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where does your business come from?

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  • where does your business come from?

    if i knew how to make this a poll, i would, but have never been able to figure it out. (tried once upon a time)

    if you have a website for your business, do you have more trade via web or face to face bring it to your door? how come, do you reckon.
    don't have website

  • #2
    Down at the bottom of the "New Thread" dialog box you will see a box to check for a poll and a number of choices to set in your poll. When you check it, you will get another box to list each choice in your poll. That's really all there is to it.

    Now to answer your question, my business comes face to face from a listing in the local Yellow Pages. I don't know enough about website ranking so I don't come up very high on the search engine lists. At this point in time, that is ok because I still use it as a reference of my work for the local customers I get. I think if business picks up too much I won't be able to handle it all so I'm ok with things as they are now.


    • #3
      What a great question! I'm curious about that too.
      It seems many of the members here get quite a bit of business from their websites, and I'm really curious about that. I would be interested in more details about that.
      Personally - I have had a web site for about 2 years, and have never received one order from that site. (anyone wishing to venture on the "why" of that, please do so) Anyway, like DJ, I have never really tried to market my site in anyway, for pretty much the same reasons. I use it as a portfolio, and I like having that available.
      So where do I get my business? From a local camera shop, and word of mouth.


      • #4
        i have gotten the general impression very little business is generated through anyone's website. i'm not sure that's the truth though, and that's why i asked. so far, 100% true.


        • #5
          I am a photo lab manager so much of what I do is through our customers. I also have membership in two Genealogical Societies. Several jobs from that but also word of mouth from members has helped me.

          I also have made copies and prints for the Historical Society in the town I was raised. No work generated by lots of good feelings. Great places to meet interesting people.

          Just a quick advertisement. If you have some spare time look into joining a society. Members are always needed and it is a great way to spend some time. Also there is a lack of younger people.
          In my mid fifties I am considered the kid.



          • #6
            As many of you know, I don't have a business. But out of curiosity I searched Google for "photo+restoration". It came up with 356,000 hits! Surely all of these aren't restoration businesses, but there are a lot of them that are. That's why it's so important to have the best looking site possible, and have everything perfect for the potential customer if you expect to do business on the web.

            But I think web based businesses are at a disadvantage simply because they don't have eye to eye contact with the potential clients. I've always felt that you have to sell yourself before you sell your product. That's very hard to do on the web. Many people will also choose a local business over one from another area. So I think the percentage of business from websites will be very low as compared to doing business eye to eye.



            • #7
              I can vouch for the 'very little business done via the web' part. I'm up there all alone in the 100% category (so far). Frankly, the web sucks for agressively seeking new restoring business. But I do get a lot of email asking for "how-to" advice

              Now, if only someone had a "how-to" website..."

              Seriously, I do get a lot of email from my personal site, and that was the inspiration for this website. Just not a lot of paying business. That just leaves me with more time to work on this site.

              But I do think every restorer should have an online portfolio, with an easy to remember address (or at least easy to write down with minimal tilde-backslash-hyphen stuff).
              Learn by teaching
              Take responsibility for learning


              • #8

                doug, you were the only one i thought of as possibly having a good bit of web business; kind of disillusioning to hear you don't either. but if there's an inverse relshp between the amount of your web business and time devoted to the care and feeding of this site, well, i guess i'll just have to get over my disillusionment


                • #9
                  Sorry to disillusion you, Kathleen. It used to bother me that I didn't get more business, but it actually makes sense. It's not so much that people prefer meeting face-to-face, though that is certainly true, but more a case of healthy skepticism about their treasured photos. Photos in need of restoration are by definition one of a kind (if there were other copies, the restoration would be unnecessary).

                  There's also the whole payment thing. It's one thing if I'm standing in front of you to show the finished work, then you pay me and leave, quite another to send money to a total stranger before the work is even started (the only way I'll do it).

                  So there's a double-whammy against getting restoration customers via the web.

                  Now, I must say that there is SOME business to be had...
                  And I'm quite happy with the volume as it stands. Otherwise I'd go out and talk to photo labs, camera shops, frame shops, photographers, etc. and get more business than I could comfortably do while maintaining RetouchPRO.

                  I'm not all that old, so I'm also not all that wise, but I do have this one tidbit to pass along: whatever it is you love, do only as much as you can and still keep your enthusiasm. More will ruin it and you won't love it anymore. And love is a terrible thing to lose.
                  Learn by teaching
                  Take responsibility for learning


                  • #10
                    I think you are right on about people wanting to learn, more than buy. Over the last 2 1/2 months, I've had 2197 visitors to my site. Less than 5% came from search engines, and over 50% came from Katrin Eiseman's site.
                    I also agree that the web is not necessarily the best format for this type of work either, but it's great for a portfolio.
                    Another contributing factor could be age. Many of my customer's are older, and probably don't even own a computer. (It still surprises me that so many people don't own a computer, or have one, but never use it.)
                    If I really wanted to drum up some business, I would direct all my efforts to local advertising, as I really don't have any local competition that I'm aware of. Most people I talk with, want the service but don't know where to go, and have an idea that the price is way too expensive.
                    I don't advertise, yet. I like the working pace I have right now, and as you said, I would hate for this to be "work", and ruin the love of doing it.


                    • #11
                      A little advertising and alot of "word of mouth" seems to be where my business comes from. I have never considered Web advertising as I insist on meeting prospective clients face to face and getting a "feel" for what they expect/want, then explaining to them what is reasonably possible within the bounds of reality or finances. I would rather see a slow but steady business growth than a sudden meteoritic influx of business, plus I think most folks with treasured photos want to have personal contact with the person who is going to be working on their heirlooms. Just my opinion, though... Tom


                      • #12
                        I know myself, if I had a one of a kind treasured photo, the last thing I would want to do is send it through the mail to a complete stranger. I believe that is the biggest impediment to this kind of business being online. Think of it, would you think it smart to mail the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Declaration Of Independance to someone you don't really know? It's the same for peoples personal treasures. They are no less valuable to them as antiquities are to a nation. So I guess it's nothing less than I expected getting into this. I figured if I did get business from the site it would be e-mailed copies to work from mostly.


                        • #13
                          Does 0 + count?

                          I have put my two cents worth in on this in other threads but want to add a thought or two here.

                          We average only 2 to 3 inquiries a month through the site so the amount of business is not even something to consider. Although it's listed in all the yellow page ads - people just call and don't usually bother looking us up on the web.

                          I'm using it (the web) a little different I suppose. I want it to satisfy people that I'm a highy qualified professional, not satisfy anyone with answers about the ins and outs of photo restoration.

                          If they happen to find the web site first, I just want them to call ...however, from time to time we also reverse that as well.

                          When someone is on the phone and asking if we can do this or that, I'll ask if they are on a computer - and if so, direct them to the web site. That's my reason for not using sample after sample, I don't want to distract them or lose the opportunity. just convince them that we can handle whatever job they have in mind.

                          For the little old lady who turns on her computer and goes on to AOL - it's fun - after you explain how to get to the web through all of AOL ads and get her to type in TIMEMARK.COM usually the response is "Oh my, did you do that!"

                          I intend to expand it in the next few months - but not with more and more photos - I want our little Photo Conservation Showroom to to become a "destination" for people coming in from other parts of the country. I'lll start with the unique exhibits that we have on the photo restoration arts and sciences ...then expand it to other historic sites that you can visit while you are here. Oregon City is fairly well known because of tens of thousands of "End of the Oregon Trail" games that are in the public schools - so it's a logical for us and, hopefully, something that will be totally different from other "restoration" web sites.

                          Jim Conway


                          • #14
                            I think you have some good ideas for your site. I've read that it's a good idea to add something for "free", be it info, tips, etc., that might encourage someone to return to your site.

                            I should do that, but can't seem to devote the time to the task.

                            I apologize, but I still don't see what the problem is, with having numerous examples on a web site. How could that possibly be a hinderance to business, if a customer is specifically searching for this type of service? What would you consider to be a sufficient number of examples?

                            Last edited by Vikki; 01-24-2002, 05:00 PM.


                            • #15
                              Going from A to Z - the question is how?

                              Vikki Visualize being in the Real Estate business show a photo of a house in an ad - I mean a photo of the ENTIRE outside of the house. Someone looking for a Ranch Style says - "not for me I don't like Colonial" ...someone looking for a Colonial says -"not what I was looking for, the lot looks too small" - and neither of them contacts you.

                              Now let's say for this example that it has a knock-out dream entrance - and one of your competitors shoots a close up photo of just that entrance for his ad. (that's the "sizzle") The same two people that you turned off like what they see (same house same business don't forget) and they call your competitor.

                              You lose because you didn't even know you turned them away BEFORE you could make your presentation.

                              Your competition wins because he or she is now calling them by name and knows exactly what they want in a house - lands them as clients, works everything out for them. They like him and go back the next time they are in the market and you'll never know why he's driving a Caddy while you are driving a Ford.

                              Other old sales adages, like knowing when STOP selling and listen - as well as a few I can think of regarding wearing clothes fit in here but I think you get the point!

                              The idea is to take your customer from A to Z ONE step at a time - when you try to make people take a "leap" from A to Z - like saying "here are 20 samples and my price list, click here" - you won't sell much of anything. The web has not changed any of the basic rules of selling!

                              Jim Conway
                              Last edited by Jim Conway; 01-24-2002, 07:59 PM.


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