting when the sales were non-existent to begin with.

In order to address this issue - I've given Abbie the ability to flag certain discussions as "sales discussions". When she flags a discussion as a "sales discussion", our code is going to automatically show the "average monthly sales volume" beneath the headshot for every participant in the discussion.

Here's how the average monthly sales volume is calculated. Our code adds up the total number of items that you've sold in the past twelve months and then divides it by 12. The average will look something like this:

"8 Sales / Month"

It's not a financial disclosure (i.e. a dollar amount). It's just a count of how many products you sell, on average, in a given month. Note - it does not count products that you purchase for yourself.

If Abbie flags a discussion as a "sales discussion", the sales numbers will only be displayed for posts that occur after Abbie changes it to a sales discussion. Also - before you post, you'll see a big warning telling you that you're about to disclose your sales numbers so that you don't disclose the number by accident.

If you have any questions, let me or Abbie know.


Myths 2018
--------------------------------------------------------------

Now, I'm going to address a few of the statements that seem to get tossed around as facts in all of these "sky is falling" posts each year.


Myth #1: FAA doesn't promote our artists.
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If you're reading this, you're probably an artist. As a result, you're on our artist e-mail list, and you get artist-related e-mails.

You don't get the buyer e-mails.

If you're on our buyer e-mail list, then you'll see that we're promoting individual artists, groups of artists, and themed collections all the time. Take a look at some of these buyer e-mails:

https://fineartamerica.com/newsletters/soosh-2018.html
https://fineartamerica.com/newsletters/curated-collections.html
https://fineartamerica.com/newsletters/maps-2018.html
https://fineartamerica.com/newsletters/modern-master-christian-jackson-2018.html
https://fineartamerica.com/newsletters/modern-master-aaron-blaise-2018.html
https://fineartamerica.com/newsletters/artist-profile-don-mennig.html
etc...

A new e-mail goes out to the buyers on our e-mail list two times every single week.

We pay to run ads for our featured artists on Facebook, Instagram, and Google.

We pay to load our products onto Amazon and get them featured there.

We hand-select artists to appear on our homepage:
https://fineartamerica.com/

We hand-select artists to appear in our curated collections:
https://fineartamerica.com/collectiongroups

We hand-select artists to appear on our Featured Artist pages:
https://fineartamerica.com/overview/artists

We publish comprehensive success stories about our featured artists:
https://fineartamerica.com/landing/soosh.html

We feature new artists on our social media accounts each day.

etc...

I've always let the myth that we "don't promote our artists" exist because it stops artists from constantly asking us to promote them. With 500,000+ artists, that's impossible. That's why we always tell you that you have to promote yourself - which is definitely true. However, if you think that we don't promote our best-sellers and heavily feature artists that we think are up-and-coming, that's crazy.

We're the largest art site in the world, and we advertise and promote like crazy.

You have to leave the confines of the discussion forum, contests, and groups, and when you do, you'll see that certain artists are heavily featured throughout the site. We're constantly adding new artists to the mix, as well.

If you want to become a featured artist, the easiest way to get on our radar is to A) generate some sales on your own... B) drive a lot of traffic to your images via your own newsletters and social media... C) get yourself mentioned in an art-related publication / blog... or D) be nice and helpful to other artists on the site.

A and B are self-explantory. If you generate some sales or traffic on FAA, we have algorithms in place that will immediately bring you to the attention of someone on our staff. Also - think of it this way. Every time you make a sale, someone at FAA has to, at the very least, review your images for quality, cropping, etc. You've immediately brought your image and your entire portfolio to our attention, and the person reviewing your image has the ability and the authority to promote your images throughout the site.

I wrote a very lengthy article about kickstarting your sales many, many, many years ago. Here it is:

https://fineartamerica.com/why-every-artist-and-photographer-in-the-world-should-be-selling-on-fineartamerica.html

I'm sure that a lot of links in the article are out-dated, but you get the idea.

