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Chris Campbell

How Are You Managing Your Web Resources?

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Chris Campbell    1,088

"I know many an old school full time potters who do not choose to interact with the web other than some applications and to see upcoming weather etc.-do not have web sites (or have info only no sales) and seem to be getting on just fine-even thriving-rasing families-making pots.Its a tool only if one chooses to use it.

If your established or your work is a hands on online of a kind the web may not the best venue. For me it started out becuase I got really tired takling color on phone to customers so I dumbed it down to a few color choices. I also choose not to purse web sales over direct sales as its just so small potatoes. I choose to use it more as informational-tell my customers where I'll be showing and where they can buy my work. Yes some want it sent to them in small volumes. Small volume sales have yet to appeal to me.

The most successfull potters I know do a mix of sales and that mix usually does not involve web sales.

I'm sure this is not true accross the board only my experience."

Mark

 

Mark said it was OK if I used his last post to start a new thread.

 

I am interested in finding out how you all are using or adapting the Internet and your site or commercial sites to promote your own work.

I found it interesting that many potters were finding etsy to be a cheap place to set up a store for their customers ... not even caring much if others found it but just using it as a shopping cart.

Others are promoting themselves on facebook or pinterest by making sure to post images.

I have hidden pages on my personal website where I can send clients to look at new work. When the transaction is done I just delete it.

 

How are you all adapting?? Any fun ideas?

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Wyndham    98

In a word "poorly"

I get so many customers that want to Hold,See,feel. compare 6 of the same mugs with the same glaze, check if one is a mm taller/shorter that I have a negative feeling about marketing on the net.

Maybe just not insync with it.

Wyndham

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Hi Chris. yes, I finally find my way to this forum too..........

 

I am not really selling pottery from my website yet, but I am very quickly adapting to the idea. It is lots of work and that personal touch is a difficult one to get to and keep up online, but the more I see how small (and fast) the world has become over the internet, the more I realize that the artist that do not get on board, will simply stay behind. I hate to keep up with everything and I promised myself to take it slow, but this past week we were up most nights till 3 in the morning, fixing, working and promoting our business! 

The key is to get people to find you online instead of you having to find them. Once you have a sturdy flow, you start knowing the people and they know you. It becomes a small community. 

We were stunned when we opened up registration for my e-course, the first students started pouring in 5 minutes later. We are 2 weeks in it and it goes fantastic. 

I am not there with all my sales yet, but 2014 is the year I am planning to make it.

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Chris Campbell    1,088

Welcome Antoinette ...

For those of you who don't know, Antoinette has just launched an e course on throwing porcelain. I am very interested to hear how it goes for you.

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Hello Antoinette, welcome to the forum!

 

Chris: as you know, I do have a website and I also get contacts from and with customers (or more: interesting people) through the site. They call or email, refer to the objects on the website, and ask, where they can see and buy them. Most of them doesn't want to buy via website or phone, but want to hold and touch the piece before buying. I have been on a "market presence site" of a third party vendor here in Switzerland (a bit like etsy) for a year and got 0 (zero) contacts. I have no own "vendor page" on my site, but I'am thinking of maybe creating one. About etsy: I once ordered a mug from Hsin-Chuen Lin. On the etsy page the mug was tomato red (what I liked!). When I got it, the color was more like a dark eggplant. I was a bit disappointed and wouldn't buy again from just seeing a picture of an object! My personal oppinion: having a website is a very good thing, but one has to keep it up to date.

 

John: I finally got the ordered book about Wood Fired Ceramics (A. Salamoni) and I'am absolutely hooked now. Beautiful pieces, good stories and great kilns!

 

 

Now I have to go to my studio. I'am one of Antoinette's e-course students and if I don't do pinch pots today, she will be disappointed with me....

I have high regard for Antoinette, she is teaching us with heart and soul, and I commend her and her e-course to you all without hesitation!

 

Evelyne

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JBaymore    1,432

John: I finally got the ordered book about Wood Fired Ceramics (A. Salamoni) and I'am absolutely hooked now. Beautiful pieces, good stories and great kilns!

