2.0: Using the Internet to promote your work Feed

KISS ("keep it simple stupid") Presentations to Promote Your Art and Craft

A great SlideShare about your art or craft starts with a great PowerPoint!

PLAN IN ADVANCE to make your PowerPoint presentation amazing!

WHY are you making a presentation!  (Who is the intended audience and what message do you wish to convey?)

THINK BIG!

ThinkBIG

Do you want to share your work?

Consumericon72.gr

ARE YOU SHARING INSIGHT?

Copy of greeneyeonly

Do you want INVITATIONS for workshops or lectures?

Cutcard Considering that people may be watching  your presentation on a variety of monitors.... some the size of a playing card, keep your text and graphics simple.....hence KISS "keep it simple stupid".

 

Find PowerPoint or Keynote on your computer, open it!~

Start...

$$$MoneyGame72
 
The next post on ASK Harriete is about adding audio to your SlideShare.

Harriete

If you don't know how to use PowerPoint, a final tutorial is below. It's a little dry, but it offers a good beginning. One more hint: if you are planning to UPLOAD your presentation to SlideShare, do not add animations or fancy slide transitions....they don't work on SlideShare.  

* K-I-S-S is an expression often used in engineering and science to remind practitioners to avoid excessive complexity.  It derives from a principle known as Occam's Razor.     


Promoting YOUR art or craft with SlideShare - Take Your First Step

SlideShare is a great way to promote your art or craft.  The free online service provides easily accessible usage information such as the number of views on each of your SlideShare presentations.  You can allow viewers to download your presentation or opt out.

I'd say you have nothing to lose, and much to gain! It is a great way to create a short lecture about your work, or insight into your special technique.

COST:
SlideShare is a FREE site for the basic service and this has worked quite well for me to experiment and build my skills with this new marketing tool. There is also a fee based SlideShare if you want more information on traffic analytics.

Almost everyone’s computer comes with Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote. It is pretty easy to get started. All you need are great images for your digital presentation and you are on your way.

Do all your slide/image/text preparation in PhotoShop/PowerPoint/Keynote. You can not edit your SlideShare presentation once it is uploaded.  If you find any mistakes after uploading, you will need to fix the mistakes in your presentation and upload a new corrected presentation (replacing the old presentation). 


PowerpointBy browsing other peoples' presentations on SlideShare you will see that some create very effective presentations without audio! I did this for my first presentation. Create your presentation on your computer and upload it to SlideShare. Add text to your images or slides instead of audio. It is that simple!

Be patient with the uploading. Depending on the size it can take a while.

Audacity

UPDATE 2014:

ADDING AUDIO to SlideShare is no longer possible.

To add audio... create a Powerpoint presentation with audio, convert to Video and upload it to YouTube as a video. 

This is pretty easy to do. You really don’t need a lot of technical skills, just the risk taking guts to experiment and learn from mistakes along the way. Your only cost will be a microphone and head set (if you don’t own one already.)

Purchase a microphone/head set combination at your local electronics store which costs about $50. (I did not buy the most expensive microphone/head set, but selected a basic option which has worked out really well.)

SOFTWARE for adding Audio:
To get started with your audio software first visit a site called “How to Podcast”. This will give you a step-by-step guide on how to podcast without breaking the bank. This is the home of the free podcast tutorial that will take your podcast from concept to launch -- and for minimal cost (brought to you by, Jason Van Orden, author of “Promoting Your Podcast”).

HowToPodcast

The focus of this site is how to create a podcast, but essentially a podcast is just a MP3 file. You need an MP3 file to upload to SlideShare and synchronize with your slides. This site has all the information you need, but if you ever get stuck (it is sometimes really frustrating to learn a new technology on your own), just type your question into Google. This is how I find answers to my questions.

Audio Editing Software (Audacity) and Lame MP3 Encoder are both available online for free. There are free tutorials online too so you don’t need to spend any money on editing software.  The one I use is called Audacity. There is no need to buy expensive audio editing software when you are first starting out.

There are multiple pages of information, and even video tutorials to watch. While I don’t know how to use most of the options in the Audacity editing software, I can still create very acceptable quality podcasts and audio MP3 files.

Go to Audacity to get started.

That's it for today.
Next week, I will help you get started with a few more tips.

LAMEMP3

You have your assignment.
Get ready for the next tutorial.

Harriete


Promoting YOUR art or craft at ZERO COST with Professional Results

One of my favorite online tools for visibility is SlideShare.

What is SlideShare? SlideShare is a FREE site where you can upload PowerPoint Presentations.  You can add MP3 files to your presentation to have audio along with your visual presentation. SlideShare also works with Keynote. 

WebsiteCAdream My primary purpose was to create more visibility for my artwork and to provide additional content links for my website.  The SlideShare presentations can easily be embeded on social networking sites, your own web site, or blog posts. Here is just one sample of a SlideShare presentation (below).

California Dream Teapot
View another webinar from Harriete Estel Berman

An extra benefit is that many (and perhaps even
most) of the people watching my SlideShare presentations
are discovering my work from
SlideShare itself or some other social networking
site. 

SlideShareHBpresentations.


Here is a link to my page of SlideShare PowerPoint presentations
. Go ahead and explore the SlideShare site.  You’ll see that SlideShare presentations cover a really wide spectrum of topics using a variety of approaches. There are some fantastic presentations that don't even use audio at all! How easy can it get!

SlideShareCADream

A SlideShare Profile page is very easy to create and personalize. It is very similar to creating a Profile on any other social networking site.

SlideShareTAGS How to Build Tags for your presentations are just like any other social networking sites, but they offer a great visual.

 

I just uploaded a new SlideShare tutorial about How to Build a Better Drop Shadow by Christopher Conrad from the SNAG Professional Development Seminar 2011.

While working on more SlideShare presentations from the 2011 SNAG Professional Development Seminar, it reminded me of how effective this can be for your own work.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts from ASK Harriete and step by step tips for your own SlideSHare.

In the meantime, here are some dazzling statistics!

The SlideShare from the 2010 SNAG Professional Development Seminar at the Houston SNAG Conference has exceeded 5,800 views!  SlideSharePricing 

The “Not Just Another Pricing Lecture" PowerPoint presentation was uploaded to SlideShare initially. Then an audio recording was edited, uploaded and synchronized to the PowerPoint so that people can view and hear the exact same program as the Conference attendees!

Subscribe to ASK Harriete or check in regularly so you don't miss one post in this series. Learn to make your own SlideShare presentation without spending one penny.  


Harriete


HANDOUTS from the Professional Development Seminar include tons of information

Short survey

Survey results from the Professional Development Seminar attendees indicates interest in topics that have been covered in past years. This reminded me of the information and HANDOUTS already available.

Pds_logoletterhead

Below are links to all the handouts from the
SNAG Professional Development Seminar
starting with the oldest at the top. 

COMMISSIONS from PDS 2007
                    
ARTISTS OPENING GALLERIES from PDS 2008

WEB 2.0 TECHNOLOGY PDS 2008

NEW MARKETING TRENDS PDS 2008

SUBMITTING WORK to GALLERIES and RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS - A four part series.

Storefront_ copy Galleries: Are They Right for You?
by Don Friedlich

Introducing Your Work to a Gallery
by Harriete Estel Berman

The Nuts & Bolts of the Gallery.Artist Relationship
by Andy Cooperman

Galleries: Issues to Consider After Your Work Has Been Accepted  by Andy Cooperman

The Art of Selling and Pricing Your Work PDS 2010

NICHE MARKETING AND PHOTOGRAPHY PDS 2011


DIGITALTIPSfinalRGBCMYK

Digital File Extension Tip Sheet PDS 2011 (above)

 


Monitor Madness - Going Nuts in a Nut Shell

Recently I spent hours and hours trying to figure out if my computer monitor was giving me an accurate color image.  I am going nuts!!!.

Nutshell copy

This is the problem in a nut shell.  Every single computer and computer monitor show images differently.  I am not kidding!!!!!!!! and it is driving me NUTS! 

Pencil installation about the impact of standardized testing on education by Harriete Estel BermanaI want the mages of my art and craft to be presented accurately with the right colors, brightness, contrast and saturation. Doesn't everybody?

Reality -- Your audience will be looking at your artwork through a different filter than yours.  Their particular combination of computer and monitor will likely show your images somewhat differently.

I've also found that most calibration web sites focus on matching your monitor to the printed image coming from your printer. The tutorials assume you want to print your images.  I rarely print my images. Most of my audience will be viewing my images on their desktop monitors, laptops, tablets, or phone.

More problems .....
If it is so easy for anyone's computer and monitor to be set slightly "off" when color correcting images of art and craft, then the images posted to websites may be off as well.

Books and magazine covers
Books and Magazines
Photo Credit: Emiko Oye

What about when you submit images to a book, exhibition, show or magazine? How do you know that you created the best quality images on your computer? How will your images look on the jurors' monitor? No wonder book publishers insist that artists DO NOT Photoshop their images!!!!!

MonitorsetupAt this point the only absolute answer is to buy high priced equipment beyond most of our budgets.  In the meantime, you should check to see if your monitor is giving you a full range of whites, blacks and appropriately saturated colors.

I found a few web sites that help to evaluate monitors.  You may be able to fine tune some adjustments.  At a minimum, these evaluations will alert you that your monitor may not be showing all there is to see.  In addition, it seems that the computer graphics card and the type of monitor have a lot to do with how your images look.

Test your computer by looking at this sample PDF from monitorsetup.com. It has a very easy to evaluate gray scale from black to white.  Try to adjust your monitor to give you the best appearance.  [Don't use the picture here on ASK Harriete, go to the site.]

MonitorWhiteCalCheckReady for a slightly finer evaluation? Try going to Imaging-Resource.com. They have two charts, one in a white scale image and one in black (below.)

Here is another site with detailed instructions for adjusting your computer and monitor.

This whole issue started because I thought my monitor was getting dim....monitors do age you know. How could I create great images if my monitor isn't correct? If I create images that look great only on my monitor, and don't look the same on other people's computers, what then?!!!!

MonitorBlackCalCheck Well guess what!!!!!?  BAD NEWS, there is no normal. I have discovered that every monitor is different. I mean really different!!!!!!!

LCD-MonitorHB  

Here is the rest of the story.  To replace my old monitor, my husband bought a new LED wide monitor....we were so excited. He purchased the monitor with the most adjustment buttons so I could fine tune the image. The LED's are brighter and save a lot of energy.  The wide monitor would allow me to have lots of windows open, and we could even download a movie to view on the larger screen.

BAD NEWS! The factory settings on the monitor are all artificially intense. The "scenic" mode and "theater" mode both super saturate the colors. The other options were only slightly better. With hours invested in fine tuning the adjustments, it got better but remained unsatisfactory. Something was very wrong with the colors. The white and black scales shown above were not showing the appropriate gradations.

Whole lot of cords After hours of adjusting and experimenting we hook up my old monitor to his laptop. Well his laptop and the old monitor together work quite well, even better than on my computer, but each presented a slightly different image. It became obvious that each combination of computer and monitor produced a different image. 

To end this story, we put the monitor back in the box and I returned it. My next computer I bought the best quality graphics card available.

This should not be the end of the story for you.   Using the evaluation websites above, adjust your monitor as well as you can and create the best images you can.  Then check your images or web site on other computers, mobile phones, and tablet devices.  At least you will be aware of any undesirable shifts and perhaps go back and adjust accordingly.

Harriete

Computer image came from Flickr portfolio of MR-Hands.

Search Engines Have No Vision - Play TAG, Your IT - Create Tags for better SEO from 2.0 sites

TAGS can be confusing when it comes to 2.0 social networking sites. 

Tag-your-it Most 2.0 sites allow tags for images (such as Flickr, Crafthaus, and marketing sites like Etsy and Custommade.com).  Some are less accommodating (see The Facebook Exception below). 

 

 

Do your own test. Go to your favorite site, use the search box, and type in words that describe your work. If YOUR images don't come back as results, no one else can find your images either. 

Tag

Some 2.0 sites allow only a fixed number of possible tags.

Custommade.com
, for example, allows five tags per category.

Etsy allows 14 tags total.

Flickr and Crafthaus seem to allow a huge number, but I recommend that you prioritize your tags by using the most important tags first. Then keep going with variations and options.

SEOtagsimages What should be your priority tags?  Begin by thinking about how people are likely to search for work like yours.  What are the most important words your friends would use to describe your work? This may likely be redundant to your title and description, but that is good!  In the logic of search engines, redundant words add to their credibility.

HEB1.72gr For example, both the title of the work and my name are in every text box available

 Yes,  in the title text box, again in any description text box, and yet again in any tags text box -- for each and every image.  For every image use your most important words. For your work it may be a business name, medium or subject that is your "signature."

Lind Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Berman uses post consumer recycled tin cans from chocolate.
Tags for this Flower pin look like this (box below):  Seo.tagkeywords copy

 Pretend you are a gallery owner looking for a particular kind of work.  Go to any of these 2.0 sites and pose some queries to look for YOUR work. What comes back in the results? Can you find your own work?

Try several variations or combinations of words.

Lind Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman in peach, tan, and soft pastel chocolate motif. Strategy is everything for tags. Consider mixing up your tags, "tin" on some images, and "tins" on others, Harriete and Harriet, green, eco, recycled, ec0-friendly, post consumer.  People don't know exactly what to look for, so give them as many paths to find your images as possible.

The Facebook Exception
Facebook unfortunately uses the phrase "tag this photo" but tagging images on Facebook is simply identifying your friends on Facebook photos. It is not about SEO for you images. Therefore, we are not talking about Facebook in this discussion of images.

Harriete

Next week?
Coverage of CraftFORWARD on ASK Harriete.

CraftforwardBANNER

P.S. The top image titled, "Tag Your It" was found at SodaHead


Search Engines Have No Vision - SEO for 2.0 sites.

In the previous post we discussed how search engines can not see your images. In this post, we move on to the titles and descriptions for 2.0 sites.

Googleimagesearch

Braille Search engines only read text.  To a search engine, images alone are just blank space.  But images can have text titles and descriptions that enable search engines to match your images with queries. If you want your images to be found, they need titles and descriptions.

Search_engines TEST THIS RIGHT NOW. OPEN A NEW WINDOW and do an image search for your art or craft. What do you see?

It is very difficult to get images posted on 2.0 social networking sites to show up in a search for images. If you don't add titles and/or descriptions for your images, they will NOT be found.  Don't miss every opportunity for search engines to "see" your images. Google Image Search for Harriete
 

Title your images with your name (or business name). 

After you upload the file, change the file name to the title of your work AND your name. (Etsy now adds the maker's name automatically.) Every title should be different, otherwise search engines think every image is the same.

Kisses Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman I have discovered that search engines find my work posted on 2.0 social networking sites only if I put my name in the title.  In other words, titles should include the name of item/object/artwork/painting AND the name of the artist and maker.

Yes, title your images on 2.0 sites should include your name (like in the box below.)
SEOtitle

Including your name in every image title may seem repetitive, egotistical, or unnecessary, but search engines need to connect you (the artist or maker) with every image.  Images posted in your albums, sets or collections are NOT automatically linked to your name.

(Facebook doesn't allow you to title your images, so include your name in the description. See below)

Harriete Estel Berman pin says my name. In the description, include your name (or business name).  Then add other information that describes the work, such as materials, techniques, style, color, or type of item (i.e. painting, bowl, purse).

The Internet is not the place to think that your work should "speak for itself."   Search engines can not see your images.

Kisses Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman If you want people to find your images, you must add text descriptions.

Here is a sample description (below) for this Kisses Flower Pin.

  SEO Image descriptions
Testing, testing, testing....
do a GOOGLE Search for your images.
Study the results

On all 2.0 sites, add text for the titles and descriptions whenever and however possible.

Harriete

The next post topic is a discussion of TAGS for images on 2.0 sites.
Next week?
Coverage of CraftFORWARD on ASK Harriete.

CraftforwardBANNER


What's in a Name? Is Your Artist Identity LOST or FOUND in a sea of names?

Harriete,

Should I have a business name?  I’m stumbling and struggling on how to come up with a name.

Signed,
A reader in search for a name!

