Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The NEW Daily Paintworks website

The Daily Paintworks website
The Daily Paintworks website has had a radical overhaul and is now pursuing a completely different business model. 

This post reviews what has changed and the features and benefits on offer to those wanting to sell their art online.  Future updates will be posted to my Making A Mark Reviews blog.

How daily painting has changed in the last five years

The daily painting model has been around for a while now.  Last week I did a recap of how approaches to selling work developed and became refined over the course of the last five years or so since I started following people doing daily paintings - see A Timeline of Daily Painting Practices and Marketing.

It's very clear that there are an awful lot of artists who still get enormous value from painting every day or most days - and who still want to sell their paintings.

However over time, it's become clear that most dedicated artists, while painting most days, are not attempting to produce a new painting each day. 

This is because:
  • most are now more rigorous about taking a "time out" in order to stay fresh 
  • and/or have other commitments eg teaching workshops; raising children
  • and/or are just more realistic about what is a sustainable practice on a long term basis.  
  • and/or artists realise that they need to stay focused on the process rather than fixating on the generation of the product.  
However there continue to be very many artists producing small works for selling online who are producing artwork in a regular way to a consistent standard.

However most of those artists are still in need of an effective method of raising the profile of their work.  The biggest challenge is still getting the customer to view the artwork - which is where sites which help out in this respect come in.  It's also one of the reasons why Daily Paintworks has changed its approach.

The role of Daily Paintworks

The Daily Paintworks site started in December 2005 (see Daily painters, paintings and paintworks - and where you can see them 05 Dec 2007).  It was started by Carol Marine (Carol Marine's Painting A Day) with assistance from her husband David who is a "daily programmer" and who set up the website.

Daily Paintworks started as a small exclusive group of painters who wanted to have a co-operative approach to marketing their artwork.  The idea was that they should have a website which provided an online gallery.  This would then enable them to pool funds so that they could fund some advertising.  It was a great idea and I gather proved to be very effective for a number of the artists.

The group started as eight artists and then increased to twelve artists - with membership changing over time.  Each member needed to provide a not insignificant subscription which generated the funds for advertising and other expenses.

The DPW website then remained unchanged for three years.

Last summer, in Carol and David's view both the site and traffic was beginning to stagnate and needed to be re-energised.   The group of artists were very much focused on painting.  Much less effort had gone into thinking through how to improve the marketing side and this needed to be addressed.

After careful consideration, Carol and David's conclusion was that they needed to:
  • improve the marketing
  • increase the number of artists
  • introduce auction functionality to the site
  • put an emphasis on the site being enjoyable for members and customers
  • achieve a sustainable business model for the benefit of all participants.
What has changed

The website now has:
  • two categories of membership and more members
  • the DPW art friendly auctions page - an auction site which is compatible with the front end of the presentation of the artwork - as opposed to sending people off to eBay.  There is also an DPW auction FAQs page. 
  • The DPW Gallery page (this is Carol Marine's Gallery) integrates with your blog, automatically every night, or on-demand, pulling in your painting images, titles, descriptions, media, sizes, keywords, and buy links (Etsy, eBay, or PayPal) from your posts. 
  • In display terms, while you can see All Auctions, you can also differentiate between
  • the DPW Artist page - which lists the links to the DPW gallery page, blogs and websites 
  • a very good quality support site - Help & Feedback - which is focused on every aspect of using the site
  • Tracking functionality - which helps artists with their paperwork and keeping on top of their stock
  • the DPW Challenge - these are challenges for members (in much the same way as Karin Jurick ran Different Strokes From Different Folks)
  • a DPW resources page which lists various helpful sites 
  • a DPW Forum for participating members 
    Membership of Daily Paintworks

    This article by David Marine explains What is DPW Membership, what does it offer, and how do I join?

    The major change is that the (paid) membership has now been extended - and it has proved to be very popular.
    • Featured Artists: DPW features a group of artists on the front page. This is similar to the original arrangements but with a much larger group of artists.  It means that the first impression customers get when they visit the site is og good quality work.  DPW have carefully selected artists and these have been juried in by the group. Additionally, they pay more than the member artists. DPW take the view that the collective talent of the featured artists is a powerful traffic generator for DPW and all its artists.
    • General Members: General Membership is not juried or limited.  General Members, like Featured Artists, have access to all the same features of DPW, including Art Tracking and the DPW Auctions. They are not featured, however, on the front
    There's no geographical restriction on membership (and there is an international shipping template!).

    You can join DPW and be listed on the artist page if your work is your own original art, in natural media, and is 2D. This includes oil, acrylic, watercolor, pen & ink, charcoal, colored pencil, graphite, mixed media etc
    Daily Paintworks offers new paintings everyday, but you don't have to! 
    Importantly, you don't have to have a blog, you don't have to produce a painting every day and you don't have to only produce small artworks.  This aspect is perhaps what moves this site decisively away from the daily painting phenomena and towards more the market segment which is occupied by the more traditional online sites which market art.

