Looking to launch your new art website or improve your current one?
One primary goal I hear from the artists I work with is the desire to fill their site with personable copywriting that effectively conveys their personality to the visitor.
If you share this goal, you may have started to look around at what other artists are doing online. If so, you’ve probably concluded that many of these artist websites look and sound very similar to one another. It’s rare to come across an artist who’s written voice truly stands out.
As someone who writes marketing copy for artists and other creatives, I’ve noticed it too, and I’ve found that, apart from the art itself, there isn’t much to distinguish one art website from the next.
That’s why I write often on the ArtStorefronts blog about using your website copy to bond with your ideal clients and collectors and set yourself apart online.
There are many ways to do this, from smaller copy elements like your tagline, your headlines, and your calls-to-action, to the kind of copy you use to get people to sign up for your newsletter or read your blog if you have one, to bigger copy projects like your Home page, About page, and even your Gallery page, or wherever you sell from on your website.
By far, one of the quickest routes to setting yourself apart among the massive sea of other artist websites is to use personality in your website copy. Not by being crazy or outlandish, but simply by letting your authentic personality shine through.
What you want is memorability. Warmth and approachability. Copy that engages with the likely buyer on an emotional level, copy that forges a human connection. You want to give your web visitors an experience.
What I see all too often, however, is no wooing of, or engaging with, the prospective buyer. Instead, many art websites feature tons of images with short product descriptions, how to order info, and not much else.
I’ve been just as guilty of this mistake as anyone else.
When I went live with my first website years ago to offer my writing services, I did the same thing. All my website copy was dull, generic and boring. It was lackluster and completely forgettable. It could have been written by anybody.
As a result, for many months, hardly anyone inquired about working with me, signed up for my email list, or read my blog. I was feeling so deflated by this depressing state of affairs that I almost gave up.
It wasn’t until I figured out the audience I most wanted to serve (other creatives like myself), what they were looking for, and how best to offer them value, that I started to get traction.
But just as importantly, I started writing the way I talk, sharing my sense of humor, and letting my personality come through in my website copy, blog, newsletter, and all my other communications. That’s when I really started to make headway. What this looked like was more client inquiries, an increase in newsletter subscribers, and happy blog readers who regularly reached out to me to tell me how much value they got out of reading my blog.
Case Studies: Positioning with Personality
Of course, the very best way to illustrate a point is with real world examples. So I’ve got a few for you.
Here are three companies that are brilliant at using website copy to win the personality game online and stay memorable.
1. Hiut Denim
The “Do One Thing Well” tagline instantly conveys passionate attention to detail, a love for going above and beyond to craft something amazing. And the images and home page copy all support the “do one thing well” ethos.
But what I really love about the way Hiut Denim uses website copy to set themselves apart from other companies who sell premium denim, is through fantastic use of a Founder Story.
Check out the “our story” copy on the home page to see what I mean:
It’s actually more than just a founder story – it’s the story of how Hiut Denim helped Cardigan, a small town in Wales, once home to the biggest jeans factory in Britain, get back on its feet again after the jeans manufacturing operation moved to Morocco.
And talk about differentiation! What a powerful and effective way to set themselves apart from other premium denim purveyors and forge an emotional connection with the likely buyer. Because after all, you’re not just buying finely crafted and beautiful denim, you’re helping a town hold on to its livelihood.
The copy on the Saddleback Leather “The Story” page is another example of using personality in copy to bond with the audience.
Beyond making a phenomenal product – leather bags so good they come with a 100-year warranty – the company also offers superior customer service, takes very good care of the talented craftspeople it employs through free child care, excellent health insurance, and other benefits, and uses company proceeds to support causes and organizations whose work they believe in.
All of this is folded into their company story, which sets them apart.
But it’s not just that. If you go to the Saddleback Leather “The Story” page, you can read all about how the founder got his start in business, his sometimes scary and dangerous adventures in Mexico, how he met his wife, and his travels in Bora Bora, Kenya, Australia, Scotland, Cayman Islands, Canada, Jamaica, Spain, Seychelles, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ireland, France, New Zealand and more.
The great thing about the use of a founder story to set yourself apart online is that no one else will have your one of a kind story or background, so it’s one of the quickest ways to inject some personality into your web copy.
I always use J. Peterman as an example of pitch-perfect and personality-infused web copy, because it’s the pinnacle of gorgeous and evocative product copywriting.
The beautifully written product copy on the site reads like a story, one you aspire to become a part of, or one you identify with, if you happen to be the likely buyer. (And that is who we’re talking to after all – we’re not trying to convince the unlikely buyer to buy our stuff, we’re trying to appeal to those with a predisposition or pre-existing hankering for the product.)
As humans, we’re hardwired to respond to stories, and the copy on the J. Peterman site taps into that longing brilliantly.
In this example, the product, a men’s leather jacket, is not simply described using its specs, but instead is woven into a story about the mountain town of Telluride, Colorado, the way it once was, and the way it is now:
I’m not suggesting you need to get this elaborate or lengthy with your product descriptions, but I do want to show you the impact copy written with personality can have. I think you’ll agree that the story above is a much more persuasive way to sell a leather jacket than simply stating, “Roughside Leather Jacket (No. 5165). Four outside pockets. Made of 100% leather.”
What does the copy on these product company websites have in common? It is memorable. It is evocative. It conveys warmth, soul, and importantly, the personality of the company. It communicates approachability, and helps make an emotional connection with the likely buyer. And if you happen to be the likely buyer, it makes you want to stick around and explore the rest of the website, even if you’re not planning to buy right now.
And importantly, the combination of web copy, photography, graphics, and the stories they choose to tell all work together to create an experience that will resonate with the likely buyer. This is what you want.
You don’t need a ton of copy on your site to make personality work for you. Markers of personality, warmth, and human connection can come from your founder story, your product descriptions, images of yourself creating your art or at an art show interacting with customers, your blog posts, your tagline, and all the other parts of your site that, woven together, express who you are and what you have to offer your ideal clients and customers.
So if you can add personality to your product descriptions, sales pages, web copy, emails, social media status updates, and all the other content you write for your business, you will be ahead of the “boring and forgettable” game, engage more of your ideal audience, and generate more interest in your art.
The next step?
Put your new, memorable copywriting with personality on a website designed to convert visitors into buyers.
Kimberly Houston is an AWAI (American Writers & Artists, Inc.) trained copywriter who specializes in helping creative pros rise above the online fray with personality-driven web copy and web marketing.
For more on her services, check out her website.