The one thing that I can guarantee doesn't help you become a featured artist is constantly being a thorn in Abbie's side, causing trouble for her in the discussion forum, and complaining endlessly about how terrible and unfair the website is to you.

Every month, our staff works with a select group of new and existing artists to promote them both online and in the real world.

Here are two of the many artists that we worked with just last month, alone:

https://fineartamerica.com/videos.html?videotype=artMyWay

Our staff spent days getting to know both artists... interviewing them... taking them out to lunches... editing videos for Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube... coordinating social media posts... writing press releases... and ultimately paying to drive hundreds of thousands of viewers to the final videos on Facebook and Instagram.

Those sort of personal interactions happen between our staff and our featured artists all the time, and we chose to work with artists who have great artwork and are fun to work with.

Focus on A, B, C, and D, and maybe you'll be featured some day. There are absolutely no guarantees, and that's why we tell everyone that you have to promote yourself in order to be successful. However, if you generate some sales on your own or otherwise bring attention to your artwork through visitors or the media, we'll definitely notice. That's the way all online marketplaces work.


Myth #2: FAA doesn't advertise.
----------------------------------------------------------------
This one is always amusing whenever I see someone write it.

FAA spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising each year. We advertise on Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Amazon. Take a look at Google Shopping, for example, and search for "fineartamerica.com".

There are millions of FAA products loaded in there. Visit FAA in an "incognito mode" in your browser, and once you leave the site, you'll find yourself seeing FAA ads everywhere that you go online (e.g. on your favorite news site, on Facebook, on YouTube, on the blogs that you read, etc.).

What is "incognito mode"? It hides the cookies from your browser and makes you appear to FAA like a first-time visitor. We run re-targeting ads constantly to first-time visitors. Guess who we don't run ads to? Artists. Once you login to FAA as an artist, we drop a cookie in our browser which tells us that you're an artist, and then you'll almost never see an FAA ad anywhere online. It's a waste of money to run ads at artists when we should be spending our money going after buyers.


Myth #3: The sky is falling.
----------------------------------------------------------------
As an individual artist, your sales are going to fluctuate from month-to-month. As the owner of the company, I can see the sales numbers for every single artist on the site, and I have 12 years worth of sales data at my fingertips. Sales go up and down for individual artists. That's just the nature of the business. You might earn $2,500 one month and then $100 the next. It happens to our best sellers, and it happens to our newest, smallest sellers.

If you're actively marketing yourself, the fluctuations will be smaller, but they'll still be there. One month, one of our wholesale buyers might purchase 10 large prints from you for use in a hotel project, and then the next month, they'll buy zero.

That's going to create a big fluctuation in your sales, and that's completely normal.

When your sales fluctuate, the sky isn't falling.

Too often, a few artists will post in the discussion forum that they had a down month, and all of the sudden, the sky is falling for everyone. It's not.

FAA has been growing non-stop for 12 straight years. We're the largest online art site in the world. We're powering the online sales for 500,000+ independent artists and an ever-expanding list of global brands.

If you want to read about the current state of FAA and the print-on-demand industry, in general, take a look at this article:

https://medium.com/@broihier/lessons-from-a-decade-in-e-commerce-bootstrapping-the-worlds-largest-art-site-6c51d42d117d


Summary
----------------------------------------------------------------
My biggest advice is to spend more time focusing on what you can control (e.g. creating incredible artwork, building your online following, building your e-mail list, developing a marketing strategy, collaborating with other artists and brands, building relationships with local art galleries, paying for online ads, etc.) and less time on what you can't (e.g. the FAA search engine, the FAA homepage, the FAA collections, the FAA newsletters, etc.)

If your sales strategy is to upload images to FAA and then sit back and wait for sales to come in, you'll never be happy. I must have written that sentence at least 50 times over the years. If you're in the business of selling art, then you have to treat it like a business and do all of the things that I mentioned, above. You can't just sit back and wait for sales to roll in.

