AskPat 312 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 312 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Sweet, now let's get to today's question from Tom.
Tom: Hi, my name is Tom. I have developed a website called CrowdFoto.net, which is a photography on demand marketplace. It allows basically everyone to make photos with their cellphone, and earn $20 with each photo sold on the platform. I thought that's a no brainer. I mean, you can, in basically 15 minutes, make $20. Would be great for students, for housewives, but basically for everybody.
However, I have trouble getting traffic, and to get people to actually work and upload photos. I'm wondering why, because I thought it's a no brainer that if you want to earn a little money on the side. This is not for full time jobs. There's so many platforms where you can earn by basically doing mystery shopping, or something like that. The money is much harder earned than on my platform, because people love to take photos, and it's very easy. You could actually make the photos from within the platform using the hardware features of your Smartphone. Although I do not advise that.
It's very straight forward. Clients post briefings and say, “I need a photo of somebody riding a bike in the park.” Then you go make the photo, upload it, and if the client likes it, you are earning $22. I advertised that on Google AdWords. I did guest blogging. I did Twitter. I do all sorts of stuff. Paid per click advertising, as well as online guerrilla marketing, and whatever strategy. However, people come to my website, but then they do not upload photos. As I said, it’s. . . maybe you want to check it out, maybe it's not basically activating enough. The name is CrowdFoto.Net. Thanks for your advice. I’m very curious what you have to say. Thank you. Bye, bye.
Pat Flynn: Hey Tom, what's up? Thank you so much for the question today. The explanation of what it is you're trying to do, I think it's a great idea. However I want to be completely honest with you in terms of the. . . you know, I'm trying to help you out. When you're in a mastermind group setting, what you want is complete honesty, and I'm going to give that to you. I'm here on your site, CrowdFoto.Net, and the name of it was a little confusing to me. I wasn't sure if it was P-H-O-T-O, and I typed in the dot com and stuff. It's always good to try and get things spelled the way they are, but that's not a deal breaker. Definitely not a deal breaker. Obviously there's a lot of domains out there that aren't spelled the way they should be, and aren't even .com. I'm just again, throwing that out there. I will be honest with you, I did have confusion trying to get to your site.
When I got to your site the first thing I noticed was this colorful logo that you have, which I think is kind of cool, but it's pretty small, and the colors blend in. The blue “O” kind of blends in with the background, and it almost looks a little web 1.0 like, almost MySpace. That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw the logo. I mean that shouldn't matter, but actually it completely matters. A logo is something that says a lot about you. Also if it's hard to read, it says a lot. What does that say about the rest of your site?
The other thing I noticed was that it looks very just kind of homemade. I'm not saying that to be mean, I'm just saying that as a first impression. I see, “Photography Marketplace,” “Request Photos,” “Sell Photos.” That's all I see here on the first page, and I have to scroll pretty far down in order to understand what this site is about. That doesn't really tell me much. “Request photos” for what? “Sell Photos,” how? Then I can get started, I can read more, and I can watch a video. Again, just the way that this homepage is setup is very. . . it doesn't look very professional.
If you go to iStockPhoto for example, it's very, very clean. It’s very, very apparent that this is a place that people can download photos, and pay for photos. Now, the thing that stands out with me for what you're doing, is you can sell photos. You can be a photographer, amateur or professional, and you can have people send you requests, or through the marketplace send requests, and then you can compete to provide a photo that matches somebody's request, sort of like 99Designs.com for photography. I think that's kind of a cool idea.
Now the thing is, it's not very apparent that is what this site is like right at the beginning. I could imagine a lot of people coming to your site like you said, you know people are coming to your site. When they land there, they're kind of put off by a number of things. I mean, there's a number of things that put me off. Again, I'm just trying to help you out. The logo put me off because it was kind of hard to read. There’s just the so much open space on the homepage. I mean, open space is great and this is a great photo to have, but it's kind of a dark beachy photo. It’s not very bright, not very inviting. There's only like four or five people on this beach. It would be nice if it was a brighter photo.
Then there's this photo of this woman with a camera pointing right at me, and to be honest, that's completely. . . I’m like, “Whoa, why are you taking a picture of me?” This is a little bit scary. If somebody random just put a camera up in your face, that's a little bit scary. Maybe this person’s turned the other way around or something, or kind of sideways taking a picture of something else. Maybe the camera's pointing at the title, or where the tagline is, so that it kind of points toward that direction and I can learn more about what the site is about.
Then again, it's just very bare. It just says, “Photography Marketplace. Request photos. Sell photos!” And then that's it. I feel like you could benefit a lot more by really honing in on language of what it is that your site could do. Why should people be here? “Make $20 for every photo somebody likes,” or something like that. Just again, get very clear and clear cut with what that motive is. Again, you also have another challenge here. This is another challenge that a lot of people have when they create these kind of crowdsource types of sites.
