If you can't afford original art, an art print is a great compromise. But please, upgrade from the paper posters you had in high school. You can find beautiful Gicleé art to hang on those blank walls in many formats; on canvas or framed art paper. But be forewarned - not all art prints are Gicleé and not all Gicleé's are limited editions.
If you can afford it, try to buy signed limited edition prints. This means the artist numbers and signs each print and after the series is finished, that is the end of those sales. There is one original, and those prints. Finis. Lucky you if you bought one!
Find out more about the process and the differences here - and if you have more questions - ask me!
What paint colors do you use?
My most asked question! What colors do I use in my paintings. As my painting have developed over the years - from a strict adherence to photo realistic colors to juicy colors that sometimes bear no resemblance to the actual colors in my subjects - my palette has changed.
This is my current palette for acrylics and oils - most are Winsor Newton brand. I'll post my watercolor palette in another post and discuss the other palettes shown here as style palettes for comparison.
If you take a class from me, the first thing we are going to cover is a color wheel. Why? Because everything you were taught in 1st grade is wrong. You can not mix every color from blue, red and yellow. Which red are you using? Which blue?
If you are regularly mixing muddy colors you have to start by understanding that there are orange-reds and blue-reds. My color wheels start with 6 colors, two of each primary. Then we learn about contrast and compliments and adding white for tints.
Until you understand color mixing, your paintings can not look their best no matter how fancy your brushes are.
It's cheap. That's it. That's the only good thing I can say. Well to be charitable, they came in one piece so the shipper does a good job.
The stretching, the canvas, the printing and the mounts are all sub or non-standard. 0 out of 10.
Are you gifting? Selling? Care about your work? Then CANVASChamp is a bad choice. Their professional testimonials must be DIYers who don't know any better. Let me be specific for those of you who DO care, CANVAS champ is NOT for professionals.
Prints: Prints are OK, but not the best. At this writing the Epson and Canon printing shoots 12+inks and can do a much better job color matching and pulling darks out in more depth than CanvasChamps 8 color HP machine on 10 oz. canvas. But wait, there's more ... it gets much worse. Click read more for specifics.
There was the gold rush. There was the land rush. And for a good while now we've been in the .com rush. And where have you been? Ignoring it? Mistake my friend and here's why.
First a confession. I own a lot of names. Compulsion or Obsession? Let's not quibble. If in looking for names for clients I see a few good ones...I grab them. Why think about it? For $7 a year I have staked my claim.
" Jest and youthful jollity
Some of my fav's?
It's a little late to join the modern gold-rush, but it's still on! Go get some gold!
Why? I'll give you a few more reasons...
I love Facebook. Really I do. So don't get me wrong, but using Facebook to build your business without the proper foundational internet tools, is preaching to the choir.
What? Facebook is essentially a gated community. Unless you are already "in", you are not going to see much in that neighborhood. The internet is "open", so how does someone find you there? You already know the answer.
FOLLOW ONE SIMPLE RULE: If it is interesting enough for Facebook, it should be on your blog first.
Many companies, big and small, do not understand the important differences between brand and marketing.
Brand and marketing, and the difference between the two, is not just misunderstood in business. It is misunderstood in most companies and even in their own marketing departments.
Branding: a promise delivered
Common definition of a brand is that it is a "promise delivered". This is the best definition of what a brand is that I have come across in my career. You make a promise to customers and colleagues with everything you do and, to be successful, you must deliver on that promise every single time. The idea that a brand is a badge, a name or a colour is just a tiny fraction of what a brand actually is.
Your brand is "only everything" within your company. As a result, it's imperative to define what it stands for. You have to identify your target audience and what they want, say why you are better than your competitors and come up with a short statement that describes your brand's purpose.
Some businesses know what they are from day one and as long as they stay small and keep the same employees, then they may not need to repeat this exercise. However, for most firms, things change - sales drop, people leave or a competitor threatens your patch. Then what do you do? If you define what your brand stands for then it becomes easier to make decisions - who you should hire, what products to sell, how your communications should sound and even what your office environment should look like.
The key to unlocking the power of your brand is involving your employees. Take them with you through this process and have a brand expert on hand to help guide you. This does not need to be costly or take up too much time. However, once this is done, it could set up a brand strategy for your business that lasts for years.
