No Sales

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by stevewalton, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. stevewalton

    stevewalton TPF Noob!

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    Can anyone please advise me on why i have made no sales on my website. Because i have a sub-domain the search engines dont seem to be picking up the site, but i am on several photography link directories and have had over 2000 unique visitors.
    I have incorporated a digital image store so that visitors can download the images themselves, to make the site automatic.
    Thanks,
    Steve.

    http://www.blackhole-storage.net/steve
     
  2. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Please don't take this the wrong way - but I think if you expect to build a photo website and generate traffic and then wait for sales you're in for a long wait. It's just not that easy. you have to put yourself in the shoes of the visitors on your site - why would they buy the image from you? What value are you providing them?

    You need a hook.

    I have made a cold website sale or two but for the most part my website has just been a tool for sales after a show or after someone sees my photo somewhere else.

    I'd keep up the work but don't get frustrated - it's not a "build it and they will buy" market in our business... you have to hustle ;)


    Dewey
     
  3. toastydeath

    toastydeath TPF Noob!

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    I've got a couple bits of advice. Some of it is original, some of it is gleaned from other posts around here.

    Additionally, please take this as "best intention" advice. If anything sounds harsh, believe me, I didn't mean it that way and certainly don't want you to take it personally.

    Firstly, your webpage does not adhere to what people consider "professional standards." It's a decent amateur website, and that's where it stops. You're going to lose customers who would contact you by doing this - people who buy a particular of good on a webpages, for the most part, are more forgiving than people who want you to come out to do work. So, you really need to tune your webpage up and start using some of the conventions.

    Second, you've displayed a very narrow, very popular (for photographers) set of photos up on your page. Nature macros, and landscape kind of stuff. Despite each individual picture being a "good picture," I don't find any that simply make me stop and say, "Wow." That, however, could largely be a bias of mine. I don't take nature or landscape photos.

    For people to buy a picture, indeed, any art, it needs to speak to them. And I don't mean in a pretentious, "I am using sheer abstraction and form to evoke the fundamental primordia in each of us" sense. While butterflies on flowers are beautiful (and you have done an excellent job of capturing that), the subject does not lend to stirring emotions in people. Yes, it is possible to do so. But I don't see any of you in these pictures. I see a butterfly on a flower. Neat, but it doesn't make me stop and inspect the picture, and wonder what you saw. I don't see what you saw in your mind's eye, I just see the butterfly.

    I go back to a particular photographer over and over because the photographer is producing more than a picture; I see something of the photographer themselves in the pictures. I can see how he (or she) feels about the subject, and gain an insight about the subject a normal "picture" doesn't show. When you put a photograph up for sale, are you selling the subject, or are you selling something more?

    In that regard, if you truly are selling something more, you may want to charge (a lot) more and only sell framed prints. Several of the excellent photographers on here who are actually selling pictures sell them at a pretty penny, and framed. There are plenty of threads about pricing something too cheap, and people feel they are not paying "for art." Would you buy a car for $100? Probably not, if you wanted something you thought would last.

    Onward.

    Viewed as a set, there is little to differentiate one picture from the next in terms of composition and lighting. There are a few exceptions, but nothing bold and different from anything else in the set. This may tie in to my previous point, but it may not - it depends on why each photo was done the way it was. More importantly, I think this may bar you from work. By displaying a wider variety of composition (and subjects), you will appeal to a larger base of people who may be looking for a photographer, and a larger base of people looking for art.
     
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I make my living in the E-commerce business. I have one website that is now 8 years old and is in the top 50,000 web sites on the internet (there are millions of them.) It gets about 3500 distinct visitors per day. Why? The main reason is that it is 8 years old and there are links to that site from 30,000 other sites. That makes it more important to search engine spiders than your site so it gets a higher "page rank." There are separate pages designed just for search engines for each of the 5000 odd products we sell. So when the spiders index the site, they are indexing about 5000 pages, each designed to respond to a particular search string. So if someone hits the search string, we're number one in the listings.

    You don't just put up a web site and assume the search engines will make you successful. You certainly don't put one up without a dedicated domain. There is much work to be done and much money to be spent. 10 years ago you could do what you did and perhaps have some success. Today, you haven't even scratched the surface. I'm pretty sure it's about impossible to get a new site very productive on the internet without spending a minimum of a quarter million dollars on it. The old days are long gone. Sorry, but that's the reality of it.
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Well I know very little about e commerce but I think a web site needs more than the web. I think it is a greatwasy to use a couple of lines somewhere else to send people to see what you do. IE the yellow pages to send them to your website... On your business cards so people you meet can see. On a card you hand out at a festival, so people can again see what you do.

    The other things I think is the web is a great place to post shots you have taken of people and hope they will later buy, but you have to get the people there independantly. I'm not sure this opinion is popular but it's just what I think of the web now.

    My son in law has a very nice website. He does bridal shows, he has yellow page ads in three different cities, all directing potential customers to his site. That's just my thinking.
     
  6. Kammy

    Kammy TPF Noob!

