Grow Your Online Store
Organize Your Blog Schedule - Create - Share - Excite - Engage February 6, 2015 07:00
Grow Your Online Store
with Artist & Photographer Michael M. Rogers
from the Heartland of the great Smoky Mountains in Franklin, NC.
This blogging thing is difficult. Not for subject matter, but for the timing. How often should you post
and where to get the best results? There seems to be plenty of online info on this topic. But how
does one wade through it all to find useful nuggets that make a difference. The fine folks over at
www.socialmediaexaminer.com run an annual competition for the top ten Social Media Blogs
you should be reading. I have begun deciphering this information to find what I can use to improve
my blogging ability. Go on, read it. It really is great stuff.
The number one must do is consistency. Regularly posting about your chosen
subject, even if its just once a month, posted the same time, every month.
Well, as fast as the internet is moving once a month is not going to work for me. I need to learn
to write better and faster, that said, the second tidbit I learned was to never sacrifice quantity over
quality. I really do agree with that. And so I will use that as my excuse for not posting on a regular
basis here at the beginning of this exercise of learning to blog. I must learn to post regularly.
And I need to do it in a measurable way to keep track of any progress. For me, a newbie blogger,
I am already making progress just for getting to this point.
Marketing for Artists & Photographers will now be known as (ta dah):
Grow Your Online Store - Create - Share - Excite - Engage
Through the months ahead we'll examine, (examine.. wow that's a power word) how
I end up becoming a better blogger. It seems frequency of blog posts is a debatable issue
based more on what you're attempting to accomplish. For myself and the sake of my business
my plans are ambitious. The plan, Stanley, for now is this. What I would like to do:
- Video Blog posted 1 time per month. Short & Concise about current activities & new products.
- Grow Your Online Store 1 time per month. My Social Media journey & what is working for me.
- Inspiring Hikes & Waterfalls 1 time per week. My Hiking Journal for outdoor enthusiasts & vacationers.
- Better Landscape Photography. 1 time per month. My method & how I edit my photos.
Inspiring Hikes. With 4 decades of experience, over a quarter million photos & 17 terabytes of video
with information about Western NC, Northern GA, Upper SC & Eastern TN, I will never be able
to post it all. Still, there are incredible places to share with you. It will be a fun journey, pun intended.
Oh my, what could I possibly be thinking? Well... why not give it a go. Besides all this, in the future
I want to add to my watercolor painting tutorials with how to videos.
Click the link below:
I must get busy now, I must get busy now, I must get....
Personal Time Management - Create - Excite - Engage January 31, 2015 07:30
Michael M. Rogers Fine Art & Share the Beauty
from the Heartland of the Great Smoky Mountains
in Franklin, NC.Time management. That is something I struggle with everyday.
I found a great list of 10 things to help with your personal time management.
Read it here:
like to paint in the mornings. I like to hike in the mornings & take photos. And now I'm
learning to blog in the mornings. This bogging thing is more difficult than I first thought.
Not because I don't have anything to say or anything to blog about.
My marketing blogging plan includes my lifelong interests:
- How I set up, maintain & promote my online store
- Inspirational hiking destinations
- Taking better photos & how to manipulate them with editing software
- Watercolor painting tutorials
- My life as a artist & how to be inspired & stay focused
- New product releases
Subject matter is not a problem. I just need to learn how to target my specific audience.
The challenge is how to create this massive amount of data & when & where to share it.
My action plan:
- Create multiple blogs ahead of time when my schedule allows
- Post these blogs in a consistent time frame
- Determine best places for specific blog subjects
- Find more places to post my blogs
My blogs are really about my life and my work. Because of this I need to think in terms
of my audience.
- Art lovers of nostalgia, realism & landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains
- Outdoor enthusiasts - hikers, photographers, or just those who picnic
- Photographers who want to be better
- Artists who would like to observe my method of creating art or be inspired
Like I said before, this blog is as much for me as anyone. It is a new way of thinking.
I think I may have just narrowed down my target audience.
Art lovers, hikers, tourists to the mountains, home decor & those seeking inspiration.
Here is one of my new ideas from my product line called ©PosiTive Thinkings.
Printed on canvas & mounted to black foamcore. Archival coating & ready to hang
on your wall with included command strips or set on desk with included fold-out
wing. Priced at $25 plus shipping. Printed on archival paper for $15. plus shipping.
