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Archive for the ‘selliing antques’ Category

Your Relationship With Your Publicist

In antiques online, Auction Advertising, Auctions, business, selliing antques on February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

It’s  Valentine’s Day, a good time to talk about relationships between client and publicist. The best ones are where roles are clearly defined and both sides of the table understand and respect the other’s role.

The spin cycle takes time.

The Spin Cycle Takes Time

When the dialog gets muddled, weird things happen. Clients don’t see immediate results in mass media. Perhaps, they are so busy – particularly in the case of auctioneers mounting monthly sales – they don’t see the results and, worse, don’t read the end-of-month metric reports. That can lead to a breakdown in communication.

We have talked about the two types of media: short lead and long lead media. The short lead media tend to be trade papers, industry blogs, social media. The coverage is immediate and targeted. Long lead media are your consumer magazines, big newspaper, sometimes even broadcast.  When the long leads hit, their impact is huge.

But the waiting can be hard. If it’s difficult for you to see immediate results, you’re not looking closely enough. Publicity grows, slowly at first and then exponentially.  So, if you hire a publicist, be ready to wait.

Case in point.  Last summer I planted a story for a client with a national publication. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. And then, six months later, in January, the time was right for the story.

By then, the client had grown weary. The daily demands of the auction business consumed the young company. It got to the point they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. They called me around month five of the process and said, “We want to hold off on publicity.”  I advised against it but the client already had his mind made up. So, with kisses all around, we went our separate ways.

Four weeks later, the arts journalist from the national publication called. She was ready to run with the story and was on a deadline. What happened? There was no time to reach out to the ex-client. I had to tell the journalist to call the contact direct. She did. Her name was not recognized. The contact did not take the call. And since I had been asked to “hold off,” was off the case.

The day the story hit, I read it and all of my ex-client’s competitor’s wer named. The only company that went without coverage in that article was the ex-client. Yesterday, I received an email from one of the competitors and – guess what – they included a link to the article.

The ex-client was livid. How could this have happened, they asked when they called.  I explained they had “fired” my firm and then, when I had provided contact information, they had not taken the call.

Moral of the story: When you engage a publicist,

  • Have a clearly defined goal
  • Know the spin cycle takes time
  • Read the monthly metrics reports to know where your name appeared
  • Trust your publicist

The client-publicist relationship is as important as any other relationship you maintain.

 

Create Success by Association Now

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, business, Chinese art, Media Planning, selliing antques, Young Collectors on August 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I read in the NY Times that $1 stores are the new haunt of the middle class. It’s  instant gratification  2011 style. But that’s not good news for antique dealers and auctioneers who want to encourage shoppers to spend.  There is a way out though.

It is called “aspirational marketing.”

You see it all the time on HGTV, where realtors and decorators have created formats that make people want to buy a home, and redecorate the one they have.

You see on American Pickers, where Mike Wolfe makes junk look good. And if you think he’s not following  up those marginal picks with merch – check out his website’s line of accessories. The  guy is making people aspire to be him!

And later this week, the Keno brothers will launch Buried Treasure and people will get turned on to their brand of knowledge.

What these shows have in common is that they  educate  consumers.

They also have a distribution format – national TV – that gets the word out to millions.

And what happens then? The educated in the distribution pipeline are not content with what they learn – they want to own something that reflects their new-found knowledge.

Or, success by association with a product.  Your product, be it antique chair, Chinese jade, contemporary art.

Aspirational marketing. It doesn’t preach to the choir or attempt to mine an already established audience. It reaches new audiences and turns those new audiences into buyers.

Why? Because human nature being what it is, people want to be close to the things they like. And if they impress a friend or  boss in the process-so much the better.

So, think about aspirational marketing and how it can boost your sales.

And if you need expert guidance, you know where to come. PRT3 has several aspirational campaigns going now. There is room for another.

Suze Orman, WWD, Antique Sellers

In antiques online, Art business, business, Drive Website Traffic, Media Planning, selliing antques on June 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Last night on PBS, Suze Orman gave the nation permission to NOT spend money. Her coinage is “Stand in your own truth.”

This morning, WWD (the fashion retailing bible) alerted readers that “Retailers Brace for Tougher Times.” Their resources said a spate of sales is forthcoming.

Retailers Face Tighter Times

Tor the clientele PRT3 serves, the real news is in the sub-text.   The competition is much broader  than you thought.  It includes  retailers who cultivate current customers and mine new audiences with  sales, promotions, discounts and special offers.

