Our online presence matches our business style which is very much one-to-one, private and studio based.
Kyle and I are the face of Robert Hallett-Goldsmith. Kyle’s photographs are the windows into what we create. We write and layout all our printed marketing materials prior to turning them over to our graphic designer to be polished professionally. Our monthly ads in three glossy Pittsburgh magazines are unmistakably HALLETT in look. We want our online presence to match and reinforce the print, physical and personal presence that has built our business.
When we built our website, we spent many weeks looking at websites of jewelers, designers, galleries, and photographers. We looked at content and function but realized that our favorite websites had a presence that was emotional and personal without much or any social media.
Kyle and I did the site map for the website, selected photos, wrote every word, pre-built each page in Publisher and tested the site with customers before turning it over to the WordPress professional. We asked our testers to look at the mockups on their phones because we wanted the website to be easy to share in a restaurant or bar. Customer experiences in the studio and excited in person referrals by happy customers are the core of our success. Our website reveals but makes people want to see more at the studio. And it feels like us.
When we post to the website, we send emails to a list of about 500 customers. The posts are meant to feel private. We don’t leave a blog stream. The stats for our last email are 63.2% open rate and 16.2% click rate. Industry averages are 14.5% open rate and 1.6% click rate. We also received 15 return emails thanking us and an equal number of phone calls.
A very smart, Coolest Store winner told me that custom design projects that were entirely online accounted for 40% of his sales, that they were unprofitable and that he didn’t think they would ever be profitable. We have worked to make the digital extensions of our studio-based design process both enjoyable and profitable. Whenever possible, especially with a new client, we start the process in person in the studio, looking through very old-school photo albums of our work and then grounding the images with real jewelry in and on the customer’s hands. We can access some of our 30,000+ digital images and perhaps begin simple work in Matrix, starting with components of a past project. We usually use the CAD computer in the studio area – at Rob’s bench – so there is a tangible connection from digital to tools to the finished jewelry. If the design process moves online, we send text messages with images or we build private, password protected web pages (see Other links 2). We encourage customers to use their phone where the images are at high resolution and at jewelry scale. The choice of device also encourages a phone conversation rather than an email exchange.
This business is one of personal connections, beautiful and tactile materials and subtle communications. A picture may be worth 1000 words but a voice and a face can communicate more. And that is why, while we embrace technology, we have found ways to bend it to suit our style.
We may miss a few customers who live online but we enjoy our success with the ones who recognize that our online presence is different and slow down to take a closer look.