Currently the social accounts associated with my site are limited. There may come a time when I choose to expand beyond what I’m currently using, but until I have better control over my current site it may take some time before I branch out much further. Since the primary objective of Tactical Design Cachets is to sell cachets, social accounts will work in conjunction with the secondary objective; to promote business by enabling potential clients to get in touch with me or just keeping track of my work as I update my site and maintain a social account, such as a newsletter.
I currently use a Twitter account as a means to keep interested collectors apprised of upcoming projects, or newsworthy events in the fields of space or philately. This account is currently linked to my WordPress.com account and I intend to maintain that link and migrate it to my self-hosted account.
I also plan to use a photo hosting service, such as Flickr, to serve as an archive for images that would occupy too much space on my self-hosted site.
I have previously posted videos to YouTube, one of which is still available, I may also use that service to host video tutorials or other informative displays.
And if the need ever arises I would probably also try my hand at podcasts to help visitors to my site gain some confidence in my abilities and knowledge.
The website will use a blog section, in conjunction with a Twitter feed, as a news source. I will post information about upcoming projects, announce available downloads/e-publications, and post links to stories relevant to cachets and stamp collecting.
The Tactical Design Cachets website will sell envelopes featuring commemorative designs to stamp collectors. Stamp collectors use these envelopes, known as “cachet covers,” to augment their collections.
The Tactical Design Cachets website will focus on space and military topics such as rocket launches, missions and anniversaries.
Currently there are websites dedicated to cachets and separate websites dedicated to space topics. Tactical Design Cachets is the first combination of the two interests and will provide a unique a opportunity for stamp collectors.
Tactical Design Cachets provides visitors and collectors an online resource where they can purchase unique cachets, learn of upcoming stamp releases and commission a cachet design.
The primary goal of the site is $2,100 in sales of existing cachets, as well as at least 3,000 visits in the first six months
The secondary goal is to attract new business by enabling collectors to commission work
Tertiary goals are; A) Educate and inform visitors and customers with stamp release dates, forthcoming cachet designs and perhaps even the historic relevance of the aforementioned subjects. B) Promote my own business beyond the narrow scope of cachets
While not unheard-of, there are very few cachet makers with their own web sites, none of whom also serve as a source of information.
Currently I have only found two cachet makers with a vaguely similar business model, neither one furnishes information beyond their own work:
Bob Emrick http://www.emrickcachets.com/ (Google page rank 1/10)
Polly Berndt at Rabbit Hill Gallery http://www.rabbithillgallery.com/index.html (page rank 0/10)
In my experience an educated customer is a happy customer. If a stamp collector can go to a single site and not only view cachets that are available for sale, but also learn about upcoming stamps or cachets, read a research synopsis, commission a cachet for their own collection, and download a useful reference e-publication or PDF all without navigating away from that original site, they may be more likely to consider that site a trusted source for their interests.
As a philatelist, historian, designer and illustrator, I have an opportunity to fill this void, set the precedent for others to learn from my example, and learn from the feedback of visitors to better develop my own skills and attributes.
I already create a cachet for every manned space mission launch, from any country. Currently, missions to the International Space Station are launched by Roscosmos (the Russian Space Agency) every two to three months. China is developing a manned program and I intend to produce cachets for their manned missions as well, though this is made difficult by the secrecy surrounding their space program.
Content will be posted to the web site at least every two weeks, coinciding with the USPS (US Postal Service) postal bulletins which are released every other Thursday. Less regular content will be posted based on news releases and space launch schedules.
Additional content will be posted as it becomes available. This includes:
Information gleaned from research about space missions or historical events
Free content such as page layout templates for stamp collectors
Aggregated or curated stories regarding pertinent information
Marketing and selling my work may not be as difficult as it would be for an upstart artist. I have been working on cachets for several years now and have had one of my designs in collectspace.com’s Space Cover of the Week feature in June 2012.
I also have a small list of people I’ve traded with and freelanced for in the past and these relationships may help me get the word out about my new site and products.
Among my existing contacts are:
The President of the stamp club at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland
The Proprietor of Space Coast Cover Service and a vendor on Collect Space http://www.collectspace.com/
A fellow cachet maker and featured artist on the Naval Cover Museum site http://www.navalcovermuseum.org/
Additionally, distributing free information and collector assets should help drive traffic to Tactical Design Cachets with the quality of the site and available information keeping customers interested and promoting business for my cachets and general design skills. I will also keep customers and stamp collectors apprised of my progress using Twitter (@TacDesignCachet), Facebook and a monthly newsletter.