Your best defense is a good attack. Get your sales machine in gear now. When back-to-school cost increases  hit their peak, people will be less inclined to spend.

Your campaign for customers should begin today.

Longer days offer you longer selling hours.  Take the tombstone our of ads and promote a benefit. Or test the frequent shopper model. Go for collective buying power – test  a coupon on Groupon.

Collective Buying Power

In outreach efforts – social media, eblasts, Twitter, Facebook – optimize your communications with bona-fide reasons to spend.

Of course, there’s nothing better than building name recognition through a daily blog, press releases and articles.

Bottom line: borrow ideas liberally from the big boys,  the retailers who cannot afford to sit out a season.  As people start to take in Suze Orman’s “stand in your own truth” advice, they will base buying decisions on affordability and future gain.

Finally,  Ms. Orman says the foundation to healthy family economics is spending with cash.

Now that’s good news.

Discounts Rule on Facebook Fan Pages

In Art business, Auction Advertising, business, Drive Website Traffic, selliing antques on April 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

When it comes to how art and antique dealers and other businesses see Facebook, there seems to be a major disconnect.  C-level officers and fans see things differently.

The IBM Institute for Business Value Analysis recently released results of a 2011 CRM Study, and the fallout leaves plenty of room on to make better use of your Facebook page.

To put a few of the more common perceptions in line, let’s start with the fact that more than 73% of business owners believe fans come to their Facebook page to learn more about new products. In contrast, only 51% of fans actually use Facebook fan pages for this reason.

71% of Facebook fan page owners load the page ups with general information because they believe that’s what fans want. Only 53% of fans log on for general info.

61% of site owners think fans come because they want to be part of a community.  Only 22% of fans want to be part of a corporate community.

How Business and Fans Disconnect on Facebook

The closest fan page owners and fans come to being in sync is when it comes to actual purchases. 60% of businesses believe fans like them because they want to buy something. 55% of fans come to purchase.

The main reason fans come to a business page is to for a discount. 61% of your fans come for the discount and 60% of fan page owners realize this.

The new results of the what may be the most comprehensive social media study to date is sure to make all of us re-think our use of Facebook fan pages.

That said, see you on Facebook. (BTW, we recently posted discounts.)

P.S. To enlarge the image above, click on it.

Consumers Find Own Level

In Art and the American Way, business, Drive Website Traffic, selliing antques, Young Collectors on February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm

The two most frequent comments I hear from the trade are:

  1. I’m only interested in the very top of the market – ten items with 14 interested buyers
  2. No one wants antiques any more – just mid-Century stuff. My business is dying

To that end I’ve been up to ears in statistics this week trying to get a grip on the market that really exists and how to tap it.

At the top of the pyramid: Merril Lynch-Capgemini World Wealth Report 2009 cites about 100,000 uber-wealthy with $30 million or more to invest. This does not include collectibles, art, etc.

The Luxury Marketing Council takes a slightly broader look at the 8.6 million worldwide with investable assets of $1 million or more.

Then there is the Mass Affluent tier (HH incomes of $150+). After that comes aspirational tier – people looking to buy “up”.

Clearly, the markets exist. Buyers at all levels have interests and their discretionary funds. While buying art and antiques kicks in at the aspirational tier, I don’t know of many people who wake up one day knowing how to shop.   This is where information leaders come in.

Information leaders?

  • Journalists and bloggers
  • trend setters
  • designers
  • photographers

All are  people who educate.

Educators rarely hit their target with jargon-tipped arrows and inaccessibility.  They do it with ease and clarity. Information leaders do the same thing. When audiences understand, they make informed decisions about design, style and purchases that reflect their individuality.

This works at the top of the pyramid and the broad base. Educated consumers find their own level. But they have to be taught. Are you speaking their language?

VIP and Art.sy – Lessons in Luxury Marketing

In Art business, business, Cool Exhibitions, Drive Website Traffic, selliing antques, Young Collectors on January 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

WSJ talks VIP

With all the up-front ballyhoo and then acceptance of online selling, the first big push  to sell high level art virtually opens next week. It’s the VIP Art Show, a prelude to what Google and pals will be doing with Art.sy in coming months.  This is luxury marketing at its finest.

VIP and Art.sy are good for business – your business. The reason, VIP and Art.sy are training your consumers.