Now where can I post this. Well....
OK .......I joined another social site. I joined Tumblr.
When will I ever have time to take advantage of all this. I'll be getting up earlier I guess.Great fun though. Eventually, I will be more efficient.
I keep laying the ground work for my marketing plan. This is gonna be fun.
Please note that my previous post will be updated with additional information as I make
changes. Refer to ACTION PLAN TO GET YOUR ONLINE STORE NOTICED. More later, I must go write a blog.
Action Plan to Get Your Online Store Noticed - Create - Excite - Engage January 27, 2015 10:00 21 Comments
Michael M. Rogers Fine Art & Share the Beauty
from the Heartland of the Great Smoky Mountains in Franklin, NC.For over 41 years I have made my living as an artist and creative content creator.
I freely admit to being a novice when it comes to Search Engine Optimization as well as
Blogging and Social Media. However, these are skills I am improving on and so can you.
One reason for creating this series of blogs is simply to keep myself on track. Through
regular updates, I will post what is working for me. My particular Action Plan may not not
work for your product line, but I believe you may still benefit from the trials and errors of
this journey I have chosen to pursue.
I have seen those fancy info graphics all over the internet. Here is one of mine.
This is my action plan to get my Shopify Online Store noticed. I am sure elements of this will
change over time. It will be interesting to see what works. It is a bit ambitious, but this is the
future. Creatives should embrace this new form of promotion. I have always felt the internet
should have been about independent content creators. This will work. I have the advantage
because I am determined to make it so.
The internet is brimming with information. I have been researching this process for quite some
time and have decided there are a lot of knowledgeable people out there in cyberspace. I also
think there are some folks giving out bad information. They just may not know it.(or maybe they
do). My goal is to inform you about what I find out in this process and what really works for me.
So here is what I think. I encourage input and would greatly benefit from any experience you
may wish to share with a novice like myself. These are the tools I am using now. I may add
more & I'm sure some will change. But right now, on February 12, 2015 this is it.
These are the wonderful sites I use to store my embeddable elements. At this time I am using
the free versions. There are various restrictions and limitations that may change with time.
The free versions are adequate at this point for my purposes. However, I will not hesitate to
upgrade when it becomes necessary.
15 GB of free storage for most file types. Easy to use. Embed codes available.
Used for photo backup.
GOOGLE + PHOTOS
As always, information & conditions are always subject to change.
Your 15 GB of free Google Drive Storage is shared by your Gmail, Drive and
Google+ Photos. However, only photos over 2048 x 2048 pixels & videos longer
than 15 minutes will count towards your storage limit.
Click this link for more information
GOOGLE SUPPORT ARTICLE
Update February 12, 2015
Thank you Google. This is indeed very generous. So for the time being
I plan on uploading all of my optimized photos and website videos to
GOOGLE + PHOTOS to save my Google Drive Space for large file size photos.
YOUTUBEThe grandaddy of video storage sites. On my YouTube channel, my cover photo has a
direct link to my store. Sweet. If you are a client in good standing, you may be approved for
longer videos. Easy to share videos and embed codes to put on any web page you manage.
Check out my YouTube Channel at :
SOUNDCLOUD3 Hours of online storage for your original music stored as mp3's. I create my own original
music soundtracks for my Nature DVDs. I've also released 2 Audio CDs that have made money.
I'm a recent convert to using Soundcloud. I like the way it looks when you embed a track on
your page. You can have different artwork for each track. Easy to use. Impressive.
Check out my Soundcloud Channel at:
Free online storage of your PDF magazine or booklet creations. Fairly easy to use. Embed
your publications on any page you manage. What I like about ISSUU is the cool 3D page turn
effect. Kind of like flipping through a magazine. The free version contains their logo info and
also encourages you to view other publications. But hey, it works great and it's FREE.
ready to publish. But you can see a sample pdf here:
EXCITE YOUR AUDIENCEEverything you do on the net should have one purpose. To drive traffic to your store.
The destination for my audience is my Website, Blog & Online Store at Shopify.
