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Are we retailers or are we just getting paid for the use of our images?

January 17th, 2019

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.

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

December 11th, 2018


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.

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!

Whats It Worth

September 26th, 2018

September 5, 2008

What's It Worth?

We get a lot of request from many very nice people hoping we can shed some light on the value of a piece of artwork they already own. Unfortunately, as much as we would like to, we are not able to respond individually to these request. One of the reasons is, there is just way to many of them. Besides that, we are not art appraiser nor do we deal in the secondary art market. But even if we were, it would still be irresponsible of us to try to put a price on a piece of artwork that we have never seen.

Hopefully the following will be some assistance to you.

For the most part you can probably find some indication as to value by searching the Internet, including eBay, and see if you can find someone trying to sell an exact or similar piece.

You may try taking your piece to a local gallery, picture framer or art historian. Try contacting the art department of a local university or even a junior college in your community.

Another source may be your local art association. They may be able to direct you to someone in your community that can help you.
You may also what to consider a professional art appraiser. However, I suggest you do that only after you have convinced yourself there is indeed real value here. Art appraiser fees can be substantial.

Check with local galleries for the name of an appraiser. If they cannot help you, try your own attorney, especially attorneys that deal in estate and or divorce law. They very often have appraisers they use and may share a source with you.

I also want to mention the Framehouse Gallery connection or lack thereof. Back in the 1970's and 80's they were a well know publishing house that represented a number of very well know artist including some whose work we handle; Snidow, Frace, and Gordon to name a few. However, that company went out of business some 120-25 years ago. We are not associated in any way with that company and never have been.

Good luck in you research and we hope we have been of some assistance.

Floyd Snyder
FASGallery
FrameHouseGallery

Work Smarter Not Harder To Beat The Big Guys

May 5th, 2018

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, 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. 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 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 may be 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.

Branding On This Level is Way Overrated Not Likely to Happen

April 19th, 2018


"I thought that since Canon is a brand name, all their gear had to be good, right? Wrong!!! I had a whole bag full of lenses covering every possible situation, but they were very poor quality. '

Yup, branding is way overemphasized here, IMHO. There is really very little in the way of actual branding going on here in the same sense of the term when it applies to Nike or Coke or Ford. What is going on here is more like building a following of loyal buyers and some level of name recognition.

Branding suggests that you have or are going to achieve some kind of top of the mind awareness in the overall marketplace. That is very, very unlikely to happen for the average and even significantly above average seller on FAA.

The other thing that is overemphasized is the idea of having to qualify every FB friend and Twitter follower, often referred to or stated as target marketing. Target marketing is extremely important when you are paying for advertising to reach your market. Especially if you are doing direct mail, traditional or email, and have to pay for each email or mailing piece.

But on SM there is no cost unless you are paying for ads and then you are limited as to what you can choose for your target market.

If you build a list of 2000 or even 5000 qualified buyers, it is my opinion that if you really want to make significant sales and significant money, that is simply too small of a market.

As I have said many times in the past, if I had to choose between 5000 of my hand-picked followers and 2 million people that chose to follow/friend me, I will take the 2 million. I have no doubt that in that 2 million there are going to be a lot more than 5000 qualified art buyers.

But the good news is, you do not have to make that choice. You can and should do both.

Understanding Advertising and Why You Simply Cannot Do It All

January 10th, 2018

Advertising Your FAA Artistwebsite

The purpose of this article is to address the needs of the artist on FAA trying to balance their time between creating their art and selling it.

You simple cannot do it all. Not effectively.

When is enough, enough and maybe too much? One of the biggest mistakes that I see FAA members doing is advertising with no advertising plan what so ever. They think they all they have to do is post a few times to Facebook or Tweet here and there and that's it. Or they are out there thinking they have to be on everything. Total market saturation. Neither one is the right way to go.

There are a lot of ways of advertising your FAA artwork. But in order to do that you first have to understand something about basic advertising.

Advertising on the net is not totally different then advertising main stream media. But it is different.The vehicles you use are obviously different but the basic concepts are the same. You have to reach the market place and prospective buyers with your product in a way that is most like to give you results.