  • They’re training them to buy without physically viewing merchandise
  • They’re training them to trust online sellers more than ever before
  • They’re training in an arena that is – sadly – still underused by sellers of antiques and arts

On the other hand, these high-level efforts also mean that if your business is primarily a brick/mortar deal, you will need to protect yourself with stronger marketing campaigns.

  • Stronger marketing campaigns mean solidifying your brand
  • Making your place of business a destination
  • Providing a good reason for shoppers to come in
  • Joining in co-op marketing programs

If you haven’t already optimized the out-reach for new audiences, this is the time to do it.

Ironically, a hefty slice of your marketing pie should go to the Internet and  contextually relevant sites. A hefty slice of time  should be spent on Facebook, Twitter, the social media. Other efforts need to focus on smart traditional media buys.

As VIP and Art.sy break through the four walls with the biggest push we’ve seen so far, you will fill the repercussions in both bad and good ways.

Informed risk takers, the people who don’t hide behind old ways of doing business, who are willing to reach out to new audiences, will benefit from the efforts of VIP and Art.sy.

Be sure to follow both closely. These are textbook lessons in the making. You will learn from them. BTY, VIP opens next week and runs for a limited. Art.sy launches in the Spring.

Link Building for Antique Dealers, Auction Houses, Appraisers

In Drive Website Traffic, selliing antques on September 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Links  help you build awareness, visibility, credibility.  Links drive  traffic. Links alert the search engines.

In short, links are for the  people who click them and the search engines that judge them.

Love Me? Link me.

If you’re actively pursuing merit based links, that’s great. If not, this blog is for you.

Let’s put your site in perspective. No matter how strong it is, there are  431 million other  sites that are fighting for the top spot on Google.   Google is searched 1 billion times a day. That should give you idea of how vital your  link building efforts should be.

There is something else you should know before you scramble off in search of links. Link popularity = the sum total of all the links pointing at your site – the ones that serve no purpose. In other words, a useless link is one that doesn’t bring traffic or send info to search engine pages. So, how do you know what links to go after help your business?  Look for links that are earned by merit.

Merit based lins vs. spammy links

Merit Based Links vs. Spammy Links

Since getting traffic to your website is very different from buying and selling product, it’s best to leave the link building to your PR team.  With at least 30 different tactics available for link building, you want to go with the ones that fall into the good practices arena.

You can buy links. You can swap links. You can get links by merit. A good rule of thumb is that in general, the easier it is to get a link, the less likely it is to help you. Getting links organically, or  by merit is your best bet – but it is not overnight wish fulfillment.

  • Solid link bulding takes time
  • It takes patience

And that’s just a fact of life that you are going to have to live with if you plan on sticking around on the Internet. That said, every business requires a different link strategy. What works for a seller of dinosaur bones probably isn’t going to work for a seller of Chippendale furniture.

The approach has to be based on your focus, content and audience. Clearly, these strategies includes some easy gets, like directories and link sawpping. A few antiques directories include: Antiques & Collectibles Directory, The Antiques Directory, Collectics, Go Antiquing, You’ll want to swap links too.

By the way, when you ask a stranger for a link swap, be sure you know his or her name. Don’t send mass emails or add attachments. You’ll also need:

  • Merit based links from link “curators.” For this, you should have professionally written content and strong technical support.
  • Online public relations. This includes the profesionally written and distributed  press releases and articles that drive traffic to your site.
  • Non-sensationalist link bait.  Keywords rich teasers spread across you social media and networking sites that intrigue and drive people to your site.
  • Click through traffic driven by a media plan that includes online advertising on contextual relevant sites and basic AdWords of FB ads.
  • On-site link optimization. Again, your tech team and your content writers need to have strong skills.

Sound time consuming – of course it is. White Hat link building (as it’s called in the industry)   requires as much expertise and thought as you put into buying new inventory. That’s why you pay the big bucks. And if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you’ll find out just how much your time is worth.

Link building isn’t just for big corporations. Link building is for every antique dealer, auction gallery, appraiser, designer – everyone in the trade. I suggest you take a look at your marketing strategy and check it in terms of your website’s traffic.

Ultimately, you’ll build a stronger business with new buyers by having a strong website with good links and great traffic.

Want to know how many links you have? You  can find out at  Link Popularity Check. Just remember, in link building raw numbers are meaningless.

Twitter for Auctioneers.

In selliing antques, Twitter on July 15, 2010 at 3:47 am

You’re on Twitter…now what?

If you want to make the most of those posts, you’ll want to follow a few simple tried-and-tested techniques.

