Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heidi's Tips & Tricks for 4/18/2012

This week we're talking about... PROFILES

It may seem like your shop's profile is a secondary consideration when you are setting up shop.  There are so many more "business-y" things to cover, and it may seem that your profile is sort of "hidden" behind your name so it's easy to forget to put thought into writing your profile.  BUT, there are some good reasons to take some time this week to invest some time into this area of your shop!

When you look at your shop analytics through Google or Shop Stats, you may be surprised to note that your profile IS one of the pages that gets viewed on occasion!  This is a great thing.  It means that people are interested not only in what I can make, but also in who I am as a person.  It's wonderful that Etsy provides this area for us all to share a little about ourselves with customers, wholesalers, bloggers, and more.  And, of course, it works the other way too and we can take the opportunity to learn about other shops and team members as well!

So how to you make your profile engaging and informative?

Let's face it, I think most of us struggle with writing about ourselves.  However, with some simple ideas of how to approach this task, it can become less daunting.

First of all, I think it is important to use the first person when writing your profile.  Doing this personalizes what you are writing and makes it less "rehearsed" to read.  The only exception to this might possibly be if you operate your shop with someone else.  If that is the case though, still use "us" and "we" and it might be a good idea to devote at least one paragraph to each shop owner individually to introduce themselves.

Another important piece of advice... don't focus on your shop!  This is of course an important element, but your profile is supposed to be about YOU so step outside your shop for a moment and explore some ways to share who you are as a person and a crafter.  While your profile can include things like your facebook, blog, and other shops or web locations... this should be a footnote, and not a focus.

Okay, on to the fun stuff!  What sorts of things might you consider including in your profile to make it more engaging?

- We're all moms here on the team, but your customers might not know that about you!  Being moms is a HUGE part of who we are, so it would absolutely be appropriate to talk about that in your profile!  If you are concerned about privacy, you don't need to share your children's names or ages unless you wish too.  You might talk about them by nickname or gender for example.  You can talk about whether you are stay-at-home or not, or if perhaps you are a homeschooler or a blended family.

- Perhaps you'd prefer to talk about yourself from a more "historical" perspective.  You might talk about what started you in your particular craft and how you came up with the designs that you use.  You can talk about your education if that helped inspire what you do (perhaps an art course that started your journey into illustration or a craft class that got you hooked on knitting).  Perhaps it was a family member that got you sewing at the age of five, or a friend that you used to make macaroni necklaces with and your talent grew from there!

- Besides the items in your shop... what are your other hobbies or activities you enjoy?  If you are an avid outdoorswoman, that can be a fun thing to share with customers!  Perhaps you enjoy making wine, baking, reading classic novels, running marathons, etc.  There is always more to us than just being moms and crafters... and those unique interests should also be celebrated!

- How did your first or your most popular item come to be?  Is it something that came from meeting a need of your own child(ren)?  Maybe a friend really encouraged you to develop your design and start your shop.  Maybe there is a funny story or a touching tale behind one of your items?

- Do you offer special services like gift wrapping or custom orders?  This is something that can be included in your profile if you wish.

- Why is this your passion?  Why do you enjoy what you do?  Is it the colors, the textures, the variety of materials, the satisfaction of offering something unique and stunning or practical and functional, the community of crafters that you are a part of, etc.?

- What are your goals?  Would you like to simply see your item on a stranger someday?  Would you like someday open a store?  Will the growth of your shop allow you to stay home with your kids?  Would you like to sell at local or regional craft shows? 

Now for some more "technical" stuff again...

- Your first paragraph is what is going to "grip" people.  Remember this from high school essay writing?  It's  good idea to bring our your warmth, humor, personality right from the start to draw customers into reading more.

- Don't be afraid to use headings or bullets to make your profile more organized.  Large blocks of text encourage scanning rather than reading... so try not to ramble and make your profile visually appealing.

- An example of how you might lay out your profile, consider this:
           - Introduction - grab your audience and draw them in to your shop
           - About You, About your shop, About your product
           - How to contact you, other web locations, and/or where to find policies, sizing, etc.
           - Conclusion - wrap up with a thank you or "how to order"
And using titles to define these sections might also be something to consider.

Think of your profile as a chance to toot your own horn a little (we DESERVE it!), welcome and thank customers for coming to your shop (this takes the place of the greeter if you were a brick-&-mortar store), and sell yourself in order to gain that customer!

Remember, the items you make take your time and passion... and every aspect of your shop should reflect the quality and effort that goes into the items themselves. 


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