You've probably heard me use the following analogy many times before:

Let's say that you're a musician and that you upload your songs to Apple Music. After a few months with very few sales / streams, you mention to all of your friends that you're not earning any money as a musician, and the reason you're not earning any money is because Apple Music isn't featuring your songs.

Your friends will look at you like you're crazy. They'll ask you if you're playing bars, restaurants, and open mic nights in order to promote yourself and build some buzz. They'll ask you if you're going out on tour to play small festivals. They'll ask you if you've reached out to radio stations and promoters to try to get your songs promoted. They'll ask you if you've reached out to Apple Music, directly, to try to get in touch with their playlist curators.

Everyone knows that music is a business and that musicians need to hustle in order to get their music heard. Musicians know that, and their friends know that. If you just create songs and upload them, it's almost guaranteed that you won't be successful.

It's no different with art. Selling art is a business. You've taken the first step by adding your art to the world's largest marketplace. The next step is to stand out from the crowd, and that takes a lot of hard work. If you do manage to stand out from the crowd... and you're the type of person that people want to work with... then lots of doors will open up for you.

Every artist should have at least three pricing points

July 10th, 2020

Every artist should have at least three pricing points: Distributor, Wholesale and Retail.

When you go to a gallery you consign it at wholesale. They ask retail, that is normally 50%.

The last thing you want to do is undercut your gallery. Gallery owners in the same areas talk. They share experiences.

A $500 piece, original or print is going to sell out of the gallery for $1000. You can not have it all over the web asking $500 for it. Most gallery owners will not allow it. That makes them look bad. But worse than that it makes you look bad. If you sell many pieces at all, sooner or later one of these buyers is going to find your stuff at $500 and they are going to be mad at both the gallery and you.

The distributor price is for the occasion where someone wants to buy more than one piece, some kind of volume. For a higher volume buyer that price is going to be 50/50 or 50 less 50. Meaning a $1000 retail piece is going to go to that distributor for $250. But again, he has to buy volume. What that volume is for you to decide.

There are eight or ten galleries in the local area here where I stop in and visit all the time. I have high-priced, limited edition prints on consignment at one of them. Some of them will not take local artist any longer at all or only in rare instances because they got tired of seeing local artist selling for half price on the Internet.

This is also a big reason why a lot of galleries are going to all Gicles from large publishing houses where the artist understand the business.

Looking at FAA from the right perspective

July 7th, 2020

I think the average seller, or at least the average selling that is posing in the threads is looking at FAA from the wrong perspective.

I don’t see myself as a retailer. I see myself as having licensed FAA to use my image on whatever products I authorized them to sell.

I don’t feel I am in anyway responsible for anything that goes wrong no matter what the problem is. I am not responsible if the product does not arrive, or the wrong one is shipped or if the stitching is poorly done or any other problems. That is FAA’s problem.

FAA has a 100%, no questions, asked money back guarantee. To my knowledge they honor that guarantee just as it is stated. And yes, even that process can have glitches and errors but it seems that an awful lot of the problems that are brought to the threads in a big panic are not near as bad as stated. Just look at how often we find out that customer service did respond when we are told there was no response.

The thing to remember here is FAA sells thousands and thousands of items including prints and all sorts of consumer items. They are buying these items from many different vendors around the world. There is going to be problems. No one is perfect. That is why FAA has the guaranteed they have.

My own return rate on several thousand items sold is insignificant. Other sellers much larger than me have reported the same thing.

FAA has been steadily growing its business and has been able to attract some very high-profile names in the art business, people that have been licensing their images as both wall art and consumer products for years. Getty Images, Norman Rockwell (Curtis Publishing), Sports Illustrated, Conde Nast, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and many other iconic brands would not be choosing FAA if the problem was systemic.

As sellers here we can choose what products we what to sell but we really have no say so as to where those products are coming from, at what price they are purchased or what the quality control is. For that we have to trust that FAA is doing the job of choosing wisely when the decide on a vendor.