 

Glad you liked it. I'm honotred to have been included.

 

best,

 

.................john

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Bob Coyle    113

I put up my web site last Nov. I figured that it would bring me up one notch from total amateur potter. I bought a domain (web) name and a years worth of web hosting for around $65. I set up a site for me, my wife and her mother. I used a free trial web development software package (Serif Web plus)  to set it up and after bumbling around for a day or two, I had it up and running. I have worked with software in the past, but never web stuff.  I didn't realize how easy it could be to just do it yourself. I had talked to some pro web developers and most wanted quite a bit of money to develop a site to the level I wanted.

 

It is still a work in progress but It gets the job done of showing some of the work we do, and the best part I can change it or add to it without having to explain what I want or pay someone to do it.

 

Comments would be welcome both good and badd...http://RavenTreeStudios.com

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JBaymore    1,432

Bob,

 

I use the full version of Serif Webplus. If you have questions.... let me know.

 

Now if I could just frin the TIME to update things............ :rolleyes:

 

best,

 

.......................john

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Chris Campbell    1,088

..... It is still a work in progress but It gets the job done of showing some of the work we do, and the best part I can change it or add to it without having to explain what I want or pay someone to do it.

 

Comments would be welcome both good and badd...http://RavenTreeStudios.com

 

It is a good, basic website.

First pages are like meeting someone for the first time ... you want to make a good impression that stays with folks. You do not have a single image of your work there ...you need some kind of hook to entice people to turn to the next pages. Remember that click away time is under 8 seconds. Your work is all lovely so put it up there. Your software might allow you to use images as hyperlinks to each artist rather than the writing alone. I would definitely have your studio logo smaller and more tempting images.

 

You are all also very humble ... pretend you are writing for someone else and ramp up the compliments ... all of your lovely work deserves it!!

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GEP    863

I started an online store at the end of 2011. Now it's a little over 2 years old, and I finally feel like I'm using it well. Just like others have stated above, I think most pottery customers need to see and touch something before they buy it. So I only list a few of my most popular items for sale in the online store. The critical feature of my store is that the banner says "If you are looking for a specific piece that you saw in person at a show, please use the Contact Form to inquire." By far most of the sales I made online last year were of the latter variety. They usually happened in the week following a show.

 

Another way to put it is ... my online store would probably be generating nothing if I wasn't putting so much energy and time into doing shows.

 

The one area of "web presence" where I spend the most energy is my blog. It is not a direct selling tool. As has been stated on this forum many times "Customers are not just buying art, they are buying the artist." The blog gives folks a pretty good idea of who I am. I had a show last weekend, a group of potters came into my booth and immediately announced "we love your blog." All three of them made nice purchases. Then they asked me if I would come give a workshop at their art center. Hooray for the blog!

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Mark C.    1,806

My web started over 10 years ago-it was born not for sales not for information but to stop talking COLOR over the phone.

My customers whould call and tell me they had a mauve pot or a green pot with purple top. The one that snapped me was I have a mug the color of the universe. That was the start of a web site so I could dump down the color talk and choices. It has morphed into a show schedule and info and shipping info. I need to update the color content. I show about 25% of the colors I use and the forms are way out of date. I always keep my schedule current as this is what folks want to see most.I have used a few servers over time and on Mea's advice am really happy with Weebly as I use the free section for my site.

I always register domain name for as many years as you can pay for -its very low cost-the web site is free.

I am not trying to sell online but I still do a fair amount of small potato sales each year-2 mugs here a dinnerware set there.

I also have some of my oulets linked on my site-when folks call for pottery sales I usually send them to one of these outlets instead of dealing with them at the studio.Two of them sell my mugs via the web with my permission-My site sends one about 1/3 of their hits on their site-as far as mug sales I still send out more in the course of a year not trying then they do trying. Its becuase I see so many customers at shows and then they want more-just as Mea said in above post. Direct sales trump web sales every time.