After months of research I chose Shopify for my CMS. (Content Management System)
I like the fact that Shopify has a Blog, which now seems to be a necessity to generate new
customers. You can excite your customers with rich content. Embed videos right on the
product page. Embed mp3 sound. Embed PDF's, podcasts. Wow. Shopify ... you are what
I've been waiting for. One big factor in Shopify's favor is that they have a PCI DSS compliant
shopping cart .They have their own Credit Card Payment Gateway called "Shopify
Payments." They accept 6 major credit cards and PayPal. You can set up your store and be
paid directly for your sales by Shopify just by providing your bank account & routing numbers.
This means you can cut out the third party credit card processor and save money.
I suggest you review the Shopify website for detailed information about what they offer.
The ease of setting up my store was a big factor for me. They have many apps & some great
ones that are free. Many free templates that are all very adjustable. My website is based on the
MINIMAL template. So far I have modified everything in the template to my satisfaction.
There is a learning curve to take advantage of all the special features, but they have an
excellent online manual that is much too big to print out. I have read a lot of it. And as a novice,
I'm pleased to say, I have not yet had to contact Shopify directly. If I can learn this so can you.
I plan on posting more about Shopify in the future. Various monthly payment plans with
additional features to fit your budget. And no I am not a paid spokesman. I just believe in the product.
Contact Shopify at:
Who knew we had this much to say. The face of business has changed forever. I had my
own brick & mortar business for 24 years. The last 8 years saw many changes. The future
of retail is on the net. I don't think that will change anytime soon.
You gain experience by participating. It seems to me that the way to get found on the net is
to create links with other people who are like-minded. This is my theory.
Being an artist my products are mostly visual. The internet is made for what I do. I need to
share the beauty. One way I've chosen to pursue this is through social media. Does anyone
really need to post on all these sites. Probably not. But I am still in the testing stage to see
what works for me and the products I create and sell. So on with the show.
I learned to tweet recently. I did not know what all the fuss was about. I am not a big texting
fan. In fact, I don't text at all. But, I have to tell you, I really like to tweet.
As I was researching social media options for me, I read some interesting facts about
Twitter. They are here to stay and they may,I said may, become a powerhouse. If what
I have been hearing is true. Of course everything changed when they allowed members to
post photos with links. Now, oh please be true, they are considering video posts. Long videos.
High quality videos. This would be a great way for video creators to get noticed.
Twitter began on March 21, 2006. They now have over 240 million active monthly users.
If they start to allow video, well, this could be huge. We'll just have to wait and see.
Follow Twitter for details.
Check out my Twitter Channel at:
My tweets are helping my online store to show up in search engine results.
It's very easy to post Blogs directly from Shopify to Google +. with one click.
Ease of use is one reason I use it and I I've noticed more traffic.
More about this later.
UPDATE: February 12, 2015
I have been pleasantly surprised that posting my blog articles and photos on Google +
has increased search engine results for my online store. I will be posting more often.
What. Are you not hooked yet? What a simple elegant idea. This goes into the category,
how come I didn't think of this first. Apparently, the first version of Pinterest started way back
in early 2010 (way back ha). They now have about 40 million monthly users. The average
time spent per month by members is 90 minutes. If you already have a personal account,
it's a piece of cake to turn it into a free business account. You can post products from your
store with a direct link back to the product page. Wow. For free. What's not to like about that.
You gotta do this.
Check out my Pinterest Channel at:
UPDATE: Now you can pin videos. Yeehaa. I have noticed an increase in engagement
using Pinterest and will use the site much more as a link to my store.
I've been a member for some time, however, I need to put more time into it.
Primarily to link businesses to other businesses and advertise your unique skillset.
March 6 - I'm posting more to LinkedIn. It's getting easier.
New kid on the block. I recently joined for another place to share my blogs.
Interesting ideas. Certainly worthy, right now, of being researched. It is another social media
start-up which is unique in the fact that they will pay you money if you get a lot of people following
your posts. Check them out. Are they legit? Seems to be. Right now I am in the testing phase.
You need to know a member to join. You need a short code to apply.
Here is my TSU shortcode link you may use to become a member.
Just copy & paste on www.tsu.co.
Remember I'm not making any promises about this site, but I still feel it's worth checking out.
January 31 joined Tumblr. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Another free social
media platform. Micro blog style of site is appealing. Also reported in 2014 to have over 400
million users. They allow links to your website, posts that can advertise what you do, audio
& video posts. Because I plan on using more video in future posts and need another place
to post my blogs caused me to consider Tumblr. Now I just need to take advantage of it.
