Volume 14, Issue 2 - March/April 2010

Open 24/7

Freeze Frame
by Manny Hondroulis

In previous columns, I have stressed the importance of visual aids beyond text and an occasional picture within your website. In fact, I once wrote about how to use a video repository such as YouTube to communicate your products and services (see page 8 in the November-December 2009 issue of Window Film magazine). There is nothing more powerful than a visual to describe how window film looks after its installation. And there is no better way to portray that than to have a photo repository that is easy to navigate and updated regularly.

Step by Step
Every window film website should have a photo gallery—one that is easy to navigate and updated on a continuous basis. But not all window film dealers have the HTML experience necessary to update the gallery pages on their websites. Canned solutions such as Coppermine and Gallery are free with hosting packages through GoDaddy and other online providers. They install with one click of the mouse in your hosting control panel and are easy to configure. I’ve also discovered a new solution, one that is even easier to set up, update, and makes it easy for visitors to share window film photos.

Flickr, a photo gallery and sharing service provided by Yahoo! is an inexpensive (free in many cases) photo repository that you can set up in a matter of minutes. Just visit www.flickr.com, sign up for the service and start uploading.

After you sign up, the first step is to create a collection. Collections can be different categories of installations such as automotive, residential, commercial, government and decorative. Then begin uploading your pictures and assign them to the appropriate collection. If you have multiple photos of the same installation or project, you can create what’s called a “set” named after the installation/project that is contained within the appropriate collection. For example, if you upload multiple photos of an installation at The White House, the collection would be titled “Government” and the set would be titled “The White House.” (Remember to obtain permission from end-users when uploading pictures and assigning photo credits.)

When you upload a photo you will have the option of tagging it with relevant keywords. Relevant keywords include your company name, URL, telephone number, service area, the name of the project (if you have permission to reference it), the type of window film, and the reason it was installed. Tagging the photo will give users the luxury of finding the photos that matter to them by typing certain keywords into the Flickr search box. For example, a visitor looking to have his Cadillac Escalade tinted may want to search your photo gallery for installation photos of other Escalades. Rather than thumbing through all of your photos one by one, he can simply type “Escalade” in the Flickr search box and find those photos that apply. The idea is that you have so many photos uploaded to Flickr that finding the relevant photo can be accomplished only through an effective search or thoughtful navigation.

“Solutions such as Flickr (or Google’s Picasa) enable window film dealers without
HTML experience to create a dynamic photo gallery that can be used to showcase their
products and services. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Selling Tools
One of the best features of Flickr is that photos can be shared. By this I mean that with a click of a button, a user can send a photo to the desired recipient. For example, let’s say you are trying to convince a homeowner who is unsure about window film to make a purchase. You can simply travel to your Flickr gallery, navigate to a beautiful residential installation photo that demonstrates the film you are promoting, click “Share,” type in the recipient’s email address and a copy of that photo will be sent to your prospect; you could also add a personal message to accompany the image.

When you configure your Flickr photo gallery, you will be prompted to give it an alias, which will make it easy for customers to find on online. One suggestion for this is to use your domain name as the alias. For example, if your domain name is www.abcwindowtinting.com, then use abcwindowtinting as the Flickr alias. The link for your photo gallery will then be www.flickr.com/abcwindowtinting. On your website, create a link direct to your Flickr gallery so it is accessible from your website.

Solutions such as Flickr (or Google’s Picasa) enable window film dealers without HTML experience to create a dynamic photo gallery that can be used to showcase their products and services. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Products Distribution in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulis’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine. If you have questions, e-mail Manny at mhondroulis@epdwindowfilm.com.

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