I can’t help but believe that some of the above-mentioned iconic brands would be here if they were not. I look at my own return rate, the growth of FAA other factors mentioned here and I have that trust or I wouldn’t be here.

I think if sellers would change their perspective and start looking at selling on FAA for what is really happening. Sellers only taking a fee, in effect licensing the use of their images to FAA. Sellers have to realize that they are not personally responsible for ever little (or even major) thing that goes wrong. I think this perspective it would make life a lot easier.

I fully understand the idea that the sellers name is on the art, but that does not make you responsible for the products. I also understand that some do not want their name on a shabby product. No one does. Unfortunately, that comes with the territory once you get into a licensing agreement where you have no control over the products.

The fact is, we are not the retailers. We are not the ones selling the products. We are merely getting a fee for the use of our images. FAA is responsible for everything else.

Groups and Contests Are They Worth The Effort?

June 20th, 2020

I do not think entering groups and/or contests, in and of itself, is going to lead to direct sales to any significant level vs using that same time to advertise outside FAA.

There is always going to be someone come along and say they made sales from a contest or from groups and yeah, I get that. I am not saying there are NO sales from groups, I am saying compared to the same effort spent outside FAA that effort is gong to give you a lot better results.

I joined about 200 groups and entered dozens and dozens of contests in the first 2-3 years I was here. I tracked the sales the best I could. I failed to make any direct connection between groups and/or contests and sales. When I stopped doing groups and contests I did not see even the slightest dip in sales. Not even the featured art or contest winners or places saw any sales that I could relate to those groups or contests.

After a year or two of not belong to any group I came up and a marketing plan using groups to promote outside FAA.

I joined 50 groups or so and I posted to them only when I did new uploads. I posted the same image to as many of the groups where the image was appropriate. As soon as I had three or four images with two or three features each I would put together an album on Facebook and promote the album as these images have received special recognition at FineArtAmerican, home of 500,000 of the world's greatest artists. Or wording similar.

I think the same thing could be done with entering the contest and winning or placing in the top three of the contest.

I suggest that joining groups and developing a marketing program around them is the way to go. Just joining groups and thinking that alone is a marketing program, IMHO is not worth the effort.

Pricing Your Artwork - What To Do, What To Do

June 9th, 2020

Pricing Your Artwork - What To Do, What To Do by Arnold White

Do you know the value of your work and how to price it? Probably not.

As a publisher, distributor and consultant in the art world, I have personally reviewed the work of thousands of artists over the last 30 years. In all of that time only a handful were able to say, "yes" to that question.

Pricing art is actually not that difficult. It is basically no different than pricing any other product. The problem with artists pricing their own work is that they generally don't view their work with the same eyes that other businesses do. This is because they are emotionally tied to their product.

Let me make it simple and easy. First, you have cost of materials. Second you have cost of labor.

Such items as paint, brushes, canvas, and other supplies becomes your cost of materials. The cost of labor is the actual time spent in creating your image (product). Determine a value for your time $25.00 - $100.00 per hour. Add the cost of materials to the value of your time and you have a starting price.

What you can do next is to take that price and check comparable work. Comparables are works similar to yours in size, style or subject. You obtain comparables by going to actual or online galleries, trade shows, fairs or festivals.

An interesting exercise would be to apply this to previously established pricing for your work, and compare it to the formula provided above.

What should an artist do about "Wholesale vs. Retail"?

First of all it is important that you fully understand the difference. As the manufacturer of your product, you are the one who needs to establish both retail and a wholesale price for your art.

The retail price is the asking price to consumers or collectors, the person purchasing your work to hang in his/her home or office. The wholesale price is the lowest price for which you are willing to sell your product to a gallery or other retail entity. Usually the difference between the retail and the wholesale is 50%. So, if your retail price is $3,500.00 your wholesale price will be $1,750.00.

It is always better to price your work higher than lower. It is easier to start high and go down than vice versa.

