Looking For A Little Guidance And Push

15 replies
Loving all the great threads and information here. Appreciate it!

I've really been struggling with my online business the past year. This year marks the third year in business and I'm buckling down to push it to the next level.

My issue is I'm really struggling with what direction to go.

Along with my brother-in-law who takes care of actual production of the product, I run OnACanvas.com where we print photos on to canvas. We're quite popular locally and slowly growing throughout the photographer community in Canada where we average $5,000 in sales a month. Not terrible but far from where I want it to be.

The photo to canvas niche is quite competitive with competitors such as CanvasPop.com and CanvasOnDemain.com but from really monitoring them they don't really do anything for content. I'm a huge believer in adding value and educating without 'marketing' and 'selling' our service.

This is where we started producing a few layout ideas, as seen on the site. They get a little bit of attention via Social Media and on the site but nothing ground-breaking.

I want to be completely different and out of the box from everyone else and that's where I had the idea of producing Photography videos directed at teaching followers how to take better pictures. Focusing on providing free value in hopes that we build a relationship and trust which ideally will turn into future purchases.

I'm thinking of also dumping majority of the content and clutter on the site and making the homepage the actually canvas ordering page, of course designed better, so that it requires less steps. Then doing a one page scroll animation where we tell a story of printing photos to canvas while sharing all the details involved in the product - rather than just having a plain Details page that has product pictures and whatnot. Create a whole experience into the visitors time on the site.

Anyways. Sorry for the long ramble message. Just looking for a little guidance and insight from other Internet Marketers - I've always been out on my own with this.

Thanks.
Kyle
#guidance #push
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
    There's a couple of things that come to mind looking at your site and reading your post.

    Your site looks pretty good. A little busy, but nice and clean.

    One thing is that your prime real estate on your home page is listing the features of your product, canvas on demand dot com is listing the benefits that (if I was a photographer, anyway) would appeal most to me.

    On your canvas sizes page, I would think that if someone clicked on the link to that page in your menu, they would be looking for list of your sizes, not an SEO'd article above the fold. The article is well written, its just that I would bet not too many people are reading it.

    Can you make your canvas size example images and larger and put them in a carousel or a set of popups?

    Those are all little things, its good that your order canvas button on the home page is very visible. It might be helpful if your buttons said the same thing. Both Order or both Create. Maybe everyone who comes here knows they are the same, but I thought they were different.

    The biggest thing though, is in mindset. You have a website, you are marketing your service, and that is a really good thing. If you are going to produce videos showing people how to do things, it would be good to add in a little sales pitch to every video. You don't have to buttonhole each viewer, but its important that they know you are in business. And most times you have to tell people that you are in business to serve their needs.

    Nothing ugly, just something like, "Thanks for watching our video, I hope you got a lot out of it. Don't forget that when you need to print your photos on canvas, we are Canada's premier canvas printing service, so drop on by our site at On A Canvas dot com and we'll take great care of you."
    Signature


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9809839].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author iansinfo
    Looking at your site it is too busy people wont know where to start and instead will move on. Best to find yourself a niche within the niche specialize and become the go to expert in that field
    Signature

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9810109].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author benjamenjuan
    no that's not your niche.

    focus on your niche and branding and expanding your traffic sources.

    "when you brand yourself properly, competition is irrelevant"
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9810119].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author perison
    Thanks for the insight and feedback everyone. I'll work on cleaning the site up and removing the clutter.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9812096].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author wfletch24
    I think videos would be a great promotion tactic.One of the posts on your site talks about how to make a filmstrip canvas layout. I think more videos and/or content like this would do really well because you are not only teaching them how to do something cool but you are also showing them how good it looks when completed. This is a great way to promote your service without directly selling. I also think this this type of content would do well on pinterest and instagram.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9812190].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author perison
    Thanks for the confirmation wfletch. We really want to do more videos but need to find the right angle. Teaching how to take better pictures with an end result in a printed canvas seems like the way to go. Start off with a series on teaching how to take a properly exposed image by balancing shutter, aperture and iso then showcase some really creative shots printed on canvas and go into how that shot was taken and teach how to take an image just like it.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9812196].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Bob Reynolds
    Take your site to the next level, and I say go "Authority Celebrity Custom Canvas Person" with your craft.... Have your own youtube channel and do like the cake boss... like Bob Ross... and your idea of a short vid with the process are great... keep in mind how the custom piece reaches to the desire of the customer, give them an experience... there and in your videos... don't do it a little, do it a lot, and learn how to rank your youtubes.. link in all the social sites, collect emails for free something of value... people will want to leave an email, and want to order, make it easy, you will want to have some type of call to action in the right places... I could see something like this going viral... test and grow out,you are heading right... I would say don't drag your feet
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9812219].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author perison
      Originally Posted by Marx Vergel Melencio View Post

      Who exactly are the customers that pay the $5K average monthly sales for you? Are most of them pro photographers with photo studio businesses, or independent pro photographers, or photography hobbyists, or intermediate photographers, or photography students and beginners?
      Hi Marx. We're about 60% professional/hobby photographers and 40% individuals looking to order a canvas of their personal photos, or photos a photographer did for them.

      We have the majority of local photographers ordering from us, all photographers get a pro rate, and are slowly reaching out to others to grow our photographer customer base as photographer have a longer order lifespan than an individual.


