A picture, it’s said, is worth a thousand words – and in the case of a Delaware company, truer words have never been spoken. Photo-to-Text, an online service owned by Carlos Garcia Martinez, automatically recreates customers’ photographs with words that they select; that image is then printed and provided to customers as an impressive work of art.
“It’s a creative way to tell the woman of your dreams how much you love her,” says Carlos, “or it can be a meaningful gift to thank your mom for everything she has done for you.”
in this edition of our Small Business Success series, Carlos explains how the idea for Photo-to-Text originated, how his staff provides clients with great customer service, and how he sees his company continuing its growth. Signs.com is glad to play a role in facilitating Photo-to-Text’s success by providing the necessary printing for its customers’ artwork.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Carlos, I’m 38 years old, and I’m from Spain. I’ve been working as a computer programmer for the last 15 years. Seven years ago, I founded my own company here in Delaware – Photo-to-Text. I love digital art and that’s why I love my job: Mixing art with computers is the best way for me to have fun!
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I love playing sports, traveling, and cooking (although I’m not very good). I also like to watch other people playing videogames on YouTube – I used to play videogames myself when I was young, but now that I’m married and have two sons, I have no time to play, so I watch.
What does your company do?
Photo-to-Text is a unique, online service that turns your picture into words by automatically recreating a favorite photograph utilizing words that you personally select. As you approach the print, you can read the words – and when you step back from the art, you can see the picture.
Customers can order the image printed, or they can order the image as a JPEG file to send (and/or print on their own). If the customer chooses to print it with us, it will arrive as a matte print on archival-quality paper, ready to hang.
Where did the idea of your company come from?
The idea originally came about from a picture that I had found on the Internet. When viewing the image, I was able to see the picture, and when I zoomed in, I found that I could also see the words – a song lyric — that the picture was composed of. Because of that experience, we considered the possibility of creating these kinds of pictures automatically. It took a lot of time to develop the necessary code, but in about six months we had done so, and we launched the company shortly thereafter.
Automatic for the People
What sets you apart from your competition?
From our materials to our delivery, everything we do is with the customer in mind. We create these masterpieces using their photographs, their memories, and we do everything for them as we would for our own families. We are proud to hang our product on our wall and even prouder when they hang it on theirs.
How do you market your business?
We sell all of our products on our website. We promote on Facebook, Instagram, and other social-media channels.
How do you “wow” your customers?
If the customer orders a mounted print, our staff will spend the time working with the text to accentuate the photo – adjusting the size of the type, the font, and so on. Plus, while the customer creates his or her own artwork, we usually create another version so that they can then choose between the one they’ve created and our own version. Sometimes, just by looking at the picture provided, we can recommend the best font size, the best background, and so on. We want to deliver nothing but the best finished product for our customers!
What are one or two strategies for gaining customers that you have been successful with?
We promote our product on Facebook and on Instagram. Being an online company, we try to spend our money on SEO strategies and social media.
How do you compete with competitors that are bigger than you?
We believe that we are the only company in the world that automatically creates this photo-effect. Although we have seen other companies offering this kind of effect, none of them create it online.
Branding and SEO
What’s one of the biggest challenges you have had with your business?
We received an order to create a design for a Nascar car – the text included the names of all of the people who had worked with the car. It was difficult to create, but the results were great!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would change the way we have programmed our site. We created it using WordPress, but we would change to another programming language because of speed. In order to be shown at the first positions with Google, the site must be fast, and that means that your code has to be the best one. Some years ago, we chose WordPress and a theme that was very visual but not fast enough – so if I had to do something differently, I would change and go with another WordPress theme, or maybe even another platform, such as Shopify or PrestaShop.
What is the one thing you would do over and over – and recommend everyone else do?
Investing money on SEO. In just one year focusing on SEO, we have been able to double the visits to our site as well as our earnings.
Is there a book that you recommend our community should read?
Fundamentos de branding, by Javier Casanoves. Written in Spanish, it shows different ways to work and promote your brand.
Can you speak to your growth to this point – and why you think it will continue?
We feel that our customers love our product – we receive many emails from clients saying that they have never seen anything quite like it, and what a unique gift idea it is. The more people we reach, the more orders we receive, and we hope it will continue for years to come.
Where can you be found on the internet?