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St3v3Murray
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Membership Drive

Post by St3v3Murray »

I love this group and the dedicated few who have kept it alive, but you have to admit we could use a few more members so I thought I'd ask for help!

Let's be honest, I'm not good at marketing, never have been and it reflects here, but I'm not against it if someone knows how. So there's that, but is there anything else you think might help? My curious questions have always been why can't we keep those who stop by, and how do we encourage those who signup but never post anything? I haven't wanted to be invasive and scare people away but I'm curious, is it us, is it something we can change?

With marketing on the table, assuming someone can point us in the right direction, I have another idea, it might be a harebrained idea (I had to look that up) or it might make us, I don't know but it's why I'm posting this and hope you can offer some guidance.

Partner Recognition -
We've been sort of half-doing this all along with our social media posts, but I thought we, the community, could choose a living photographer, a link, a Tweet, a post, whatever, and have a discussion about it, then post it on our social media sites, and ideally on theirs. The last part is the key, on theirs. On their social media sites as a thank you, as a here's what we've been talking about and want to include you, and hopefully as a partner recognition where they might want to login and add to the discussion too. At the worst, we've had an amazing discussion and put our name out there, at the best they mention us and hopefully add interest for others to join up too.

I'm throwing this out there, full exposure for all to see, and hope you'll reply with a yea or a ney, and why. Thank you! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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minniev
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Post by minniev »

St3v3M wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:53 am
I love this group and the dedicated few who have kept it alive, but you have to admit we could use a few more members so I thought I'd ask for help!

Let's be honest, I'm not good at marketing, never have been and it reflects here, but I'm not against it if someone knows how. So there's that, but is there anything else you think might help? My curious questions have always been why can't we keep those who stop by, and how do we encourage those who signup but never post anything? I haven't wanted to be invasive and scare people away but I'm curious, is it us, is it something we can change?

With marketing on the table, assuming someone can point us in the right direction, I have another idea, it might be a harebrained idea (I had to look that up) or it might make us, I don't know but it's why I'm posting this and hope you can offer some guidance.

Partner Recognition -
We've been sort of half-doing this all along with our social media posts, but I thought we, the community, could choose a living photographer, a link, a Tweet, a post, whatever, and have a discussion about it, then post it on our social media sites, and ideally on theirs. The last part is the key, on theirs. On their social media sites as a thank you, as a here's what we've been talking about and want to include you, and hopefully as a partner recognition where they might want to login and add to the discussion too. At the worst, we've had an amazing discussion and put our name out there, at the best they mention us and hopefully add interest for others to join up too.

I'm throwing this out there, full exposure for all to see, and hope you'll reply with a yea or a ney, and why. Thank you! S-
I think the problems with the error message hurt us badly. We had gained a couple of promising new members who gave up and left, and some of our occasional participants also became scarce. I think a mail out to let people who are registered know we have solved our problems, are interested in their opinion or suggestions or feedback on any problems they encounter, could help us regain some. For those who disappeared before that, it’s a reminder that we are still here, and a welcome back. This is either a terrible or good time to do that. But it would not be that hard to do, and do again.

The Monhegan retreat team came up with several suggestions/ideas that I compiled and shared with you and Duck, but I could post them here as well. Dave’s wife has some skills in that area, and if we are very nice to her, maybe she’d share some of her ideas. I’ve never been good at marketing but like anything else, there are skill sets that can be learned from those who are successful with it.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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St3v3Murray
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Post by St3v3Murray »

minniev wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:44 am
I think the problems with the error message hurt us badly. We had gained a couple of promising new members who gave up and left, and some of our occasional participants also became scarce. I think a mail out to let people who are registered know we have solved our problems, are interested in their opinion or suggestions or feedback on any problems they encounter, could help us regain some. For those who disappeared before that, it’s a reminder that we are still here, and a welcome back. This is either a terrible or good time to do that. But it would not be that hard to do, and do again.

The Monhegan retreat team came up with several suggestions/ideas that I compiled and shared with you and Duck, but I could post them here as well. Dave’s wife has some skills in that area, and if we are very nice to her, maybe she’d share some of her ideas. I’ve never been good at marketing but like anything else, there are skill sets that can be learned from those who are successful with it.
Okay! We have a mass email on the table, a great idea, some suggestions/ideas, please post them, and some possible help too! Thank you! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Post by SharonC »

Good morning from Kentucky. Dave just sent me an email telling me that Minnie mentioned my name in this thread and referred to our group conversation on Monhegan. My main critique about the PhotoMentoris site is when I get to the home page, my eyes cross because it's just a huge page of text to wade through. It looks exactly like the technical forum page for the shopping cart I have installed on my own site, and I only visit that forum when I absolutely need to. PM's target audience is photographers who are 'visual' people and imo you need a home landing page that draws them in with beautiful/interesting images (maybe a slideshow), a short description about the site's purpose, along with some general links to navigate further into the site. I think you could do this by adding a Wordpress framework in front of the phpBB forum. Also WP has a lot of free apps that can be installed for added functions.