UPDATE: I have also included Youtube as a place to regularly share information to promote
my blogs. Potential customers love video. Soon I will post short weekly video blogs of my
current project schedule to help promote my online store.
Well.. what can I say. Great idea gone awry by almost weekly changes. Gray areas not clearly
defined. I have always found Facebook difficult to use. It keeps changing. At one time, as a
freebie, it was great exposure for my business. Now, not so much. That is unless you pay for
ads. Of many posts I have read, there does not seem to be an accurate return on investment
formula (ROI) that makes any sense to me. Everything says your ad has a potential reach.
What does that mean? You cannot tell me how many people will actually see my paid ad. Get real.
I love Facebook, but it is experiencing growing pains. I use it and will continue to do so.
But I gotta tell you, it's not nearly as much fun as it was. Somebody please comment on this.
I feel like I'm missing something here.
And now January 2015 one of the biggest changes as I understand it.
If my business page posts look too much like an ad, it won't show up in the newsfeed,
which is nothing but ads, by companies with large budgets to create ads to run on the Facebook
newsfeed, while my posts on my business page are surrounded by (gulp) what looks like ads.
Sorry, I'm confused. Yes, I can post a pretty picture with a link to what I really wanted
to say and share but I just don't get it. Maybe it's my age showing. Anyone out there willing
to clarify this for me. My gut feeling tells me that Facebook wants to make some money.
Don't we all want a little prosperity?
(UPDATE: Well, I have been posting pretty pictures, that when clicked, link directly
to a product or blog page inside my online store. It is making a difference.}
Verdict. Facebook is frustrating but necessary. They are simply too big to ignore.
May be more useful if you can afford to pay for ads, which I plan on testing when my store
inventory is built back up. Please forgive me. This concludes the rant.
I must say the following changes have improved my attitude about Facebook.
Maybe they are concerned about their users.
Started using hashtags at the end of all of my posts on my personal and business
Facebook accounts. Easy, simple, free. What's not to like.
From research, it seems that posting 1 or 2 hashtags return the best results.
1. Only use 1 or 2 hashtags per post.
2. Write it as one word: #waterfalls or a phrase with no spaces like this:
3. Put at the end of a post
4. Make sure the hashtag is relative to your post
I have even been editing some older Facebook posts and adding hashtags.
March 3 Update
Make your photo posts link directly to your blog/website page.
A. Create the blog page or website page on your website with a photo at or
near the top of the page. Copy >paste the https:// address link of that page.
(I'm using an optimized image that is 600 pixels wide x 300 pixels high, because
I can use the same image in Twitter, Tumblr, TSU, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest.)
B. Go to your Facebook account where you normally post
and paste the link you just copied.
If all is well, you will see the text of your link & the photo you created for the
page on your website.
C. When the photograph from your webpage is displayed a small dialog box
will appear in the bottom middle of the image which says +Upload Image.
You can change the image to another image which you have pre -prepared.
D. Now delete the text copy of your link.
Now your photograph is the clickable link to the page you set up.
E. You can add text or just leave the photo as it is.
The key to making this work is you must first create the blog page
or website page and then copy the link of that page to Facebook.
F. I'm excited about this. I just found it today. Now when you click to post
you have the option to schedule when it will seen from 10 minutes until
6 months in the future. WOW. Thanks Facebook.
Note: You may need to turn off any browser ad blocking software (Chrome AdBlock)
to get it to work properly. After your post is working and your photo links to your
page, you can turn AdBlock back on.
This is wonderful. I am constantly working on several blogs at once.
I don't want to post them until they are ready. Sometimes when I finish
a blog the time to post is just not right. Believe me this is a welcome
cover photo. Button title options include: Shop Now, Sign Up & Contact Us & more,
which provide a direct link to your website.
I appreciate this positive change for my business page.
Check out my modified Facebook Business Page at
Share the Beauty - Michael M. Rogers Facebook Business Page
Email client with direct integration to Shopify through a free app. Combine all your emails
that are captured, customers or subscribers to send newsletters to up to 2000 email
address, several times a month for free. Integrated email capture form for sign-up for
newsletters or create an account on your Shopify store. Must have App for Shopify.
