Selling Your Prints

Selling Your Prints

March 9, 2021 Uncategorized 0

Most of our customers purchase photos and prints to be sent directly to their customers (some using the “blind drop ship” option, and others using a ship address different from their own address). By watching the success or lack of success of thousands of our customers, we’ve been able to make some good generalizations regarding what works and what doesn’t.

1. Customers need to be able to relate to a photograph. Usually, they relate to a photograph because:

  • They took the picture
  • They are in the picture
  • They relate to, identify with, or know, the people in or subject of the picture
  • They were once at the same location shown in the photo
  • Something about the photo seems familiar

For example, sports composites (which include one’s children or other relatives) are very popular. Cityscapes which show one’s own city, or a city which one has visited, are popular. On the other hand, even incredibly beautiful nature photos, featuring a site that one has never visited or seen before, are usually very difficult to sell.

How many books of photos have you seen with just photos, no text? Never? When photographers publish their photos, they almost always (always?) surround the photos with text. The text allows their readers to learn something about what’s in the photo, so they can relate to the photo. This is important. If you are thinking about selling your photos, ask the question: how can customers relate to each photo? If you can’t answer that, selling your photos is going to be difficult.

2. Photos need to be marketed. Many of our customers have their own web sites. Some are successful. Many are not. To be successful, your site needs to receive substantial traffic (hits). To get traffic,

  • The meta text (the keywords) must be carefully researched. These keywords must be the same as words which are frequently used in web searches. There are various web sites which provide help in this. You can determine, for example, what the relative value of “sports composites” is relative to “sports photos”.
  • You must be recognized by search engines. Most search engines have a “site submission” feature. If you search some of your keywords, and find that your web site is not on the 1st or 2nd page of the search, you won’t get a lot of traffic.
  • If you can get links to your site, from other sites which (a) are similar in subject matter to your site, and (b) get a lot of traffic, that’s quite valuable. To understand more about why this is true, visit google and get information regarding their search algorithm.
  • Check out the pay-per-click search engines. Most successful web sites pay anywhere from $0.20 to $1.00 or more per click to attract traffic. Examples exist of companies paying more than $15 per click. There are small search engines which will charge less than $0.10 per click, but beware of click fraud (clicks and traffic created by robots).
  • Visit forums and chat rooms and discretely drop the name of your web site.
  • Use conventional media advertising (magazine ads, etc).

3. Use care in designing your web site. Remember that most customers will make a decision to look further, or to use the “back” button, within 3-6 seconds of visiting your site. If, by the end of the 6th second, all they’ve seen is a “loading” message, you’ve lost your customer. Many photographers think that cutesy graphics and/or audio will make their site look better. That’s true, but it probably won’t matter if the typical loading time is more than 3-6 seconds.

Use care in designing your site so it becomes inststantly clear what is is that you are selling, and how someone who is interested might proceed to purchase one of your photos. It is not difficult to find web sites wherein it is virtually impossible to determine how to make a purchase.

Make the decision process easy and manageable. There is a point, beyond which, “less is more”. In other words, if you have too many photos to choose from, or if there are too many other decisions to make, that’s bad. If your customers are uncertain about their decision, simply because they are overwhelmed with too many choices, the easiest thing to do is to go to another web site.

At Automated Photo Technology, we’ve seen very successful photographers and very unsuccessful photographers. The ones who take the best photos aren’t always the most successful. While photographic expertise is important, success usually has more to do with marketing expertise than it has to do with photographic expertise.