Another thing I have mentioned, I think to the group at Monhegan, and often to Dave is what is the ultimate goal of PM? To simply be an info sharing forum or to eventually monetize so it can at least be cost free to the owner. All sites have operating expenses. I use Wordpress as the basis for my 3 sites, then another app in conjunction that depends on what the focus of that particular site is... for instance, I have an ecommerce shopping cart app on one to sell art pattern tutorials, on another I have aMember membership software to offer free and paid content to members, the third is just strictly WP for link sharing. I haven't managed a forum on my sites, so I have no experience with forum apps. But WP can provide the pretty, and the underlying app can provide the function. My own audience is hobby painters/artists (also a visual group) and most are in the 50-80+ age range. I try to design my sites with the assumption that my audience has limited computer skills so organize them in the simplest, most logical way to help them navigate through it. Of course, it's an evolving design effort, and I'm always amazed at how little most of them know about navigating the internet. You'll get little if any positive feedback when things are going right, but you'll definitely get nasty feedback when they don't! lol!

Beyond that, you might want to start a mailing list such as MailChimp and send regular announcements, challenges, what's trending, etc directly out to members' through email to encourage them to come visit the site. You can install a pop-up window to ask visitors to sign up to the mailing list after they have been on the home page for a few seconds. Write blog posts that can auto post to a PhotoMentoris Facebook page and other social media. MailChimp can also post to your social media when you send a mailing. With my own sites, even though I have almost 6000 signed up on my mailing list, I still have to send out weekly email reminders, and I always see a big boost in sales immediately after I do this. I realize PM isn't a sales site, but this should also boost member participation when you send a mailing.

It all takes constant effort to keep the site dynamic and build your audience, and you'll need willing members with the necessary skills and time to volunteer on a consistent basis.

Sharon Chinn
https://DecorativePaintingStore.com
https://SharonChinn.com
https://1001DecoartiveArtistResources.com
Sharon Chinn
sharonchinn.com
sharonchinn11@gmail.com

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minniev
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Post by minniev »

SharonC wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:32 pm
Good morning from Kentucky. Dave just sent me an email telling me that Minnie mentioned my name in this thread and referred to our group conversation on Monhegan. My main critique about the PhotoMentoris site is when I get to the home page, my eyes cross because it's just a huge page of text to wade through. It looks exactly like the technical forum page for the shopping cart I have installed on my own site, and I only visit that forum when I absolutely need to. PM's target audience is photographers who are 'visual' people and imo you need a home landing page that draws them in with beautiful/interesting images (maybe a slideshow), a short description about the site's purpose, along with some general links to navigate further into the site. I think you could do this by adding a Wordpress framework in front of the phpBB forum. Also WP has a lot of free apps that can be installed for added functions.

Another thing I have mentioned, I think to the group at Monhegan, and often to Dave is what is the ultimate goal of PM? To simply be an info sharing forum or to eventually monetize so it can at least be cost free to the owner. All sites have operating expenses. I use Wordpress as the basis for my 3 sites, then another app in conjunction that depends on what the focus of that particular site is... for instance, I have an ecommerce shopping cart app on one to sell art pattern tutorials, on another I have aMember membership software to offer free and paid content to members, the third is just strictly WP for link sharing. I haven't managed a forum on my sites, so I have no experience with forum apps. But WP can provide the pretty, and the underlying app can provide the function. My own audience is hobby painters/artists (also a visual group) and most are in the 50-80+ age range. I try to design my sites with the assumption that my audience has limited computer skills so organize them in the simplest, most logical way to help them navigate through it. Of course, it's an evolving design effort, and I'm always amazed at how little most of them know about navigating the internet. You'll get little if any positive feedback when things are going right, but you'll definitely get nasty feedback when they don't! lol!

Beyond that, you might want to start a mailing list such as MailChimp and send regular announcements, challenges, what's trending, etc directly out to members' through email to encourage them to come visit the site. You can install a pop-up window to ask visitors to sign up to the mailing list after they have been on the home page for a few seconds. Write blog posts that can auto post to a PhotoMentoris Facebook page and other social media. MailChimp can also post to your social media when you send a mailing. With my own sites, even though I have almost 6000 signed up on my mailing list, I still have to send out weekly email reminders, and I always see a big boost in sales immediately after I do this. I realize PM isn't a sales site, but this should also boost member participation when you send a mailing.

It all takes constant effort to keep the site dynamic and build your audience, and you'll need willing members with the necessary skills and time to volunteer on a consistent basis.

