Photo album went viral on facebook, experiencing 99% bounce rate. Seeking advice.

daveniedbaladaveniedbala Buffalo, NYPosts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
Hey, everyone, I had an album go viral on Facebook and brought in 13,000 visitors(past 3 days) to my website, but only had 1 sale.
www.daveniedbala.smugmug.com
I felt I finally hit a sweet spot in the highly competitive photography world for the Buffalo, NY market. Not worldwide. Seeing 3,500 visits the first day gave me hope. I did not price my stuff to high by any means. A 5x7 paper print is $20. A ready to hang float mount thin wrap, 16x20 is $160. 16x20 paper print is $50.
This morning I got my first order after introducing a 10% discount code in the main header of my website.

The shots are weather related. We had record winds that turned Lake Erie into a raging sea. Something rare for the area and people rarely see. I went down and tried my best to capture the huge waves.

The day I shot them, I felt rushed to get the images up and did not have much time to select only a few. I feel weather related pictures lose their interest after a couple days.

I even had a local news station share a picture on live TV. I also was featured on a couple Instagram accounts.

Right now, I have 13,031 visits. I asked Smugmug if my numbers were correct and they said yes.

Seeking some advice on how to generate sales. I do have a limited time coupon in hope to create the " I need to buy this before it expires" feel. Thanks to all who can help.
David Niedbala
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Comments

  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MAPosts: 10,833Super Moderators moderator

    It is very difficult to generate sales online. People look but they don't buy.

    But - why are you making your original images available on your site? Yes, I know, you have the right click message turned on - but that doesn't really protect your images. It is a simple matter to click on the original, then locate it in the browser cache and save it locally. You should decide what size you are comfortable with exposing online, then change your galleries to specify a new largest display size. You can make bulk changes to galleries in the organizer. See help page at http://help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/1240194-how-do-i-change-settings-for-multiple-galleries-at-once-.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,181Registered Users Major grins

    As Denise said, selling prints from a website is difficult on the best days.

    However, it can be done but you need more info from what visitors are doing and you need to understand why.

    First, how many people visit your site is useless information. Yes, it can look impressive, but doesn't tell you anything in and of itself.

    What are those people doing? What sizes are they looking at? How long are they spending on an image? Are they loading images into the shopping cart? Are they looking at specific crop sizes?

    You offer quite a few sizes and not a single one matches the size of the image. So if I liked a particular image, I couldn't buy it. Sure I can buy a cropped version, but that isn't the version I see. So if I didn't want a cropped version, I'm out of luck.

    You also offer many of the same images over and over through different galleries. If you're going to make me click on different galleries, I should see different images.

    Next is price. Yes you are cheap. However are your potential customers looking for cheap images? Do you know?

    Most people equate price with value. Something cheap is considered disposable. If I am going to buy art, I expect to pay more for quality.

    If I flew out to Buffalo and walked into an art gallery, what would I expect to pay? What sizes would I expect to see? What type of print am I expected to see (canvas, metal, paper, etc)? Are those buying art in Buffalo from the city or are they mainly tourists?

    Where is your customer base? Are you marketing to that base? Do you know how to reach them?

    Yes it is possible to get max exposure in a day and sell a couple of prints, but it's also possible to hit the lottery.

    There are loads of questions that need answered in order to sell prints regularly and successfully. Now if you know these answers and plan accordingly, getting max exposure through the news is a great way to boost sales, but blindly hoping for sales just because you put pretty pictures on a website isn't going to work.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • OffTopicOffTopic Searching for the light Posts: 501Registered Users Major grins

    In addition to the good advice that Denise and Steve have given, you said something very important right here - " I feel weather related pictures lose their interest after a couple days. "

    If an image can't hold interest longer than a few days, why would someone want to hang it on their wall?
    Do you feel that your images are news-worthy, or art-worthy? The end use (and marketing approach) would be different depending on how you anticipate the images being used.

    Your waves gallery has too many similar images. If you want to sell prints of art-worthy wave photos, I would carefully curate a select few that you think would look great hanging on a wall for a long time. One of the hardest things for a photographer to learn is how to self edit. I understand that you didn't feel you had the time to edit the collection, but I think now you're seeing why it's so important if you want to sell art.