Let's look at the different vehicles we see most often used by successful sellers on FAA. Facebook is probably the number one, with Twitter number two. Then you have all the rest of the social media including G+, LinkedIn, About.Me and on and on. Equate those to off the net adverting vehicles like TV, radio, newspaper, billboards, etc, etc. Put these aside for a minute because, for the purpose of this discussion we are not going to use them to promote your AW on FAA but we are going lean form them.

Now let's talk about the different approaches. To keep this as simple as possible, let's look at two different approaches to adverting.

First there is Direct Advertising or Target Marketing or Market Specific. Someone reinvents a new name for it every year or so, but it is still the same thing that it has been for 200 years.

Then you have Institutional Advertising, Generic, Top of the Mind Awareness and again all the new names people have come with.

I am assuming you have at least a basic understanding of the two different approaches above. Here is a very simple example of each.

If I have a photograph of a cowboy on a horse, I would target the western, cowboy, horse market using Twitter, FB Groups or any other vehicle where I could identify this people. I pretty simple stuff, I know, bear with me. I would do this my using the right hash tags and joining the right FB groups.

Institutional advertising would differ in that I would not necessarily even mention a photograph but would instead just be posting to Facbook or Tweeting "Visit FASGallery.net, see the best artwork on the net". I would be promoting the "institution" FASGallery to everyone, not to a specific photograph and not to a specific market. This goes to Top of the Mind Awareness. Still really boring I know, but stay with me.

What you are trying to do is the same thing All State Insurance has done with "The Good Hands People" or McDonald's with the Golden Arches. It is a form of branding. We do marketing surveys for specific industries. We ask people what is the first think you think of when I say "golden arches" or "the good hands people".

All of these things have to be taken into consideration of any advertising plan. But now we have to talk about the meat of that plan. How do you reach the market in a meaningful way that will get you the best results?

When you get ready to actually launch your plan, you simple cannot do it all. Everyone has limits. We are talking non-paid advertising but it still cost something. The currency is time. And you simply cannot be on Facebook, Twitter, G+, About.Me, LinkedIn, and on and on and on. Not effectively. It is just simply not the best use of you time because the frequency is going to be too thin to really make the impact you need to make. You will not reach the market penetration that you will need to be effective.

This is where we start talking about Vertical Reach and Horizontal Reach, the meat of any plan.

Most people are not in a position to where they can go for total market saturation. They need to focus, limit the number of vehicles you chose to use and then use them wisely.

Here is an example. If you were advertising on radio, and there was 10 radio stations in your market, more the likely you would not have enough money to be on all of them. You would have to choose. If your budget is $1000, you would be much better off running $500 dollars on two stations instead of $100 each on all 10. $100 is simply not enough to achieve decent market penetration. It would be a waste of money.

Vertical vs Horizontal. Vertical: $500 on each of two stations. Horizontal: $100 on each of 10 stations.

In this case your $100 simple will not give you the market penetration you need to get any decent results.

If you are still with me, we now need to talk about one of the biggest reasons, besides the cost why you cannot effectively do all of the Social Media outlets. With Social Media, unlike radio, TV, newspaper and other traditional adverting vehicles you have to build your own audience. You actually have to advertise you advertising vehicle. You have to build up your own followers and friends and circles; your audience.

For advertising to be work, you have to reach some level of market penetration. You have to be in that market, advertising your gallery, often enough to make an impact, to penetrate the market.

Think of it the same way all great speech writers do when they write a speech. To make a point stick in the audience's mind they know they have to repeat that point three times. "Tell'em, tell'em what you told'em and then tell'em again".

Applying what we have known about advertising for 200 years and from leaning what we have from radio and television, 50 tweets a day or posts to Facebook, will be more effective then 5 posts a day on ten different Social Media vehicles. It will also give you more time to create your art because you do not have to manage all of those different outlets. You can actually make fewer posts to a smaller market and have better results and at same time because you are getting better market penetration which will give you better results.

In closing (thank goodness) pick one or two, maybe 3 vehicles, build up a targeted market as best you can and do the best you can to penetrate that market. I personally think two is plenty and the two that I find easiest to build a following on are Facebook and Twitter. It is obvious that if you have the time, and can give the time, the more vehicles you can do a good jog on, the better off you will be.