PDSCraftReportcolor72 While this question is a condensed version of questions from readers, it represents a fairly frequent issue. It also highlights concerns that are relevant to the Niche Marketing theme for the upcoming Professional Development Seminar  at the Seattle SNAG Conference.

PDS speakers include:

Hilary Pfeiffer who uses her own name for her serious work, but calls her wedding toppers business "Bunny with a Tool Belt".

emiko oye refers to her jewelry line as Reware (though I noticed that the web site name is actually "reware style.")

Deb Stoner has always chosen to do her work under her own name as her artist identity.

ChocolateQuestion200 What I want to ask all our speakers and readers of ASK Harriete:

"Why did you choose to operate under a fictitious business name rather than your own name as an artist or maker?"

"How did you pick this particular business name?"

My primary concern with a business name is the difficulty that most people have developing even one artistic identity, let alone two. In most cases I believe it splits awareness you have built and confuses potential customers or your online network.

Focus-on-goals-1 It would seem to be a lot more focused to keep one name for your web site, email, Facebook, LinkedIN, Flickr, all 2.0 social networking and on-line marketing . One name, or a variant of your name, constantly reinforces one singular identity. Repeated consistently at every site helps the one identity to gain recognition.

Vera-wang There are many examples of companies in all industries who are well known under an individual name such as Jack Lenor Larsen, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Wang (right) and Thomas Kinkade.

Mrclean_logo To add further emphasis to the idea of one name, it is considered a strong marketing advantage to have a singular identity to represent a brand. Examples include Aunt Jemima, Mr. Clean, Dear Abby to Papa John's, or personal testimonials that create intimacy with a brand such as Keira Knightley in advertising for Channel.

Keira-Knightley-for-Chanel-Coco-Mademoiselle-Perfume Artist's already have a name to associate with a product. Why would we dilute this asset by creating a company name?

Here are some practical suggestions about names that may enhance the effectiveness of an identity.

  • Is the spelling of the name unique in some way?
  • Would your middle name or maiden name create a more unique name?

HEB2.72gr For example, my mother made up her own spelling for Harriete when I was born. At this point, it works really well to differentiate my Harriete from all more common spellings of Harriet, or Harriette. Look up Harriete on a Google search with an "e" at the end. Tell me what happens.

Bunny1 Think about your identity name carefully.  If you are making up your own business name, make it memorable. It seems to me that "Bunny With a Tool Belt" is wacky enough to be memoralble. That is good marketing. On the other hand, on her postcard (above right) Hilary Pfeifer did not put her name anywhere on the card. "Bunny with a Tool Belt" is the business identity.

I admit to being confused by this approach. All the name recognition gained for either your business or your own name doesn't really benefit the other...unless you market them together.

Reware1 Reware_solar_tote Rewareeverest RewareEmikoshorts PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS NAME should avoid using a term in your business name that has many other associations. Ironically, "reware" (used by emiko oye for her web site and business identity) has many other search results (shown to the left) from reware clothing, to a reware business for solar bags, solar backpacks, computer parts,  and software. Starting out with a business name with many other search associations just makes it harder to stand out as a singular identity in any niche market for your business. (Try typing in Reware in an image search to see what happens.) 

If there is a list of competitors with the same or similar business names, it is hard to get a top search engine ranking for your business.

HEB1.72gr

 

So in summary, I'd suggest working with your own name and making it distinctive and memorable.

What is your solution to this deliemma and why? I'd like to hear what the readers of ASK Harriete have to say to add insight to this issue. What are the search results for your name, business name and web site? Are you Lost or Found?

Harriete.

Future posts will be about Tag lines and improving SEO for your images and web site with easy suggestions.


Discovering Your Niche Markets for Increasing Web Site Visibility.

The Professional Development Seminar is sponsoring an hour of discussion about Niche Marketing.  New FLUX SNAG Seattle Logo  Small_V112010_ Questions for our speakers include the following:

  • How to discover a Niche Market?
  • Should you use your name or a business name?
  • Should you have a tag line?

These three issues are interrelated and applicable to all artist and makers. The topic is enormous! Everyone has a niche audience (or even several niche markets), we just have to figure out who they are and how to tap into the potential.

In a series of posts, ASK Harriete will tackle these issues and how they impact web site visibility for artists and makers. This series will include tips for Search Engine Optimization (simple and easy to understand) without technical talk offering ideas that you can readily implement to bring more visibility to your web site.

This post is devoted to Discovering Your Niche Markets for increasing web site visibility.

web site for Harriete Estel Berman on a telephone Driving traffic to our web sites is not a passive activity.  It isn't effective to simply put up your web site and wait for traffic.  "If I post it, they will come" is a Hollywood dream.

Driving traffic to your web site takes some effort to find niche markets.  This is the creative part but, we need to raise our consciousness to see the opportunities. It all revolves around, What will interest other people?

Longtail Don't just look at the art and craft world for interested viewers. The identifiable art/craft world is small and rarefied.  However, if you think about all your activities and topics, I bet you will find multiple niche markets for your work.  Somewhere out there in the Long Tail of the Internet, there are people who don't know your work and how amazingly relevant it is to their interests.

Here is a recent example of discovering a niche market and then driving traffic to my website that actually prompted this post.

Pencil2_7_2011pullingwarp Pencil_stanineWEBsite

I am in the final phase of a four year project constructing a gigantic bell curve entirely out of pencils -- quite literally, thousands of real pencils. The work is a commentary about the impact of standardized testing on education.

BLACKwingpencil A few weeks ago, a curious looking pencil caught my eye and I happened to do a quick Internet search.  To my amazement, I learned that it is a "collectible" pencil.  What a surprise?  It never occurred to me that one pencil may be worth $30 to $45!

YikesThen I realized another of my pencils was printed with a pencil collector's name, address and the American Pencil Collector SocietyNow looking further online, I learned that there are blogs about pencils and pencil collectors! Who would have thought that this pencil niche existed!!!!!!  This is the Long Tail in the shape of a long skinny pencil!

My first Internet search discovered pencils.com.  They normally feature a pencil artist every Monday. They said, "Although you're not drawing art with these pencils, you are creating art right out of pencils!" This resulted in a feature post on their website about my artwork titled, "Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin."

If you read their short post about my pencil sculpture, you will see more niche marketing.  Pencils.com used the blog post about the featured artist (me)  to bring more visibility to two of their "niche markets" - collectible pencils and an link to selling pencils for taking standardized tests!  

PencilsHarrieteWORKING While the artist feature post on Pencils.com about Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin  may or may not result in a purchase of my work or an exhibition opportunity, you never know. Maybe someone will invite me to exhibit my pencil bell curve at their pencil convention. Now that my awareness of pencil associations is raised, I looked online. There are pencil conventions all over. Imagine that? More untapped niche markets.

In addition, the blog post on pencils.com is driving a bit of extra traffic to my web site. The more traffic to my web site, the higher my ranking. The higher the ranking the more people will see my art work about pencils....

The web has a Long Tail, and I am going to ride that long tail where ever it goes.

41h0cZRmWKL._SL160_ How can you make The Long Tail work for you?  Can you think of a material, color, design, subject, or any other aspect that is unique to your work? Try doing a search. The blossoming of so many blogs and web sites about the most arcane of topics means that they are looking for entertaining ideas for their readers.  Your work may become the subject of an upcoming post! 

Seriously, time to put your thinking cap on. Have you considered the many possibilities to find your Niche? Are you ready to ride the Long Tail? You might find new customers, clients, collectors or exhibitions for your work that you never expected.  

Stay tuned for more ideas and discussion for niche marketing, business names and tag lines. Pro and cons please get ready to weigh in with your opinion.

The Long Tail is an affiliate link and definitely recommended reading for learning how closely connected the internet and niche markets really are for you work.


Your Facebook PROFILE Has New Options for Your Cover Photos

Harriete Estel Berman in the studio 2010 Three are several options for your Facebook profile that use the series of photos at the top of your profile page.


You can put one photo at the top of your page in the five images at the top. 

FacebookFbannerstrip
Another option below is:
One photo for both your profile picture and the five photos in a continuous series across the top.
Facebookpicscatter

Great idea, but it works much better if you think about the format and what will actually show up.  Some practice is required to make it look good with one large image on the side....and a few small photos to the right.

 

FacebookPROFILEmaker.faceUsing a large straight forward profile works really well, but there are other options that can be equally effective.  Sharp focus and great depth of field are essential  to make the images more interesting.

Here are examples of the three profile options with the demo images (from the studio) that I used when experimenting on my Facebook page. Once you figure it out, it is easy to try different images until you find a set that fits.


 Facebook picscatter PicScatter was also easy to use and my favorite. With the proper photo it could look really great. There is a little adjustment for the five side images.  I really like that you could flip the photo horizontally and make the image bigger or smaller.

 

Facebook fbanner Fbanner, the third option, allows you to add text to your images and change the color of the background if your image doesn't use up the entire space. It also offered stock images to use if you didn't have your own. However, I think most artists and makers would want to use their own protrait or images of their work.Fbanner was the least satisfying option of the three if you wanted to use your own images because it didn't include your main profile image.

 

Facebook-Harriete-estel-bermanDo you want one single photo for Facebook. The dimensions are 850px x 315px.  Read this post with a Guide to Image Sizes for Social Media with banner sizes for many popular social networks.


Give this a try.

Take a picture with this format in mind and experiment.  I used three different images from a recent photo shoot in the studio as my "tests", but after becoming more practiced, I got better at making each photo work in this format.

Give your art work and personality more visibility on your Facebook profile.

Find me on Facebook and be my friend to see my profile!


Web Manners: Harriete Dressed Up Like Emily Post

Harriete Estel Berman dressed up like Emily Post
Each sphere in our lives has manners or customs that have developed over time.  But with the Internet, a whole new social forum, this busy, bright new world hasn't had time to develop clear etiquette.

In this post I am going to mention a couple of issues that cross the line to bad manners, and maybe even, outright RUDE.

SOCIAL NETWORKING

Never tag your photos with another person's name so that they will go look at your art or craft. As an example, I woke up this morning to find over 20 Facebook notices that a person tagged photos of their work with my name.  Not only did I have to remove my name from all her photos, but her photos were showing up on my Facebook photo page.

How rude! I didn't even know this person. Never met her! She didn't even send a polite introduction or any personal correspondence of any kind. This is not how you make friends and influence people. If you want someone to look at your work, write them a polite note and send them one or two links.

"Social Media shouldn't be seen as advertising. It should be seen as public relations." Brian of Alpine Media.com  is so right!  Nothing bothers me more than getting multiple email blasts a week from an unrequested source. I don't care if it is their idea of an opportunity, give away, free advice or participation in their inspiration of the day. Any blog, organization, or web site that bombard me with excessive emails gets relegated to my spam list.

EtiquettebookAll public comments on blog posts, other people's photos,  or social media pages should be constructive. No name calling allowed.  Just like Thumper in Bambi, if you can't think of a way to make a constructive comment or question, leave no comment at all. 

 

In your blog posts or newsletter:
Always attribute information to the original source with the name.

Always link to all sources mentioned.

Always attribute images of work to the artist and include photo credit if appropriate. (If the artist is the photographer, photo credit is not necessary.)

You are responsible for control, deleting or maintaining the comments on your posts, social networking pages or groups. In other words, if you find spam on your blog or inappropriate comments on your Facebook page, it is your responsibility to delete it. Don't leave this polution/spam up for your readers, it affects your credibility.

Disclose your affiliate links. (it is the law.)

Disclose your relationships with your sources or guest authors.

Emails
Do not send images  or files as attachments to your emails without a personal message.
This is not effective communication, it just looks like you can't be bothered to be polite. No one will open your attachment anyway because they will be afraid of catching some kind of internet "bug".

Good manners are always based on respect and consideration.

 Do you have some advice for online manners?  Or any comments about this post? What do you think about Internet etiquette? Let's hear it! Please consider leaving a comment. Maybe, my Emily Post high heels have made me trip.

Ettiquete does change over time and with evolving social norms.  For fun, I have included the 1915 Rules for Teachers I saw this summer at the Long Beach Island Historical Museum. It reminds us clearly that Etiquette is constantly in flux, but primarily based on courtesy for others and social custom.

  Etiquette1915 rules for teachers
(Sorry about the condition of the image. It was taken under less than ideal circumstances and the paper was very old.)


Where Do I Find Opportunities to Exhibit My Work?

"Where Do I Find Opportunities to Exhibit My Work?" is one of the most frequent questions that artists and crafts people ask.  CAFElogo copy It's hard enough to make the work, and then spend more time looking for opportunities to exhibit. ASK Harriete has answered variations of this question, such as a previous post titled How Do You Find Venues for Your Work;, but here is another idea, REGISTER with online jury sites like Cafe'.


HAND PICK & Win Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman
  Pace HAND-PICK & WIN Flower Pin
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans
  © 2010  Harriete Estel Berman
  View the entire collection on Flickr.

The recent newsletter emailed from Cafe' prompted me to write this post.  I found several opportunities for myself and friends not otherwise on my radar screen. Here is what Cafe' says on their registration page.

"CaFÉ provides artists with an easy-to-use system to create a profile with contact information, upload digital images of their artwork, and apply to a number of open calls for entry at one time. There is no cost to register your profile and you can update it at anytime by going to "My Info".

HAND PICK & Win Flower Brooch(back view) by Harriete Estel Berman is jewelry constructed from post consumer reycled tin cans.
    Pace HAND-PICK & WIN Flower Pin  
   (back view of pin with hallmark)  
   Post consumer recycled tin cans
   Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  View the entire collection on Flickr.

Registration is FREE, do it now!!!! It only takes a few minutes. After, you register, you can receive their newsletter listing new opportunities. 

In the future, as you respond to juried opportunities, the photos that you upload can be saved on the Cafe' site for you. This way you can access them again for the next opportunity.The downside is that CAFE requires your photos to be uploaded in a specific size (eliminating any advantage that horizontal shots have over vertical) and resizing your images for Cafe' takes extra time.

Meteor Fruit Crate and three bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans
  Meteor Fruit Crate -California Collection
  © 2009 Harriete Estel Berman
  Three dimensional fruit crate label con-
  structed from post consumer recycled
  tin cans, custom made wood crate,
  handmade paper, three bracelets.
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Do you know of any online Jury sites that you would like to recommend to other artists?

Why not list them below in the comments?

Help yourself and other artists:

  • JOIN (yes, pay membership dollars) to a select number of artist organization that fit your work. Most likely they will regularly send out emails and newsletters to their members. Support the organizations that support artists like you.
  • REGISTER with online jury sites like Cafe
  • SHARE opportunities with friends and they will share with you
Harriete
Meteor bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman fit in the Meteor Fruit Crate display as a commentary about the California economy. 

Three Meteor  Bracelets from the Meteor Fruit Crate
California Collection
  © 2009 Harriete Estel Berman
Bracelets are displayed and sold with the 3 dimensional fruit crate label,
and wood crate display.
MATERIALS: Post consumer recycled tin cans, handmade paper, recycled cardboard, s/s rivets, brass tubing, wood. 
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen




Business Advice on the Internet

These days there is so much advice on the Internet, I mean tons....some good, and some that seems a little ,,,well....shallow, self-serving, or half-baked.  Penetrating through this fog, there is one person who I recommend, Alyson Stanfield. I have followed her for years. Her professional experience at the museum level is well grounded, yet her very down to earth approach helps artists get their work out of the studio to develop promotional visibility and a market for their work.

STUDIObook I read her book, "I'd Rather Be in the Studio" which reveals practical ways to market your art or craft more effectively.  It is definitely worth reading.

Alyson Stanfield also has a free newsletter. This week she is offering a gift for the subscribers to her newsletter. The gift is some GREAT information about using SlideShare to promote your art and craft. (I know what it says because I wrote it!)

A super short summary on how to get started on SlideShare is included on Alyson Stanfield's ARTBIZblog. The SlideShare site is FREE at the basic level. This is a truly easy, inexpensive, and effective tool.  There is so much you can do with it.  As examples, links to two of my SlideShare presentations are itemized below (the links paste right into my blog or an email). I also use them in several locations on my web site.

Why not subscribe to Alyson Stanfield's free newsletter to receive tips for your art career development.  I read it regularly to perk up my outlook.  