My plan is to send a newsletter once a month for now. This will increase when I have special
offers or discounts.
Boring but necessary. Looks professional. Saves breathe. Hand out a card.
You would not believe how many clients I work with skip this step. They just
don't want to pay a penny for a card. Come on. Advertise your website.
This still works and always has for me. Direct mail postcards to your previous
customers. Hand them out at art shows or gatherings. The rate of return varies
depending on the product you are advertising. Great way to create interest.
At the very least, it is a reminder that you are still around and breathing.
UPDATE: February 11, 2015
New promotional 4" x 6" postcards have been ordered and should arrive soon.
My plan is to send 50 postcards per week to my customer mailing list. It will take
until September to send them all. This will give me time to build up
my inventory and to introduce several new products including new artwork.
OVERNIGHT PRINTS (online printing service for business cards)
To produce my business and postcards I use Overnight Prints. An online
printing service. You post your designs on their site and in a few days
what you created turns up in your mail. The quality is outstanding. You get
discounts if you use the service often. Shipping is prompt. They can print
many other items including brochures, rack cards etc. I think they are the best
at what they do. Good price for the quality. Recommended without hesitation.
NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, TOURIST PUBLICATIONS
I plan to do more of this kind of advertising, but mainly in towns that are close by
my hometown, hoping that those who have heard of me and my work may decide to
check out my website prominently featured in the ads. I hope to use classified ads
as an experiment to see what happens. Expensive, but could generate
potential sales leads for my online store. We'll see.
RADIO ADSLocal & regional radio ads have been semi-successful for me especially when releasing
a brand new product, such as a new Waterfall Nature DVD. Also when making a
personal appearance or being at an art & craft show. I hope to do more of this since
my domain name is easy to remember. michaelmrogersfineart.com
There it is. The list of what I'm using today. Who knows what will change.
It will be interesting to track what social media works. Come along for the ride.
There are many possibilities. There will always be something new. What works
for me may not work for you. As I am fond of saying when I post hiking videos:
"Your experience may vary." Marketing your product using my method may
not be effective for you. But who knows stranger things have happened.
I know it seems like a lot of work and it is. However, I am getting better at producing a
new blog in Shopify and sharing it to all the other social media sites in a timely manner.
Comments are welcome. I have much to learn, but I'm willing to listen to other opinions.
Thanks, Michael M. Rogers
Michael's Blogs for Creative Thinkers January 20, 2015 11:00
Michael M. Rogers Fine Artfrom the Heartland of the Great Smoky Mountains
in Franklin, North Carolina
My conclusion after the last 8 months of research indicates that social media is
once again in a state of upheaval. What once was is no more. Of course, who knows,
it seems to be a shell game. Wonderful tools are created and then out of the
blue the rules are changed overnight to force us all to chase another rumour.
It is tiring, but we live in an exciting time. Never before have creatives had such
power to reach a larger audience. The next big thing, at least for now , seems to
be to create compelling interesting content that your customers are looking for.
Of course it helps if you know what they are looking for as it pertains to your creativity.
Being an artist and photographer my entire career, my choices to Share the Beauty for
my multiple blogs are quite obvious.
Having said that, if you and I have similar interests, you will no doubt find
something of value as I post twice a week on my multiple blogs:
Your suggestions are welcome about topics you would like for me to discuss.
Ask questions. Leave comments. I appreciate any activity. Michael M. Rogers
Marketing for Artists & Photographers January 19, 2015 07:12
Franklin NC native watercolor artist & photographer Michael M. Rogers
from the Heartland of the Great Smoky Mountains.I have been a watercolor artist my whole life. I have traveled out of state for art shows,
special events & personal appearances. I've had sold out limited editions. I've done trade shows
and sold my work to other galleries. I've done successful one-man shows. I've been a paid speaker.
I do not know another way of life. With the gift that I have been given I have always felt a sense of
purpose to Share the Beauty. I have been blessed. And I have been busy. For many years I have
wanted to have my own online store. A dream that was fulfilled last year. I had many false starts,
but with persistence and patience it has become a reality. I have been documenting the process
to share with those who have wanted the same thing. A way to connect with my family, friends
& customers. A single site where I can share and sell all my creations. I'm here to tell you that
it is possible. I have made many mistakes in my career and no doubt will make many more, but that
is part of the process of growing. To become more than we were before. Isn't that what all creatives
strive for? In time, I hope this blog will inspire you. Thank you, in advance, to those who come on
board for the journey.