What marketing delivers
Marketing is defined by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as "The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably".
Marketing, then, is an integral part of your brand. It helps you to communicate the promise that you want customers and prospects to know about. Your marketing should also be based on your brand positioning, personality, values and tone of voice that have all been defined and communicated among your staff.
In essence, marketing is what you do to get your message or promise to customers, while your brand is how you keep the promise made through delivery to customers and colleagues.
What is your company’s mission?
While it’s easy to focus on specific tasks such as improving lead conversion for a client, it’s sometimes easy to forget the larger picture. In other words, your clients have their own goals and mission for their business. Will the marketing strategy you create for the client fulfill that overarching mission?
Who is your ideal customer?
It’s important to avoid making assumptions about your clients and their ideal audience. It’s important to ask for their ideal client so that you can adjust the marketing strategy accordingly. For instance, it wouldn’t be wise to target all prospective homeowners for a homebuilding company, especially if the homebuilders specialize in luxury homes. Specificity is key.
Will you be introducing new products or services soon?
As you embark on a marketing strategy, it’s important to be aware of any company updates that could affect the way you market a company or product. If you’re aware of any upcoming releases or services, you can better create a strategy for lead conversion.
What are issues that customer service regularly faces?
One of the key strategies in lead conversion is addressing common concerns among prospective buyers. When you work with the customer service department, you can accurately assess issues that you will face as crafting a marketing strategy. By familiarizing yourself with these issues, you can proactively create a marketing strategy that alleviates consumer doubts.
Who are your competitors?
By learning the specific competitors of a client, you can create a marketing strategy that is not only competitive, but aggressively reaches into the market. This will help boost your client’s lead-conversion rates, resulting in a happier client and a successful marketing strategy.
What is your voice?
One of the key factors in any marketing strategy is the voice that is used. You’ll want to stay as close as possible to your client’s voice to ensure consistency not only within their website, but throughout their marketing outreach as well. Consistency is one of the key factors that makes a powerful impression on prospective clients, improving lead conversion. If you’re unsure about a client’s voice, ask for samples so that you can embrace the personality of their business. If possible, get more than one sample so that you have more examples to pull from.
What is your specific goal?
Does the client simply want to increase exposure? Are they expecting sales to double? Improve lead conversion by 27.5 percent? By knowing the client’s specific goal, you can create a marketing strategy to fulfill that need. No matter how great of a job you do, if those goals aren’t met, the client will be dissatisfied, so being clear about this is crucial!
NEXT ARTICLE: WHAT IS SWOT ANALYSIS?
Now that you’ve built a great site, you’ll want people to be able to easily find and visit your site. One way to do that is to simply give them the address (www.nameofyourwebsitehere.com) so they can go there directly.
But, of course, that only works for those people to whom you have a close enough connection to provide the address. Everyone else will find your site on Search Engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. How can you optimize your site to ensure you appear as high as possible in the search engine rankings?
Start with the basics. Description, Titles and Keywords are critical. But keep in mind that keywords are not made out of magic (this is explained further in the Keywords help article linked above). Just because you add a keyword to your site does not mean search engines are going to find you through that keyword. If life were that easy, we’d all be rich and retired to our own private islands by now.
Get a Google Webmaster account. If Good Ink built your site, you have one! Let's check in regularly to review your site stats. It's FREE and included in your subscription.
Use page names that are relevant to search words and phrases. The name you provide to a page is the name given to that page both in the site navigation and in the address of that page on your site. Why is this important? Because if a word is in your address it is seen as more relevant to your site by search engines. More relevant means more likely to to show up in search results.
Use keyword phrases in your links. If you link from one page of your site to another, use descriptive text for the link. For example this:
Read our How to Create Links article to learn how to do this on your own site.
Is better than this:
Learn how how to create a link by going here.
Use Titles to headline content in your site (when appropriate). Search Engines see Titles (which are tagged as H2 -- don't worry about this if you don't know what it means) as generally more important than regular text. You can add Titles to your site via Title element and via the Title section of any Paragraph element that includes a Title.
But don’t write all your text in a Title. That will make things worse for your site. You can’t trick the search engines like this, so don’t try.