If you sign up now, new subscribers get the step-by-step instructions (that I wrote) to make your first SlideShare presentation.

Harriete

Here are two links to my presentations from SlideShare.  The first one is about my chocolate pot, Obverse Obsession.  The second one is a presentation from the Professional Development Seminar at the SNAG Conference in Houston.

Affiliate links on this blog may provide me with a few pennies to help defray expense and keep on going. Thanks for your support.
VanHouten72
Van Houten Cocao Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from post consumer recycled tin cans. Retail Price is Pin $485. See a preview of the Flower Brooch collection on Flickr.
  


How do you find venues for your work? Asking ASK Harriete, the artist, a few questions

"Hi Harriete!
Ive recently been listening to all the past Whaley studios blog radio programs and have gotten up to your interview a few weeks ago. What a great interview! It gave me a chance to know a little more about you and your work...from your own mouth!

After listening I had a few questions about your installation/museum work: How does it work? Do you come up with an idea, make the work, then try and shop it around to different venues? Or do you try and fill an already perceived need a venue may have? Or something else?

What sort of monetary arrangements are there (if any) for just showing the work (instead of the piece being acquired by a museum)?

Stevie B.

Blades
Grass/gras' sculpture close-up © 2001
Recycled tin cans, steel base
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

That's a lot of questions.I will do my best to give you some quick answers.

Grass/gras sculpture about our consumer society by Harriete Estel Berman
Grass/gras' sculpture close-up © 2001
Recycled tin cans, steel base
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Mostly, I come up with an idea, make the work and then "shop it around", as you call it.  This takes a  considerable amount of time from start to finish. For example, the Grass/gras' installation took a year to make plus another year to finish the Grass/gras' video. The series of 200 cups titled, Consuming Conversation (see images below), took four years plus another year for the two videos. In both cases I photographed earlier examples and started promoting the work before it was finished. Considering the entire effort, both projects took several years from inception to the finished work because I need to keep up on other work that makes money during the same period.

It often takes years until a piece becomes known, shown in exhibitions, or published in books or magazines with images widely distributed. The Internet really helps with that aspect of promoting your work, but it is important to maintain your focus and keep on working no matter what.
 

SLIMfast
Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture
Recycled tin cans, battery motor, alum.
rivets, dial, screws.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 1994
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Sixteen years after completion, Hourglass Figure: the Scale of Torture is  included in the book Makers: A History of Studio Craft.  I haven't seen the book yet, but this is really big news! You have to plant your seeds and nurture them. You can not wait for opportunities and invitations to show up, you need to create the momentum by working all the time.

Pencils Sharpening System in the studio of Harriete Estel BermanI have been writing about a current artwork in progress involving a bell curve made from #2 pencils on my web site and Facebook. This is the fourth year of working on this project, but I am really trying to finish it this year. When I have some preliminary photos, I will start looking for exhibition spaces.

There is no money that I know of for these big projects. Once in a great while I get a little money to make a video or to speak about a piece. Big projects like this are time consuming, drain my financial resources, drive me insane, fill me with self doubt and torture -- it is not a picnic.  Yet this is what I see and must do.  It is my expression of art.

Next post answers the question: "How do you transport the larger work?"  Another real world question from several readers  of ASK Harriete.

Harriete


Consuming Conversation a series of 200 teacups construced from recycled tin cans.

Consuming Conversation © 2004
Teacup sculpture from recycled tin cans.
Handles are sterling silver, or bronze.
This was the first photo I had for the
series and started promoting the series
through this image with note cards
and images. 
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen


LinkedIN as a networking tool. Boost your network and networking skills at the speed of light.

I have been on LinkedIn for quite awhile, but haven't used it as effectively as possible.  Then I found these great YouTUBE videos which really explain all the "bells and whistles" and buttons to use LinkedIn much more effectively.

I really love video tutorials.  Video is a great way for visual people to learn information quickly.  very close view of wall piece by Harriete Estel Berman titled Fulsome Game

Do you know what LinkedIn is? Listen to this introductory video.

Your next step is creating a LinkedIn profile with this video to speed up your first task.

Wall piece by Harriete Estel Berman titled Fulsome Game Discover People You May Know on Linkedin with this easy and fast paced tutorial on finding your friends.  This gets you up and running on LinkedIn in 46 seconds.

Watch this quick video about LinkedIn to help you find groups and manage the groups you belong to on your profile. In 2 minutes and 23 seconds you are ready to boost your networking skills at the speed of light. 

Fulsome_fullview72
The Fulsome Game © 2001
Vintage Steel Dollhouses, recycled tin
cans, collage, sterling silver, powdered
coated handcuffs, dice
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Find more information on my web site.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

GROUPS ON LinkedIn
One downside is that LinkedIn has so many groups, it is quite overwhelming. There is no time in my day for looking at 1,107 options for groups related to the ARTS. (LinkedIn really needs to enable more selective categories for groups.) My solution for this problem is to look at what groups my new connections belong to....it is a simple "filter" that works for me.

That's all for now, but I hope you look for me on Linkedin and connect with me.

Harriete


SUPER SIZE Your VISIBILITY with TAGS

A lot of people are not tagging photos of their art work and craft on social networks very effectively. Sometimes a couple of tags, perhaps three or four, maybe none at all.  Are you kidding? Tags drive Search Engines more than ever.  If you don't have tags on the images of your art and craft, how is someone going to find you or your work? If there are only three or four tags and they don't include your name you are completely missing the idea. SUPER SIZE YOUR VISIBILITY with appropriate tags.

I have a suggestion for speed, efficiency and getting the job done effectively.  I have a word document in my computer that holds all my 2.0 social networking tags for my photos. I constantly add or improve these tags, of course, but any time I post images, I can quickly open the document, copy my tags for that category and paste the tags for my photos. Then, if appropriate, I can add a few more relevant tags, such as color or theme, specific for that piece or item.

Here is an example Flower pin and the tags:
HBerman_orangeBlue50Year_flowerW HBerman_orangeBlue50YearBACK_flowerW 

recycled tin cans, jewelry from recycled materials, harriete estel berman, harriete, estel, eco, harriet, harriette, earth day, april flowers,  flower, green, recycle, upcycle, eco, trashinista, earth day, brooch, pin,san mateo, san Francisco bay area, jewelry from tin cans, colorful, advertising, packaging, consumer society,  Blue, Orange, anti aging, watch,fifty,

Look at the tags closely. There are lots of perspectives to enable someone to find this image of a flower pin by Harriete Estel Berman.

First, since my name is commonly misspelled, I include misspellings in my tags. People often seem to remember my name as Estel. So I put Estel in my tags.

SanMateo I put the same words in my tags that I (or other people) use to describe my work, such as recycle, upcycle, trashinista.

Note that I include both San Mateo and San Francisco, two ways to describe where I live.

For this flower pin I would add the following tags specific to this flower pin: blue, orange, anti-aging, watch,

In situations where the number of tags is limited, mix up the combination of words. For example, on Etsy. tags are limited to 14, so I put my name in the tags in different ways on different pieces.  All I need to do is get people to my shop. Flickr allows up to about 75 tags. I don't know if there are limits to the number of tags on Crafthaus. Just prioritize the order and go for it as fast as you can.

I know that there are lots of online discussions about the best key words, but I don't think that is as important as putting up a variety of tags. Use your own common sense. How do you describe your work? How do other people describe your work? OK. You got it. Those are your tags!

Now open your photo albums on each social network site and tag away as fast as you can. Make your images into superheros traveling at the speed of light around the world, and working 24 hours a day.

HBerman_MemoriesMakingTeal_flowerW HBerman_MemoriesMakingTealBACK_flowerW
Memories in the Making Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman.
Purchase this sentimental flower on my Etsy shop by CLICKING HERE.

Names, Names, What's in a name?

 

(back view) of Harriete Estel Berman April Flower with Pear Center
  April Flower in Reds and Browns © 2010
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: emiko oye

Recently, a reader asked me if she should change her name....it was rather long with first, middle and then two last names....first husband, second husband.  Maybe it was serendipity, but a couple of other readers contacted me with similar questions at about the same time.  The concerns run the gamut from worries about whether their names were too long or too short, easy to remember or confusing, easy to spell, too common or absolutely unique. What's in a Name?

Can I make a recommendation? Pick one name and stick with it!

 

Harriete Estel Berman April Flower with Pear Center
April Flower in Reds and Browns © 2010
  (back view)
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans.
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: emiko oye

The primary importance is that your professional identity gets established.  This takes time and consistency.  Every single account for all your social networks, correspondence and email, websites, and your signature should be the same (or at least as similar as possible). It doesn't matter if your name is complicated or uncomplicated, stick with one name.

If by chance you have a common name....such as Adam Evans, or Don Low, then try using your middle name permanently for all correspondence.  I decided thirty years ago that Harriete Berman wasn't unique enough, so I started using "Harriete Estel Berman". The fact that my name "Harriete" is spelled a little differently also created some spelling error problems -  and a unique identity - the yin and yang of every name.

As another example, I met Mary Anne Enriquez through her flickr group as the "urbanwoodswalker", but there was another email "Waterswirl56", plus her name.  Through months of correspondence, I was confused ...until I realized that this one person had several online identities, five email names and at least three different names on social networking sites. No wonder I was so confused. If you want to use a more poetic moniker such as Mary Anne, why not go with "Mary Anne Enriquez - the Urban Woods Walker." This develops a much clearer identity, sounds almost like a book already.

Most social networking sites will now allow you to even use your name instead of a number. Try your best to use one name or a variation of that one name for everything.  Stop switching it around for different sites and social groups. I know sometimes they have a limit on the number of letters, require different formats or that your name may be taken.  Just do the best you can to create one professional identity.

Harriete Estel Berman custom made name tag with green detail and colored lettering. If I were starting over, I would work for even more consistency in the way I formatted my name. This is why I am writing this post. I am giving you my words of wisdom gained from experience. Learn from my mistakes.

For people just starting out and looking to establish their professional identity as an artist or maker, pick one name (possibly including your middle name) and then repeatedly use the same name for your website, email, social networking and Etsy site. Professionally, I do not recommend selecting cute or fancy names for your "shop" or website.

Think about how effective one name is for Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, and Vera Wang. Each one of these designers started somewhere small and unknown to develop their identity. You can too.   

Harriete Estel Berman custom made name tag in brown and gold metallic. If the fashion world doesn't relate to your work, think Picasso, Modigliani, or Voulkos. One name can carry you through the various phases and development of your work.

Pick one name and try one format as close as you can for all sites, tags, keywords, photo descriptions, exhibitions, and shows. Skip the cutesy shop names and online identities.

Harriete Estel Berman 
custom made name tag in brillant yellow, red and white . Creating an identity for your work and your name is part of your "recipe for success".

Harriete (with an "e" at the end) Estel Berman.
Examples of my professional contacts are below:

  • My blog    http://www.askharriete.typepad.com
  • Twitter http://twitter.com/harrietee
  • crafthaus http://crafthaus.ning.com/profile/HarrieteEstelBerman
  • flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/harriete-estel-berman/
  • Facebook http://www.facebook.com/harriete.estel.berman
  • LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/harrieteestelberman

Find me on your favorite social network.

Harriete

April Flower Brooches by Harriete Estel Berman
 April Flowers created by Harriete Estel Berman in honor of Earth Day
 © 2010. These April Flowers are available for purchase on Etsy and
 Object Fetish /Jewelry.
 Photo Credit: emiko oye


Learning Digital Skills - What's the best way?

 HBerman_fossilPurpleTan_flowerW
 Fossil Purple April Flower Brooch  with peach, purple, and ocher   © 2010
 Post consumer recycled tin cans.  Posted in honor of Earth Day.
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman                   Photo Credit: Emiko Oye 


Lots of people ask me how I learned to work on my own web site.  My answer: I (like most everyone) have to learn by doing.  And, yes, it was frustrating at first (for several weeks). But each frustration was overcome and the bits of knowledge began to coalesce into skills and gratification. 

Bnr_120x60-lynda-border To get started, a friend or mentor may be best for some people to learn the basics.  I prefer to just jump into the frying pan and started by learning how to use Dreamweaver using Lynda.com as my virtual tutor. All of the lynda.com lessons are video tutorials divided into manageable bits most two to five minutes in length. Lynda.com let me learn at my own pace at any time of day or night which was very practical in my chaotic schedule. The online instructions could be repeated over and over with no frustration on the instructor's part or I could jump ahead to a new topic or search for solutions to a particular issue.   

It has worked so well for me that I have also learned PhotoShop, Illustrator, even Flickr and Twitter with Lynda.com. 

lynda.comI like it and continue to use it personally.  For full disclosure, I signed up to be an affiliate with Lynda.com.  But I would recommend this regardless because it is the best method I know of to show you how to increase your software skills. If you are like me, reading instructions from a book to learn how to use software is really difficult (for me almost impossible).

Lynda.com is now offering a free 24-hour trial membership. I recommend you take advantage of this offer. Each one of the images below will take you to Lynda.com. Give it a try for free and test it for yourself.Illustrator tutorials

InDesign tutorials

ThreepinBERMAID72GRAdded Benefits   Learning these software skills adds benefits beyond just your web site. My newly learned Illustrator skills enabled me to learn how to format documents for a laser cutter when I was experimenting at the TECH Shop. I also jumped over to the Corel Draw tutorials because this software was used to run the laser cutter. On the right, you can see several pins made on the laser cutter from recycled game boards for the Pin Swap at the SNAG Conference. 

Photoshop or Photoshop Elements is essential for editing your photos. The online photo editing applications may be good enough for your family photos, but they don't offer enough tools for professional quality images of your art or craft. You need the flexibility and tools that Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) offer to fix your photos.

Get the skills you need as a professional artist with Lynda.com on your home computer. No commute. No driving, no parking, no appointment necessary.

Harriete

HBerman_fossilPurpleTanBACK_flowerW
 (Back View) Fossil Purple April Flower Brooch  with peach, purple,
 © 2010      Post consumer recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day.
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman                   Photo Credit: Emiko Oye 


To be or not to be a FAN on Facebook? That is the question.

Let's talk.  I am one of those people who is outspoken and honest...sometimes too honest, so here it goes.  After I spill my guts...will you tell me your opinion?

I was NOT a "fan" of the Facebook individual "Fan" pages. After I wrote this post they changed it to "Like". 

Have you been "told" this is a great way to promote your work? Why do you have professional page? Do you ask people to "Fan" or "Like" your page?

Pure, Delicious and Refreshing by Harriete Estel Berman
 Pure, Delicious and Refreshing © 1995
 Recycled tin cans, vintage steel doll
  houses,
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

 

My artwork is so much about my existence that showcasing images of my work on Facebook is sharing part of myself. I am not bragging, but sharing my soul. For anyone who knows me there is no separation between personal and professional.

 

Trapped by the Seduction to Domestic Perfection by Harriete Estel Berman
 Trapped by the Seduction to Domestic
 Perfection© 1996
 Recycled tin cans, vintage steel doll
 houses,
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman 
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Nevertheless, asking people to "Like" my work seems to be asking too much. People may like my work or dislike it, but that is their personal opinion. It doesn't seem right or necessary to ask them to publicly announce their allegiance.

Guess this reflects how I feel about viewing anyone's work. Certainly it is refreshing to meet new people and be introduced to their work, but my reactions are usually multifaceted with mixed impressions on a wide range of thoughts that stream through my head. An assessment is almost always much more complex than a simplistic "like" or "dislike" or, to be or not to be a "Fan." 

Ripe and Luscious, Peak of Perfection wall peice by Harriete Estel Berman
Ripe and Luscious, Peak of Perfection
© 1996
Recycled tin cans, vintage steel doll
houses,

Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
more info

Consequently, I find it unsettling when asked to be a "Fan" of anyone. Both "Fan" or "Like" presume too much. It seems like a thinly veiled request for an endorsement that has not been earned (at least not so quickly).  I'd much prefer more variations on a business page such as: interested, entertained, delighted, or learning.

I respect the efforts of people to give visibility for their work to a wider audience.  The exposure is a great idea. Inviting friends and acquaintances to your passion for creativity is quite reasonable. Absolutely, your work is indeed part of who you are.  Share your work on Facebook.