When selling your work directly to a collector or consumer, it is essential to protect the integrity of the retail price. Otherwise, you will be in direct competition with your gallery affiliations. If you are still having difficulty with the pricing of your art, art agents or consultants can be of great assistance to an artist struggling with the pricing and marketing aspect of the art world.

Remember that every year the cost of living increases and so should the price of your art. A good rule of thumb is to have a yearly increase of between 5 and 10%.

Finally, the second rule of thumb is to try and maintain objectivity and to apply the formula. It's only natural that artists have emotional ties to their work, but emotions can cloud their vision and dilute their business judgment.

Arnold White has been a publisher and distributor of fine art prints for over 40 years. He is retired now from the firm he founded that assisted artists seeking to enter the print market.

We Are Not Really Retailers so it is More of Fee than a Markup

April 13th, 2020

Are we retailers or are we just getting paid for the use of our images? We are not retailers, IMHO.

That I don’t have to find the suppliers, handle the sales and do the fulfillment is the genius of the FAA system and what I love most about it.

I think the more accurate way to look at what we are doing here is we are getting a fee for the use of our images. We are really not selling anything ourselves other than the use of our images. We are giving FAA permission to sell our images on the product we chose to allow them to sell with our images on them and in return, we are getting paid a fee for that use.

We have no say in choosing which specific products we offer the public. We do not actually choose the vendors or the prices so to say we are selling or retailing to me, is a bit of a stretch. Retailing to me means I am buying a product and then turning around and selling it. We are not doing that here.

We are given a choice; do you want to allow us to sell mugs with or images, yes or no? Do you want to allow us to sell pillows, yes or no? But FAA is picking which mugs, which pillows. We have no choice other than yes or no.

We do some advertising that certain products are available but we do not handle any of the purchasing or the actual selling and certainly none of the pricing beyond our own markup, fee or commission or whatever you want to call it.

It bears repeating. Personally that I don’t have to find the suppliers, handle the sales and do the fulfillment is the genius of the FAA system and what I love most about it.

Work Smarter Not Harder To Beat The Big Guys

December 28th, 2019

Work Smarter Not Harder To Beat The Big Guys

So, you have X number of images, every one of them is very desirable and very sellable.

You have accumulated a significant number of features, likes, comments, followers, and favorites. You have joined dozens of groups and entered all the contests you can. However you still only have a few numbers of views and very few, if any, sales in the time that you have been here. So what are you doing wrong?

You are working hard at all the wrong things, IMHO.

The way FAA was set up in the beginning, all of those things meant something. There was no really famous or well-known artist here at that time. There were no large galleries and there was a mere fraction of the number of members and images. If you had good art and you worked the system and did some outside marketing, you were able to work your way up in the FAA search.

That is how most of the people that are selling and posting in the treads got to where they are in the search and because they are still collecting likes and favorites and features and etc, etc. they are still fairly high up in the rankings. In effect, these people have a giant lead on the rest of us that just got here the last year or two. Their 'leg up' or head start in the search ranking is contributing a great deal to their success. And that means sales and that puts them even higher in the search ranking. There is no doubt in my mind that if they had to start from scratch today, most if not all of them would be struggling just like everyone else because none of these people posting, are famous or have much if any following outside of FAA.

So how is a person to catch up? There are thousands of large sellers that have thousands of likes, favorites, comments, etc. And they are still collecting them. And they are collecting them at a significantly faster rate than you or I or any of the new people. The fact of the matter is you can't catch up. In fact, some of the people that were once much larger sellers are slipping big time in the rankings and sales. You see them saying that in the treads all the time. But they are also still trying to do it the same way they did it before. And it is not working for them. They admit that themselves in the dozens of threads they keep opening. And it is not ever going to work for them the same way it once did.

Does that mean we should all give up? No, not at all. But we must work smarter not harder.

We have to accept the fact that we cannot like, favorite, feature and all of that other traditional stuff to any significant rankings in the search. But we can sell our way in because sales have a much, much greater weighting in the rankings than all of that other stuff.

