My early experiments in AdWords quickly showed me that my beautiful new website was failing at sales. So I did some research to find out why my competitors sites were selling and mine wasn’t.
What did they have that I didn’t?
- Guarantees. 100% money back, satisfaction guaranteed, guarantees
- A proliferation of examples
- For the multi-artist sites, a price advantage
- For the single-artist sites, a reputation advantage
- Loads of customer reviews and testimonials
- Photos of happy customers with their art
- Easy site navigation
- Quick mobile load times
- Newsletter Signups
Wow. That’s a lot to be hit with on your first pass.
What have I done to fix it?
The guarantees were the easiest, so I put those up right away.
Getting around the competitive advantages required some strategy: I needed to differentiate myself from each. I could easily differentiate from the reputation folks because my work was less than half the price. For the multi-artist sites, I noticed the paintings are all traced from projection. The result is highly accurate but lacking life. In my opinion, if all you’re doing as an artist is mimicking a photo, then the photo is already the best you can do. Painters should add something a photo can’t have. For me that’s lighting, depth, and a touch of caricaturization. If this was going to be my angle I needed to claim it, so I added the following graphic to my homepage:
It’s a bit garish but it gets the job done.
Reviews & Quantity of Work
Next up, reviews, reputation and work quantity. The only fix here is to paint more. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve now got three people who would be willing to do testimonials about how much they like their piece and how it captures their dog perfectly (never mind that it was a gift). You have to start somewhere, and it shows that these are real works of art, that they’re mine, and that other people own them now.
I made my navigation better, included 3 image links on the front page instead of a scroll
site (which also helped with the poor load time), and instead of greeting my customers, the main page on both desktop and mobile tells them what they’ll find on my page.
I signed up for CloudFlare CDN (Content Delivery Network), to improve my load times. I currently have a free account with them but I may need to upgrade.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to set up my own separate mailing service. WiX has a built-in form that I’ve used to collect email addresses, and send out automatic updates to subscribers when I update my blog. Check it out on my blog.
I still don’t get enough conversions.
But I got my first paid commission from Google. So I know I’m getting somewhere.
- Six pieces of finished, promotable portraits
- 2 pieces of promotional content
- 209 Twitter Followers
- A couple hundred Facebook friends
- 2 Adwords Campaigns
- A free CDN (content delivery network) account with CloudFlare
- A WiX website and blog
- 2 YouTube videos
- A Zazzle account
- An Etsy Store
- A Google+ account
- A Google Analytics Account
- A PawsByZann-specific gmail account
- 6 Paws By Zann Blog posts
- Some Bing vouchers
- 1/2 a job
- Some money
Monthly Operating Costs:
- $ 150/month Ads
- $20/month Art Supplies
- $15/month Web hosting