In fact, when I look at an artist's or maker's profile page and if they don't have photo images of their artwork, I wonder who they really are?  I can't imagine people who call themselves artists, makers, or craftspeople  not including their artwork as part of their profiles.

Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the Front door from the Street by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans, and vintage steel dollhouses.
 Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the
 Front Door from the Street ©  1997-98
 Recycled tin cans, vintage steel doll
  houses,

 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Nevertheless, asking people to "Like" of your work is a social pressure that feels overly simplistic, superficial, and improper etiquette.

To be or not to be...a "Fan"? Like or dislike, it that really the question?

Any alternative responses? What is your opinion?


APRIL FLOWER BROOCH by harriete Estel Berman is made from recycled tin cans. 

APRIL FLOWER BROOCH by harriete Estel Berman is made from recycled tin cans.
APRIL FLOWER BROOCH by harriete Estel Berman is made from recycled tin cans.


Insurance for a trunk show at my house?

Hello Harriete,
A friend has hosted a sale in her apartment for myself and another friend so that the three of us could invite family and acquaintances to share new work and possibly sell some as well.  Our last sale was put together before the holiday season and was surprisingly well attended.  We judged it a success.  We decided to plan for a Valentine's Day sale, when we ran into a potential problem.


Jillian_Moore_Par_Lobbe
"Par Lobbe" (brooches) © 2009
composite and epoxy resin, fabricated
copper, paint, dyed cotton cord,
Artist: Jullian Moore
8" x 4" x 2.75" (largest brooch)

Her insurance company wants her to buy an expanded policy, but she believes they are eager to get more money from her. Her rental insurance has all the basic liability coverage--if a stranger or guest were injured in her home or slipped on ice outside, that would be covered.  Also the landlord has a policy on the home.

We thought of this in the same vein as floating markets, private restaurant clubs, and home galleries that are a current trend because of the poor economy.  Are all of these establishments buying separate policies for private, low-key events?  I had really thought we'd stumbled into something great, and I'd hate for this to be ruined by bureaucratic b.s. but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised if that's the case.

Thank you for all of the hard work you do for all of us!
Jillian Moore

CERF stickerThis is a financially loaded question so I went directly to the expert on insurance, Craig Nutt, the Director of Programs at CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund).  He was also a past speaker for SNAG's  Professional Development Seminar with his Insurance Show. (I was the applause lady for his program as you can see in the photo below.) I knew Craig would have the answer to Jullian's questions.

Here is Craig's reply:ApplauseLADY                "CERF is about to release a report on the business survey we conducted with 6 national craft organizations including SNAG.  One of the things that came through like a freight train was the fact that a great many artists mistakenly believe that their homeowner's insurance provides some coverage for their business activity.  We estimate that about 57% of all respondents to the survey are in this category.

CERF A very small number of those surveyed had actually obtained coverage for their home-based businesses through a special endorsement ("rider") on their homeowner's insurance policy. (Many homeowner policies have an allowance for a home office of about $2500, intended to cover a computer, desk, file cabinets … stuff associated with a home office.) 

Dollars in hand Some artists think that they can fly under the radar and avoid insurance issues.  But insurance companies do not care if you have a business license, pay your sales tax, or comply with any of the laws businesses are supposed to obey.  They have a simple test: do you receive money for goods or services, or are you offering goods or services for sale.  If so, you are not covered.  That means no insurance on your tools, supplies, inventory, and in fact, on the building in which your business is conducted.  Also, very important to the person holding the trunk show or hosting a studio tour, no liability insuranceThis means if someone slips on the steps coming to your trunk show, the liability insurance that would cover a casual visitor under normal circumstances is no good.  That is because you are offering goods for sale.

To get a quote on business insurance, artists need to go to companies that specialize in that type of insurance.  Forget about the Allstates, Geikos, etc.  Sure, some agents may not find time for you, because the commissions are not big, but most agents I have met take their calling seriously, and are willing to talk to people, regardless of how much money they stand to make.  Ask other artists who have well-run businesses who their agents are.

CERF has information of business insurance at this location on the CERF website. This includes names of companies and organizations that have business insurance plans for artists. Fractured Atlas, an artist service organization, offers a number of targeted plans and is working on a plan for craft artists: http://www.fracturedatlas.org/ 

CERF also offers a primer on business insurance for artists by clicking here.

CERFstudioPROTECTOR




Also, CERF will soon be consolidating its preparedness and recovery information at:  http://studioprotector.org .   To the left,  you can see the Studio Protector wall guide which every artist should have on the studio wall (and begin putting into practice). The site has more in-depth information on topics covered in the wall guide.  They are both useful alone, but are meant to function together.

Thanks for your support of CERF, and for all you do to promote good business practices to artists!  All my best,

Craig Nutt, Director of Programs
Craft Emergency Relief Fund

Charity_bCraig's key point is that none of the typical homeowner or renter's insurance policies cover any liabilities during entrepreneurial events such truck shows or home sales. Of course you can choose to not have insurance and take the risk yourself.  That's up to you, but it would be better to investigate the alternatives for business insurance that are available.   

An alternative might be to have a purely social gathering and display your work with no sales.  Then if anyone wants to purchase an item, tell them that any sale would have to be arranged at a later time and different location.    

I hope this answers your question about insurance. Check out the CERF web site for more information. Look at their collection of miniatures that they raffle off each year at SOFA as a fund raiser. I have participated several times. My Chair for Charity is at the above right. Below is my shoe for 2009.

HarrieteCERFshoeTOP

CERFSHOE CERFshoeLEFT


Add your Etsy"mini" to your Facebook?

Would you like to add your Etsy mini to your Facebook?

Here is an easy tutorial from Timothy Adams of Handmadeology. My Etsy "mini" is not happy on my blog, so I made a picture of it (below right)EtsyMINIbest

It can have one to five columns and rows...so that you can modify the size to fit in a particular profile or depending on how much space you want to dedicate. Normally, each image is a hot link to that item. You can see a full size functioning  Etsy mini on my Facebook page and my Crafthaus page.

An Etsy mini functions in multiple ways:

  • Introduces your work to a new audience.
  • Provides hot links to items on your Etsy page.
  • Creates more links between the Etsy mini and wherever you have it posted.

Black and White Drop Earrings by Harriete Estel Berman
  Black and White Drop Earrings © 2008
  Recycled tin cans.
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Available through my Etsy shop.

The more links the better. The Internet is all about links.  The number of links is one of the main ways that search engines like Google rank your site.  For even better SEO (Search Engine Optimization), links that come into your site from other popular sites with lots of traffic are best.

Create your Etsy mini today to drive more traffic to your shop.

Harriete
My Etsy shop.


Web site updates for the New Year

With the New Year, it's time to check a few updates regarding your web site.

First, update the Copyright date on your web site. Usually this is at the bottom of your main pages. The purpose is to protect your content. In addition, search engines read a current date as an indication of a well maintained site which improves your SEO (Search Enginge Optimization) rankings. Just update the date on every main page with a copyright date. This is easy to do.

The next task for the new year is to start a new email habit. Start using the email address that refers to your web site instead of your generic "gmail", "yahoo" or "mac" account. For example, my address is bermaid[at]harriete-estel-berman [dot]info. I also have a few other email accounts, but this is the email address that has a clear professional identity for me as an artist. Start now to gradually wean all your email contacts and professional information to your web site email. Next time you print business cards and postcards use the email address for your website. Start now to make the transition as inexpensive and painless as possible.

Finally, I had a question from a reader about ALT image tags discussed in a previous post.

If you are using a template site or web site development software like Dreamweaver, most will prompt you for an ALT Image tag. It is easy to skip over but the reason for your ALT image description (outside of helping the disabled "read" your site) is that the ALT tags also help with SEO. Search engines can't read or interpret images -- they can only read the image descriptions. Every image on your web site offers search engines nothing, nay-da, zip information, unless you add ALT image tags.  With ALT image tags any Internet surfer looking for images can find your work with Google Images.

I love watching video tutorials to help me learn about these Internet nuts and bolts issues in a non-technical way. This video from Google discusses using ALT attributes smartly.  While the video is a few years old the information is still relevant.

Fading Identity a Vanity Seat by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans.
Fading Identity © 2002
Recycled Tin Cans
Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Here is an example from my website. Look for the image of this chair on the Sculpture page by CLICKING HERE. Find the image of the Vanity Seat at the top of the right column, in the first row of four images.

This is the HTML code for the image: img src="images/vanity2.gif" alt="Fading Identity Vanity Seat by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans." width="100" height="150" border="0"

[This is the image name.] img src="images/vanity2.gif" 

[This is the ALT TAG. It describes the image. ]   alt="Fading Identity Vanity Seat by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans." 

[This is the size of the image. ] width="100" height="150"

CLICK ON THE IMAGE OF THE Vanity Seat on my web site. This takes you to a pop up window with a larger image. It also has an ALT tag. Here is the HTML code.

alt="Fading Identity vanity seat sculpture by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed using recycled tin cans.">

On my web site the ALT tags are essential because myweb site is mostly images and I decided not to clutter up my main pages with tons of text. Bad news for SEO, but at least so far, I have decided to place aesthetics before SEO. Other web sites may make different decisions.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 


A New Reality for the New Year

Experiencing a New Reality...on Sunday I listened to an avant-garde cello player that has been successful enough to quit her day job! She isn't playing top forty or mainstream popular music, and yet she pays her mortgage in San Francisco.

ZoeKeating That sounds amazing to me! Her name is Zoe Keating.  Her reality is:

She has no record label, no middleman.

She has 1 million Twitter followers.

Most of her income comes from iTunes.

Her key to success is being herself.

She spends half her time on her marketing.

I will say that last one again. She spends half her time on her marketing. This should be your reality check for the New Year.

I believe the art and craft world is going through a huge transition largely influenced by the Internet. We can see illustrative examples of similar transitions in the music and video world.

The music world used to be primarily influenced by the Top 40 mentality, and the fortress of the record labels.  Record companies enjoyed selling entire albums (with one "hit" song plus filler songs) and dictated what radio stations played over the air.  This structure has diminished substantially with the onset of open-ended possibilities through the Internet and the Long Tail. Musicians are now able to develop a following directly with fans. Music is now sold one song at a time via the Internet, and music stores (unless they are very specialized) are going out of business.

The movie business has gone through a similar metamorphosis with most of their revenue based on selling and renting dvds. The blockbuster film still exists, but the possibility of financial success for smaller relatively obscure films is now a reality largely because of the Internet.

Artists and Makers are just like the musicians and small filmmakers. The paternalistic idea of a gallery taking care of you (like a record company or movie studio) is gone (except for the most elite level). The concept of "exclusivity" is difficult, if not impossible, to enforce with the Internet. The big question is how you can use the Internet to your benefit?  I firmly believe that the keys to success are being yourself and spending the time to market yourself through the Internet.

Halfway measures will only get you half way there.

Authenticity and commitment are paramount.

Hard work and spending half your time on marketing yourself.

The new year is symbolic of new beginnings. Renew your commitment to your work. Start today with posting your work online with complete titles, descriptions, dimensions and tags. Make it possible for your audience to find you and your work.

Focus the year on improving your #1 tool on the Internet - your photos!

Harriete

P.S. Sorry if it seems that I am repeating myself and that this has been said before in other posts. Unfortunately, I still see far too many people with incomplete descriptions of their work online and poor quality or even downright bad photos. It drives me nuts!


Adventures in Podcasting.

One of my goals over the quiet of the holidays was to teach myself how to podcast and add this podcast to my PowerPoint lectures on Slide Share. Hopefully, with this experience, I can learn to record presentations for the Professional Development Seminar (Download HoustonflyervL12.29.09) and other professional lessons for you.

Obvob_kiss-copy72
Chocolate Obsession© 2005
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver,
plastic, aluminum foil, brass.
Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

At this point, I can't get my Slide Share presentation to work with Typepad, but you can find all my Slide Share presentations here  or look at the bottom of this post for specific links.

If you aren't familiar with Slide  Share this is free Internet site where you can upload your PowerPoint presentations. I found it about two years ago. Uploading the presentation is a breeze...but the software doesn't keep your animations and fancy slide transitions, so keep your presentations in PowerPoint simple and straightforward. Anyone can do this. You can also upload Keynote if you have an Apple.

The next step, ADD A Podcast.  Learning how to Podcast was pretty simple. The free software called Audacity works just fine. It has more features than I even used so far. The only issue is that it is time consuming to get the voice perfected. Practice and practice, and practice. I am starting to catch on to this recording thing and be comfortable listening to my voice.  

Uploading your Podcast and synchronizing it to the images is very easy....again, it is just time consuming to get it perfect.

The problem: I always see my mistakes in either the images, or text after I upload the Podcast and sync the whole thing to the images. Aw..........shucks!!!!!

Well, I'm learning to podcast . . . and now sharing my new Slide Share presentations with you. You be the judge.  Let me know what you think and how to improve the next time.

So far, I have five short presentations with audio completed and would like to hear for your feedback before venturing deeper.

BermanObverse_front
Obverse Obsession © 2005
Chocolate Pot constructed from post
consumer recycled tin cans, sterling
silver, plastic, aluminum foil, brass.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
 

Pecha Kucha

Obverse Obsession Chocolate Pot

California Dream Teapot

Professional Guidelines Introduction

Professional Guidelines; Inventory Records: Documentation and Provenance

Thanks for listening.

Harriete

If you want to learn more about Slide Share and Podcasting let me know.

 


Mail without an address? Titles, tags and descriptions for Search Engine Optimization.

Tzedakah9_2
Tzedakah   © 1999              Collection of The Jewish Museum, New York
Would you mail an envelope without an address? Would you invite a customer over to your studio and not even tell them the city? How about "Come over for lunch," but not give them an address!

Artists and craftspeople are doing this over and over!  I see it all the time. They put their images on Facebook, Crafthaus or Flickr and don't have a title, description, or keywords with their images.  I have even found images for sale in online marketplace sites such as Etsy with grossly incomplete information. This is like mailing an envelope without a stamp.

TzedakahV1
Tzedakah   © 1999
Recycled Tin Cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Collection of The Jewish Museum, New York

The titles (for your art or craft,) full descriptions and relevant tags for your images are how people find your work on the Internet. Inadequate information is like mailing an envelope without an address.  No one will receive the letter because no one can figure out where it should go. Your images are not working as hard as they could without this information.


Tzedakah9
 

Every image should have a title, copyright symbol and date, detailed description including materials,  dimensions, and perhaps a little insight into the inspiration.


Tags are important too.
Your tags should reiterate the information in your title and description. The redundancy between your title, description and tags are reinforcements for search engines to indicate credible information.  This information is like the address on an envelope.

Password Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Bermaneite
  Password Flower Pin © 2012
   Recycled tin cans
  Harriete Estel Berman

Here is an example Flower Pin that I posted on Flickr, Facebook and Etsy for different audiences. All sites allow a title for the image and a description.  You can reuse this information over and over. You don't have to reinvent the information every time.  Copy and paste, then make changes as necessary for each forum. 

INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TITLES, DESCRIPTIONS AND TAGS

TITLES are important to keep your inventory straight and for search engine optimization. Watch with 5 minute tip titled, "Image File Names for Better Search Engine Optimization."

DESCRIPTIONS vary from site to site.  Flickr will not allow overt selling statements.  Etsy and Facebook will.  I always include materials and dimensions (and frequently include a story about my inspiration) just for interest. Pinterest images will benefit tremendously from an interesting, and complete description about your work.  

TAGS or KEYWORDS repeat the information in the title and description usually in one word snippets separated by commas. Use as many tags as needed or allowed on the site. Use every tag you can think of for a particular situation.Think about any variation of words that a person might use to find your work in a search.  Try all different possibilities. 

CandyLand Flower Pin from recycled tin cans by Harriete Estel BErman
  Candyland Flower Brooch © 2012
  Recycled tin cans,
  Harriete Estel Berman

Here are a few tags on Etsy for this flower pin: jewelry, tin, tin cans, candy, candyland, peach, peppermint, candy canes, Harriete, Harriet, Berman, recycled, steel, eco, green.

PAY ATTENTION to how to add tags effectively.
Some sites need quote marks around multiple word tags to keep the words together as one tag (e.g. "Harriete Estel Berman".)