As this applies to FAA, if you have 1000 images, you can afford to spend the time to be a more outlets. If you under 200, you cannot. You need to be creating art AND doing marketing. The fewer products you have the more effective your limited advertising has to be. The more important it is that you focus and get the biggest bang for your buck that you can.

But the bottom line is you have to have an advertising plan and you have to be committed to it and stick to it. Plan your work and work your plan as the old saying goes.

Good Reads for more selling and advertising and better sales: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/fasgallerycom.html?tab=blog

Work Smarter Not Harder To Beat The Big Guys
This Is My Response to Members Looking for Help
Work Smarter Not Harder To Beat The Big Guys
Another Response to a New Member Looking for Help
You Can Not Win the Search Was and Should Not Even Try

Low Cost Social Media Marketing Plan

September 15th, 2017

As many of you know, I come from a 40 year background in both selling art and advertising.

Having been the owner of three brick and mortar art galleries, a publishing company and an ad agency, I am a big believer in traditional advertising. The Internet has changed a lot of the thinking but the basics are still the same. Get the product seen by the largest number of potential buyers as you can. And of course, it goes without saying that it has to be done with a plan that is economically efficient.

Most advertising plans start out with a budget that is usually some percentage of the gross sales. The number most agencies will use is 15% of sales. Simply put that would mean if you do $100,000 in sales, you should be spending $15,000 in advertising. I am not interested in hearing the arguments on rather you agree with this or not. It is long-standing practice that we do not need to discuss here. I am just laying down some very basic principles so you can see what the new plan is based on. And I am not suggesting anyone has to spend $15,000. The budget is going to set itself based on your individual sales.

There are two basic concepts in play here that we are going to actually try to compromise here to keep cost down. That means the overall plan is going to be based on how long it is applied instead of how much money you spend on it in the short term.

First, advertising is all about impressions. Tell'em, tell'em what you told them and then tell'em again. Repetitiveness is crucial for success.

Second, one needs to understand the principal of vertical vs horizontal advertising. For this program we are going to go for the vertical not the horizontal. A simple explanation is that with a limited budget, you need to focus on one (or two at the most) Social Media outlet for your message. If you want to read more on vertical vs horizontal reach, Google it or read my blog Understanding Advertising and Why You Simply Can Not Do It All https://fineartamerica.com/blogs/understanding-advertising-and-why-you-simply-can-not-do-it-all.html

Okay, so there is the basic we are going to apply here.

The program is much simpler then the prelude! :-)

Recently, I have been sharing my sales with a few of the Facebook groups that I started and the largest of the other groups I belong to. Every time I post one of these “Recently Sold” announcements to Facebook I get asked if I want to boots the post. The buy in is at a very low level or pretty much whatever you want it to be.

My idea is that for every sale you make you take from 10% - 20% of the profit you make only on that sale and boost that post for that amount. At the same time, you make sure you share those same posts in as many FB groups as you can and with as many friends that you can.

This will give you an ongoing advertising plan that is easy to keep track of and not break the bank. Part of the thinking is that if the image sells once, it will probably have a higher potential to sell again. I know that is not a 100% so please don't tell me how that is not a for sure thing. I get that.

The other thing I am suggesting is that you make the posts look exactly the same as much as possible. Using the FAA share button from the image page itself is what I strongly recommend. I never use that notification that you get that says something like help Joe spread the word or whatever it says. I only use the one from the image page on my ArtistsWebsite or Premium site.

I suggest you develop some kind of positioning phrase, or signature of some sort. It does not have to be much but it should be unique to you. I sign all of my post with just simply Enjoy! Floyd Snyder, FASGallery.com.

I also mention that the image can be bought on paper, canvas, and on consumer items. I don't really like it all that much because it is too commercial and way to long. So far none of the groups that I posted it to have rejected it so the group administrators do not seem to mind.

I just recently did this for an image I sold and as soon as I launched the "boost" I did make a sale of the same image. Absolutely no way in the world to know if it came from a post that the resulted from the boot.