      Originally Posted by Bob Reynolds View Post

      Take your site to the next level, and I say go "Authority Celebrity Custom Canvas Person" with your craft.... Have your own youtube channel and do like the cake boss... like Bob Ross... and your idea of a short vid with the process are great... keep in mind how the custom piece reaches to the desire of the customer, give them an experience... there and in your videos... don't do it a little, do it a lot, and learn how to rank your youtubes.. link in all the social sites, collect emails for free something of value... people will want to leave an email, and want to order, make it easy, you will want to have some type of call to action in the right places... I could see something like this going viral... test and grow out,you are heading right... I would say don't drag your feet
      Great suggestion. It's difficult for us to film 'behind the scenes' type videos because it's just me and my brother-in-law and we don't have a shop. Everything is printed in my office den, canvases are spray coated for protection in the garage then Josh, my brother-in-law takes the canvases back to his place where he builds the frames in his carport and wraps in his dining room. If we filmed any of that it might appear pretty sketchy to ordering from us, no?

      I'd love to reach the point where when you think of printing a canvas you think of us. There's big competitors but no one has really established authority with content marketing and education. I think there's a big hole there and it seems like you all agree with doing photography related videos to grow a following is the right route.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9813539].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Steve B
        Kyle,

        Here is just one simple suggestion . . .

        You're in the graphic arts business, but all the graphics on your web site really suck! There's not one that is big and beautiful, tantalizing, inspiring, that makes me want to own the same thing.

        All your product images are tiny little things and on the "sizes" page they are all the same tiny B/W image!

        Get some color, some big and beautiful images that make people want to buy your canvases! Wow your visitors. Make this a beautiful exciting experience to visit your web site. Do you think an artist would sell any paintings from his site if they were all displayed as little B/W images? No! Well, you're kind of in the same business.

        Make me drool over your products!!

        The best to you,

        Steve
        Signature

        Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources
        SteveBrowneDirect

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9813731].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sal64
    who is your market and what will they buy? what solution do they need?

    Answer that and the rest will flow.
    Signature
    Internet Marketing: 20% Internet - 80% Marketing!
    You Won't See The Light Until You Open Your Eyes.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9812257].message }}
  • Kyle,

    Originally Posted by perison View Post

    We're quite popular locally and slowly growing throughout the photographer community in Canada where we average $5,000 in sales a month. Not terrible but far from where I want it to be. I want to be completely different and out of the box from everyone else and that's where I had the idea of producing Photography videos directed at teaching followers how to take better pictures. Focusing on providing free value in hopes that we build a relationship and trust which ideally will turn into future purchases.
    Who exactly are the customers that pay the $5K average monthly sales for you? Are most of them pro photographers with photo studio businesses, or independent pro photographers, or photography hobbyists, or intermediate photographers, or photography students and beginners?

    I think getting answers to these questions from your sales records for the past several months would allow you to generate ideas for the onsite content that could be beneficial to your ideal customers, and to also know the exact online places where most of your ideal customers frequent, which could in turn improve the results of your softsell and hardsell promotional campaigns; and

    Answers to the questions above from your sales records would also allow you to focus more on the type of market that generates better profits for you -- Either the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, or the business-to-business (B2B) market. For example:

    If your sales records show that a majority of your customers are pro photographers with photo studio businesses, then it'd probably be good to contact local photo studio businesses and negotiate a mutually beneficial partnership agreement with them where you become their service supplier for the exact products and services that you're offering, in order for them to add your products / services to their offerings (widening their selection of products / services for their customers in the process) and also for them to potentially get more customers and earn more by selling your products / services to their customers as their own products / services (either via their mark-ups on your products / services, or from the commissions that you want to give them for each sale)...
    Signature

    Watch My Current R&D Project in Action: Wearable 3D Perception Device for the Blind
    • Please Support My Project at PATREON

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9812260].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    Your product/service screams Instagram, Pintrest, Facebook and YouTube. You want to create a buzz around some of your best work. You want to create a presence on Instagram, Pintrest and begin posting your best projects along with proper tags...then join photography and hobby (as well as any other relevant) groups so you can begin to build a following and have others like your work. Same thing on Facebook - you may even want to run some targeted FB ads to either a FB landing page that you have created or external website targeting photogs

    Lots of potential to dramatically improve your visibility for sure.

    Jeff
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9814112].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    Yes just like the posters above said. Your site is lacking 'direction'.

    Believe it or not, most people probably don't know what a canvas print really is. I have seen them before myself (and yes they are very pretty) but for some reason I never put the words 'canvas' print' together with what the product actually was.

    You are losing revenue in the areas above.

    If you don't know how to properly put together your site with more directions and 'call to actions' for your visitors, then HIRE a professional to look over your site.

    I would get a 'Pro' to take the same site and do a 'make over'.

    You could probably be making 4 X times that amount with your visitors & promotion that you already have.

    'Mindset' is one of the biggest determining factors of a persons success & income level.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9814145].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author perison
    Thanks everyone.

    So for redesigning the homepage things to do is remove clutter, develop a large eye-catching graphic that ideally shows you what a canvas print is then perhaps have the actual image upload, order area below that to remove as many steps in the process?

    I don't want to overload the website on selling them what a canvas print is but hopefully through a better gallery showcasing canvases and layouts inspire them to want one themselves?

    Then for content. Produce a crazy amount of videos teaching about how to take better photos. Doing series where we meet up with a family, talk about a wall that they want to have a collage of canvases. Film the planning, the shoot with how-tos, image preparation up to hanging the canvases.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9815871].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author perison
    That's where I was thinking it would be unique to develop a scroll-animated homepage that tells the story from the point a family getting their picture taken to where they're hanging their photos on their home wall. I find whenever you stumble onto a scroll like page to can't help but not scroll and see what it does.

    That too corny?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[9815877].message }}

Trending Topics