Tz_address_envelope72

Sometimes testing and experimenting are the only way to find out what works, but to habitually not include titles, descriptions, and tags are like making your work invisible on the Internet.  Like an envelope without an address, no one can find your images in search without titles, descriptions, & tags.

Go back to every one of your photos posted on social networking sites and edit your photos as time allows.

Photos of your art or craft should be part of your online profile on every site. Don't just segregate this information to a "Fan page" or online marketing site. Your friends might be your first customers. They love seeing what you do!

www.harriete-estel-berman.info

P.S. Tags and descriptions on your web site are handled a little bit differently than social networking and online marketing sites. Learn more about this in other posts.

In the meantime, send me your questions. I'd like to hear your perspectives and areas of interest.


Effective Pricing for Multiple Marketplaces

Hello Harriete,
I just read your post "Should I link to my Etsy shop on my web site?" and I have a follow up question about one specific point you made. You stressed the importance of keeping the online prices consistent with prices in the galleries. I am always concerned about consistency in pricing from one retail venue to the next, but am having trouble because different places that sell my work have different mark ups. The highest mark up of my work is 250% (which seems excessively high). The buyer who marks up that much claims that this is a "standard jewelry mark up." This buyer recently saw on my Etsy shop that an item she carries is priced less on my shop because my mark up was a simple 200% mark up. I don't want to ruin the relationship with the buyer by undercutting her prices, but I am concerned that the average shopper through my online shop will be turned off my such an increase in price. Do you have any suggestions? I would very much appreciate hearing your advice.

Your website is a wealth of information. I have enjoyed looking through it and will consult it often.

Thank you in advance for your time and thoughts. Signed, Mark-up Challenged

Commission_structuresGreat Question! I think prices should be the same everywhere if possible… but I realize this is a really thorny issue.

Many stores and galleries do mark up more than 200%.  Some want a 60 /40 ratio (or 60% for the store and 40% for the maker).  Others usually work on a 50/50 ratio.  It all presents a problem.  How to keep your prices consistent?

Dollar-bills-imageWhat is true is that galleries/stores are run as businesses to make profits. They expect to make money! They have planned on their commission ratio and will also try to maintain consistency in their commissions to their artists and makers; but, everything is negotiable. 

Business Relationship  You have a business relationship and it is perfectly acceptable to tell your retail locations your "suggested retail price."  This is the price that you should try to maintain consistently from venue to venue.  The plan is that you are trying to keep your prices the same all over the U.S. to avoid pricing competition or pricing inconsistencies. Explain this to the galleries or stores that sell your work.  However, it is up to the store/gallery to mark it up as they see fit.  If they charge more, it is their responsibility. 

Price_tagWith the Internet it is very easy for the consumer to compare prices.  In addition, people travel quite a bit. The client/collector is likely to notice when one store or gallery charges more than other locations for the same items. 

Other options  As a compromise, you might consider raising your retail prices a speck on Etsy to about 225%.  Another option, is to make a somewhat different version or line of work for the brick and mortar locations so that they feel they have a unique body of work to sell.

Pricered-tags Personally, I looked at your work on Etsy and I think is it very well priced.  What you and the galleries are experiencing is the power and impact of the Internet. Galleries and stores used to be only way to market art and craft.  Now that artists and makers have alternatives for showing work to consumers, i.e. the web, price shopping is as easy as a push of a mouse button. 

One more point.  You should not feel guilty or feel like it is your fault if a store rejects your "suggested retail price."  This could be the gallery's problem, not yours…but too often artists are asked to make the concessions.  This is why I started the Professional Guidelines to established professional standards, so that everyone knows what is reasonable and professional.

Establish what you think is a fair retail price. You can even discuss this with your galleries and stores that carry your work. They know their consumers, but ultimately this is your decision!  If the readers of ASK Harriete have another solution, please let me know or leave your suggestion as a comment.

Pds_logoletterhead The Professional Development Seminar in Houston, Texas, is planning  three hours of concrete information from 9:00am-12:00pm on Friday, March 12, 2010, that will change the way you approach your work and the way you do business. At 9:00am. Bruce Baker will present ‘The Art of Selling.’  Then at 11:00 am the lecture will shift to ‘Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialogue about Pricing Your Work.’  We will continue the conversation during lunch 12:00-1:30. Bring your lunch so you don't miss a moment. Learn strategies for success. I will be there, I hope to meet you then.

Harriete Estel Berman
www.harriete-estel-berman.info



Should I link to my Etsy shop on my web site?

EricaMILLERearrings
Earrings from Mio Studio
Sterling Silver, Ebony
Artist: Erica Miller

Dear Harriete, I have been reading your blog and your posts and I was wondering if it is a good idea to have a link to my Etsy site on my website.  My website has a shopping cart but I have sold only seven items off the website in two years and over 100 on Etsy in a year.  My galleries also look at my website so Etsy and the website and the gallery prices are all the same.  What do you think? Thank you, Erica

EricaMillerNEVELSONpin
Nevelson Pin from Mio Studio
Wood, Paint
Artist: Erica Miller

Erica,
The answer is a definite "YES."  Links are one of the most powerful aspects of the Internet.  You want to give potential buyers every opportunity to find you.  Etsy is an easy convenient online marketing site that most anyone can use.  So use it to your maximum advantage. In addition, links between your site and Etsy, back and forth increase SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The more traffic the better. Search engines use traffic as one method to rank your site.

I took a look at your Etsy shop and web site and have a few other comments.

On your web site, I would recommend a simple sentence like Shop Online Now  instead of an Etsy icon or widget EtsyE. These motifs (like an Etsy E) may not be recognizable to all viewers of your site or match the aesthetic design of your web site. Note how this is one short sentence is so effective on Kate Cusack's web site by CLICKING HERE.



There was another problem with using the Etsy EtsyE on your website. When the page opens, the Etsy "E" was below the edge of my screen, below the "fold" to use a newspaper nomenclature. I didn't even see the Etsy "E" the first time I looked on your site.

When I went to your Etsy site I also noticed that you are not using your full tags or writing a complete descriptions on every image. This is very important for SEO. In fact, it is an absolute necessity. Tags and descriptions are how search engines find your work. If search engines can't find you, neither can your customers. Etsy has tons of informative posts about this topic of the Storque. Here are two great topics that will be helpful to everyone even if you don't sell on Etsy. Seller How-To: Optimizing Your Etsy Shop for Search Engines

Shop Makeover Series: Google PageRank Tips for Your Etsy Shop

EricaMilleroriginal photoeTSY Erica Miller necklaceeTSY I also noticed a fabulous necklace on your Etsy shop (left image). I made some adjustments using PhotoShop (right image) by brightening the image and increasing the contrast. When selling your work online, your photos are the primary vehicle you have to sell your work and they are not doing their job unless they are fabulous photos. Learn to use PhotoShop or some other photo editing software.  It is an essential skill in this digital age and necessary for successful marketing.

EricaMILLERwindPENDANTEricaMILLERwindPENDANTimproved
Necklace
Ebony, stainless steel,
Artist: Erica Miller

I also worked on the two photos below, the left image is from your Etsy site. The right image is brightened and I added a speck of contrast. Don't you think it looks better?

Bnr_120x60-lynda-border
I learned PhotoShop using Lynda.com. It is so easy with their online video tutorials. I love Lynda.com.In the past three years I learned how to work on my web site with Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and there is even tutorials on social networking like twitter, Facebook, and Flickr. The money I spent on my subscription has saved me tons of money and time; this is the reason that I signed up to be an online affiliate.(A purchase from Lynda.com helps keep this blog going.)

Hope this information is helpful. There will be no post on Thanksgiving...but wishing everyone a thankful holiday. Become my friend on Facebook to see last year's Thanksgiving table. I will be posting pictures of my 2009 Thanksgiving table as soon as the table is set. This year'S theme is a "classy, brassy, gold and grassy". Wait till you see it!

Harriete
CLICK HERE to become my friend on Facebook


Pricing and the Dilemna of discounts, coupons, or reduced prices?

TimothyAdamChair
Chairity © 2006
steel
Artist: Timothy Adam

Recently I listened to a program by Timothy Adam of Handmadeology about using the Internet and social networking to give more visibility to your art and craft. He has lots of great ideas and really knows about working the system of online social networking sites. On the other hand, a recent post at Timothy Adam Designs about "Search trends during the holiday shopping season" is very disconcerting as he focuses on discounts, coupons, and free shipping as promotional strategies.

TimothyAdam
Living Steel Jewelry Display
steel
Artist: Timothy Adam

I think discounts, sale coupons, holiday sales, etc. have little effect in stimulating a sale of art or craft and instead have a negative impact that adversely erodes your retail prices permanently.  I believe it is a fallacy to think that a buyer who is already considering a purchase of your work will change their mind just because of a small discount or not.  And anyone who wasn't interested in the first place won't care about discount offers whatsoever.  Furthermore, lowering your effective price with discounts or coupons sends a signal that all your work can be discounted and that this lower price is the true market value of your work.  In effect you are saying that the original retail price was inflated to begin with.[For more information about Discounts read the Professional Guidelines document.]  

It is vitally important that we should not fall into the trap of appearing to be just another mass produced commodity. The arts and crafts market can not afford and should not adopt discounting and similar pricing strategies that are frequently used in the general consumer market like K-Mart and Macy's.  First of all, don't kid yourself, all of these giant chains double or triple the wholesale price to absorb these discounts.  They have designed their products to be easily mass produced and cheap.  It may be a great value for the consumer, but it lacks any differentiation from what thousands or millions of other people buy.   

PinkDotOrbit_Red72GREEN
Pink Dot Pin
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman

Instead, the handmade object should be promoted for its unique attributes or value.  By its very nature, a handmade object is a limited edition or one of a kind object. Ideally, art and craft exhibit skilled craftsmanship, personal attention to details, and distinctive creativity.  A buyer is attracted to the work because it reflects and reinforces the buyer's desires, self-identity, and expression of character that they wish to show to the world.  It is unlikely that a small shift in price will alter these perceptions.

Stimulus-Plan72GREEN
Stimulus Plan Pins © 2009
Recycled tin Cans
Harriete Estel Berman

People who buy from the local artist (whether on Etsy or The Artful Home or at the local crafts festival) are making a decision by their very action. Their purchase creates an identity for themselves.  They may want to know the artist or know the inspiration behind the work.  They may admire this alternative lifestyle and want to participate, even vicariously, just for the afternoon. Every time they wear or use their handmade item, they feel richer for the experience.

2Rosesbrac20
Forest Spirit Bracelet © 2009
polymer clay
2 Roses

John Rose from 2 Roses offered this observation:
"We did indeed see a lot of discounting this year. Much of it panic motivated. Anecdotal surveys reinforced that buying volume was equal or above last year's for most artists we spoke to. However arbitrary discounting reduced profits. 

This really points to a fundamental lack of product offering flexibility by the artists we spoke to. Instead of adjusting their product offering to offer lower priced lines and protecting their margins, most simply discounted their regular lines. This is one of those textbook "business 101" mistakes. 

Our reaction to the shift in the economy was to analyze buyer behavior relating to luxury goods and discretionary purchasing. What we found was that there was plenty of buying going on, but shoppers were placing much higher emphasis on "value". By augmenting our regular priced lines with items manufactured to specifically offer a high value at a lower price point AND maintain normal margins, our sales exceeded last years in both volume and profit. The introduction of lower priced lines allowed us to pick up market share and maintain the value perception of our regular priced lines.
BTW this is a classic Fabrege tactic.

A lot of artists just don't understand how badly they hurt themselves and the entire industry when they resort to arbitrary discounting." END QUOTE

Leaves72GREEN
Green Leaves © 2004
Recycled vintage doll house
Harriete Estel Berman

Sell the appeal of your work at its full value.  The mass market chains really can't compete at this level.  

Harriete Estel Berman
Riding the Long Tail on a grand adventure (without discounts.)

Etsy  
Twitter
Objectfetish
crafthaus
flickr
Facebook

LinkedIn


Make a Living Riding the Long Tail - Part 2

AskHarriete72green
There are 
three major insights following the ACC Conference that seemed to be most relevant to making a viable livelihood from your art and craft.  They are:

1) The impact of the Internet and shifting marketing channels,

2) The evolution of "filters" from gallery/curatorial selection to peer review and online search.

3) The need to bring value and commitment to a community.

Now for more depth on Part 2.  The evolution of "filters" from gallery/curatorial selection to peer review and online search continues to accelerate.  But the role of filters has always existed.  Human brains are wired to categorize stuff.  Whether consciously or not, we naturally place things into groups like blue or red, big or little, jewelry or sculpture, even superior craft or mundane. 

Accordingly, gallery owners, curators, editors, etc. have exercised their judgment to bring together groups of selected (implying the best) art and craft work.  Consumers and collectors have relied upon the time, effort, and expertise of the galleries and exhibitions to filter the most interesting work worthy of special attention.  Ultimately, the audience and buyers exercise their own personal filters to opine what is most interesting or perhaps even decide what to buy. 

The role of filters is not only helpful, filters are essential.  The physical limits of space, proximity to potential visitors, time, and convenience, all force galleries, curators, editors, casual viewers and buyers to use filters to choose how to expend their limited resources. 

1.26.5.AOL72gr
AOL Bracelet © 2007
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman
View both sides of this bracelet

As mentioned in part 1, the Internet has impacted everything.  Traditionally, the most important value that galleries offered as a "filter" has been as a voice of taste, knowledge and expertise.  They selected the best merchandise to display in limited show space, shelves, and pedestals.  Retail locations will continue to provide this value, but the Internet extends the virtual display space to near infinity on the Long Tail. 

The online show space has no limits - but buyers still need filters to zero in on the small subset of merchandise that is of interest to them.  The algorithms and parameters of search engines are the new filters.

XfactorSimpleLoriPetty-b2
Lori Petty
Illustration by Jose Cruz
X-Factor e blog
Little Known Actors series

In addition, the Internet has spawned the online taste makers like Great Green Goods, Stylehive, Daily Art Muse, and X-Factor E Blog. DailyCandy.com (with 12 city editions) can zoom the popularity of a featured item or business into supernova in a day. These are the new filters of the Internet world.  Yet, I can't think of even one conventional gallery or art/craft related site that has extended its online presence to acting in this "virtual taste maker" role.  I don't know why.  Perhaps, like Blockbuster versus Netflix, the people in the traditional "brick and mortar" model are concerned about cannibalizing their gallery marketplace.

Paper_Filters Online filters are adapting with new fluidity and the egalitarian momentum of the Internet. The ease of sharing a link with your friend can launch a funky YouTube video to stardom.  Where will this take art and craft?  Don't really know yet, we're still in the early stages of a huge transition.  Will it be peer reviews, virtual curators, sheer popularity?  Somehow I don't believe it will depend on "friending" or "hearting" your fellow makers.  I do believe that quality, innovation, or provocative content will be recognized on its own merits. 

With the Long Tail, filters are still necessary and will definitely further evolve in the future marketplace.  We will soon take for granted emerging filters that don't yet exist. More effective search technology and improved consumer characterization will help search engines "know what the consumer likes."  Online filters will further enhance the opportunities for artists and makers to connect with potential online customers without traditional intermediaries such as galleries, magazines, and exhibitions.

Search_engines What can you do now?  Help the search engines find you and your work.  Use tags, titles, and descriptions effectively and as much as possible on every site that includes your work. These text elements are the critical hooks for you to communicate with potential buyers in the online world.  Under-utilized tags and descriptions are like having a storefront window in a fantastic high traffic locale with nothing displayed in the window.  If the shoppers can't "see" what you have, they won't walk in.

Storefront_ copy I consider every one of my online sites a potential  storefront.  Does your storefront invite folks in or leave them guessing (or worse, never connecting)?  Learn to work effectively with current and new filters as they emerge. I'd love to hear your ideas and comments either as a comment or privately through the email link below my photo.
Harriete Estel Berman
FIND ME ONLINE riding the long tail like a wild bronco at:
Etsy  
Twitter
Objectfetish
crafthaus
flickr
Facebook


Make a Living Riding the Long Tail - Part 1

AskHarriete72green
There were many insightful and provocative presentations at the 2009 ACC Conference.
  After thinking about all that went on, I want to focus on three major insights that seemed to be most relevant to making a viable livelihood from your art and craft.