Here is the draw back. This is pretty low dollar, directly related to how much you sell and there is no auto FAA tracking. In order for it to really be tested to where we can see if it is creating any sales, it is going to have to be a medium to long term program and you will have to track your own sales and see if you get repeats on those specific images that you boost. There is no way to tell if you get residuals or not by someone clicking on the boosted ad but buying a different image. But of course over time I would expect that to happen.

You are going to have to be willing to add to the money for boosting if the profit on the sale is very small. Or you can accumulate the money and added it to where ever you decide. I am going to add budget because I want the repetitiveness of people seeing that I am making sales giving them the impression that I have great stuff that people are buying. Some may want to consider adding 15% to your prices if you think they can stand the price increase. That is up to you.

I have several Facebook Groups that I stated to help people get seen on Facebook. You can go to any of those group pages and scroll down and see these posts that I have been making. Here is a link to the blog that has the group names and address. https://fineartamerica.com/blogs/four-facebook-groups-for-faa-and-of-pixels-members-to-consider.html

Feel free to leave a comment below.



It Is Not How Long It Is How Many

June 6th, 2017

How long you have been a member of FAA or how long your image has been on FAA or on the Internet has little to do with selling it or when it will sell.

That it does, is a myth that people have bought into here because it is being put forth by a handful of people, right along with the myth that every image has to be spectacular. It does not. It only has to be seen by the right person.

The idea that an image has to be here or on the Internet for some time before it sells simply lacks any real merit. Now I will agree that the longer the image has been on FAA and/or the Internet, the more people see it and the more apt it is to sell. But that is still dependent on the being seen factor, not the longevity factor.

I started selling the first week I was here and I have been selling daily every since.

It is not how long you have been here of how long your images have been here or on the Internet. It is about how many people see your work.

When a prospective buyer sees one of your images, they don't have any idea how long they been here or on the Internet. Few people bother to look at the counter. No one says, oh, I can't buy this image; the buyer has only been on FAA for a couple months or years. Nor do they say, hey, I am going to go buy from JC because he has been here longer than Floyd.

If you upload an image and in one week 100 people see it, and I put up an image and in that same one week, 10,000 people see it, pretty sure I have a better chance of selling my image then you (now here's the part that most people hate) even if your image is a much, much better image.

The two biggest factors, even more important than the quality of your work are how many people see your images and how many you have. Quality is an issue, but it is not the most important one. That too is a myth.

Some of the images of my own work that I sell here and other places, every month, are images that people here have told me would never sell. But yet, I just keep selling them.

Barbara and Floyd Snyder Art Exhibit at Los Olivos Wine Merchant and Cafe

May 5th, 2017

Barbara and Floyd Snyder  Art Exhibit at Los Olivos Wine Merchant and Cafe

"Peace and Tranquility" by Barbara and Floyd Snyder Art Exhibit at Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Caf

A new show of photographic art by local artists Barbara and Floyd Snyder will be on view at the Los Olivos Cafe from March 2nd through May 4th. This talented married couple has each inspired the other's creative photography over time and their work shows delightfully well together in this exhibit. Each artist works both with original photography and digitally enhanced original photography, largely concentrating on scenes from nature that they feel bring an experience of peace and tranquility to the viewer. The beautiful images on view provide an engaging viewing encounter, and pieces are available for purchase by those who may wish to acquire a work that provides a lyrical commentary on nature's many gifts.

Each artist has worked in very interesting career fields that over time changed and evolved into a concentration on artistic endeavors.

They have owned and operated picture frame studios and art galleries and their backgrounds have informed their art and encouraged them to give attention to their own creativity. They have much to share with those who have the opportunity to view their work.

This exhibit is one of a continuing series of shows made possible by the commitment of the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe to showcase local art and artists. Santa Ynez Valley Art Association (formerly the Artists Guild SYV), a nonprofit arts organization with over thirty years of history in the area, coordinates and manages the "art without borders" installation in cooperation with the Cafe. A portion of art sales benefits the organization, and these collaborative efforts - a way to keep art alive and accessible in the Santa Ynez Valley.

 

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