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Marketing  Musings
on Art

1998 Year 1 No. 8 Sep 29
    

Spreading the word

   

now monthly


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See also the other journals:

Daily Drawing 1.36 Art Journal 1.7 Creative Journal 1.7 Pablo Journal 1.6

282, with green jacket

Rembrandt: Bathsheba
Picasso' Bathsheba

Wild and insolent

Lindner / Modigliani
Modern Art Women


Dear Partners:

What happened?
First: Please be patient with my German English (not fishing for compliments, good biz advice). Second: Things have changed... It is nearly 3 weeks now that I sent the last issue.

I struggled long with FindMail. I found Amit, publisher in India, sending a html newsletter (Monday Morning Magazine) via FindMail and discussed things with him. Things work again. Great relief. FindMail is now eGroups, by the way. Amit holds it's the best service available today. Back to normal work now.

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Who are you?
I have a preface to my other journals, and there I say:

It is for you and all the great masters that I do this work, and I hope you will enjoy it.

Of course, the sentence applies to this journal, too. Some of you have given me feedback along the way, and I set up a testimonial page yesterday to encourage others to join our adventure.

Writing along, I feel I'd like to know not only if you like it. I want to know who you are. Who is it I am writing these pages for? Tell me your motivation to join, your expectations, your experiences. Do I address your curiosity at all? How can I serve you better?

If you prefer, you can stay anonymous, I don't have to know your real name to profit from your feedback. If you don't want me to answer personally, just tell me, I'll respect your privacy. To ease your part, I'll mail you a questionnaire: click here. Or you write an informal letter.

What do you want?
Even more important is: What do you expect this engagement to be? In my InternetDay article mentioned below, I wrote 8 weeks ago: Now comes the hardest part: How to support the affiliates so that they can possibly make a lot of money through this affiliate program? Not small money, big money.

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I posted the following question to [affiliate-I]:

Subject: How to establish a long term relationship

My biz is selling art. This is a difficult market. Most people simply won't know what art is. Others won't be able to tell good art from bad art.

There is little hope to sell art via impulse buys. With 5 large-scale html journals, delivering full fledged web pages to your mailbox, I try to build trust and confidence, educating and entertaining people along the way.

I expect my affiliates only to gather addresses, and the subscription to a journal would be a good start. Also any picture of a work of art could be used to arouse interest and call for an address.

The relation of the particular address to the affiliate has to be kept on record, as the visitor is expected to buy only much later and presumably directly off my site. I don't know of any program capable of doing this, so I worked out my own mechanism.

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I got some 80 subscribers to my affiliate's journal and some 25 affiliates with ID numbers. I got not a single address from them so far. So there's a little problem here and I got to give them some help to establish a long term relationship.

I offer the affiliates a commission of 15% on the works. Prices ranging from US$ 49 to US$ 64,000, this is tempting, but favorable for me as long as no sales happen. Another way could be to join the strategy of Webcards and offer US$ 1 for each address. First I thought this offer would eventually break me, but now I start thinking if it would not be the better way.

Also, I could offer the affiliate a choice, which model to adopt. What do you folks think?

In my InternetDay article I stressed that we will succeed only if the program will pay for the affiliates. So far it clearly does not.

Also, if sales happen, I felt I must hold back the commission for the 3 month money back guarantee time. Shipping costs for works of art worldwide are quite high and included in our price. The risk is taken by me and the artist on equal terms. Taking the commission in addition would be too much for both.

So high commissions are fine, but if it takes too long to earn one and chances of success are too faint, this might be too unsatisfactory for affiliates.

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I haven't got an answer from the list. But anyway, I want to know what you think. How come I got no addresses so far? Would you like to rather get paid per address? Should we adopt a mixed model, money per address plus a smaller commission later? Should we drop commissions altogether?

How to do it
I cite from a letter of Jan Crowell:

One thing I will do for you is put up four thumbnails of painting on my site(s eventually) under "fine art" that link back to the full size paintings on your site.

I think, in fact, you could get subscribers to do this as webmaster site content, and do very well--most of us know there is a need for cultural content--if only on moral grounds--but few webmasters have the time, the judgment or the resources to hunt it up.

It would be novel also compared to the other resources freely available to webmasters.

I would also be happy to add a link to your site for a new painting daily. I wouldn't really want to update my own page every single, and you may want to reconsider daily yourself. Weekly will get that painting seen by more people, also.

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You will also need to submit that webmaster resource page that you create to Starting Point, and all the search engines, and apply for all the awards possible.

Also may I suggest that you start a free for all Fine Arts Link site. You then get to send out email messages to everyone that posts an url or an ad, getting your message out to 1000's of people you wouldn't otherwise come into contact with automatically. It will also place you squarely into the middle of the fine arts community.