First things first:
The last few years have been difficult for all of us in one way or another. The face of business
has changed forever. Forever! Many still won't accept this fact. We, as creatives, have been forced
to come up with alternatives to market and sell our wares. One of the best decisions that I made in the
last 8 years was to learn technology. From photo editing, printing and video to the internet. One of the
biggest online retailers on the internet , whom I buy from regularly myself because of price, reportedly
( if you believe it ) sold $75 billion in goods last year. That was $75 billion that was not sold in stores.
I'm sure many benefited, but where does that leave us. Is everybody just going to shop online?
Well, as I have found out in the last 15 years, the internet changes daily, trends develop & become
the next best thing only to disappear later.
Regardless, I believe that this is the future. A place online where you can create and share it with
the world, or at least those who actually like what you do.
I make it a point to learn something new about marketing every day. Ok, yes parts of this
are difficult, but that is kind of the point. To learn something new and take advantage of it.
I graduated from college in 1979. Back then I had a word processor ( I liked it a lot. It had a name.).
I also had a polaroid camera that took pictures & developed them right before your eyes.) Those
were the days........... Everything I know about computers, photo editing, printing my own work,
websites, email and marketing I learned on my own. It was like going back to school and still is.
Thank goodness I still have some hair left because I pulled a lot of it out trying to figure out
what the technical manual was talking about. Isn't it interesting how every manual you read
assumes you already know how to do what you are trying to find out what to do. Your comments
will be appreciated. You will have suggestions and questions. Let's talk about it.
The internet has made great strides and will continue to change in new ways we have
not even thought of yet.
Once the internet was created, I always wanted an online store. a place where I could sell any
product I came up with; Original Art, Fine Art Prints, Photography, Nature DVDs, Audio CDs,
afforable Wall Art and even digital downloads of eBooks, Photography & Mp3s. It would be great
if this site could link to Social Media, have a Blog with information, photos & video to share
the process of creating the products with customers. Last year I found such a platform.
The thing that made me go with Shopify, the thing that finally tilted in their favor was that
Shopify is their own payment gateway. Once you are a Shopify client, all you have to do is
provide your bank routing number and account number. Money from your sales is deposited 3 days
after you sell it directly into your account. This is quite wonderful. There is a small transaction fee
& a percentage of the sale, but you get to cut out the cost of a third party credit card processor,
thereby actually saving money.
At my age, (56) I am proud to report, that I did not have to call Shopify to set up any aspect of my
store. I did, however, spend hours and hours pouring over their excellent online manual.
I do plan on contacting them in the near future & thank them for creating this (online resource)
and wonderful opportunity for creative doers and thinkers. It will take weeks and months to take
advantage of all the possibilities. Well, what do most artists have the most of? Time....Time to start.
I get up early every morning. Always have. It is early morning as I write these words and I hope
every blog will have useful information that you can use right now, today. So here is the list of
what I use now and hope to improve on in the coming months:
- Facebook - Business Page - to alert family, friends and customers of new products.
- Youtube - Posting videos of painting, hiking and places to inspire artists and photographers
- Google + - I'm still learning this, great place to share blog posts directly from Shopify
- Pinterest - What? Are you not a member yet? Recent changes allow posts to connect to your online store.
- Twitter - This is about to explode for those who have video editing capability. Longer video posts are coming.
- Shopify - Online store and blog platform tailored for the Do-It-Your-Selfers. (Artists, Photographers, Craftsmen, Musicians)
There are also some incredible marketing & blogging advice sites. My favorite so far that I read every day is:
- Quick Sprout - Absolutely essential marketing and blogging advice. Great infographic charts.
When you run a store that is all you have time for. Run the store. Now I can run my store
right from my home studio. I encourage you to Read. Comment. Ask Questions.
Make Suggestions. I'm new to this.
There is a lot of ground to cover. Time to put on my hiking boots. Time to paint again.
Time to be inspired by the possibilities.
©Michael M. Rogers Share the Beauty - Michael M. Rogers Fine Art - Franklin NC