    Both categories of membership have to pay a membership fee.  The membership fee for general members is $9.95 a month which seems very reasonable to me if you an artist whose work sells or you want to dip your toe in the market and try selling your art.  Certainly in terms of what's on offer the package is considerable better than many alternative sites.
    This compares with eBay which offers a store/gallery page for $15 per month.
    I would however add it only makes sense if you're going to list art on a regular basis.  People who only want to post art for sale on an occasional basis might do better elsewhere - from a financial perspective.

    Auctions

    The difference between the DPW auctions and eBay auctions are that
    • on eBay you can be outbid on a painting at the last minute (due to the use of sniping software) and collectors are not able to bid the amount
    • the DPW website:
      • end the auction when there is no more bidding activity.   It automatically extends the auction for a full five minutes if a new bid is received in the last five minutes.  It creates a more relaxed environment for the purchaser and makes the auction more enjoyable and much more like a real auction - ie the bidding continues until everybody is done bidding
      • enables artists to be able to set a time when an auction starts and finishes which is a feature that will be most attractive for those who work at night!
      • pulls in keywords from the blog to help customers search for painting
      • the "sold" process is made as easy as possible for the artist
      • seems to have very reasonable fee approach to displaying and selling art
    DPW Auctions are affordable. You don't pay anything to list and the first 3 re-listings are free. After that, it is only 50¢ a listing. Then, when you sell, you only pay 3% of the winning bid.
    Track your auctions and traffic 

    The traffic trend for this site is rising steadily.  According to compete.com (which is the site I use to compare different gallery sites) visits are up 42% since the beginning of the year and on the basis of performance to date that looks set to continue to be an upward trend.  This is the compete.com analysis for the website


    One of the distinctive features of the site - besides the site auction functionality - is the tracking features.
    You can also track your DPW Auctions in the grid, including eBay auctions, since DPW integrates with eBay, pulling in your auction statuses and current bids.

    DPW also lets you track your traffic in DPW and in your DPW Gallery, letting you see how many views, buy, blog, and gallery clicks each painting gets. 
    The screen shots of the two tracking pages are impressive

    Tracking traffic statistics - see bigger screenshot on the website

    I'd be interested to know how members find the statistics and how these compare to other sites.  From my perspective it looks much improved on the normal data which gets served up - not least because you get a comparison to the average of the people on the rest of the site are doing.   The screenshot of the traffic screen provides an example of one of Carol's work - and again I like this transparent approach to statistics.

    My experience on other sites is that the "add-ons" were a lot less sophisticated than they sounded when I signed up.   What's on offer sounds and looks rather better than most.


    It's also very refreshing to see the site owners being very open about the traffic the site is getting.  All too often in the past I've seen sites which promised great traffic which on closer analysis have been doing nothing of the sort.

    The reality is that paper-based advertising requires an audit of the circulation figures in order to sell space.   At some time in the future this is bound to be a requirement for online sites.  The focus on tracking data at the outset bodes well for the future and this site's growth.

    The DPW challenge

    The difference between the DPW challenge and the Different Strokes From Different Folks approach is that
    • the entry is uploaded by the artists rather than the blog owner
    • the entry can be put up for auction
    • the latest challenge is always up top of the list eg this week's challenge is The Nature's Arrangement Challenge  and was posted last Saturday
    • the previous challenges don't end - people can participate for as long as they like.
    What I like about the DPW challenges is that Carol is focusing some of them on the type of exercises which she promotes in her classes for addressing the learning needs of her students.  Exanples include:
    Summary

    First off, I need to make it clear that I don't use the site and have no practical experience of it.  I have also not done a detailed compairson with other sites - but will do in future - over on Making A Mark Reviews.

    However I've got a lot of experience of checking out and analysing various "gallery" sites which do attempt to entice artists to sell online!  (See Selling and Shipping Art)

    My view is:

    Pros
    • DPW is a very attractive site - it's very clean looking and simple to navigate
    • the functionality and scope is much better than most sites - most of which merely offer a simple way of selling for a fixed price and unsophisticated stats packages
    • it seems to be promoting a good community "feel"
    • the site is already achieving respectable traffic for a development of this sort and this will doubtless grow over time as it becomes better known.  What's excellent is that the site owners are being open about the traffic the site is pulling in at present.  That's he right way to build credibility.
    • the fee structure is such that it will favour those who do regular business on the internet which in turn should act as a filter on membership and enhance the attractiveness of the site to the potential customer
    Cons
    • Building a profile and traffic to the site requires investment - in terms and effort - by members as well as the owners.  If you think it's effective tell people - it's how etsy got going.
    • The subscription begins to look hefty if you are not listing on a regular basis - so eBay or etsy continue to look a better option for sporadic sellers. 
    f you've not yet taken a look at the Daily Paintworks site, I'd recommend you take a look.  You may be pleasantly surprised as I was.
    Links:

      1 comment:

      Elaine Mari, Painter and Drawer said...

      Thank you for this thorough review. I am considering using this site and it was very helpful to read your well researched post.



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