Ruven Zonenberg of all-about-mall.com has set up a sample page. Have a look!

Sandee McLeieer has set up a political survey page with something unusual like an animated gif. But it is Java and therefore not clickable. She placed a text link to Art Quarter there, which is definitely wrong, so I wrote her:

I see what you mean! Nice thing. Enigmatic, right? Want to make my name famous?

I'm afraid you got to change something, Sandee. First your banner says click here and is not clickable. Second, you link to my site with ?yourID. For this to work I would have to rewrite all my pages to cgi. This is some work, but key objection is: It is technically not possible with my ISP. For example, I cannot load background graphics and images. I talked to them, but got no help.

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That's why I resorted to email announcement. Rewrite your link as:
mailto:info@art-quarter.com?subject=Info-yourID

Sandee replied:

You don't want a direct link to your wonderful pages? If the link is to subscribe to the journal I need to say that on the banner. I guess I will change the banner to an Art-Journal one then for now.

I was thinking of using a thumbnail of one of your images with a link, too. If that works, I could place the same for different artists in the gallery, in different places on my site(s).

I mainly wanted to see if you liked the concept. I have seen it used before. Retailers do it all the time, create an image. Your works are definitely not discount-house stuff. You sell original art, as well as posters and prints. Even the posters are not discount, but high end posters as well.

A visitor to my site is not coming there to see art, and chances are (most likely) they don't know your work. So the first image they get of your name is that it's a "famous" or well known desirable name. The ad doesn't just outright say that, it just implies it, but it's subtle, and accepted as fact by the viewer because there is no reason not to be believable.

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By the subtle challenge of "do you have yours yet?" we answer the the viewer's intial question of 'do i want that' for him and automatically set the implication that he SHOULD have one.

Now, I am no expert on these matters. It just seems like the best way for my site to introduce you. The overwhelming majority of my visitors are not art buyers, but if any are they will definitely click through, and if they like they will buy, EVENTUALLY. But at the minimum, they will know your name, and therefore, will recall it again.

The best scenario is that they subscribe to your journals and get to know you as the artist and then buy several works over a period of time.

It seems to me that many art buyers buy art because of these reasons:

1) they like the artist
2) they like the art
3) they like the artist
4) they "know" the artist, he's a 'friend"
5) they like the artist, because he likes them.
6) they like the work.
7) they buy a work because they expect it to appreciate.

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I know I may seem simplistic, but I have observed that in artists who become well-known BEFORE they die. It's all in the marketing.

That's plenty of good advice. Thank you, Sandee. What have you in mind to get going? Tell me.

Remember: You should not link directly to Art Quarter. Offer them a subscription or simply info via email so that we get their reply address. I will mail them back and give them the URL. But before that, I'll keep their address with your ID. If things speed up we'll be experienced and ready to switch to an autoresponder to do the work.

Artists revisited
Still negotiating. But most artists agreed. I will set up the pages for Jochen soon. I will add Jochen Brennecke (German living in NY) and Danny Conant (US) to Gallery Daguerre, set up a new gallery for Naive Art with Anne Harris (US) and Navitrolla (Estland), maybe a gallery for Realism, too (artists to be revealed later). Have a look:

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Jochen Brennecke, Danny Conant, Anne Harris, Navitrolla

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Help from friends
I set up a testimonials page. The first entry reads:

Olga Romano of ArtXpo:
09-25-98: In the September update of her Worldwide Art Xpo she wrote:
 

A VERY INTERESTING WEBSITE

Want a crash course in Art Appreciation? Love Art but are convinced you can't draw, much less paint? Have we got a site for you !!

Even if you are accomplished and polished as an artist you will most likely enjoy this one. Go to http://www.art-quarter.com

Hosted by Dr. Werner Stürenburg (a.k.a. Joe) from Germany. He has a very interesting and extensive site. His Creative Journal and his Art Journal should be of interest to all. Take the time to explore and enjoy his expertise.

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Posting ads
I tried lots of ads. In a post to WTB (Women Talk Biz - good list for both sexes!) I resumed:

> Have any of you had any success with advertising in e-zines, and if so which ones have you been happy with?

Jim Daniels has a letter about his experiences with spending money on ads. Bottom line: Yahoo didn't convince, a Jokes journal did well (to his surprise), best was a free ad through submitting an article.

I tracked responses to my attempts. I changed ads (as well as sigs, I'm now down to 2 lines changed every day, kind of an ad in itself), so it is not easy to tell which affected what.

But I think the tendency is clear: Investment / response relation and subscriber numbers / total response show the same result. Here it is: You can't really tell.

I have 8 candidates, all have less than 10 responses. The number of subscribers runs from some 300 to nearly 30,000. I paid as much as 144$ or as little as nothing (not even swap). I advertised / published once or many times (up to 8, not run off yet).