I am not yet considering a shopping cart-my work is so one of a color/kind it would be a pain in the neck-maybe when I cannot do shows due to extreme old age I will think more about it. I sell in larger volumes at shows and my experince with web  sales is small  volumes. Now if you have high price points it makes more sense and I do not have high price points so its less attractive.

If you are out in the boondocks and  all you have is the web then its a no brainer. Thats my case but I choose long ago to take my pigs to market and its works well.

Mark

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docweathers    79

I have done a lot of web development for non-pottery purposes. Usually, building the website itself is by far the easiest. The real crunch is getting traffic to it since having a website that no one sees is pointless. You have to do this through search engine optimization (SEO). (Pay per click is far too expensive for Potters)  That was much easier up until a year or so ago when Google upgraded their positioning technology so that the old tricks don't work anymore. I'm sure that got them much better search results but it made optimizing your site to get traffic much more difficult.

 

So before you spend a lot of time and money building a website, study up on current SEO technology.  it is quite a daunting task.

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Chris Campbell    1,088

Websites are your business card ... in my mind, they are just that basic and have been for at least a decade. They are also easy to have ... use a free template, a low cost generic template or pay for the design a a functional sales site or be on a group site.

Expecting sales to come just because you have a website is not realistic.

Larry is right in that choosing a few Google words is not going to do it.

Here is a site that I like for sales ... He also does UTube videos, keeps up on Facebook and probably other venues ?? My extended family orders from him because the basics are there too ... He delivers excellent quality, packed well, in a good time frame.

http://www.obranovichpottery.com

So newfangled Internet still needs old fashioned back up!

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Mark C.    1,806

I put a business card in every purchase at shows-works out to about 5,000 cards every 2-3 years (I just received my 5'000 cards) this as well as all those personal sales connections along with my brand name at outlets drives about 15-60 unique visitors every few days to my site.

It spikes near an upcoming show. I have paid zero attention to Google words-my Business is a place name where the studio is located-Locally its a recognized brand-this took a long time but after 40 years works very well

As Chris said above my extended Business card is my web site. For me I'm somewhat trying to avoid web sales as its interferes with studio production/time flow. I set it up to serve existing customers not recruit new ones.

A typical exchange via email for a non pre-existing customer takes 6-7 e-mails (back and forth) with requests to send photos of whatever pottery they are dreaming about.This amount of time for a sale less than say $100 is a huge time suck.

Sorry this is the way I feel as My time is the valuable commodity at stake in this transaction. Existing customers already know the pots and usually want more and even with all that still take 4-6 e-mails to close the sale. I feel more connected to existing customers and will jump thru more hoops for them as I already have a connection.I have leaned when to say NO now as well.

The key element is for my work is nothing like feeling and touching and seeing it works toward sales VS the web. If I was not selling at many art venues and galleries than I would be trying like heck to make the web work but I'm not.

I try to keep my costs as low as I can for all web stuff-the yearly cable cost is a business write off if you are so inclined-the  domain is super low cost -you should shop this cost around.Simole URL is who I'm with

My business cards are 4 color run and cost 42$ per 5,000 delivered-I wait for the vista print annual  50% sale with free shipping .I use the same logo and brand name for over 35 years now on everything from cards to order forms to letter heads-yes some of us even write letters. I just sent an upcoming tourist outlet a list of wholesale forms that I would sell them (they are building it now) .I could have e-mailed it all but having my letter and a card keeps me more in mind than some long ago misplaceds e-mail

If you are going to make it a business keep your costs down as that will help you in lean and good times.

Mark

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Chris Campbell    1,088

So Mark, you are basically just an overnight success .... : - )

 

I recommend vista print too ... I use the same template and just change the image every year.

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Mark C.    1,806

So Mark, you are basically just an overnight success .... : - )

 

I recommend vista print too ... I use the same template and just change the image every year.

Ya 40 years is a long night-not sure what you mean overnight.

My message really is keep at it and stay consistent and keep your costs down.

One night will be less than one drop in that bucket.

I never change my image its always a red teapot with Bamboo and a yellow moon.

