We treasure data at Art Storefronts.
It’s how we make informed decisions, and we’ve seen how big of a difference it can make to focus a company on solving the right problems.
When you become a truly data-driven business, you go from randomly trying things, to methodically testing experiments with clear goals and measurements in place.
Here’s an example of a conversation at a company that randomly tries things:
Employee: Let’s do more Search Engine Optimization!
Employee: Because I heard SEO will help more people find our printing company.
CEO: Hmm…I’m not sure it would be worth it, and I’m also not sure we have the resources for it.
Notice how the entire discussion is based on hunches and assumptions.
Here’s an example of a data-driven business having the exact same discussion:
Employee: Let’s do more SEO!
CEO: Hmm…not so sure about that. What data have you seen, that I have not?
Employee: I thought you would ask. Our organic traffic is low, but it’s converting new artists and photographers into customers at a high rate, as you can see here. Therefore if we can find ways to improve our SEO, it is reasonable to assume that any improvement will immediately grow our sales at this rate or something close to it.
CEO: Wow, great find. Let’s call a meeting with the team to start exploring ways to improve our SEO.
Which example most closely resembles how decisions are made within your business?
If you’re more like the former at this point, that’s ok.
The purpose of this article is to help you transition from a business that randomly executes into a data-driven business that methodically executes.
As a fine art or photo printing company, nothing could be more important than understanding where your customers are coming from, which channels are the most profitable, and as a result – where you should be focusing your time and resources. None of this can be done without data.
In fact, data is the backbone to almost everything we talk about here on the ASF blog. For example, when we talked about a print studio’s most expensive customers earlier this month, we were really encouraging you to use your available data to make business decisions that allow you to serve customers more efficiently.
As a fine art or photo printing company, your website is a primary source for new customer acquisition.
If that’s not the case for you, it should be.
Why? Because the data proves it!
Here’s a small snapshot of organic traffic data that shows the average performance our top five art/photo printing companies from December.
Let’s first define organic traffic. It comes from people visiting Google.com, Bing.com, Yahoo.com and typing a keyword in and searching.
More often than not, it’s gonna be your most valuable traffic source because it represents true buying intent. ie: “I want something, I’m going to search for it and then buy it” – this as opposed to “I’m checking out what’s happening on Facebook, see your Ad, click and say ‘meh I am not in the buying mood today.'”
While a given website has many traffic sources (social, email, etc.), we have chosen to focus in on organic traffic in this article because it is something everyone can participate in and measure.
So, how are our top dogs doing? Take a look for yourself: (sample shot from our ASF dash – the date range is obscured on purpose.)
So lets talk about what we are looking at. Above you will see the three main organic traffic sources; Google, Yahoo, and Bing (duck duck go often pops up as well sometimes).
Let’s focus on the two orange columns of the far right. On the far right, we have the Add to Cart and Checkout Conversion Rate.
For Add to Cart, it’s the % of organic traffic that came to the website and uploaded an image with the upload to print tool. The next column, Checkout Conversion Rate represents the % of that traffic that completed their order.
If you aren’t familiar with studying analytics, here are the key takeaways from what we are seeing above:
The presence of a definitive checkout conversion rate, as evidenced by points #1 and #2 above, is something we take great pride in at Art Storefronts. We call it ConversionScience, and it’s what distinguishes us apart from any other alternatives.
Going back to the discussion between the CEO and employee, we chose to highlight organic traffic here because we feel it’s hands down a successful channel to acquire new customers, and one of the biggest reasons the hundreds of fine art reproduction companies and photo labs we work with are converting traffic at a solid clip.
The organic traffic channel just one of many, though. Look to your analytics data to decide which channels your specific business should be focused on.
Whether you are an ASF customer or not, go and compare your current website analytics to our top five print studios, as shown above.
If you already are an ASF customer, all of this comes at a convenience to you in your Statistics section. Just go there and see how you stack up.
If you’re not a customer, log in to your Google Analytics account, go to the “Acquisition” section, then choose the “Source / Medium” option.
Set your date range to the most recent full month. Take a moment to compare your data against what you see here.
Then, ask yourself these questions:
As you can see, a proper view of web analytics allows you to see how your new customers are finding you as well as which ones are turning into customers and which are not.
In turn, it allows you to see why your business may not be seeing the success you’d like it to see, and brings the exact problem to the surface so you can solve it.
For example, if you aren’t even getting enough traffic to convert customers, or your sales aren’t where you’d like them to be, you have a traffic problem – which is a marketing problem – and the majority of your time right now should be spent on marketing.
Not randomly marketing, but methodically marketing with a specific channel and conversion rate as the focus and goal.
At Art Storefronts, we tell our customers that if you aren’t at least doing $100,000 in sales through your Art Storefront within a calendar year, marketing is your biggest problem and deserves all of your attention.
All of the companies who are over a million in annual sales through their Art Storefront have one thing in common: they focus the majority of their time and resources on marketing – and in most cases have been for years.
They understand that once you have locked in a solid conversion rate (a result of extensive testing and optimizing your sites’ pages, SEO, etc.), it’s just about getting more customers in the door. So that’s what they focus on. Every day they are testing new ideas to bring in new traffic.
There’s also another trend with the group of customers who have lower sales: they tend to spend too much time focusing on solving the wrong problems.
The “wrong problems” can be defined as those that are either not supported by data, or where a simple analysis of current data clearly shows that there isn’t a problem.
For example, some truly believe that if they just had one more feature, or one stroke of good luck, their sales would magically explode. Many are disappointed when we point out that their conversion rate is excellent, but their traffic is subpar.
So even if the conversion rate improved by 20% (for the sake of simplicity, say from 4% to 5%) from some magical feature or UI change, all this will do is convert more of the traffic they currently have – which will not result in the significant sales bump they were hoping for.
The reality is, the only real way to explode your sales is by improving your marketing, and getting more and more visitors into a funnel that is already proven to convert.
Easier said than done though, right? This is precisely why it deserves the majority of your creativity and attention. You have to try a lot of small strategies and tactics and ultimately these small wins will add up into big gains.
So where are you spending your time?
What marketing channel(s) are you currently spending your time and resources on? Do you have any data that shows whether they are actually working, or will actually work?
We just showed you what it is like to operate as a data-driven business that finds and focuses on the right problems.
We began the exercise by accessing concrete data (via ASF statistics and/or Google Analytics), we identified a successful metric (organic traffic with high checkout conversion rates), and we started thinking about what we can do to improve it.
This is a great recipe that you can start using today to get your business on the right track. So please – go hop into your statistics section and start focusing on the right problems. Get your employees doing the same thing.
If you are an ASF customer – complete Phase 1 of the Success Plan. It is not there as a ceremonial feature.
It is there because our data shows that if you complete it, you will capitalize on all of the data we have seen that is proving to lead fine art and photo printing companies to success.
Completing the Success Plan is a data driven decision in and of itself.
If we can't teach you, no one can!