1) The impact of the Internet and shifting marketing channels.

2) The evolution of "filters" from gallery/curatorial selection to peer review and online search.

3) The need to bring value and commitment to a community.

This post will focus on the first item.

Crash72
Crash Brooch © 2009
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Available on Etsy

The Impact of the Internet and shifting marketing channels.
The Internet has demolished the monopoly of the gallery as an exclusive representation system. Anyone (any artist or maker) with a keyboard and a mouse can show their work online to anyone interested in looking. And any collector or buyer can look at art and craft from around the world while simply sitting at a desktop or notebook computer. The Long Tail is indeed very long.

This straightforward fact has dramatically opened opportunities for artists and makers to make a living, if they use this channel effectively. The Internet enables a wide variety of opportunities, but no guarantees. New sites come and go. Old sites evolve, some improve and some get stale. My key message here is that artists and makers should utilize these opportunities to enhance their marketing and to increase their potential to sell their work.  If you sit on the sidelines, the opportunities will pass you by. 

OnceUponA_Time72
Once Upon a Time  © 2009
Recycled Tin Cans
Harriete Estel Berman

You are in control.  You don't have to hope for a gallery or exhibition to select your work.  You can show any part or all your work on your own website or any number of other sites like Facebook, Etsy, or Flickr.  Or submit your work for a degree of peer review with Crafthaus or The Artful Home, as just two examples.  

But you must be diligent.  The Internet keeps changing in the blink of an eye.  Adjust your mindset to be ready to further adapt and keep an eye out for newer web business models.  Be ready to enjoy something different when it comes along.

More than any time in history, the individual artist and maker can directly reach the consumer market. 

In 2003, I put up the first pages of my web site...at the time I thought I was late. How ironic since so many people are still working on getting their web sites going, or others with no web site at all. In March 2008, after the Professional Development Seminar regarding New Marketing Trends and Web 2.0, I jumped into Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Crafthaus, Etsy, and ObjectFetish/Jewelry.  Quite a few crafts people questioned me the whole way.

Who knows where it will go, but I know for a fact that each one of these platforms builds on one another.  The HTML that I've learned (teaching myself how to work on my web site) now helps me on my blog or social networking sites every day. Every one of these sites links to the others, literally. Tomorrow I am listening to another online class on marketing. There are tons of information out there and lots of it is FREE!  

My lifestyle and livelihood are now linked forever to the 21st century tools of the Internet. Let's grab the Long Tail and go for the ride. 

Stay tuned for the next two segments in the next few days:

2) the evolution of "filters" from gallery/curatorial selection to peer review/online search; 

3) the need to bring value and commitment to a community.

Then we will get into some practical tips for online marketing.

Harriete Estel Berman


Long Tail - Blockbuster versus Netflix, and the art/craft world.

On October 24, 2009  I posted a review of the panel discussion at the ACC Conference titled, "Riding the Long Tail: Marketing Craft on the Internet."

That post offered this definition:
Long TailThe "long tail" is a catchphrase about how the Internet enables consumers to easily find and connect with relatively obscure and widely dispersed suppliers. It allows anyone, anywhere, with unusual interests or taste to find items from the smallest niche suppliers, makers or manufacturers.  This is in stark contrast to the limitations of a "brick and mortar" store that must restrict its inventory to only relatively popular items and the physical limits of its shelf space. Long_tail_graph

Both Amazon and Netflix are examples of the near limitless inventory available through the Internet.  They can offer an enormous number of products from the most popular down to extremely unusual items.  

Compare Blockbuster to Netflix. They are both in the movie rental business, but Blockbuster built its business model on neighborhood stores renting the most popular ('blockbuster') movies. For years Blockbuster filled their shelves with hundreds of titles.  In contrast, Netflix has no stores and offers tens of thousands of movies and videos (virtually unlimited).  Netflix offers many more choices and has less operating expense.  Years ago, even Blockbuster recognized that Netflix had a better business model for the long run, but was reluctant to change for fear that they would cannibalize their existing revenue model.  Are they changing too late? Is Blockbuster doomed because it stuck its head in the sand for too long?

 

Fabrication_redsideB
Fabrication                         © 1987-88
Recycled tin cans, brass,
Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The craft world is experiencing this same issue.  Like Blockbuster, traditional galleries and stores selling craft have the physical limit of space and real "brick and mortar" expenses.  In contrast, online art and craft websites offer access to an enormous variety of work (i.e. the Long Tail). 

This issue even arises when websites like The Artful Home feature a self-limiting inventory by being more selective.  By acting as a filter for the consumer (i.e. limiting the selection of merchandise available on their site) they run counter to the Long Tail.  Rather than limit the potential inventory, a more effective search engine would enable  customers to zero in on their "likes" and pass over (or rank lower) the consumer's "dislikes."  

The Internet offers an unlimited (or nearly unlimited) selection of merchandise.  In the past, galleries provided the most efficient path for collectors and buyers to find and select work.  It is infeasible for collectors to personally visit studios in search of work.   Galleries provide a centralized concentration of pre-qualified "good" art for collectors to quickly and easily see a range work.  But it is a limited inventory. The Internet and the ease of search engines have radically changed this situation.

 

Matrlid_full72
Material Identity                      © 2001
Recycled Tin Cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

This unlimited inventory of merchandise will not overwhelm the consumer of the future.  In fact, the consumer of the future will expect the search engine to "know" the consumer's likes and dislikes. With proper search filters and algorithms, the search engine will make "suggestions" based on earlier interactions with the consumer (e.g. the right color, style, theme, and price range).

Think about what YouTube, Amazon, and Pandora all offer the consumer. An almost unlimited selection, but we aren't overwhelmed. We find new ways to use these resources and enjoy the potential. The Internet search engines are offering much of the benefits or filters that the gallery and store once provided to the consumer.

In the next few posts, we can talk about the impact of the internet on the future of galleries and opportunities for selling your work.

Harriete
FIND ME ONLINE riding the long tail at:
Twitter
crafthaus
flickr
Facebook


ACC Conference: Riding the ‘Long Tail’: Marketing Craft on the Internet

1Namita-Wiggers 2Lisa-Bayne 3Amy-Shaw 4Maria-Thomas

Do you know what the "long tail" is?  The "long tail" is a catchphrase about how the Internet enables consumers to easily find and connect with relatively obscure and widely dispersed suppliers. It allows anyone, anywhere, with unusual interests or taste to find items from the smallest niche suppliers, makers or manufacturers.  This is in stark contrast to the limitations of a "brick and mortar" store that must restrict its inventory to only relatively popular items and the physical limits of its shelf space. Long_tail_graph

Both Amazon and Netflix are good examples of the near limitless inventory available through the Internet.  They can offer an enormous number of products from the most popular down to extremely unusual items.  Similarly, art and craft fit perfectly into the "long tail" phenomenon and can leverage the Internet as a highly effective marketing strategy.

This round table discussion, moderated by Namita Wiggers, brought out the range of perspectives regarding marketing on the Internet from professionals in the field. 

1Namita-WiggersBACKGROUND: Namita Wiggers was curator at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon.  

2Lisa-BayneLisa Baye is CEO of the "Artful Home.  The Artful Home website offers a wide spectrum of objects, clothing, jewelry, designer objects all selected by the Artful Home staff.  The Artful Home is one of the rare website marketplaces that uses the same commission structure as "brick and mortar" galleries.  Artists who want to be included in one of the seven mail order catalogs distributed during the year must also be showing work on the website. Revenue is generated by the commission structure, listing fees, and paid advertising.

4Maria-ThomasEtsy is represented by CEO Maria Thomas whose background was primarily in online marketing. In recent years, Etsy has exploded in popularity with participants from D.I.Y. to more seasoned professionals. Etsy presents no barriers to participation.  There is NO registration fee nor participation fee for sellers. Sellers agree to pay 20¢ per item for a four-month listing, plus 3.5% commission on each purchase. There is also a social networking aspect which some makers consider important, but participation at this level is optional.   Additional revenue is generated through paid "showcases" and a limited amount of print advertising. Until very recently Etsy was only about the Internet. 

3Amy-ShawAmy Shaw was the third panelist.  She is a writer, blogger and independent curator in Brooklyn, New York. "Amy and her husband started Greenjeans as the place where they could put their values and ideas about craftsmanship, sustainability, and conscientious living into action."  This site and the "brick and mortar" location were a "business concept rather than a business plan" so they are no longer in operation. The blog is closed.

2.0panel
Panelists for the "Long Tail"Round Table discussion       ACC Conference
Photo Credit: Harriete Estel Berman

Namita Wiggers asked questions of the panelists, but most of the panel discussion was focused on the difference between Artful Home and Etsy.  Artful Home represents a combination of old and new business models but it's fees and marketing are definitely based more traditionally requiring payment upfront for review and participation, selection of work by a jury review, 50/50 commission structure, and a printed catalog.  Etsy allows everyone to participate for free, there is no review, and the low commission is offset by millions of items listed 20¢ at a time.

Both Artful Home and Etsy are successful online marketing sites.  Both promote the story of the handmade object and the lifestyle/livelihood of the artist to sell their items. (This reinforced the message from the previous conference speaker, Rob Walker.) 

Contrast the business models by reviewing the chart below to understand the major differences.

                Artful Home                  Etsy

selection     juried by staff           open to anyone

review fee      one time $35           free

items           portfolio page          artist's shop
                        one of kind               one of kind
                       production           production

listing fee            $300/yr.          20¢ per listing 4 mo.
                       or $25/mo.   

commission              50%           3.5%

price             $100 and up           $6 and up
range

posting                  artist             artist

photos                   artist             artist

payment             30 days             prior to shipping 

catalog       7 times a year           none

Artful Home clearly established that it is a "quality filter" for the consumer which it says is a benefit to both the consumer and the seller. There was no discussion about how they justified such high commission fees (a fee structure that is highly unusual among Internet sites).

 

AOLyelor.72
AOL Earrings
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman

Etsy CEO Maria Thomas suggested that the Treasury and Favorites categories on Etsy play a role as "filters" but I think that is an overstatement or a very low hurdle. Both the Treasury and Favorites have social networking aspects on Etsy along with "heart-ing" your friends.  The contribution to Etsy from the various revenue streams was not clearly discussed either.  I've heard that commission revenue is not significant and is far outweighed by the millions of listings at 20¢ each - that is a lot of money.

Amy Shaw was relatively unknown to this audience and her credibility was never clearly established. We did not hear why she was considered so influential. Her comments were knowledgeable but did not add much content to the conversation.

SUMMARY: There were several key issues raised which all merit further discussion. These include the roles of "filters" either with online search technology, peer review, jury or curatorial selection, or the role of galleries. Additional issues involved the idea of multiple craft communities, participation without judgment, the importance of social networking, blogs, twitter, and Facebook to generate visibility. 

I wish that there was more time to discuss these topics in depth. After these blog posts about the Conference are complete, I will discuss these important business issues in future posts.

 

BraceletHB
JAPANESE MEDALLION COMPLEX
Bracelet, in gold and orange
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Available on Etsy 

WHAT QUESTIONS WERE ASKED AND ANSWERED?
The Q & A session was postponed.  They just ran out of time.

WHAT DID I LEARN? I learned more about Artful Home because I researched it before the Conference and sat with Lisa Baynes, CEO of Artful Home at lunch.  I would like to see some evidence that Etsy could effectively serve segments other than the low priced end of the craft market.

LIFESTYLE OR LIVELIHOOD? It still seems that most artists can not make a living from selling their work either online or in the established craft world. Our lifestyle is romanticized, making a livelihood is more like an aspirational goal.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Emiko
Read Emiko Oye's blog for
another perspective on the
ACC Conference.
terra black 1 x 4 bracelet
legos, peridot set in 14k gold,
rubber stretch cord. 1.25" tall
Available on Etsy

Read the book
Long Tail, The, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. It is absolutely essential reading if you want to understand the potential for Internet marketing.


ACC Conference - Day Two, A Race with Time

Saturday, Day Two to the ACC Conference.

The content of the Conference has been rather intense -- for a blogger, totally overwhelming. Last night I managed to do the first three lectures, the rest will have to wait. This has truly been a race with time.

RaceWithTime
A Race with Time
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman

Today is the big day, the lecture that I have been waiting for... Rob Walker is about to begin!

Stay tuned for more insights and more information about 2.0 marketing.


Online Marketing Tips: Gallery + Artist Collaboration and Affiliate Commissions

Matrlid_backcu72

When starting my website in 2003, I was concerned, "What will my galleries think?"  I was a bit afraid of stepping on their bailiwick.  But I was also thinking, "Why am I working so hard to develop my own website to market my work online?  Isn't that the gallery's job?  Isn't that a major part of why they earn their 50% commission?  Now I'm taking responsibility for a significant portion of the marketing and promotion of my work in addition to the concept development, creation, and fabrication."

PenguinScallop72
Black and White Identity Earrings
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Available through ObjectFetish.com

The Internet enables any artist or maker to accomplish a key marketing task, i.e. publish and distribute a "virtual portfolio." And almost anyone, especially buyers, can find and peruse an artist's website with relatively little effort. Like it or not, the time is past when galleries were the only practical way for clients to find artists and makers. 

The Internet has dramatically changed the dynamics of the relationships between the artist, gallery, and buyer.   In previous posts, I have discussed how galleries will continue to provide unique capabilities and play a vital role in the art business community.  But it is time to recognize that the economic relationships between galleries and artists must adapt as well

ChinLetter72
Chinese Lettering Earrings
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Available through ObjectFetish.com



Why change?  Because everyone benefits.   A web of links is definitely more effective in marketing, promoting, and ultimately attracting buyers.  If buyers find what they are looking for by clicking through from one website to another, then each contributing website should be rewarded.  The monetary incentives should encourage such links. 

PepsiColaWomen72
Pepsi Women Earrings
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Available through ObjectFetish.com

Artists and galleries mutually benefit from a synergistic relationship. The gallery and the artist need to link together in every possible way.  The mutual benefit is that buyers are more likely to find the work that they will purchase. But realistically, if both parties are working to attract buyers through their respective Internet marketing and promotional efforts, how should the commissions be divided?  The incentives for greater collaboration need to adapt to this new reality.  

Next Tuesday this discussion will continue with Part 2. Online Marketing: Gallery and Artist Collaboration- Considering Affiliate Links with four possible scenarios for compensation when establishing affiliate links. 

NutritionFactsGreenChk72

Nutrition  Earrings (green edge w/check)

Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Available through ObjectFetish.com


What do you think? I'd like to hear your opinion about this discussion. Either leave a comment or email me directly by CLICKING HERE.

SPECIAL NOTE    Next week, October 17 - 19, 2009, I will be attending the ACC Conference in Minneapolis and blogging about the lectures and discussions.  Subscribe to my blog so that you can get the daily updates.  Hear what Rob Walker  has to say about 2.0 Marketing and the panel discussion with Namita Wiggers, Riding the Long Tail, Marketing Craft on the Internet. Panelists include Lisa Bayne from Guild.com; Amy Shaw of Greenjeans; and Maria Thomas, CEO of Etsy.  

What questions would you like to ask this 2.0 Panel?

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info
300X250_OF banner


The artist / gallery relationship - Does one size fit all?

Gallery

Traditionally the artist gallery / relationship has been clearly delineated.   The artist made the artwork or craft. The gallery took responsibility for all marketing and sales.  This model is simple and the two domains are served by different skills and expertise.  In effect. however, it is a one-size-fits-all scenario. 

The reality is that business models can be much more complex and apply a range of skills and expertise to varying degrees.   Some artists are in fact quite adept at marketing and sales.  Some galleries are better than others in taking advantage of new technologies and resources and addressing shifting consumer sentiments.  

This is not a new discussion.  Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, manufacturers have chosen whether to sell direct or to sell through distributors and retail channels.  Kelloggs

In many examples, manufacturers focused on making products; and let their retailers focus on marketing and sales.  Kellogg's sells cereal through grocery stores.  Tylenol sells pills through drug stores and convenience stores.  Neither sells directly from the factory.

