Archive for the ‘online marketing’ Category

After 24 years as a professional caricaturist and entertainer, I still find myself battling against the same deadly foe; The Amateur Artist!  Despite my excellent reputation for quality service and product, I am constantly compared to ‘the local bloke, who draws for half the price’!

Today I demonstrated my skills as an artist and entertainer at a local Wedding Exhibition, after which I was approached by two venues, both of whom used the same local caricaturist at their weddings. Their main complaint was that he sat in a corner, head down and took 10-15 minutes to draw each individual, which did not impress the Brides or other guests, waiting to be drawn. They could not believe how fast and entertaining I was and both venues offered me a space at their next exhibition, on the strength of what they’d witnessed.

Now I’m no exceptional caricaturist, just a professional, much like dozens of other professional caricaturists, all having to fight against the infux of untutored, unskilled amateurs, who are collectively killing our industry! It should not be my place to constantly educate the public to the standard of artists and entertainers available, it should be the place of those selling us and those competing with us to step up to the mark, as opposed to us lowering our standards and fees. Unless these Artists and agencies peddling our trade get their act together and start selling quality entertainment, then our industry will be reduced to a novelty much like a chocolate fountain or crappy photo booth!!

I’m just saying!

Recently opened up a debate regarding new competitors in the Carix market and it became clear that a few artists just have no clue what is potentially controlling their business’ fortunes. Some were unaware of competitors within their own geographical patch and one was surprised to come across a Carix who’s been caricaturing for at least two decades on their doorstep!

I thought it was  a good time to remind all fellow Carix to check their SWOT analysis, which should be done on an annual basis anyhow. SWOT is an analysis of your Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats, which should give you an idea where you sit in your own marketplace. If you do not carry out this simple task, then you may as well be fishing in the dark, because your business will be beyond your control!  Visit this simple page which gives you a few good business models to look into, including basic advice on Competitors and Pricing…

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/compare-business-model-competitive-strategy-76349.html

Strengths and weaknesses are internal qualities, determined by who you are and how you have chosen to operate your company. These include your USP and your chosen Mode of Operation.

Opportunities and threats relate to the business climate in which your company operates. These include competition and business trends.

If you are unaware of your target market, your selling points, your competitors, your potential markets and potential threats, then frankly I’m amazed you’re still in business! Get on Google and give it a look-see, it could be the making of your business.

wedding artistAfter 3 months of tinkering on WordPress, I am proud to announce the launch of my new wedding specific website – The Wedding Artist.  I decided that there are now too many other caricaturists selling their skills to Brides, with loud, gawdy, cheesy cartoon sites and so I went for the Gold Standard angle. I am after all the only UK caricaturist and entertainer who is regularly published in glossy magazines, which should mean something surely? I hope the Brides can see the quality from my website and make the right choice on their big day.

Twice this week I have encountered the same problem when trying to advertise with online directories; They would only allow me to list myself by location/county.

All jobbing Carix will know that location is no guarantee of quality and as entertainers we have to travel nationwide to find work.  Indeed, I rarely work in Leicestershire, due to cheap local competition and a general lack of local support, so advertising myself in Leicester is pointless to me!  Last week alone I worked in Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire and Suffolk, the preceeding weeks in Bedford, Norfolk and West Sussex!

Directories take great pleasure in charging per county when paying for a listing, thus making it impossible to take out paid advertising. One directory insisted the client searched by county first, before even offering them a category!  If location was the only criteria for booking a quality wedding, based on local artists and suppliers, then I wouldn’t wanna get wed in Cambridge or Leeds for sure!

(A warm welcome to our US colleagues reading this. To explain; the UK is a very small market, 60+ artists competing in a country the size of a small State, the Carix market is divided into “Colleagues & Competitors” as we all have to fight each other for clients. Some new competitors have yet to learn good business and customer skills but are happy to ravage the diminishing market for their short term gains. They will never become colleagues)

Following a spate of client complaints regarding one particular new artist, currently blundering her way onto the market, I may very soon feel the need to name and shame such artists on my Blog.  Any artist who lets a client down at short notice (repeatedly), leaving them without a replacement (presumably in favour of a better paid gig) or who undercuts the Caricaturist market by charging as little as £100, then charges per person at the wedding, deserves no respect from within their own community. I suggest any such new artists should shape up and stop giving us reputable professionals a bad name!

More let downs

Just heard of the 3rd alleged last minute let-down by a new female artist in 12 months. This is the second client that has alleged she was rude to them, on this occasion calling the client ‘THICK’!!!  This inexcusable behavior will not be tolerated within our industry and on behalf of all professional caricaturists I apologize, though I do not include this artist as a professional.

January 2012

Just had another two separate clients (including Cambridge News) reporting an artist quoting both £120 and ‘charging per head’.  In one instance the client hired my very talented colleague Luisa Calvo instead, as they thought the idea of charging per head was ‘tacky’!  You see the image this down-market trading is giving us… Glad to see Luisa is flying the flag of quality 🙂

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APOLOGIES FOR ANY MIS-INFORMATION GIVEN IN A RECENT POST, REGARDING A BOOKING LET DOWN ON  20/05/12

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Why oh why did no-one tell me about the PANDA UPDATE by Google?? Apparently they’ve decided to re-grade all websites by a new set of rules and down-grade all those sites that are deemed ‘uninteresting or uninformative’… So all those sites that have spent years climbing the ranks by building Links etc can now be found at the bottom of the pile!

That explains why my website traffic dropped off from 20 February, even though I have 1100 links and my nearest competitor only has 160; now he is on top!! BOLLOX!!

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-more-high-quality-sites-in.html