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I advertised my affiliate program mostly, so I thought Jim Daniels' NL would be the right place (144 / 4 weeks; his rates are by no means high - I couldn't afford those). It clearly didn't pay off. His readers are not in for art, obviously. They are in for easy money, proven formulas, and they are experts to see that this is not what I offer.

I advertised art of Anne Stahl directly and it worked, too (no sales, but inquiries).

I read about the art of advertising and see that I improved and hope to improve further. But I can't measure the effects. I get much more inquiries from my site than from the ads. So I started thinking when I read that some, like Nancy Roebke, don't advertise at all.

Rates are very friendly in my opinion, but I expect them to increase. I don't mind paying 10 $ for an ad and am happy to get more than one. A little tip if you are selling: Money transfer turned out to be a major problem. Simple solution: I send paper money via snail mail. Works great. (Might be faster from Germany to the States than from Canada.)

Some ezines have high rates already. Get the list from John Audette and calculate the income generated. That's impressive. There are some doing much better, Jim Wilson, for example.

So maybe the best thing is putting up a NL yourself and SELL ads! Many people do every day. Perhaps too many.

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Sig files
Was a good idea to change them. I'm down to 2 lines now, changed every day. Some samples:

> - Did You Know? Everybody Needs Art - You Too! - <
> - Late Picasso's Bathsheba: Proof of Agony & Despair

Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/aj/1/7
Subscription via mailto:jaj-subscribe@makelist.com

> - Did You Know? Everybody Needs Art - You Too! - <
> Homage to Max - With a nice beautiful still life

Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/dd/1/33


> Are angels real? Do you have a guardian angel?
Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/dd/1/32


> Rubens and Renoir - just not your type of woman?
Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/pablo/1/2


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> You do it and that's it & The Chinese Secret
Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/cj/1/1


> Moonfaces - the secret of making Charlie Brown
Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/cj/1/2


> On the left side: No name is no way drawing it
Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/cj/1/3


> Drawing portraits can be a money making machine
Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/cj/1/4


> Not for the money you live in this wonderful world
Read here: http://art-quarter.com/beck/joe/cj/1/5


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> You do it for yourself, in the first place.
Read here: http://www.art-quarter.com/beck/joe/cj/1/6


> You can't pretend to be more than you are. Or less.
Read here: http://www.art-quarter.com/beck/joe/cj/1/7

Good lists
I joined some biz lists I really feel at home with, [biz] and MarkeThink. Kind of good luck. I posed questions and got plenty of good advice and real help. Look at the new entry page and you'll see how much it improved. New logo, too. A lot of work is still to be done, though. There is a new page about me also, in case you are curious.

Also I set up a page with tips, among them a recommendation of sites. I think Associate Programs will be very interesting for you. Allan Gardyne does tell you exact numbers, and he tells you in his newsletter which affiliate programs work best for him, how much money he makes with each of them.

Please try MarkeThink Digest. One of the best biz newsletters I know. New and really amazing. You can subscribe from here, John rewards me for recommending MD with a free ad (he's in the Netherlands). There is a list on affiliate programs, too: [affilate-I]. It is on FindMail, hence subscription is easy, just click the link.

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Free report

  • Need a host?

  • Want to hear about my mistakes?

  • Eager about learning how to market successfully on the net?

Here you find all sorts of resources, tips and tricks to profit from.
 


John asked in OP newsletter for a list of lists. There seems to be none. Another idea of making money. Compile a list of good lists and sell the information for good money or give it away for free and sell ad space.

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InternetDay
One advice was to reduce frequency to free up time for promotion. This was good advice, too. Hence Daily Drawing has mutated to Weekly Work, and all weekly journals will be monthly now. Maybe I will switch back later.

Last week, an article I wrote 8 weeks ago for InternetDay was published - I'd given up hope. I told the story of inventing these journals. They got all famous contributors, so this is kind of an honor, too. They had 12,000 subscribers when I subscribed back in April, 16,000 when I wrote the article and 29,000 when they published it.

From this article I got lots of feedback, hence a lot of work. Every now and then an enterprise starting really big gets buried under their own success. I really hope this doesn't happen to me. Best feedback was:

You have a terrific site, Dr. Stürenburg. It is informative, attractive, and reflective of the knowledge and integrity of the owner.

I expect to make purchases through your service myself in the near future, and sincerely wish for you a multitude of wealthier clients than I!

Truly yours,

Werner Stürenburg

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Autoresponder Information on:
affiliate program | using banners | promoting single works | setting up a store | commission rates


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Drop me a note by e-mail.
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© Copyright 1998 Joe's MMA Journal
May not be redistributed without permission.


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