Dell


At the opposite extreme, Dell and Apple decided to cut out the middle man because they thought they could do it better.  And both are extremely successful. The irony is that Apple created its own retail outlets through Apple stores and Dell has no retail outlets at all.

Apple

And there are many variations. 

Here is a hybrid model.  Cell phones are sold through service provider outlets like Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T.  In addition to their own stores, they also sell through other retail channels like Best Buy and Radio Shack, and many retail websites.

Some clothing manufactures are selling directly from their websites, some aren't.  Some, like Lands End, do both.

Kohler (a well known plumbing fixtures manufacturer) doesn't sell from their factory, but they sell one line of lower priced products through Home Depot and a premium line to their more exclusive retail outlets.  Most people don't realize the distinction in the two product lines until they study the products carefully or talk to a plumber.

There are many different business models that are quite effective in the marketplace.  Who is right?  The real point is that a variety of business models can be effective, i.e. the business model is not sacrosanct.  There is a spectrum of possible models and they all can succeed or fail for reasons beyond the business model.

One model does not fit all situations.  The 50% commission (or 50/50 artist/gallery) model has been around a long time.  I think it is time to reconsider and create some new business models.   I am not saying that the 50/50 model is bad, but it is not ideal for all scenarios.

How and when would some variation of other business models work?  In what situations would another business model be more effective?

What do you think?  Are you marketing your work online independently?  How do you or would you coordinate your marketing with a gallery?  Share your ideas about the changing artist/gallery relationship.  I'm going to continue this discussion in a series of upcoming posts.

SPECIAL NOTE:   Next week, October 17 - 19, 2009, I will be attending the ACC Conference in Minneapolis and blogging about the lectures and discussions.  Subscribe to my blog so that you can get the daily updates.  Hear what Rob Walker  has to say about 2.0 Marketing and the panel discussion with Namita Wiggers, Riding the Long Tail, Marketing Craft on the Internet.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Online Marketing Tips - Galleries and Virtual Galleries

Online marketing is here to stay and will only expand its impact in the future.  Increasingly, potential buyers will explore online "virtual galleries" before going to a show or visiting a town to decide how and what to see with their time and energy.  Gallery and artist web sites need to adapt to this trend and to the growing role of virtual galleries.

HarrieteBerman1
"Your Not Just for" Lifesaver Bracelet
Recycled tin cans, 10k gold rivets
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Mobilia Gallery

Virtual galleries and physical galleries each have distinct advantages and disadvantages.  They should be synergistic.  They are both under the control of the gallery owner.  However, it seems that most galleries currently limit the number of images on their "virtual gallery" websites.  The reasons may vary, but often are along the lines of trying to encourage online visitors to walk into the gallery to see and experience more work at the gallery in person.  I fully agree that most buyers indeed want to see the work personally before purchase.  This is only one reason why physical galleries will continue to fulfill a unique role in the art and craft community.  Galleries offer the thrill of shopping, viewing and maybe even touching the work, in person. 

Opportunities lost.  My personal opinion is that the Internet offers an amazingly effective outreach to the widest possible audience.   Any buyer who is mildly interested in a piece may be stimulated into visiting the gallery by finding and seeing an image online first.  But if they can't find it online, why visit at all?  An Internet-surfing shopper is LESS likely to visit a gallery if the website does not show an image that interests them.  Instead, the virtual gallery should give the surfing shopper every opportunity to find an image that will cause them to visit the physical gallery. 

BR3-3-07_cu
"Your Not Just" Lifesaver Bracelet (close-up)
Recycled tin cans, 10k gold rivets
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Mobilia Gallery

ALL work should be exhibited online.  This should become the new standard for every gallery, show, and exhibition.  With this approach the gallery's web site can also function as a catalog without the expense and environmental impact of printing.  This web page can remain indefinitely as an archive for future reference.

Within a gallery's website, each artist represented by the gallery should have a whole page (or preferably pages) dedicated to the artist's portfolio and profile. Every exhibition at the gallery should have internal links from the artist's name and work in that particular show to the artist's portfolio page. 

The gallery should also link to the artist's web site.  While linking to the artist's web site may seem counter-intuitive to the gallery, they can not prevent people from taking five more seconds on their own for a search on the artist and finding the artist's web site.  The link to the artist's web site is another way that the gallery provides a service to the client. 

BR3-3-07b_cu
"Your Not Just" Lifesaver Bracelet (close-up)
Recycled tin cans, 10k gold rivets
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Mobilia Gallery

It's a two way street.  Artists should link to galleries and any shows or exhibitions that include their work. The Internet is a web of information and the best way to attract buyers is to give them every opportunity and every possible path to find you. 

The artist/gallery relationship is evolving into a new paradigm.  Buyers are using the Internet to choose how they will spend their time and money.  Consequently, both the gallery and the artist need to adapt to take advantage of this new reality.   

What do you think? I'd like to hear your opinion about this new idea.  Either leave a comment or email me directly by CLICKING HERE.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Online Marketing - Gallery and Artist Collaboration


Galleries have traditionally been the primary conduit for buyers to find quality art and craft. The galleries were responsible for marketing and promotion as well as supporting a physical retail space to show art and craft. Artists and makers typically felt ill at ease in such marketing efforts (with the exception of wholesale/retail shows) and preferred to devote their time to the studio.

The Internet has changed the equation - permanently. 

MIRRORculadies72
Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

One of the new realities is that artists and makers CAN market and promote their work via the Internet without gallery representation.  Potential buyers CAN find artists and makers without gallery vetting. The days are past when clients can only find an artist exclusively through a gallery. 

However, in an age of information overload, galleries still offer authoritative credibility regarding the merit of represented work.  For the client, galleries also offer expert guidance, appraisals, and insight well beyond the mere display space for viewing.  For the artist and maker, galleries offer skilled promotion and reliable sales support.


MIRRORfull72
Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

But the Internet is a multi-lane highway connecting many destinations. So here is a radical idea . . .  Artists and galleries need to work together in their marketing efforts.

Huge opportunities are lost when galleries and artists don't act as a team to fully benefit from their respective resources.

Artists need to have their own web sites for credibility and visibility. Galleries need to use the Internet more effectively to showcase all the work for which they are responsible. An exhibition should no longer be presented to the public as one image on a postcard or one page on a web site. With minimal expense, the entire exhibition can be posted as an online catalog of the show.

Galleries and artists can both be more effective with online marketing.  Improved SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one goal, i.e. a bigger "web" of links (more links earns a higher rating).  SEO can drive more traffic to the web sites of both the gallery and the artist. 


Galleries can benefit by linking to all artists' inventory and exhibition pages.   Artists should email and post on the their websites any relevant gallery link such as upcoming events, openings, exhibitions, juried shows, etc.  

Likewise, artists can benefit by helping galleries link to any new resources such as newspa

Idmirrch  
Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

per reviews, magazine articles, open studios, or selection into books.


Both parties need to trust that purchases generated as a result of either w

eb site will be positive and boost credibility, visibility and revenue.

If a customer arrives at my site via the gallery's web site and purchases work from my site, hopefully we can work out the appropriate commission for the gallery. 

Commission strategies need to be reconsidered.  This is an area that needs a lot more discussion.  For example, the web sites for both the gallery and the artist could set up affiliate links that pay commissions in both directions.  There are many other mutually rewarding scenarios that encourage ongoing collaboration.  We need to adapt to a new future. 

Yes there are areas of overlap that will need negotiation. But realistically, was there ever a time without issues to discuss?  I expect to revisit this topic in the near future.

Like it or not, the multi-lane highway of the Internet is going to get bigger and better.  A collaborative effort can be mutually beneficial.

Do you have any ideas or comments? I wonder if the upcoming ACC Conference in Minneapolis will touch on this topic? Stay tuned to my blogs from the Conference in two weeks.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 


Online Marketing Tips: Gallery Websites and Internal Links

3Mmback-72
3M & m Candy Dispenser    (back view)
Recycled tin cans, candy
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The Internet provides a powerful new way for galleries to engage potential buyers.  And most galleries nowadays do have beautiful graphics and images on their web sites.  However, some sites are not yet taking full advantage of the interactive capabilities to enhance the client's experience

3Mm.72jpg
3M & m Candy Dispenser    (front view)
Recycled tin cans, candy
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

A web site enables a gallery to be showing and promoting their entire inventory 24 hours a day around the world in beautiful full color.  The web site (like a full time digital assistant) should help the visitor enjoy themselves nearly as well as a walk-in visitor to the gallery itself.  The web site is not just a place to publish static text announcements and pictures.  It is a dynamic medium that can and should be able to help visitors easily cross reference the artists' profiles, statements, and artwork along with the variety of events and other content that is unique to each gallery. 

Here are a couple of easy recommendations from my personal experience.


Internal Links   On a number of different gallery web sites, I've noticed the same problem. For upcoming gallery shows, the web site announces the show and lists the exhibiting artists' names, but does not enable internal links to the participating artists' pages and images within the gallery's own web site.  Each artist's name on the web site could have been a hyperlink taking the visitor directly to images of the artist's work already at the gallery.  The lack of internal links forces the visitor to stop, look around, and attempt to figure out how to navigate around the web site for additional information.  If visitors get frustrated, they leave.  Consequently, both the gallery and the artist may have lost potential buyers.  Internal links also enhance SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is very beneficial to any web site.

3MmBACKCUTedge100
3M & m Candy Dispenser (close-up view)
Recycled tin cans, candy
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen



Hyperlink Anchors   A long page of content on a single web page is a common occurrence on many web sites.   If a visitor must scroll down an extensive page to find multiple artists or exhibitions further down a web page, then I recommend that some hyperlink anchors should be inserted at important subsections . . . and a small navigation list of these subsections (similar to a table of contents) should be shown at the top of the page.  This helps a visitor who is unfamiliar with the website to see what is further down and "jump" directly to an item of content.  The purpose is to empower visitors to follow their interests as easily as possible. 

These are two very useful and easy features to implement that can make a gallery web site more enjoyable for visitors - and more profitable for both the gallery and the artist.  Artists can be advocates by providing amazing images and giving constructive feedback to galleries regarding ease of navigating around the gallery web site.

Galleries continue to offer real benefits for clients by selecting and displaying work of merit from represented artists and makers.  Additional guidance, appraisals, and insights can be achieved through direct contact.   The overall value still revolves around the client relationship, even if a part of that relationship is now an online reality. 

             





Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Online Marketing Tips; Easy Links Directly to Your Content

TenenbaumJWhose Woods These Are 200905281_0
"Whose Woods These Are"
Joan Tenenbaum
Photo: Doug Yaple

Recently Joan Tenenbaum emailed a link to me regarding her upcoming exhibition at Stonington Gallery in Seattle, WA.  Using email and links to specific online content is a very effective way to promote your work to a large audience.  This is also a good example of cooperative marketing between the artist and gallery – and both benefit.  So far, so good, but after following the links and instructions in the email, I would like to offer some constructive suggestions to both the artist and to the gallery.  The rest of this post will focus on suggestions for every artist.  Suggestions for effective links on the gallery web site will be the focus of a subsequent post.

The Plan   In her email, the artist, Joan Tenenbaum only included the link to the gallery's Home page along with instructions to look around the site for the Calendar of Events page to find her work.  Seems innocent enough.

The Reality   As the recipient of these instructions, I reread the instructions, clicked on the link and had to look around the Home page to find and click on the Calendar of Events link, and look around the new page (and not see Joan's work anywhere, take a deep breath to quell my mild frustration and uncertainty, only to eventually realize I had to scroll down for more content, still not see Joan's jewelry, scroll some more, and some more), and finally find Joan's segment announcing her exhibition.  I briefly enjoyed a small sense of victory from my excursion into cyberspace and discovery of Joan's content in this labyrinth.  

Admittedly, all this took less than 60 seconds.  Not really so bad, but on a typical hectic day, I and perhaps most other people would easily have given up and moved on to the next email.   This was asking too much for the casual reader and brought this post's topic to mind. 

An online link should take the viewer directly to the target content....not nearby, not the general area, nor with additional instructions to follow. In a successful online marketing campaign, you want to avoid any possible misinterpretation, mistakes, or inattention.  Help people get to the exact location immediately with ONE CLICK.

It is not a difficult task and here is HOW TO LINK DIRECTLY.

The exact URL link to Joan Tenenbaum's inventory photos looks like this:
http://www.stoningtongallery.com/exhibit_view.php?exhibit_number=65&exhibit_title=JOAN%20TENENBAUM:%20FIFTY%20YEARS%20OF%20JEWELRY%20MAKING,%20THE%20DEPTH%20AND%20BREADTH%20OF%20A%20FIFTY%20YEAR%20PASSION

Wow!  That looks really long and scary, but there are some easy options for including the appropriate link in your web correspondence. 

First option    I noticed that Joan's email was an HTML email (such as Outlook or Outlook Express.) which allows a user to create a link in the email as a hyperlink text LIKE THIS . To do this, use the "hyperlink" button on your HTML email toolbar (it looks like a small chain with an image of the world behind it).  Click on the button, put in the text you want to use or highlight as the link. In this example I typed in "LIKE THIS".  Then in the next box add the hyperlink URL (the long, scary character string) which will be hidden in the actual email.  If you do this one time you will know how to do it forever, and it is super easy to do.

Second option    Go to Tinyurl.com and make your own hyperlink to the target content.  I created this one  http://tinyurl.com/m8oa8r  for Joan quick and easy.  Anyone can do this for free.  When you are on the Tinyurl.com site, paste in the long hyperlink text. Then CLICK the button that says "Make a TinyURL",  and voila, a short and tiny URL is ready in an instant.  Yes, really that quick!

Many people are sending emails without the direct link addresses. It is really frustrating, looking all over a site, trying to find the appropriate path to some specific image or content, move to another page, go back, try another path . . . sometimes I get interrupted or just don't have time and then I forget to go back and look around. 

Hopefully everyone can now help their audience click directly to target images or content.  This can surely improve your marketing effectiveness.

If you have any ideas or questions for ASK Harriete,  just write  to me any time! Just CLICK on the Email link here or at the top of this post under my photo.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Listen to Harriete on Blog Talk Radio

Harriete self portrait slight smile copy.72
Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

Last week I jumped in with both feet to a new technology on the internet - Blog Talk Radio.

The program with Jay Whaley is regularly scheduled for Thursday afternoons.  I was interviewed "live" on Thursday, August 6, 2009.  You can listen to past interviews at any time via streaming audio or download the program to listen while you walk or exercise.

If you'd like to hear a fast moving interview about my work, the Professional Guidelines and more, go to Blog Talk Radio with Jay Whaley.

 

Email annoucements - Are yours effective and professional?

SAMPLE-ANNOUCEMENT-COMBINED
Sample postcard announcement
Front and Back are combined

In this day of modern technology it is acceptable to send an announcement by email. This can save money on printing and postage, and save trees. It is common for many people to have a larger list of email contacts than traditional mailing addresses. So sending out an announcement via email is definitely the way to go.  But far too many artists are making errors, I mean HUGE ERRORS, in the way they approach sending out email announcements.

DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING:

DO NOT send an email with no text and only an attachment. Create an abridged version of the information and personal note in the body of the email. If you don't introduce yourself with a friendly note about who you are and the basic information included in the attachment, many people are not going to open an unknown attachment due to fear of viruses or spam.

Do not simply send two images of a scanned postcard (one of the front, one of the back).  Instead, take full advantage of PhotoShop (or another image editing program) and create a special internet version of your announcement with images and the information. This one item can be sent as an attachment. 

Try to make your email attachment as small as possible. Try not to send larger than 1 MB or 2 MB images. The best option and most professional is to send your attachment as a PDF.  PDF automatically compresses the file size of the attachment.  Most important, PDF's do not carry viruses and are safe to open. Your intended recipient will feel much more comfortable opening a PDF attachment.

I couldn't add the PDF to this blog, but a high quality PDF with images was slightly over 1 MB which is acceptable.

If you can't create a PDF, pay attention to the attachment file size.  As an example, I took an old announcement postcard, scanned both sides and combined them as one image (see example image above).   As a TIF at 300 dpi it was 23MB (which is too big).  When reduced to 72dpi and 8" x 10" it was 1.16 MB.  As a JPG at 72dpi using the SAVE FOR WEB option and compressed to 80%, it was 171KB.  A small file is a very courteous option to send as email.

