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Web Profiles As A Marketing Tool

Updated on January 6, 2009

Why We Need A Profile Page

Human beings like to know about the person they're spending time with. It doesn't matter if it's a blog, a forum or a chat room.

Profiles are a great way to quickly give an overview of who you are and why you're hanging out on that particular site.

A well written profile will attract the people you're looking for and should give them enough information to engage with you or your site.

If it's real time interaction it will provide the basics for initial conversations, if it's a blog or marketing site it gives context to the site and will put your reader in the right frame of mind to understand where you're coming from.

If they like what they read, then they'll be more receptive to what you say or to your products. By creating that initial kernel of goodwill you're improving the chance of making them a repeat customer or reader of your site.

What Use Are Profiles?

Profiles are your basic marketing tool for marketing you, your company or your site.

They enable you to:

  • Set the context for your blog or site,
  • Establish a relationship with your reader,
  • Tempting them to other channels you may have which cater to their other interests.

What should your profile contain?

  • Always have a picture - either of you or your logo/branding.  Alexia has essentially become my web brand and I use only a couple of different pictures of her over the various sites.  People will either remember the name or recognise her picture. 
  • Always give some background or context to the site. It may not always be apparent to the casual reader,
  • Make sure you have links to any other sites you may have tell your ready why they are different and why they should visit them,
  • Make sure you have a snippet of something to establish a connection between you and your reader. Some personal background; age, nationality, profession, hobbies, cat fancying, articles published, awards etc. People want to engage with the person who they're reading and a few glimpses will start that process.

...and a little humour goes a long way. Just don't overdo it. It will look laboured or will make you look frivolous - unless of course it's a humour site, then go crazy!

Make sure your profile reflects your site. An academic blog needs an academic profile, a shopping review site needs you to demonstrate your shopping credentials and a product marketing site needs to focus on the company. Always highlight the appropriate points of the site brand (that's either you or your company).

Sometimes personal is good, sometimes it's irrelevant. It always depends on your site and the type of reader you're looking to hook. It's always a fine line between engaging with your readers and repelling them.

Make sure your profiles are consistent across all your sites. Any glaring inconsistencies will undermine your credibility. Make sure each profile has a different fact or two, it teases the reader and allows them to add to their image of you.

Always be careful the information you provide.

The web can be self selecting for crazies and you don't ever want to give them enough information to be able to track you down in real life.

There's a big difference between telling people you're a 40something, skydiving, cat fancier living in Canada and giving people enough information to be able to park outside your house.

Always be cautious, little bits of information when put together can provide more detail to an obsessive than you really want them to have. As someone who has had people internet stalk me and one person even turn up unannounced, I've learnt to be a lot more cautious and lock my doors (something I've never done before and I live in London).

 

Key Points

  • Keep it sharp. Don't ramble, people lose interest very quickly.
  • Set your site context. What the site/blog is about and what you're aiming write about.
  • Add some humanity. If it's a blog or something where you are the brand, make sure you have some basic information about you to allow your reader to begin to connect with you as person.
  • Link to your other sites. Make sure you reference all your other relevant sites and explain why they have a different focus from the one they're reading.

if you've ever seen tl;dr on a page it means "too long, didn't read". No one wants pages of prose on the web, if they want that they'll buy a novel.

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