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    Hi Steve,

    First, you need to decide the purpose for your site. Is it to be an online catalog (an e-commerce) site to sell images, or a professional site selling you as a photographer?

    Second, whether an ad, brochure, website, or sales letter -- your marketing materials absolutely MUST be about your target audience, not about you. People don't care what you've done. They care about what you or your products can do for them. The only place "I" should have in your copy is when you're discussing your track record to build credibility with the reader.

    Third, you need sales messages. Nice photos all by themselves won't sell. You've got to let people know why they should buy a butterfly photo from you, instead one of the gazillion other nature photographers out there.

    Fourth, look around at some other websites selling images to get a feel for the tone they convey. As was mentioned earlier, your current site doesn't have the professional edge it needs to be taken seriously.

    Fifth, you need an easy, streamlined order page that contains additional sales copy to prompt people to action -- make the purchase.

    Sixth, combine your website with offline marketing. Develop offers for postcards, sales letters, ads, etc. that drive people to your site to purchase. To do this well, you'll need to define your target audience, and write the sales messages to them. Don't try to be all-in-all. If you try to sell to everybody, your messages will be too generic and you'll end up selling to nobody.

    Once people visit your site, you need to capture their e-mails and pull them into a communication loop. People rarely purchase from a website the first time they visit. Set up a follow-up program to stay in touch with them after that first visit. This increases sales from websites 70-90%.

    This should give you a good place to start. I'll look forward to viewing your new site.

    Kammy
    sales writer ~ graphic designer ~ creative strategist
    www.anchorcreative.com
     
  7. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    I watched a History Channel show about the Founders of Google.com. They talked about this search engine spider. One thing that they did mention is to use keywords that someone might use in a search engine. The more "keywords" you use in your website the more likely you are going to move higher up in a search engine.

    Anyways, I just thought it was interesting that you brought this up because it made me think of that show. It was extremely interesting to watch (and learn).
     
  8. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    The way i sell shots is to imagine if i'd buy it....would i hang it on my wall.....if i wouldn't then why would someone else??

    All the shots are good but I can't imagine hanging any in my house unless i was a real butterfly or flower enthusiast.....straight away the market has been drastically reduced.

    i think you're more likely to have success with those particular shots in an image library where they may be used in reference books garden centre websites.
     
  9. Swiss

    Swiss TPF Noob!

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    Work with an agency, that might help. There are many out there, even online agencies, and often, you can have your profile on their sites as well. And it's true, the more professional your website looks (URL and design), the more professional people think you are. So don't try to save too much money by not buying a regular URL or not having someone help you with the design. You will surely get more hits if you invest some time and money there, not only because your website shows up on Google but also, because people like it and link to it.
     
  10. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I think the biggest drawback to your site is the way your selling the pictures. Your are selling digital files. Most people who print at home, have their own camera. In which case they can just go out and take their own photos.

    I really think you need to add "prints" to your sales. Say offer the file, and then a price range for different print sizes. You have to remember you are competing with every store to sell people pictures. Why should a person come to your site to buy a print and then either print at home, buy a frame. Or take to a processor pay for a print, and buy a frame. When they can most likely buy a completed picture at the same store or one close by?

    My next advice is your copyright. You don't list any rules for the photos. Just that they are copyrighted! There is very little protection for you. Someone could buy a file. And take it to another site that sells them for a .01. And they can do that legeally as you have put no use limits on the purchase of the file. They can argue that you sold them the file with no limits to use!!

    And last, the blue color of the web page on every picture. It is very distracting on a few of the pictures. Maybe pick a more neutral color.

    You have very good pictures. Presentation can definatley be improved.
    Just remember there are hundreds of millions of photos for sale on the web. You are competing with every one of them.
     
  11. freddyv33

    freddyv33 TPF Noob!

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    One of the simplest things you can do is trade links. Set up a links page that is one click from your home page and then add links to other photography related sites that link to yours.

    One of the rules of this is that you put up a link and then ask the other guy for one.

    My links page is at
    http://www.picturesof.net/links.html
    and is still a little bare but I have been concentrating on getting listings in web directories. I am willing to trade links so let me know if you are interested.

    I can tell you this method works because I built my stock photography agency, http://www.acclaimimages.com, on this principle and it gets nearly 100,000 visitors a days because of this linking strategy.

    BTW, it takes a lot of people to make one sale. If you are charging high prices, which you should if you're selling just your own photos, then you should expect to make a sale once every several thousand visitors.

    Fred Voetsch
     
  12. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Never underestimate the power of referrals! Get your family and friends to sing their praises about you and pass on your web address to other people they know, and so on and so on. Then you all have someone to talk about when you make a sale... ;) .

    Also, your website needs a good backbone. By that, I mean have a consistent look and feel to all your pages that says it is your site. That may take a little more design work on your part in photoshop and dreamweaver to come up with a professional look to your site. However, I think your images are absolutely stunning! So, they deserve a good website to be viewed on. Dont give up!
     

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