Now that seems like a chicken or the egg situation, right? Not at all. And that is why I keep hammering and hammering to get outside of FAA and promote your work and ONLY your ArtistsWebsite. Forget or at least minimize your time working on the likes and favorites and thing. It is simply not the best use of your time.

You need to reach outside of FAA and get your work seen by tens of thousands or millions of people. You need to advertise specific pieces and you need to make sure the links come back to those pieces in your ArtistsWebsite, not to your space in the main FAA site. When you link to the main site, you are exposing your hard-earned, prospective buyer to over 200,00 members and over 7,000,000 images with just one click away.

I know this works. I have been a regular seller here from the first day I started doing uploads. I recognized the problem with trying to win the battle for search ranking very early on and I decided I was not going to play that game. My sales have pretty much gone up month over month for each month I have been here. I did it by working smarter not harder. I have been able to gain first-page ranking on several specific images. I see it as no small coincidence at all that they are some of the images that I have advertised the most.

I am not saying to totally ignore the search, keywording, and descriptions. Anyone has at least a small chance of someone paging deep enough through several pages of results that each search returns and being found. I think everyone should do the best job they can on keywording and descriptions but then let the search take care of itself.

Now that said, I am not anywhere near as large a seller as the big guys, not anywhere close. That is not my goal. My goal is to make regular sales day in and day out. And I am doing that. I am doing that by spending time adverting and promoting outside FAA. I don't pay any attention to trying to gain search ranking with any other method other than selling through that advertising. I don't chase that other thing, enter groups or contests or likes and comments.

I have been selling art prints and originals for over 40 years. I was selling prints online before FAA or Amazon or even before eBay or any of the others. I have made a great deal of money selling what I guess maybe as many as 2 or 3 million prints over the years. So I think I know a little about selling prints and the art market in general.

Caution using Discount Codes

December 5th, 2019

You have to be careful with those Discount Codes.

The discount you offer is figured on and paid out of the fee (your markup) you get from FAA on a sale. FAA still sells the product for their full price less your discount. In the example below your 25%, discount would net out as a 6.35% discount.

So, if you offer a 25% discount on a $200 product the customer is not going to be able to buy it for $150.

If your fee is $50, they will get 25% ($12.50) off that $50 so the price they pay will be $187.50.

You have to be able to explain that to your shoppers and prospective buyers or it will confuse them and maybe even annoy some enough to shop somewhere else.

This does not apply to the sales that FAA runs. Only the Discount Codes.

Hashtags In Facebook Groups Not A Fan

November 10th, 2019

I want to mention some thoughts on using #Hashtags in FB groups.

I personally don't use them at all and I do not recommend them.

Yes, you may get a hit or two because of the #Hashtag coming up in the search, but the other thing it does is it shows people the door when they are already sitting there looking at your post. It gives them the choice of going to your image where it can be bought or to any number of places, none of which are places where the artist can make a sale.

Here is a case in point. I don't mean to embarrass anyone but here is a recent post in a FB group with ten #hashtags.

#totebags #giftideas #shopsmall #naturelovers #butterflies #artforsale #environmentallyfriendly #nomoreplasticbags #christmasgifts #washable

When I click on the first one, #totebags, it takes me to a list of four stores where tote bags are sold. NONE of them are selling tote bags for the artist that made the post and none of them are FAA sellers. In fact, one of them is featuring a tote bag where a cat if flipping people the finger.

When I click on the #shopsmall, it takes me to a whole list of shopping malls on Facebook, not of them FAA stores.

My idea of posting in the FineArtAmerica group I started was to help promote FAA artists and to keep the shopper in the group as long as possible hoping they find something for one of us that they want to buy. Or the click on something from one of us and they end up in FAA or Pixels and find something to buy.

I am not really thrilled about sending people to stores and sellers outside of the FAA family.

