Happy Memorial Day! Craft Venture is all about the business management and marketing of your wares online. Last time, we talked about engaging the senses of customers and jurors for online exhibitions and marketplaces via writing your product descriptions. This week, we’re talking about the other parts of your online business that require writing: your announcement(s), profile(s), and policies.
Other than your shop’s banner, avatar or product photos, your online business announcement and/or profile are the very first thing that your visitors see. Are the words you’ve chosen compelling or repelling to your visitors? Do you have typos, misspellings or punctuation errors? Are you using so many symbols, multiple links away from your shop, and odd formatting (e.g., all caps, inconsistent caps) that folks leave your shop before they look at any of your products? (I think that almost all of us are guilty of the above at any given point in our online business careers, as we develop our online personas.) Are you using your real estate to your best advantage, successfully conveying the message that you intend to?
I’m going to tell you something about communication that you may not realize: you have not successfully communicated if your intended message isn’t received. This is so crucial, I’ll say it again: if your visitors don’t understand – or hear – what you’ve attempted to say, you haven’t communicated with them. If your visitors leave before reading your announcement and/or profile due to distracting or poor writing and grammare, you’ve failed in your attempt to communicate!
There are many potential obstacles between your message and your visitors, including how you communicate. You will be relieved to learn how easyit is to remove your self-made obstacles!
Mechanical errors are fairly easy to avoid or correct. For those who really struggle with this, enlist the help of friends and colleagues with stronger skills (consider thanking them with a free item from your shop!).
What are the one or two things that are most important to say about your shop? Are you having a sale? Were you just published in a national magazine? Is your shop closing next week for vacation? Did your work just win a prestigious award? Those are all important announcements to make.
Before you make those announcements, how about putting out the welcome mat? What can you say in one sentence, maybe two, that tells visitors all about you? This is an extremely challenging exercise, but also absolutely crucial, particularly if you’re not a top seller with a global presence. Remember the five W’s and an H? Try to say that about your shop, in one sentence, particularly focusing on who are you, what do you sell, why should folks buy your goods and how are you different from other sellers?
Here’s an example of a first sentence for your announcement: “Buy my stuff because I’m the best, certainly better than all the rest.” Ugh. I would immediately move on if I ran into that! How about this: “Welcome to Paperhill. Home of vintage reused, recycled & reinvented.” Welcoming, succinct and now you know what you’ll find in Paperhill’s shop.
You can communicate your message, depending on your online marketplace or vendor, in an announcement section, but you may also be able to add text to your banner, your avatar, even your product titles and descriptions. After all, if you want to successfully communicate your intended message, try more than one form of communication to improve the odds of your message connecting with your audience. Add “Super Sale – 50% off everything” to your banner! Or “free shipping” to your product tags and titles.
Think about the “negative” or white space in your content, particularly your shop announcement. A solid wall of text is daunting to your visitors. In our modern digital culture, you get about a nanosecond to make a positive impression. If someone has to scroll down, and down, and down, to reach your actual products, you’ve lost a good 50% of your potential business. You can add links to your profile or other pages (as allowed by your venue) if you have more details for people to read.
I also recommend avoiding a lot of distraction from the text, like symbols or characters, as well as TrYiNg tO gEt PeOpLe’S attention using capital letters. Ask yourself if using either is worth losing any potential customers!
Good writing revolves around effective communication. To make your intended message more likely to be successfully received by your visitors, remove distractions (e.g., symbols, misspellings and typos, walls of solid text). Start off with a sentence that both welcomes and explains what your shop is about. Focus on just a few announcements. Reinforce or expand your message using your banner, product titles and tags, even your avatar. All of these will help increase successful transmission of your message(s), which will also increase the likelihood that visitors will want to see more of your shop.