TEST YOUR EMAIL FIRST before sending it out to your entire mailing list. Do a few tests to yourself first, then to close friends or relatives. Ask them in advance how the email looks when it arrives in their mail box with their specific computer or email program. Make sure it is working, especially if you are new at using a newsletter template or HTML EMAIL.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

  
   

Always include the CITY & STATE in an invitation to an event.

Recently, I've noticed a chronic problem as people market their work on the Internet. They seem to forget that the Internet is a worldwide audience.  Here is one issue that is almost too obvious.

Invitations to an event should always include the CITY and STATE!

You would not believe how many email invitations never mention a city.  I am sure this must be happening everywhere. If your announcement is an invitation to an event, be sure to include this strategic information. 

Recently, I was corresponding with a museum in Delaware County.  I had visions of the Chesapeake Bay and a short drive for people from Baltimore or Philadelphia.  Eventually, I realized that they were in Indiana!  Mental reset!

In all Internet announcements for exhibitions, shows, lectures and more, don't forget to show the city, state or province, where the event is located.  

Depending on how wide your email list extends, you might even ADD THE COUNTRY (e.g. Paris FRANCE versus Paris, Texas).  

Marketing on the Internet connects you to a global audience.  Be sure to provide all the relevant information to communicate with this audience effectively.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Get your own name on Facebook now!

Did you know that you can get your own name on Facebook?  Do it now! This is a fast and easy step for creating an identity and visibility for your artwork and your name.

For my original Facebook account, I was assigned some random number as my identity.  Now, my Facebook address is   http://www.facebook.com/harriete.estel.berman/   No longer am I an anonymous number.  Facebook is the LARGEST photo sharing site on the Internet. And it is free. It is also easy to keep your Facebook page completely professional. There are many choices regarding how you share you personal or professional information.  This is a very convenient way to introduce your art or craft to a wide audience.

Choose your "NAME" carefully. Once it is done, there is no changing it.  If you have a common first or last name, use your middle initial or your middle name (like I did).  A second option would be to add a number, but I recommend that you try to make your name more unique with a middle name or middle family name rather than a number.  It just doesn't seem all that unique or memorable to be Adam.Evan523.

To find out how to get your own name on Facebook CLICK here. 

You never know who might be looking for you online; a customer, a curator, or an author doing research for an article.  Get online and increase the visibility for your art in every way you can.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Uploading Images to Social Networking Sites: What size is recommended?

ConIDchair_full1000
Consuming Identity Chair
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

When it comes to uploading images to Social Networking sites for online viewing, you want to keep a couple of important factors in mind.

  • Image size for optimal online viewing is usually about 1Mb.
  • Some sites impose a size limit.  
  • Check to make sure your  digital images show up properly.
  • Take full advantage of tags and descriptions for each image.

I've found that a file size in the range of one megabyte (1Mb) or less is a practical size for nearly all social networking sites. When you upload an image,  most online 2.0 sites will automatically downsize the  digital image file to fit their template for thumbnail images.  These sites typically retain the larger file so that if anyone clicks on the thumbnail, a larger pop up image will open.   Use these built-in features of 2.0 sites to your advantage.

Not too small!  Small images (for example 100 x 150 pixels) may look fine for quick review as a "thumbnail" for your website, or as the thumbnail on a social networking "page" or "portfolio."  But if a potential buyer clicks on the image for a larger, closer inspection, and the image does not increase in size, it is very disappointing.  Click on the image above to see the difference.

I've also heard of people intentionally uploading small images out of fear that their work may be copied.  Frankly my advice is to "get over it."  Move on.  Keep developing your portfolio with skill and artistic vision amplified by hard work.  A copycat, if one ever occurs, will be found out soon enough.  The recurring benefits of larger, high resolution images far outweigh the small chance of abuse.   

Not too big!  Don't upload an image file that is too large either.  Many people have high speed connections, but very large image files (e.g. 3MB and larger) may take such a long time to render on the viewer's monitor that they stop and go elsewhere. 

Always try a test viewing of your online images as if you were a potential curator or buyer visiting the site.  If it doesn't show up the way you expected, find out why, delete it and re-upload a corrected image file.    

Check here soon for upcoming blogs on tags and descriptions to get the most out of uploaded images. Read the previous blog about image labels.

Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Image labels generate Internet visibility.

Stimulus Plan4.72
Stimulus Plan Pins
Recycled tin cans, ss rivets
Available at Sienna Gallery

Your photographic images can be working for you across the Internet at the speed of light, 24 hours a day.  So as you "sign up" and upload your images with various social networking and portfolio sites, take the time to label your images for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to maximize potential traffic.  Proper titles, labels and descriptions help search engines find your work. 

BASIC INFORMATION:  Every image that you post on the Internet, whether on Facebook, Crafthaus, Flickr, or other social networking/portfolio sites, needs to be labeled with the following information:

  • Artist's name
  • Title of the work
  • Copyright symbol
  • Date of work
  • Media or materials
  • Dimensions (height, width, depth)
  • Helpful other tags (if possible)

Some sites make it easier than others to incorporate this information.  Each site might need to be labeled in a slightly different way, but a little effort can attract a lot more traffic.

WarmSunshine72
Sunshine Pin
Recycled tin cans, ss rivets
Available through Sienna Gallery

Help people find your work.  Although most people are familiar with searching, there may be enormous variations in how they initiate a search; whether by artist name, the title, a rough description, the materials, date, etc.  Let this influence your approach to labeling when uploading images. 

Create a variety of ways for search engines to "hit" your work.   For example, in the "Title" box for labeling photos, I first type in the title of the work, and then add my name and date of work within the "title" box.  That way if people are searching the "titles" category for my name, they will find my work.

Same goes for the "Description" box.  Type in all the relevant information about your work in the "description" including your name (again) and other relevant search terms for your work.   

One more suggestion is to spell your name in the tags in a variety of ways if your name is often misspelled.  For example, my first name is "Harriete."  There are several common variations such as "Harriet" (no E at the end) and "Harriette" (with 2 t's.)  My middle name is "Estel," but it is often written as "Estelle."  Don't think I'm crazy. Even if someone misspells my name, I want them to find my work.  Isn't that your goal?  Think about how people regularly misspell your name and use it in your tags.

Time for visibility.  I know that labeling is a bit tedious, especially if you are uploading multiple images.  One time-saver is to compose much of the information in a Word document and then "copy" and "paste" to alleviate some repetition. I use my image descriptions document for just this purpose and a special Word document of "tags" to speed up the process.

Keep in mind that search engines can't "see" an image and can only search on the words that you type in to these tags and boxes.  The payoff, thereafter, is that the labels will be working for you tirelessly across the Internet for a very long time.     

Harriete Estel Berman
www.harriete-estel-berman.info

 
P.S.   All of these recommendations depend on having great photographic images and understanding digital images. The Professional Guidelines has a new document titled Working with Digital Images Effectively. Use this document as a checklist or guide. If you don't know how to work with digital images, take a class at your local high school or college offering adult education classes. Also Lynda.com  offers a really amazing web site with tutorials as either a yearly subscription or purchasing a CD. Knowing how to work with digital images effectively is a skill that every artist and crafts person needs to learn and master. It is as important a tool as your paint brush, potter's wheel, glaze or drill press.


Do not add text to your photos!

Your photos are your best marketing tool.  Unfortunately some artists have stepped over the line and added their name or their business name into the photo. This distracts from the primary purpose of your photo which is to show your art work or craft at its best.  Anything else is a distraction and lends a commercial appearance that is inappropriate for fine art or fine craft.  All other information can be added elsewhere, just not in the photo. (Information for your photos will be covered in the next post.)

Do not add data to your photos.  Do not add your signature, date, object's title, artist's name, company name, business name, watermark or Etsy shop name to your photos.  Keep your photos absolutely clean so that they can be submitted for all sorts of opportunities like books, magazines, local newspapers, gallery promotions, juried shows, exhibitions and on line social networking sites.

When you take photos of your work, create a set of photos that will be suitable for as many opportunities and applications as possible.  And make your work so memorable and unique that everyone recognizes your work even without looking for the artists name. This is your signature!

Stay tuned for additional posts on photographic images and refer to the Professional Guidelines documents:

GUIDE TO PROFESSIONAL QUALITY IMAGES

And

WORKING WITH DIGITAL IMAGES EFFECTIVELY 


Harriete
www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Start creating online visibility - with Facebook and Flickr to promote your art and craft

Dear Harriete,

I haven't tried the Internet yet to promote my work. What do you suggest to start with first?

Signed,

Overwhelmed and Confused

Dear Overwhelmed,

The Web can certainly help your marketing efforts, even for a novice.   Start with the easiest web exposure by joining a couple of social networking sites.  Here is a list of several good ones.

Flickr offers a free image posting service. You can upload images to create a portfolio and then refer people to look through your online portfolio.  Flickr is less about socializing and focuses more on providing an easy to manage portfolio of images. Some "groups" within Flickr have discussion boards, but they don't seem that active. Flickr is NOT a retail venue, in fact, any overt promotion of your work, such as prices or links to retail sites, is strictly forbidden except on your profile page.

It is easy to post images on Flickr. If you don't have Photoshop (or other photo editing software) you can upload rather large images to Flickr directly from your computer or camera.  Flickr will accept large images and resize them to web size images. This is a quick and easy way to make web-ready images. Flickr is free for up to 200 images or 100 MB.  Start with the free stuff.  You can upgrade any time to the fee-based premium options. There is no filter on Flickr, which means anyone and everyone can participate, but you'll be joining a crowd. To give you work on Flickr more visibility, join groups on Flickr, then post more of your work to the groups regularly. You may meet people with similar interests. 

Facebook is a social networking site that is also free and very easy to use.  Posting images is secondary, but you can make posting images of your art or craft work a primary focus for your pages.  You'll gain a lot of visibility with a wide new audience both inside and outside of the arts and crafts world. You'll meet lots of people on Facebook and it helps break the isolation of the studio.  Facebook is the largest photo sharing site on the web. 

Crafthaus is organized specifically for artists and craftspeople.  It is monitored by Brigette Martin and is intended to be a combination of social network and image visibility within a group of like-minded people.  Martin acts as a juror to filter or select who can participate and what images can be posted within the site. A number of on-going discussions and blogs cover art/craft related issues.  It now costs about $20 to be on Crafthaus.

LinkedIn is a social networking site without images but it can be useful to connect with other individuals or possibly your collectors who might have a "professional" profile. It doesn't cost anything other than a bit of your time, and it provides another possibility to connect with colleagues from your past, present and the future. Keep this site completely professional. Skip any reference to your family, children and pets, etc.

Every one of these sites generates visibility for you and your art work or craft. As you become more proficient, make sure to add links on each of your profile pages for every site and your website to interconnect them.  This creates more traffic for your artwork or craft and more name recognition. The Internet is called the "web" and it is up to you to create a web of links and connections to catch attention for you and your work.

A new generation of the web - dubbed "Web 2.0" (pronounced web two point o) - enables sites such as Facebook and Flickr.  For most of us, it means that you don’t need programming skills or special software to participate.  Most 2.0 sites are very egalitarian by their very nature. Just jump right in and get started. After some experimentation it does get a lot easier.  If you get stuck, many people already on-line can help you out. Just post your question and ask for help. 

Your goal is to gain visibility online that could lead to purchases.  Experiment first with the free sites and learn before spending money on Internet sites that promise visibility for $100 to $200 a year. You can create a lot of visibility without spending much money. Save your money for investing in fantastic professional photography. 

Go ahead, jump in and get your feet wet. IF you don't like it, you can either delete your account or let it lie fallow.

For some expert insight, there will be an entire afternoon focused on websites and Web 2.0 during the Professional Development Seminar on May 20, 2009 (Wednesday afternoon) before the SNAG Conference in Philadelphia. This four hours of information is a real deal for $15 at the door. (Download the Professional Development FLYERThis program is open to anyone. 

Stay tuned for future posts about Web 2.0 and other good stuff that I expect to learn at the Professional Development Seminar (in case you can't come) . Retail 2.0 sites will be listed in an upcoming blog post. 

Signed,

Harriete Estel Berman

P.S.  I have included the links to many sites in which I participate, but you may not be able to see much unless you sign in.  Hopefully you'll see other examples to give you a feel for the particular site.


Are your images good enough?

Bridgette Martin on Crafthaus recently posted a blog with six tips about photographic images. This is such an important topic for all artists and makers in all media. She should know. Bridgette has established Crafthaus, an arts community social network on line and runs her own "bricks and mortar" gallery Luke and Eloy in Pittsburgh. She looks at images everyday.

Fabulous photographic images have always been important but with the circulation of images on the Internet, and the growing opportunities to have your work published in books and magazines great photographic images have become even more important.

That is why I decided to write a new Professional Guidelines document about Quality Photographic Images. This will be published soon. There is also a new topic KNOWING HOW TO WORK WITH DIGITAL IMAGES which is almost complete. The final topic of this three part series will be bad and good photographic examples with an explanation.

If anyone would like to submit their photos for public evaluation in this 3rd document please send them directly to me as 2" x 2", 300 dpi. Send the images to: bermaid [at] harriete-estel-berman [dot] info. As compensation for allowing me to use your images in this document, I am offering a private critique of the photo and the work if you are interested. This is optional but can be an opportunity to work toward success.

To be successful, all creative individuals need to strive for improvement and "deliberate practice" as described in the book TALENT IS OVERRATED by Geoff Colvin. Are you striving for improvement? Do you show your images to your Critique Group and ask for critique? Are you projecting your images to see if they still look good to a jury? A digital camera does not make you a photographer. Evaluate your images carefully as a key to success.


How do I promote my work in a slow economy?

Harriete,
I was wondering if you had any ideas about how to get increase visibility and possibly retail purchases with the current economy.    I am exploring ALL of my options.
Exploring

Dear Exploring ALL your options,
There are many Internet sites that offer visibility of your work for both the arts and crafts community and could expose your work to new audiences.

During these slow times I am investing in "Research and Development" with my work and on-line networking. Recently, I heard an interview on Charlie Rose discuss the approach of the famous CEO of Intel,  Andy Grove. His approach during slow downs in the economy is Research and Development and investing in his company preparing for the upturn in the economy. While his business background does not apply to the arts directly, his attitude is one we can embrace.

A slow down in the economy is not the time to take a vacation or lay around getting extra rest.  We need to experiment in the studio, develop new ideas and designs. Invest your time in an amazing one of a kind or limited production item that you may not have had time to create when you were swamped with orders.

I have been posting multiple images of older work on 2.0  network sites just to show my work to aFlowerWht 72 larger audience that may not have seen it before or may not be familiar with my work. I consider all of the Internet options like Facebook, Flickr, Crafthaus and Etsy as opportunities for exposure for the future.

Now is the time to work on finding new visibility. Enter a few shows or submit your amazing new pieces to a book or magazine. Try networking on Flickr, Facebook, Crafthaus, or start your own blog.  All of these actions can be done for free. Post images on these sites. Let people know about all the great work you've made in the past that they may have never seen. I have met people by networking on line that I have never met at a conference. One more important reason to participate on these sites is that they will link to your web site. 

Do you have a web site? I think a web site is an absolute requirement for artists these days. It establishes your credibility and helps people find you or find out more about your work. You could have just one or two pages with information and links to other sites, but a professional web site is a must.  Note, I said, "professional." The web site should match your personal aesthetic and style.  A D.I.Y. web site or a template will look like a cookie cutter impression. Invest in a modest but unique web site style which can develop in the future with additional pages and more information.

Personally, I am working on posting more information on my web site, such as my video and my slide lectures (as PowerPoint presentations). SlideShare is a new site where you can post PowerPoint lectures for free. What a great way to introduce your work to new people.

Pds_logoletterhead The Professional Development Seminar on May 20, 2009 at the next SNAG Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will have an amazing program about websites and 2.0 for the first two hours. The second half of the program is about the future of galleries in the 21st century. Don't miss this valuable information. It only costs $10 if you pre-register. 

Hope this information is helpful and inspiring. Do you have ideas that you would like to add?
Share them with others as a comment -- or email me directly or find me on Facebook.

Harriete Estel Berman