Sharon Chinn
https://DecorativePaintingStore.com
https://SharonChinn.com
https://1001DecoartiveArtistResources.com
Thank you so much Sharon for sharing all this detail. I think you are surely correct in your assessment - we need a landing page that is more visual, more engaging to visitors, and offers at least links and "teasers" about other content, as well as pathways into the forum itself. An embedded blog by Steve or Duck or a group of us sharing the task could provide some coherence to pull it all together. Lots that could be done! We don't know how to do it, but hopefully we can learn, and may ask advice from you as we move forward.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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St3v3Murray
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Post by St3v3Murray »

SharonC wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:32 pm
Good morning from Kentucky. Dave just sent me an email telling me that Minnie mentioned my name in this thread and referred to our group conversation on Monhegan. My main critique about the PhotoMentoris site is when I get to the home page, my eyes cross because it's just a huge page of text to wade through. It looks exactly like the technical forum page for the shopping cart I have installed on my own site, and I only visit that forum when I absolutely need to. PM's target audience is photographers who are 'visual' people and imo you need a home landing page that draws them in with beautiful/interesting images (maybe a slideshow), a short description about the site's purpose, along with some general links to navigate further into the site. I think you could do this by adding a Wordpress framework in front of the phpBB forum. Also WP has a lot of free apps that can be installed for added functions.

Another thing I have mentioned, I think to the group at Monhegan, and often to Dave is what is the ultimate goal of PM? To simply be an info sharing forum or to eventually monetize so it can at least be cost free to the owner. All sites have operating expenses. I use Wordpress as the basis for my 3 sites, then another app in conjunction that depends on what the focus of that particular site is... for instance, I have an ecommerce shopping cart app on one to sell art pattern tutorials, on another I have aMember membership software to offer free and paid content to members, the third is just strictly WP for link sharing. I haven't managed a forum on my sites, so I have no experience with forum apps. But WP can provide the pretty, and the underlying app can provide the function. My own audience is hobby painters/artists (also a visual group) and most are in the 50-80+ age range. I try to design my sites with the assumption that my audience has limited computer skills so organize them in the simplest, most logical way to help them navigate through it. Of course, it's an evolving design effort, and I'm always amazed at how little most of them know about navigating the internet. You'll get little if any positive feedback when things are going right, but you'll definitely get nasty feedback when they don't! lol!

Beyond that, you might want to start a mailing list such as MailChimp and send regular announcements, challenges, what's trending, etc directly out to members' through email to encourage them to come visit the site. You can install a pop-up window to ask visitors to sign up to the mailing list after they have been on the home page for a few seconds. Write blog posts that can auto post to a PhotoMentoris Facebook page and other social media. MailChimp can also post to your social media when you send a mailing. With my own sites, even though I have almost 6000 signed up on my mailing list, I still have to send out weekly email reminders, and I always see a big boost in sales immediately after I do this. I realize PM isn't a sales site, but this should also boost member participation when you send a mailing.

It all takes constant effort to keep the site dynamic and build your audience, and you'll need willing members with the necessary skills and time to volunteer on a consistent basis.

Sharon Chinn
https://DecorativePaintingStore.com
https://SharonChinn.com
https://1001DecoartiveArtistResources.com
Good morning Sharon, and thank you for the wonderful advice!

I think its interesting to see through the eyes of other artists so an opinion from outside the group is always helpful, and now you're one of us! The site runs on phpBB and I'm not sure we can change that, but we have the option of a Blog and that runs on WordPress so we could use your expertise there, but either way, your assessment is helpful and I'm sure we can translate a lot of this over.

There's a lot of good information here, and a lot to digest, but it's perfect timing as we look to transition to a new skin, style, or theme. We're a small group but are trying to find a way to grow, and this really helps! Thank you so much, so very much! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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St3v3Murray
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Post by St3v3Murray »

minniev wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:13 pm
Thank you so much Sharon for sharing all this detail. I think you are surely correct in your assessment - we need a landing page that is more visual, more engaging to visitors, and offers at least links and "teasers" about other content, as well as pathways into the forum itself. An embedded blog by Steve or Duck or a group of us sharing the task could provide some coherence to pull it all together. Lots that could be done! We don't know how to do it, but hopefully we can learn, and may ask advice from you as we move forward.
I think there's an option for a picture of the day/week/month, something like that, we could use as a splash screen, and I like the idea of embedding a blog, especially if we can get guest commentators to add a blurb and even promote their own sites. There's a lot to think about here! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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minniev
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Post by minniev »

St3v3M wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:12 pm
minniev wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:13 pm
Thank you so much Sharon for sharing all this detail. I think you are surely correct in your assessment - we need a landing page that is more visual, more engaging to visitors, and offers at least links and "teasers" about other content, as well as pathways into the forum itself. An embedded blog by Steve or Duck or a group of us sharing the task could provide some coherence to pull it all together. Lots that could be done! We don't know how to do it, but hopefully we can learn, and may ask advice from you as we move forward.
I think there's an option for a picture of the day/week/month, something like that, we could use as a splash screen, and I like the idea of embedding a blog, especially if we can get guest commentators to add a blurb and even promote their own sites. There's a lot to think about here! S-
Duck had some good ideas for a splash page that would include some images, tutorials, a blog, links to the forum and social media pages. All that could be updated regularly to keep fresh content up front.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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St3v3Murray
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Post by St3v3Murray »

minniev wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:02 pm
Duck had some good ideas for a splash page that would include some images, tutorials, a blog, links to the forum and social media pages. All that could be updated regularly to keep fresh content up front.
These are all good things, keep the ideas coming! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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