First, decide what your goal is, In most cases, the bottom line is get more clients, consignors, buyers, bidders.

The action plan for this is pretty straight forward:

1. Know the fundamentals.

2. Analyze and make your tweets more powerful.

I’ll keep this short and simple, just like Twitter. One reason it is so popular is because you can say all you need to in just 140 characters. Think not?

Then take one of your favorite phrases, like “Our upcoming auction has some stellar lots in it. A mid-century desk, a Tiffany lamp, a collection of Sevres porcelains.” Guess the characters. Remarkably, it’s only 122 characters. Now add your url. Voila, that’s a tweet.

Now that you see it is feasible to tweet in coherent phrases, let’s take a look at the Twitter page you’re setting up.

  • Think of Twitter as a mini-website. You page should reflect your brand, your website, your auction house’s personality. In other words, it pays to get a professional looking background.

You can do this from any of several sites that offer free backgrounds. Best bet, however, is to get a custom made design.

  • Use your name and a photo avatar, even if the url is your auction house’s name. People respond to people, not companies.
  • You’re busy with consignors, clients, cataloging, so how are you going to get those tweets posted and shared 3X a day? (BTW, Tuesday is the busiest day of the week on Twitter.) Answer: sign on to a free time management tool. There’s ping.fm, buzzom, SocialOomph, Hootsuite.

The management tools give you the option of spending an hour writing tweets that you can schedule weeks out.

  • You will want to know the impact of your tweets on driving traffic to your website. Best bet, set up your Google Analytics, also free. By monitoring this metrics reporter, you will be able to find out how much new website traffic came from Twitter. If it’s not enought, adjust your tweeting stratgy.
  • Schedule your Tweets 2 or 3 times a day. Find out what your target audience really wnats to hear. (It might not be what you think.) You can do this by testing calls to action within each tweet. You can test keywords and links here too.
  • Don’t blow your own horn all the time. One of the secrets to good tweeting-good social networking in general-is to add the personality. Pull back the curtain and let people see you through the marketing. They’re likely to respond to a story about your doggie or a new child and cheer on your deserved vacation. (Yes, this is still in the realm of marketing because the object is getting them to become loyal followers.)

On the back end, you’ll want to analyze and improve.

  • Hootsuite will measure the number of clicks you get on links in tweets. Google Analytics will measure more, like pages per visit, unique visitors and conversion metrics (if a visitor became a customer.)
  • Include links as often as possible. Think of your tweets as link bait to attract visitors. You can then measure the results of the links.
  • Use popular keywords. Not just the keywords you think are popular, but the ones that Google Keywords tells you are popular.  Hint: long tail keywords are better than short ones.
  • Don’t be too sales oreinted. Try a softer approach, with calls to action.

It’s easy to produce targeted, well-crafted Twitter updates. And ever so important.PR To the Trade

To follow us on twitter, just click through here

Twitter

PR To the Trade

Antiques Are Green: A Trend Takes Off.

In selliing antques on June 11, 2010 at 12:10 am

The slow build to make Antiques Are Green a social epidemic may be reaching its tipping point.

Recently, when I interviewed Sandra Espinet for Latique.com Magazine (we ghost write all the content for the site), I was a little bit surprised when this designer to the stars said, “I love antiques. They are the ultimate green.”  The words came to her so effortlessly, it was clear she had said them before.

Logo of http:antiquesaregreen.org

The concept has been floated over the years in trade magazines and by dealers, but Sandy’s comment was the first time I heard anyone not in the business voice the idea.  Just today, I received a prompt from a blogger to check out the British website “Antiques Are Green.”

Antiques Are Green is the not-for- profit effort of Nigel Worboys, a British dealer, and it has been around since September.

It costs nothing to join Antiques Are Green and given the comments of high level British personalities and BBC Antiques Roadshow presenters,  it looks as though the effort has some clout behind it.

According to the website’s mission statement, creating awareness of the recyclable attributes of period furniture and fine art will open up new audiences for everyone in the trade. Since we are part of the effort to reach out to new audiences with publicity, we have been tracking the movement for a long time.  Notably, the effort to reach new audiences is ramping up on many levels.  Our client, Latique.com, for instance is growing on the premise that younger audiences just need a little casual learnin’ to get hip to the benefits of antiques.

