Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

Dos and Don'ts of Writing an Engaging Profile

The bio on your Public Profile is one was shoppers and other Etsy members will get to know you. Here are some Dos and Dont's for what to include.

By Stacey Brook Mar 16, 2010
Photo by Wintercroft

Ah, the dreaded profile. It's a notoriously daunting piece of seller language to nail down. Even for a seasoned wordsmith, writing about yourself can be an intimidating prospect. As with any self-portrait, it’s tough to capture yourself at the perfect angle and incorporate all of your best attributes in the frame.

But writing your Public Profile doesn’t have to be a baffling enterprise. Answering a few key questions, honestly and in detail, can provide the structure for an engaging, insightful picture of who you are and what you do. A creative, concise, well-constructed profile is essential to the success of any Etsy shop. No matter where you’re from and what you make, it is worth it to spend the time really fleshing out and polishing up your seller bio.

Your Public Profile is different than the About page of your shop (though these tips might also help you when writing your About page). Your Public Profile is associated with your Etsy username. In your shop, buyers will see the Profile Picture from your Profile as the Shop Owner photo. Clicking on your name under "Shop Owner" will take shoppers to your Public Profile, so it's important that your profile be professional and complete. Consider your Public Profile an introduction to you and your business. Use your About page to tell the story of your business. Get more tips in How to Craft A Killer About Page.

Two reasons your profile is important:

You are responsible for your buyer’s shopping experience. The difference between Etsy and many other online vendor platforms is that we try to make the online shopping experience feel as personal as purchasing from a local brick-and-mortar boutique. Your profile is the most humanizing portion of the Etsy sales experience. It is the equivalent of making conversation at the register. Think of that exchange and what might unfold during the interaction. Make it clear that you care about your customers enough to sate their curiosity. The more you can make the experience feel personal, the more buyers, especially first-time buyers are willing to make the leap.

You deserve an opportunity to toot your own horn. You make wonderful things — handbags and cufflinks and armoires and a host of other goodies that take an enormous amount of energy and creativity to develop. The profile section is the place where you get to give yourself a little credit. Do yourself justice. Talk about your process, your ambitions, your creative inspirations. We know a lot of thought and energy goes into the items you make, so take some time with your bio and really make it shine.

Okay, so you know you need a profile. But how do you get started? Everyone knows one of the hardest tasks, even for seasoned writers, is to turn the focus inwards. But don’t fret! Here are some questions to help you get started. Not all of them will apply to you, but they are designed to inspire and get you thinking about what piques buyers’ curiosities. Especially with projects as tricky as the personal bio, I come from the school of “write first, edit later,” so put your pen to the paper and see what flows. You can always discard, revise and bolster your words later.

DOs

Use humor. Don’t be overwrought or overwork it, but try to use language to delineate yourself and separate yourself from others. Make sure your description reflects why you are different, not just from mass-market items, but also from the other shops on Etsy. There are hundreds of metalworkers on the site. Without directly comparing yourself to others, or disparaging anyone else’s collection, tell us why your creations are different. What makes you stand out? Be clean, concise and complete. Try to maintain an air of professionalism, while still keeping it fun and making it personal.

Tell stories. Is there an interesting/relevant anecdote behind how your shop came to be? Did the accidental addition of an ingredient lead to a signature line of extra yummy cupcakes? Did an old photograph of your parents by the seashore inspire you to hand make vintage-style bathing suits? Even short, creative, fictional histories or anecdotes can add to the mystique of your items if executed well.

Did you say hello? Don’t forget to welcome us! Treat us like we’re entering your store. Make a good first impression. Thanking people and showing off your good manners never gets old. And engaging readers from the beginning will ensure they continue on to the rest of your valuable information.

Lay out your points cleanly and concisely. Use titles to help draw the eye to the different topics you address. Try to avoid constructing one big block of text. Headings definitely help make profiles more readable, especially if you have a lot of information to impart.

Proofread! When a shopper encounters “free nipping” instead of “free shipping” in your profile or item descriptions, it doesn’t speak to your attention to detail. This is not a great impression to make as a seller of handcrafted items and/or custom goods. Proofreading is easy — it just takes an extra few minutes or a friend's pair of eyeballs! Make sure you take a look at your profile both before and after you’ve posted it. Time and distance from what you’ve written will provide perspective. And remember, you can’t always see your own mistakes. Let friends and family members review your text after you post it to catch all the little things before your buyers do.

Keep it concise. Make it interesting. Make it informative.  

The DON’Ts:

Don’t overload your profile with press clips. Including 2-3 items — what is essentially the highlights reel of your press coverage — will instill confidence in your buyers, but an assault of press clippings in the bio section really takes away from the homegrown feel. It’s important to find that balance of using press to prove the value of your items, while still leaving room for people to feel like they’re buying items that are unique. You still want it to feel like a discovery.

Don’t direct people to your store’s website as your only profile item – it feels so cold and corporate. Include your web address and other contact information in the profile, of course, but it’s important to make buyers feel like they’re dealing with real people when they access your profile, versus detached redirection. Keep in mind that encouraging shoppers to make a purchase off-Etsy is considered fee avoidance, which is prohibited by Etsy’s Fees & Payments Policy.

Don’t assume people know anything about your shop or items or policies until you tell them. You are the direct vehicle for information to your buyers, and only you have the power to inform, and inform well.

What information do you include in your Public Profile on Etsy? Share your tips in the comments below.

Author

Stacey Brook

Stacey Brook is a marketing and public relations consultant with over six years of experience in the arts and entertainment industry and a specialty in copywriting, web project management and social media marketing. Her clients include a host of artists and designers, many of whom sell their wares on Etsy.

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