As a photographer who works in both commercial and fine art arenas, I have spent far too many hours trying to find a single web site that provides the necessary marketing tools and infrastructure to support both sides of my business. If you’re experiencing similar frustration, let me save you some time and effort: I haven’t been able to find one web site that meets all the requirements of both fine art and commercial practises in a single package!
I joined RedBubble at a time when I was very much focused on the fine art side of my photography, and this site has served that side of my business very well. This year, however, I’ve been finding myself far more involved in commercial photography. RedBubble really isn’t geared up to that kind of market though, so I’ve been employing old-fashioned technologies such as email and CDs to collaborate with my clients so far. As my commercial business requirements heat up in the new financial year, this won’t suffice… I want to automate the commercial side of my business so that I can get back out into the wild to start shooting fine art landscapes again!
Thus I am faced with a dilemma of sorts: I want to stick with RedBubble as a marketing platform for my fine art images, but it won’t do for my commercial services. The solution has been to switch my way of thinking about the various web sites for photographers available on the Internet. Rather than seeing a site like RedBubble as THE marketing platform for my business, I have to consider it as simply one element of my overall marketing plan. By coupling RedBubble with a second, more commercially-oriented site, I should be able to meet all my requirements for both business streams.
If only it were that easy! By mixing and matching a variety of online services, we end up with numerous online points of presence, which is counterintuitive to the marketing process. Rather than providing potential clients and customers with a single web address that covers all facets of our business, we would need to assess their needs up front and direct them to the most appropriate web site in our collection. If we direct them to the wrong place, we lose a qualified lead, which isn’t cool!
Therefore, we need a single point of presence that potential clients and customers can access, which will enable them to follow the most appropriate pathway to our products and services. With my background in information technology, I considered building a custom web site from scratch for this purpose, but soon realised that I would be entering redundant data multiple times to tie that web site into RedBubble and whatever other sites I would use. When I combined this thought with the fact that I would need to start processing orders manually, I realised I was going down the wrong path.
Instead, I’ve decided to set up a ‘photo blog’ to tie all the different parts of my business together. This single point of presence will allow me to post both static pages that inform visitors about my commercial services, as well as dynamic blog posts that will inform visitors about new images in my fine art gallery. Rather than accepting orders for prints and services directly on the blog, the relevant pages and posts will simply link to the RedBubble/other sites for order processing and fulfilment.
Of course, maintaining this system will be futile without visitors to my web site(s). To generate online traffic, I will be employing social networking and search engine optimization, both of which provide opportunities for free promotion to a global marketplace on the Internet.
In the coming days and weeks, I will be publishing a series of articles under the ‘Establishing Your Web Presence’ banner right here on RedBubble, as I set about implementing the various parts of this plan. At this stage, I’m planning six individual articles:
- Overview (you’re reading it now);
- Commercial Services;
- Fine Art Galleries;
- Social Networking;
- Search Engine Optimization.