Is your site relevant only to people in a certain area? Highlight that by Creating a Google Map that shows site visitors your location and by referring to the physical location of your business throughout the site where appropriate. Writing “Visit our San Francisco showroom” is better than writing “Come see our showroom.”
Use alt-text for your photos. This doesn’t work in our galleries or slideshows, but you can add alt-text to a regular picture by clicking on it and using the Advanced Option in the toolbar. This should be used to add a short description of the image. View our How to Upload a Picture instructions to see more detail on this option.
Get other sites to link back to your site. The more sites that link to your own site (as a general rule), the more Google trusts your site to be worthwhile. Think of other people linking back to your site as word-of-mouth that tells not just other people to check-out your site, but tells the search engines to do the same.
There is nothing more important to your ranking than other sites linking to you, but there is no get-rich-quick method to get links back to your site. Build interesting content and let people know it exists. Just as building a business takes work and time and effort, building traffic to a website takes work and time and effort.
Link to your own site from any other sites you may have (like a Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook profile). If you have an email newsletter, archive it via your email provider's site so that your own newsletter acts as another site linking to you. Belong to groups? Ask them to link to your site on their site. People won't link if you don't ask them and tell them about your site!
Maintain a Blog. A blog enables you to continually add content to your site. The search engines like to see new content on your site. So did I mention, write a BLOG! Good Ink always builds you one.... USE IT!
Set reasonable goals. If you're a photographer, you are not going to show up at the top of the search results for the word photographer. If you're a florist, you aren't going to show up at the top of the search results for flowers or mother's day.
But if you're a photographer in San Francisco, you can potentially get to the top of the list for San Francisco Headshot Photographers. If you're a florist in London, you can work to get a good search ranking for Valentine's Day Flowers, London. Focus on that. Focus on getting your site to show up in a search for your own name. Try to get the attention of bloggers who may write about your business. Encourage visitors to review your business at places like Yelp.com and on Facebook ( ONLY available if you set-up a Facebook Biz Page; See How to set up your Facebook for Business here.)
Get Reviews.Yelp, Google+ and other sites that rank your business are really important. Especially now that Google is looking to verify you as a legitimate business and source of for information. Recent studies have shown that when people land on a page and see the star by your business name, they are twice as likely to click through.
And if you want more tips, read the posts on the Good Ink Blog. This helpful article is meant to be a good place to start, but there's so much more to learn!
Unless you have a site that can answer this question and drive business to you, this is no joke but a legitimate question.
Is your business on Google?
Do clients find you on web searches?
Wonder if you need a website?
Want a website, but not the hassle?
No worries. We understand and can help.
I consult to a lot of nonprofits and small businesses. I kept hearing how people hated their websites but either lacked the resources or funds to change them after investing thousands to get a site. So these sites sat online never altered because no-one knew how to edit them. It's like a front door that no-one ever answers. Who wants that?
Problem solved. Good Ink now offers websites that anyone can maintain, update and keep current - and it's all included in one price. No hidden fees. Everything is included right down to the Google analytic links and a mobile version. Start from nothing and have a fully functional site in one week!
Whether you already own a domain name, or just need to revamp a website, Good Ink can help. From online stores, text alerts, POS system connectivity and galleries. We pride ourselves in taking the "geek" out of the design and making this critical marketing process as easy as possible.
Once your site is designed and built to your specifications, Good Ink provides a custom 24/7 Client Portal that gives you access to editing your website at any time with simple tools to change pictures, add text or add pages. After all - It's your website! Tell us what you want it to do for your business, and we'll figure out how to build a site that works for you.
If you had a site built by Good Ink then a Blog is in your future. Didn't get one at set-up? Call me. We'll get you up and running right away.
But you're reading this, so we'll assume you are ready to roll with that BLOG
So what do you need to know?
Congratulations. You've opened your editor and written a BLOG (if you need some guidance on writing a BLOG post refer to "Better Blogging Tips and Tricks").
Once you publish those words of wisdom... what next? Why write at all if you aren't taking advantage of free social media?
Once you hit that Publish Button, your BLOG posts just sit idle, awaiting an audience. Chances are if you have a new website, you don't have an audience yet. Here is exactly how to build an audience and get folks sharing your posts: