No coffee, no music. Went to bed after posting last night, but couldn't sleep. Gave up trying as Dave dulcetly snored and came back down to the computer to enter my show orders into the POS program. Got all but a couple entered and slid back to bed by 1:30. This east-coast/west-coast thing is really beating me up. For yucks and grins going to throw Chicago into the mix in July and back to Montana in August. My poor internal clock!
Enough whining, time for glass thought if not actual glass work. We had Date Night in the studio last night and we have another scheduled tonight and one tomorrow night. Our biggest source of daters right now is the $20 paid listing (I started with a free listing) I have on the Access Atlanta website--an online component of our daily paper The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC). Giving credit where credit is due, what the AJC did well is choose the right technology partner. Too many businesses (maybe mine too) realize that they need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this Internet Thing and so they whip up a website or other presence themselves thinking that's enough to compete in today's market. Too wrong.
It isn't enough just to have a website or a blog or a Facebook page or twitter. Side note: I still don't get why people think social media sites are a good idea for business in general and a local business in particular--I find constant twits (I mean tweets) and advertisements (I mean business updates) annoying. No, in order to be successful on the web you need a GOOD web presence with a user interface designed by someone who actually understands usability. It is no longer 1995, people! A mediocre website is as useless as a bad one.
The AJC made the smart choice of using ZVents as their technology partner for providing information about things to do in Atlanta. They put their own face on the site, but you search for events and how they are presented is all ZVents. This is what you get when you search with just the qualifier of "tonight" in Atlanta. There's our listing--right at the bottom of the page! Not bad for a tiny, intimate, urban studio!
The lesson I learned from this experience is also extensible to the studio art side of my business. It's not enough anymore just to go out and do shows and hope the customers will come to you and place orders. Again, it's no longer 1995. It's also not enough for show organizers to throw up a website that shows the work of the exhibitors and maybe offers store and gallery owners another way acquire it. Face it--anyone can put a shopping cart up on a website today. I am completely underwhelmed by my experiences with both Wholesalecrafts and the BMAC web interfaces (from the perspective of uploading and maintaining information about my work). And I hate the necessity of having to go out on my own, one little person, to find a better solution!
This post, unfortunately, only offers frustrations, not solutions. I don't have solutions yet. Now I'm off to the basement to do some yoga and maybe meditate a little to relieve my business frustration. But look at the bright side--at least I'm posting again!