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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!

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

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.

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.

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 FASGallery.com 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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