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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

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, 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:

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

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,

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.

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.

Catalina Island 22 Miles Across The Sea

February 19th, 2017

Catalina Island 22 Miles Across The Sea

Only 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles lies one of the most popular tourist destinations of Southern California, Catalina Island. This rocky island that is part of the Channel Island chain, 8 miles wide and 22 miles long, has a very colorful history. The island, originally inhabited by Native Americans known as the Pimugnans, was discovered in 1542 by Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo who was sailing for Spain. Though he claimed it for Spain, it remained untouched until 500 years later when it was rediscovered by Sebastian Vizcaino.

During the next two centuries, the island was used for otter and seal hunting even though trading with other countries was forbidden by Spain. Russian traders were among those who frequented the island since there was little enforcement of the prohibition of trading. Because of the many hidden coves and Catalina's close proximity to the mainland, smuggling was a common occurrence in the area. In the 1860's even gold-digging was attempted, which never panned out.

The island remained under the control of Spain and later Mexico until it became a part of California which eventually became a state. In 1846 Governor Pio Pico gave a Spanish land grant of Rancho Santa Catalina to Thomas Robbins. It remained his property until he sold it to Jose Maria Covarrubias in 1853. Covarrubias sold this grant to Albert Packard of Santa Barbara. Packard, in turn, sold the island to James Lick in 1864 who controlled it for the next 23 years. In 1887 George Shatto purchased the island for $200,000 and created the city of Avalon. Shatto was a real estate speculator from Grand Rapids, Michigan and was able to take advantage of the real estate boom of California at the time. In developing Avalon the first hotel on the island and the pier were built. Sadly, Shatto was not able to keep up with his loan. He defaulted on the loan, and the island went back to the Lick Estate.

The Banning Brothers made a valiant attempt to perpetuate the efforts of Shatto and made Avalon a resort community with more development. Unfortunately, a fire burned several hotels and facilities, creating a huge debt for the Banning Brothers that they could not overcome. In addition World War I caused a severe decline in visitors and tourists who had been coming to the island. In 1919 the Bannings had to sell shares in their enterprises due to the downturn in the economy. It was at that time that William Wrigley Jr, of Wrigley chewing gum, enters the picture to purchase shares. He made his move to buy out most of the shareholders which give him controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company.

Under Wrigley's ownership, he endeavored to promote various activities and events that included the completion of the Catalina Casino in 1929. In addition, he brought the Chicago Cubs, also owned by him, to the island for their spring training season starting in 1921. The Cubs continued to call Catalina its spring training home until 1951, with exception of the war years. From 1942 to 1945 the island was closed to tourists because it was being used as a training camp for the military.

When William Wrigley Jr. passed away, his son Philip Wrigley took over the Catalina Island Company and continued to improve the infrastructure projects that his father had started. However, with the outbreak of World War II, the island took on a different role starting with the steamships being taken over to transport troops. The following agencies and entities established themselves in several locations on the island: Avalon was used to house the Maritime Service; Two Harbors became a training area for the army; the interior of the island became a radar station under the Army Signal Corp; Toyon Bay was used for the Office of Strategic Services; and Emerald Bay became the location for underwater demolition training.

In 1975 Philip Wrigley deeded the 42,135 acres of the Santa Catalina Island Company to the Catalina Island Conservancy. Wrigley had assisted in the formation of the conservancy, and with the transfer of land to the Conservancy 90% of the island was under their umbrella. The remaining property remained under the control of the resort property owners. In 2007 a fire in Avalon destroyed several structures, but the assistance from the LA County firefighters, the US Navy, and the US Marine Corp kept the losses to a minimum. After some rebuilding, the tourists continued to flock to the island.

Catalina's mild Mediterranean climate with the low annual precipitation continues to entice visitors year round. A visitor can find several of the 400 plant species that are only found on Catalina Island. Besides plants, there are five native mammals which include the island fox, the California ground squirrel, the Catalina harvest mouse, the Santa Catalina Island deer mouse, and the ornate shrew. In 1924 bison were introduced to the island when a movie company brought them to be a part of a Western movie called The Vanishing American. The bison were left on the island to save money at the completion of the filming, which had run over budget. The bison population has now grown to over 150.

Protecting the cultural and natural heritage is the cornerstone of the private nonprofit Conservancy. Catalina Island is a beach and water lover's paradise with more than a million visitors each year. The variety of activities include scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, boating, glass bottom boat trips, golf, hiking, sightseeing, and much more. There is just about something for everyone. One fact worthy of note is that motor vehicles are restricted, and most residents and visitors use golf carts and bicycles.

Unfortunately, the Casino no longer operates as a casino. However, on the plus side, the former casino is now a museum that provides a good look at the cultural heritage with more than 100,000 items in the collection. This an ideal way to get a good view of Catalina's past and present. Making a trip in the future is worth the time and won't soon be forgotten.

Visit to see several images featuring Catalina Island. Search on Catalina.

Are Your Prices Too High?

November 26th, 2016

Ask any top salesman or sales manager and they will tell you that the weaker the salesman is, the more reliant they are on price to make sales. As a sales manager, it is your job to make sure that the weaker salesman is not giving away the house to make is his living. In the case of selling your own work, you are your own sales manager. You need to know how to do that job.

The less you know about selling, advertising, and marketing, the more competitive you have to be in your pricing structure and the harder it is going to be to keep yourself from giving away the house.

We see it here all the time where people are encouraged to raise their prices, raise their prices. I just don't think that that is going to work for everyone. The less the seller knows about marketing, selling, and advertising, the more the art itself has to sell itself. Competitive pricing is going to make it easier for that to happen.

Take two images, both the exact same quality and hold the same appeal to the buyer. The guy that has image A has a great sales pitch, a great story and has caught the imagination of the buyer. He is asking $500 for his image. Seller B has basically the same image with the same level of enthusiasm from the buyer and the same $500 price but his sales pitch, his story is a boring "please by my print". The advantage is going to go to the seller with the better pitch.

Now take the exact same situation but seller B has a $400 price tag compared to seller A's $500. That is going to level the playing field quite a bit.

The more marketing, advertising and selling experience and knowledge you have, the easier it is to support higher prices.

But... the answer is not as easy as just lowering your prices. That may be only part of the answer. The full answer is to go to school and learn as much as you can about marketing, selling, and advertising. Even if you hate it and know you are never going to be good at it. You will learn enough to at least up your game to a higher level and become less dependent on lower prices.


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