On the other hand, Kipton Cronkite, who has been sponsoring a Young Collector’s event at the Winter Antiques Show, may have been one of the earliest marketers of the concept. On board now are Josh Wainwright, who produces the Philadelphia Antiques Show and got the retailer Anthropologie to sponsor a Young Collectors Event there last April. Maine Antiques Digest has been running a column for quite a while by Hollie Davis and Andrew Richmond on Young Collectors.

The next thing that should happen is to put the two concepts together.

Antiques Are Green + Young Collectors = Social Epidemic.

In other words, antiques are back in style.

I can’t imagine that the combo is that far away. New York  Magazine’s design issue recently touted “The New Old.”  And what a revelation it was.

New York Magazine Spring Design Issue

Wendy Goodman did a fantastic job of seeking out dyed in the wool Neo Collectors – actually it would better to call them Neo Traditionalists. Terminally hip, bespoke, and well traveled, the Neos are living proof that there is a renaissance under way.

Wendy Goodman honed in on Neo Vicotrians living on the edge of the 19th Century and making it look so cool. She featured people who are Neo Formal, Neo Country, Neo Versailles.

I was beside myself reading the issue.

Interestingly, each one of the Neos went a whole lot farther than I would have expected.  There were confessions of shopping Mongo (that’s the New York term for the fab finds you pick up off the street) and of “recycling.”  Those magic words “Paris flea markets” popped up too. (Hey, doesn’t that get us back to Antiques Are Green?)

Besides it being a fantastic issue, New York Magazine – always  first in style – must have made a lot of antique dealers feel good. Surely, it is the start of a trend. Watch the Neos come back into the market.

Between the Antiques Are Green movement, the Young Collectors and the Neo Period pieces – this could be the tipping point.

Talking ’bout Editors Who Preach to the Choir.

In 1, selliing antques on December 15, 2009 at 3:48 am

Last week a young woman walked into my office, resume in hand. After being on the retail end of antiques for more than ten years, she was angry that mid-level dealers were folding and wanted to talk about things she could do that would make them see the need to change their ways.

“Mid level dealers,” she sad, “won’t change the way they are marketing. They’re all going to go under…if… I’ve tried to teach them but they won’t listen. How do you do it?”

Rather than taking credit for being of the same mind as she, I commiserated. The young woman was talking true.

She talked about the Magazine Antiques not being able to reach anyone under 100, and I had to laugh.  If only they would lighten up a bit.

The Magazine Antiques, like its poor imitator, New England Antiques Journal, is stuffy-stodgy-pompous in its presentation of excellent information. Just look at the covers. There is nothing on those covers that makes you want to reach out and touch.

Now ,look at the covers of magazines with good circulations.What a difference!

When Elizabeth Pochado (The Magazine Antiques)  and John Fiske (The New England Antiques Journal)  talk about reaching young collectors, whom they refer to as Gen X and Gen Y, they do it from an ivory tower. (Presumably mastedon ivory.)

On the other hand, when Southern Accents talks antiques, they bring them to life.  They decorative arts and vintage furnishings they spot light always appear in context.

Southern Accents understands that people relate to people, and rooms that they might aspire to, and talk about decorating their homes, rather than the age of the mastedon ivory, or the articulation and reticulation of the design.  In other words the shelter magazines get it because they understand the market.

The old guard in antiques publishing is  striving to be authoritative and in n so have worked themselves into an untouchable cell.   By positioning the product as disembodied photos all but behind museum glass, they are preaching to the choir. Only scholars, expert or other similarly inclined reader are going to relate.

Art, antiques’ counterpart and rival for young dollars, certainly has found a home in the homes of young collectors. Why? Because it’s hot. It’s hip. It is marketed as a status symbol, a lasting treasure by dealers who mix (martinis), mingle (at social events), market (with ads, blogs, social networks.)

It’s double jeopard when these same editors talk about  Gen X or Gen Y. Suppose, just suppose, you picked up a pub note in the front of a magazine that called  you Gen G (for gray haired) or Gen S (for Senior, maybe even Slow) wouldn’t you think they were talking about someone else? Certainly, that person could not be you.

People, collectors, buyers, men, women are not a Gen, they are bodies with faces, names, desires and opinions. Most have two articulated thumb for texting. Most have the means to buy whatever you’re selling if you engage them in a dialog.

My feeling is that antique dealers, the Magazine Antiques, New England Antiques Journal are afraid to talk like they mean it.  They do not want to engage because then it would be incumbent on them to do it again and again and again. And that would be work rather than cerebral volleyball.