Its the same logo all these years- change confuses people I feel .

Like the rock of Gilbrator changes to looking like a New Mexico Mesa-that only muddys the water.

I think Prudential Insurance now has Mount Fugi as their logo.

Smoky the bear now wears a totu and a pair of pink fuzzy slippers with a cowboy hat

Now thats my point on logo change

Mark

 

PS I have a vivid imagination and come from a very visual background

may as well keep it fun as well.

speaking of logo change I heard the dollar bills where

going to switch to teddy bears instead of Presidents.

just when I thought we knew the bills by the faces now its teddy bear faces

When will the madness end!

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GEP    863

I made a big decision this week. I deactivated my online store. And I removed all the language from my website encouraging people to contact me if they are looking to purchase an item. Instead I am steering everyone to my shows and galleries.

 

I am in the middle of a 2.5 month stretch with no shows. During this time I have received regular requests for purchases through my online store and my website. It works out well maybe 50% of the time. The rest of them don't work out. When my answer to an inquiry contains the word "no" (no the item is not available, no my studio is not open to visitors), so many times that results in a cranky response, as if buying handmade pottery is supposed to be convenient and on-demand. I've decided these are not the type of customer I want to attract. And even when it works out well, I still feel like it required too much time to sell one or two pieces.

 

For the past year, I was using the online store to capture one or two more sales after every big show. I was glad to have these sales, but I don't need them. I have signed up for quite a few shows this year already, plenty of opportunities for anyone to find my work.

 

I still don't mind if personal friends and long-time customers want to visit my studio to shop. They know who they are. Now when complete strangers try to buy things between shows, or ask to visit my studio, I will simply not respond. Ain't got time for those cranky responses!

 

I still plan to use the online store during the holiday season. In 2013, I stocked it up right after all of my holiday shows were over. I was happy with the amount of sales it produced, and all of the packing and shipping was confined to two days. I'm willing to do that. But otherwise, the online store is now closed!

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Mark C.    1,806

This cuts to the very heart of what I feel-(as if buying handmade pottery is supposed to be convenient and on-demand. I've decided these are not the type of customer I want to attract. And even when it works out well, I still feel like it required too much time to sell one or two pieces.)

congrats on getting to this point in your career Mea

Your statement is so absolutely what I feel .

I now call it- small potato business

Mark

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

I am delinquent. It was a new Years goal and I haven't done it yet.

Will get on it. Too much traveling so far this year.

 

Marcia

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Roberta12    135

This has been an interesting conversation.  I have had a business page on fb for almost a year.  It has generated sales and interest.  But I have a hard time keeping up with it.  Very hard.  I feel if I am on fb, that I am not doing something else in the studio.  And if life gets incredibly busy (family, illness, whatever) then fb just sits there.   I have been trying to find time to sit down and create a simple website if for no other reason than "online business card" but I agree with Mea and Mark...it is very difficult doing orders online you are right....many emails back and forth and pictures and shipping discussions and, and... this last holiday season was truly a learning experience for me!

 

I am laid up with a shoulder repair right now, so one of the things I wanted to address while I can't be in the studio is the website issue.   I thought about a webpage with no shopping cart.  But that will lead to numerous emails and phone calls.   I will think on these things.  

 

I have had time to post new things on my fb page and had really had a lot of interest. Two leads for displaying my work within a 90 mile trek.  Not bad for where I Iive!

 

As always, thanks for the food for thought!

 

Roberta

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Chris Campbell    1,088

You are laid up anyhow ... so build a simple informational website. It is one place on the Internet where you totally control the message. Limit it to images in a gallery, information about you and your work and a list of places where they can go an buy it.

Don't want sales? Refer them to your sales sites. Don't want phone calls? Don't list your phone number. You can have an all purpose answer to e-mails on your desktop that you can just cut and paste into a reply. You are the boss of it. :D

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schmism    21

How many of you that consider yourselves full time potters use an etsy page?   (hopefully i dont have to explain what Etsy is)

How many of you have an Etsy page period?  (full time, hobby, dabbler whathave you)

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