Sunday, March 7, 2010

And the WINNER of the Favorite Poll is...


Of course, we do have a TOP WINNER, but before I tell you who, a little bit about this month's RAK AFUS poll.

As those of you who are following these polls know, February had a wonderful voter turnout. One of the things that had changed for the February poll was the addition of a limit to the number of studios in the poll, making it easier to visit all of them and pick favorites. Given the success of that particular change, March was also limited to 10 studios in the poll, and the remaining 4 undiscovered studios were added to the regular daily features for the week of the poll.

While March has seen 22 less voters than February, it's still pretty good at 62 voters. But why the participation drop, when the poll was just as easy to vote on as last month? The answer comes down to one word: EYEBALLS. Ok, maybe a second word: INVOLVEMENT.

So what about eyeballs and why should I choose to talk about them when this is just a fun poll, nothing to do with business? Oh, but it has a lot to do with business. If you've read the past poll winner articles, you already know how important it is to get seen.

No eyeballs. No customers. No business. It's that simple.

The poll serves many purposes: bringing visitors to beautiful studios that have been around for a while yet have not made a sale, help active studios see the difference made by promotion, point active studios to various resources that can help them succeed, motivate artists and help them realize that their craft is gorgeous and it needs to be SEEN, and so on.

So back to eyeballs. What was different last month? Well, for one, two of the poll participants got very involved last month, and one of them even posted a "Vote for me" message that brought them a lot of votes. Do votes matter? Well, yes in that it helped them be the top winner and got the extra promotion as well as extra help with their studio. What matters most though are the EYEBALLS. The difference between this month's top winner and last month's top winner? 21. Darn close to the total vote difference, don't you think so? :)

Now, more eyeballs do not necessarily mean a sale, but the more eyeballs, the more chances the RIGHT customer will discover you. The January article talks a bit more about this, so I won't go into details. Eyeballs are the first step to getting sales. Promotion brings in eyeballs. Improving one's SEO brings in eyeballs. Being INVOLVED and MOTIVATED brings in the strength to do the above :)

And that brings us to the second word, involvement, and the second difference between this month's poll and last month's.

Last month's participation was determined by timing and luck. Participants publicly registered for the poll, and the first 10 were added to it. Those artists are the ones who regularly check their shops and reply to messages. Those were also artists who were ready to go public with their shops, rather than shying away and choosing not to register. Last month's stats: 84 voters, 3 first sales, 1 first sale during feature week.

This month's poll participation was determined by the number of items in each shop. More items mean more entry points for customers, and generally more sales - when the eyeballs hit :) In terms of shop activity, only a few of the contacted artisans have replied quickly, so that was the other difference from last month.

Without a public shop activity indicator, customers have to go by how fast the shop owner will reply to their emails, and if frequenting the forums, the last time they had seen this shop in the Daily Item of the Day, or generally, if they have seen this shop being active. This is certainly not a determining factor for a fun poll, but if can make a huge difference in the real world.

So has the fact that the poll entries were not public changed something else? Well, none of this is exact science with lab notes and computer tracking, but another thing we've seen LESS of this month is involvement of artisans not in the poll. Could it be because poll participants have not publicly shown their readiness to be promoted through this poll? I don't know yet, but having shops show they were active in the forum definitely got a response from other people.

We've still had quite a few artists help promote this month's Favorite Undiscovered Studios, my thanks to all! I hope I am not forgetting anyone: InletImages has installed the poll widget on his blog, @danilavdesigns, @InletBill, @Valmade, and @SSSpix participated in the #undiscoveredstudio FollowFriday, and many more have tweeted or retweeted promos for these studios: @ameliaoriginals, @Jasmina100, @InletBill, @danilavdesigns, @AndreaDesigns1, @apronsbymeme, @BeadersCove...

A BIG THANK YOU to all who have voted, visited, helped promote, bumped threads, and a myriad other Random Acts of Kindness! May your kindness be returned threefold! :) You have helped EVERYONE be a WINNER!

So without any further ado, here is the complete list of winners, and the TOP WINNERS for March. If you haven't had a chance to visit them during the poll, now is the time :)
ANiemancrochet (first sale)
krystalkats (first sale)

Now, for the final tally for the TOP 5 by number of votes...

(5) Berk1948 - 6 votes
(5) Esprit-Mystique - 6 votes
(4) DS krystalkats - 8 votes
(3) DS CabinHollow - 9 votes
(2) Theforestprincess - 20 votes
(1) CandysTrinkets - 22 votes

The TOP FIVE WINNERS will be featured on my blog starting Monday March 8th, and the TOP WINNER ~ CandysTrinkets ~ will get a special promotion and a surprise gift :)

Since the features are reserved for studios with 0 sales the morning of, mini-features about other poll participants who are still undiscovered may also be posted this week ~ to replace the DS (discovered studios).

The poll is over, but that doesn't mean you can't mention your favorites. That is what the comments are for :)

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Before I go though, a quick preview of this month's TOP WINNER:

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