Sunday, April 8, 2007

No Website, get a Blog

As I travel around talking to framers and shop owners, I am always surprised at the number of Custom Frame Shops that do not yet have a website. Even more surprising is the number of those same shops who spend $ for fruitless Yellow page or Valpac ads

The most common reason I hear for not hosting a site is the cost, with the second being a doubt in the effectiveness of the web, and third being a lack of PC knowledge.

I would like to offer an easy answer to all three questions

Get thee a Blog!

1) First, this blog that you are now reading, and are naturally quite impressed with, was/is completely free. Yep, no money, and no annoying pop-ups (how it's free, is actually a mystery to me, but free is free!)

2) Second, as this is free, you can actually try out a Blog version of a site (for six months to a year),BEFORE you spend money on a real site (with a real site being your goal, as it is a tad more professional looking to your customers).

3)Third, I set this site up in about five minutes, and I am no computer wiz (still have to ask my 14 year old niece for log on help). Blogger, or whatever free blog site you choose, has made it rather easy to use (with over 50 templates that you can further customize), and easy uploading of pictures, links, even video.

It's also easier than a website to update, and a great way to have more control over your site than just giving it to a web designer to create and update.

My thoughts on what you should include.

1) Pictures of you and your staff (more personable), picture of the outside of your shop (especially if another shop is close by, so as to not get your intended customer confused), and of course pictures of what you do (mirrors, shadowboxes, flatscreens....not just a double matted poster).

2) Link to mapquest or Yahoo map of your location (one of the main reasons people search online for a shop)

3) How-to blog : useful info on hanging art, why UV glass is important, Conservation Framing, etc....anything, Except how to frame something!

4) A coupon!, incentive, to actually get off the Computer and visit your shop

You can add other things like favorite artists, charities, whatever - just make it useful and fun. . .because, Framing is fun! ! !

God bless,

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Who says TV isn't Art

I know you have been asked, but have you come up with a plan for the inevitable increase in Custom Framing for Flat Screen TVs.

Talking with my fellow framers all over the Baltimore / DC / Richmond areas, I have found a 25% increase in shops that have done at least 1 such job, along with a 45% increase in customer inquiries. These numbers will continue to rise as prices of the TVs continue to fall, with many under a $1000.

Our job as Custom Picture Framers is to inform customers that Framing is an option, much like the way we have to remind people that we do mirrors.

If possible, go out and buy a TV to frame for your shop, especially if you already have the Picture-it-first Set up. You could also do something as simple as frame your flat screen Computer monitor.

Another option would be to partner with your local High End Audio/Video store, and frame a TV in their shop. This would be a win/win, as this could help them sell tvs, as well as letting their customers know about your shop. You would also take pictures of the framed TV to display in your shop, as well as to put on mailers and coupons.

Always remember too, that CMI gives a generous 20% discount on moulding to be used in Display.

God bless,