Marketing on the Cheap Write Right

November 28th, 2018

Marketing on the Cheap Write Right

I wrote a series of Marketing on the Cheap articles and they are still out there around the net. If you search Google for Marketing on the Cheap by Floyd Snyder you should find most of them. These were original articles that I wrote for Strictly Business Magazine, a monthly publication I use to own. This was written in 2002 I think so it is a bit time dated and you need to keep that in mind. But the concept is still valid. At one time I had several hundred or a thousand articles on what was then the four major article circulation sites. All of these articles had been picked up and reprinted on any number of websites. I used to be a major player in the Day Trading craze that swept the nation a few years back and I have tried to remove most of those articles because I get tired of being asked for stock tips. lol

Marketing on the Cheap: Write? Right!!

We all know the value of writing articles for promoting your website or online store. However, writing articles to promote your old-fashioned, traditional brick and mortar business has been around forever.

Contact your local newspapers, and chances are, depending on what business you are in, they may be interested in giving you your own column. Most small or medium-sized media markets will have at least one daily serving the communities and probably at least one weekly newspaper. Offer to supply a weekly or even a monthly column for free. They are always looking for editorial content and "free" is always attractive. Be careful about a daily commitment, this can get overly demanding in a hurry.

It may be a little more difficult to approach the Los Angeles Times or the New York Times, but in major media markets, there is any number of regional weeklies that can be approached.

Other considerations may be regional or even national trade publications, Chamber of Commerce newsletter or other professional associations and organizations you may belong to.

If you can't get the column for free, don't be afraid to pay for it. But make sure the layout is designed to look as much as possible like a regular story or editorial content. The paper will probably require that you put some sort of disclaimer on your column like the word "advertising", but this is not a big deal.
Have a professional photo taken and include it in your articles whenever possible. Don't use your high school photo or one that is touched up to make you look totally different than you actually do. You are trying to build recognition and credibility. After your column has run for some time, you will be surprised how many people will easily recognize you. People like to do business with people they know.

Okay, so now you have own column; make good use of it. Give it value. Do not make it a blatant advertisement and/or sales pitch. In fact, except on extremely rare occasions, you probably don't want to sell anything directly in your column at all. You want to write real content, stories that are either of real value or entertaining. I had a friend once that owned a restaurant. He paid to have his own column in our local newspaper. He never once wrote a story about his own restaurant. Instead, he wrote about his world travels, famous chefs, and the wonderful restaurants he had enjoyed.

Another approach you may want to consider is a "How To" column. I once supplied a weekly column for an art gallery/picture-framing studio. We wrote a series of how to buy and frame your own artwork.

Check your local newspaper and you will no doubt see examples. If you are writing the column for the newspaper and not paying for it, make sure you retain editorial control and copyright to the work. If you are paying for insertion, ask your ad representative or ad agency for samples. As you travel around, pick up the local newspapers in the area you are visiting and see what others are doing.

If you don't have the time or the feel you are not capable of writing your own column, check with an ad agency. You should be able to find one that provides this service. If you belong to a professional association, check with them and see if they supply "ghost" stories. I have worked with accountants, stockbrokers, lawyers, and others using ghost stories.

I will suggest that if you are not writing the story yourself, you may want to avoid the byline that says "by" and use "furnished by" or "supplied by" or something of that nature. The last thing you want to do is get caught taking credit for writing something someone else wrote. If you pay a copywriter for the original copy, this is not as likely to happen. But if you use ghost stories from an association, you are more then likely not going to have exclusivity. Someone in another publication may be running the same story.

When you start this project, think long term. It takes a commitment. It will take some time to build readership. You are establishing yourself as an expert in your field to people that don't know you. This will not happen overnight.

I mentioned retaining editorial control and copyright. After you have created a number of columns and/or stories, you may want to consider putting them all together in a book. Keep this in mind in the early stages. If you are working with a ghostwriter or ad agency, make sure they understand your intentions so proper preparations can be made and taken into consideration from the very beginning. If your traditional non-web based business does have a website, and it should have, make sure you prepare your writings for distribution on the net as well.
Once you start writing you can use the materials in any number of different ways.

So go write something!

 

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