This lesson will give you some ideas and tips on ways your website can help you create more opportunities.
Hello and welcome to lesson 9, marketing yourself. I designed this as the final lesson to the How to build a portfolio course because so many of my friends who are artists, writers, and creators struggle with the impersonal aspect of putting themselves on the web. They want to stand out in job interviews, when bidding on gigs, or when submitting work for a grant proposal. Every situation is unique, but your website can hopefully put your best foot forward, and save you time and effort with each new opportunity.
Make your About Page and personal story stand out
The first element I want to highlight is the importance of your about page. This is where you can really tell your story and who you are. I recommend posting the TL;DR version at the top and then getting into the long story after. This is both good for you, and for the person reading. Your elevator pitch is so useful for people who skim, but also, next time someone asks you for your 1-2 sentence bio for an event, or an Instagram live you’re participating in, you’ll already have it ready to go. I would also recommend putting this short bio on your homepage, or footer, so it has a prominent place on your website.
While I recommend people keep their résumés to the point in job applications, your website is your opportunity to list your awards, your fellowships, and key highlights in your career. Plus, by listing out past jobs, you can link those to the relevant portfolio items, helping web viewers really get a better picture of your work. You can even make a downloadable version of your resume available with the click of a button.
Make sure you keep these sections up-to-date and have a friend read over them to make sure you get some outside perspective on how you’ve written about yourself.
Clarify what you’re offering or the benefits of working with you
Now that we’ve covered talking about yourself, part of Marketing is also about creating a connection with your website visitor. What will they get from working with, hiring, or supporting you? Write out your vision and mission statement somewhere prominent on your website so people can connect with the purpose of your work. This can be woven into your bio or have its own section. You can also make your mission clear throughout your portfolio by drawing direct connections to each project and how it aligns with your values, approach, method, or style.
Showcase reviews, testimonials, and endorsements
Testimonials, press coverage, and social proof can help immensely with increasing your impact. If you don’t have any testimonials now, reach out to past clients who enjoyed working with you and ask if they could send you an endorsement or review. You can embed screenshots, tweets, and other nice things people say about you online right on your website. If you are building up a public-facing business, you could also add your listing to Google Business to start gathering reviews there too.
Build a following on social media
Off-site marketing can also help you build your profile, although this might not be right for every type of artist. If you want to reach new audiences, creating a Facebook page and and Instagram profile can help. Make sure you embed these profiles on your website or link to them throughout your website, so people have a way to follow you. In fact, being able to follow your work online and contact you is one of the best ways you can build a community around your work.
Create something people can download
Creating something of value to give away on your site can really help you build a following. If you’re a good writer, creating your own weekly newsletter full of great content can help you gain followers and loyal fans. Lots of artists start with that and even launch paid subscription lists or Patreon pages that help them earn income too.
You can also publish things like Wallpapers and iPhone screensavers to download on your site. These digital downloadables are often called Lead Magnets, or Gated content. People input their email to download your art and then they are on your email list, so you can let them know when you have a new show coming up, or to tell them about the new art for sale or services you offer.
Make it easy to contact you
It’s very important that people have a way to quickly contact you, so I recommend making it very prominent and easy to do so. If you often get requests for quotes, why not build those right into your contact form, so you have more details from people trying to reach you. Never miss a note by connecting your contact form to an email you check often.
I hope these recommendations were helpful and give you some ideas on how to make your website go even further.