    Another key thing - once upon a time a news agency would pay to license any images they wanted to use, and legally no one can share your image on TV or on Instagram or any other social media account without your permission (a license to use the photo). News agencies and others have been taking advantage of new and aspiring photographers the past few years by promising them "exposure" in exchange for free use of your content and the current generation of photographers seems to think that is the norm (or they just take it and post it on their social media accounts, hoping that you don't know any better and won't complain or file a Notice of Infringement because it violates Federal Copyright law). It is not the norm, you are giving them content for free, content that they would normally have to pay to use. As you are finding out the hard way, "exposure" does nothing for you unless you have a well-thought out game plan to maximize it. Of course if you say no to the "opportunity" they promise you, or if you ask for a licensing fee, they typically move on to the next unaware enthusiast and they will get their content for free from someone else. Any time you allow someone to use your photos for free you need to make sure you have a plan to make it worth your while...otherwise the only person who benefits is the one who gets use of the photos for free. ;)

  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Posts: 1,081Registered Users Major grins

    @daveniedbala said:

    Right now, I have 13,031 visits. I asked Smugmug if my numbers were correct and they said yes.


    Where are you seeing that number? I ask because if you asked Smugmug, I wonder if you are seeing the statistics inside the account management. Those are image views. Those are quite misleading in some ways, as any image viewed counts. Paging through a collage landscape, for example, rakes in the views.

    To put it in perspective I had 16,964 yesterday on Smugmug's counts.

    On Google Analytics for yesterday I had 62 unique users (that would not count people using ad blocking software that would defeat google's counter), in 70 sessions, and those users looked at 498 pages (I THINK that if you scroll down a long landscape collage it only counts as one page).

    Sounds pretty pathetic when you hear it that way (though pleasantly surprised by the page views as maybe they go poking around after landing on one gallery).

    Also, if you include links in media (forums, etc.) and the link looks up the image each time, it counts for Smugmug as a view, but no one is actually "on" your site, so google does not see it and it does not count there. A large number of my views are links, I suspect.

    My point, and I may be off base in your case, is that looking at big numbers on smugmug can be pretty misleading in terms of how many people actually saw your site. I would suggest you add the (free) google analytics to it, which give you a different perspective on the data. I do not mean to imply Smugmug's are wrong -- but what they measure is not, in my mind, indicative of people browsing your site potentially looking for product. I've had an image referred to in some national article, and gotten huge spikes in Smugmug views, but no real increase in people viewing my site, itself.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,181Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 14, 2017

    @OffTopic said:
    Another key thing - once upon a time a news agency would pay to license any images they wanted to use, and legally no one can share your image on TV or on Instagram or any other social media account without your permission (a license to use the photo).

    This is where a good social media account can make a difference for "news" or other "time sensitive" related images. Posting a very small 400 pixel shot on facebook, instagram, twitter, etc with a nice prominent but not over bearing watermark on the image will entice those willing to pay for a bigger image.

    Of course the content has to be worth paying for. If there are many images of this "event" no one is going to pay (too many willing to give it away), but if you got the best or only shot, now that leverage turns into dollars.

    However, the OP was referring to "Art" images being sold to the general public. It can still happen with a good plan. Plenty of people will buy weather related images. Lightning strikes comes immediately to mind, but dust storms, raging rivers and others are seen in galleries all over the world.

    You still have to be known for providing those types of images, market those images to the right people, and have them available in the sizes and styles that those people want.

    Any type of business (photography included) needs a business plan, simple as that.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • OffTopicOffTopic Searching for the light Posts: 501Registered Users Major grins

    Absolutely. A large percentage of my business is in rights-managed licensing to commercial and editorial clients. I commented on licensing because the OP mentioned that his photos were shared on television and Instagram and he didn't mention if that was done with his permission. As you stated, there are too many people who are willing to give away photos of news events for free. Unless a photo is unique and highly desirable, the chances are slim of getting paid (for news usage) these days. Even successful photographers with well-established businesses are constantly being asked to provide images for free to news agencies (which most decline). They are still required to have your permission before showing your photo on television or posting it on their social media page. It is okay to say no to free use of your photos if you don't have a good business justification for it. One of the biggest mistake beginners make is in getting excited about "exposure" and thinking that exposure will automatically lead to sales.

    I think the point we are both making is that without a well thought out plan, "exposure" from allowing someone to use your work for free is usually a dead end. I stand by my statement that if the intent is to leverage the exposure into fine art print sales, the gallery should be edited down to the best images.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,181Registered Users Major grins

    @OffTopic said:
    I think the point we are both making is that without a well thought out plan, "exposure" from allowing someone to use your work for free is usually a dead end. I stand by my statement that if the intent is to leverage the exposure into fine art print sales, the gallery should be edited down to the best images.

    Completely agree. Exposure (in the beginning of a career) sounds great until you realize that it doesn't pay the bills.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
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