You have two audiences here. It would be beneficial for you to kind of segregate these audiences, build lists of each of those audiences perhaps, and make it easy for one to connect to another. For example, there are the people who are going to be requesting photos. Maybe for those people, there might be a tagline that would really, really hit home for them. For example, maybe that tagline is, “Need a photo for your website?” Again, I think you should even narrow it down even more. Who are these people needing photos? Maybe it's people needing photos for their website. “Need custom stock photographer?” I mean, you can also look up those keywords.
Maybe it's, “Need a photo for your website? Have a real photographer take a photo exactly the way you want it right now.” Because what is the benefit? The benefit is not having to search through all these directories, and these search engines of photography sites, and using a photo that other people might have. The word unique stands out to me as well. “Need a unique photo for your website now? Request your perfect photo and have a real photographer take that picture for you.” Then also having some sort of timeline in terms of when people can get that. People want these photos now, that's the thing. I could imagine this being an app for example, where anybody in real time can be like, “Hey, I need a photo of this.” Then people can begin to take that photo, and maybe within 10 minutes. That would be amazing if within 10 minutes I can get a photo of a woman on the beach with her dog smiling, and having a Frisbee in her hand.
Maybe 10 minutes is too much to ask there, but maybe within an hour. That would be kind of cool. That's your first chunk of audience that you have to serve. You have to make sure you have a clear cut unique selling proposition for the people who are looking for photos, and why they should come here. Then the challenge is also catering to the other side of the coin, which is photographers who can put their photos up here based on people’s requests, and earn money from it. What's the unique selling point there? I think the unique selling point is that you can get money from people who have a direct request, which is kind of fun, and exciting, and different. As opposed to getting involved with, competing on a stock photo site where you are just ranking among thousands, and thousands, and thousands of other types of photos.
Again, there's a lot of questions that come to mind. What if the photo isn't right the first time? I'm thinking from a photographers point of view. What if the photo is kind of off, and the person requesting it isn't happy with it? I'm not even sure exactly how this works. Do I compete against other photographers? Could I perhaps take a photo that might not even be chosen? Then there's the challenge of, okay well if somebody requests a woman with a dog and a Frisbee in her hand at the beach, what if I go through all the effort to do that, and then my photo isn't selected? Then that's going to be a whole crazy waste of time, right? This is one of the big debates with 99Designs, where people who are doing that, they might not get selected. Again, there's a lot of pros and cons here. A lot of things to think about, a lot of things you're going to have to answer.
Try to get into the question, try to get in the heads of those people on both sides in terms of the people who are looking for photos, and questions from people who are looking to provide the photos, or the photographers. What questions do they have? If you don't know, you need to ask them. Go and reach out to photographers, and if you're just kind of in a mystery state of why it's not working right now, the best thing you can do, especially if you have traffic on your site, is ask. Find out who these people are, perhaps go to the websites that you've guest posted on and see if you can reach out to that person to see if anybody had made any comments on going to your site and not really being happy about it.
Or doing a survey, and seeing what people think about it. Maybe even paying a few dollars here and there to get honest answers, which you can do by giving away gift cards, or money for answering surveys, and things like that. Again, make sure you follow the rules necessary to them. I'm not going to get into that right now. Again, you need to find out why it's not working. You're going to see that from your specific users, that you're going to get a lot of comments that maybe you won’t want to hear. Again, you have a great idea, but again it's just making sure the people who are going to use that idea understand how it's going to work. Again, making it super easy for it to happen.
Also, having a great first impression. Especially for a photography site, I'm scrolling down here and the woman who's pointing this camera at me, she doesn't have any legs because her body got cut off. I still see sand behind her. For a photography site, it's going to be really difficult to not. . . it's going to be difficult for you to stand out if the photography on the site itself is kind of weird, and not really in tune. Again, I would just keep digging, and keep trying to find out what it is that will benefit your audience. Again, validating this idea, and talking to people to see if it's even something they would be interested in.
I hope that answers your question, Tom. I really appreciate it. I just want to thank you so much for asking your question today. For those of you who also have a question, you can ask a question at AskPat.com. Tom, we'll send you a t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. Again, if any of out there have any comments and want to help Tom out, use the hashtag #AskPat312 to share an answer with Tom and continue this conversation on Twitter. I think this is a really interesting case study, and I'm really interested to see what you do with the advice from myself and everybody else out there listening. Again, #AskPat312.
Thank you again for listening to AskPat. And as always I like to end with a quote. Today's quote comes from Jeff Eisenberg. He says, “It's much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate, than by doubling your traffic.” That's so true. So many people focus on traffic, but what about what happens when people come to your site? If you can double that, you'll make twice as much. Instead of worrying about getting twice as much traffic at a lower conversion rate.
Anyway, thank you Jeff Eisenberg for that quote. Thank you all for listening to AskPat, and I'll see you in the next episode tomorrow. Cheers.