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Tuning up your 'About Me' page.

by Pete Mosley

Published: September 2017

Pete Mosley

Pete Mosley, Business Editor of craft&design

You may not realize it, but the About Me page on your website is a critical component of your online presence. You need to be careful how you use it, and you should make it into a place where your customer can really get to know, like and trust you. It should give them an insight into who you really are, and how you engage with the world. Specifically, it should be the place where people can go and find out about the values that drive your work along. Values really matter to buyers now – much more than they ever did. Why is this the case?

People who buy original crafts rarely buy on looks alone. People do still buy on impulse, but for someone on an average income, impulse buys are likely to be lower ticket items. For higher ticket items, people need to be persuaded by something above and beyond the object itself – and that tends to be the story of you, your values and way that the object came into being.

So, more and more, people go online to discover more about the maker – often well before making a purchase. And, interestingly, it doesn’t follow that they will then make the purchase online.

You need to make it easy for people to discover you and easy for people to find out more about what makes you tick. And, of course, they need to be able to uncover the story of your work too.

So – what needs to be on the About Me page to make this work?

1. A great picture of you.

I speak to a great many makers in all sorts of settings and know from this that a large number of you recoil at the thought of having a picture of your face on your website. That’s true across all age ranges and all levels of experience. Some of you revel in it, but that’s the minority!

Think again about what sort of picture you might need. It doesn’t have to be a classic head and shoulders portrait shot. It does have to be a really good quality high-resolution image, whatever it is – so what are the options?

You in your studio – photos of you at work can be a great way to let people see what you look like without it feeling like they might be scrutinizing you. Their eye will move around the image, taking in your face, your hands and whatever you are doing. Well – composed, a shot like this can be a really valuable way to build empathy with the viewer.

Interior shots – people are fascinated to see inside the artist’s world. Whether is the potter’s wheel or the designer’s palette we all like a sneak peek into that hidden world.

Work in progress – sparks flying in the forge, glass being blown, the cutting of a carving tool into a sheet of lino. These images portray energy. That energy carries over to the viewer too.

2. The story of you and your work

Your ‘about me’ page is not sales copy. It’s a glimpse of the real you. Be warm, talk about your work and life, and be human. Reveal a little bit of yourself and your values – where you work, what materials you work with, what your working environment is like. It doesn’t need to be an essay – afew short paragraphs will do.

3. Some news – and the offer of a newsletter.

A news section on your about me page offers an opportunity to keep the site fresh. Updated every couple of weeks a news listing encourages visitors to bookmark the page and come back. This, coupled with an invitation to join your email list, begins to show a willingness to engage. Encourage your visitor to start a conversation. Offer a product sheet or PDF catalogue in return for the email address. But beware – keep it up to date. People will jump off the page straight away if there’s only old news on show.

4. A bit of credibility

Don’t turn your About Me page into a list of past exhibitions – or expect your artists statement to do the work for you. If your typical customer isn’t familiar with language and structure of these, they become meaningless to all but a small number of your visitors. Talk about your experience and career highlights by all means, but in a conversational way.

5. Where to find your work

This is crucial information and should be easy to find from anywhere on your site. Sixty percent of crafts buyers browse online – and then go to a retail outlet, gallery or show to see the work for real before committing to the purchase. Make it easy for them to find you in the real world.

Oh Yes! And video.

We all instinctively understand the power of video, but so few of us use it.  Recent research shows that it’s the single most powerful way of all to connect with customers online. So there’s another instalment in this series dedicated specifically to video and how, where and why to use it.

 

 

 
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