Got a little instructional for you today.
Yesterday, a reader responded to my call ‘hit reply and tell me where you struggle’.
Always nice to hear back from people – do keep ’em coming.
She told me a bit about her struggles, and ended with ‘this is my site, please have a look’.
so I did, and I liked what I saw.
But there was one important thing missing:
She didn’t have a tagline.
In the header it stated her name, but that was all.
And because of that, she misses out on an enormously powerful emotional effect.
I call it resonance: when someone is exposed to your message, or your website, and something in them ‘clicks’, and goes: “Huh, I like that”.
That short moment right at the start, is powerful, useful and important.
Without it, a visitor might just poke around the site a bit.
With it, they might do the same, but they’ll do so while being in a more engaged, more joyous emotional state.
And while the difference may be slight depending on the person, it does increase the chance of them spending more time, reading more, seeing more of your paintings, or even signing up.
I like to think of the tagline as a 10-word artist’s statement.
A short, pithy message that’s personal, shows your passion, demonstrates your why, and reaches into the viewer’s mind with to see if there’s anything it can connect with.
It’s not that hard to write one.
Here’s how, starting with the don’ts:
First, don’t be strictly factual: “Johnny Johnson, watercolour artist’ says what’s in the tin, but it has no pulling power, it doesn’t push any emotional buttons.
Second, don’t try to be clever. We’re talking about communications here, so no nifty wordsmithery.
Next up, the dos:
Take a sheet of paper, and quickly start writing short descriptive sentences about yourself, your art, your passion or your techniques.
Don’t overthink it, do NOT second-guess or judge their usefulness – what we’re looking for at this stage is a brain dump.
Just write as many as you can, as fast as you can.
You probably won’t reach 100 at fist go, but that’s ok.
It can take days or even weeks to get the perfect tagline together, all part of the process.
Carry a notepad or index cards (my fav) with you, and any time during your day that an idea comes up, jot it down to later add to the list.
Once you have 100 of them (you’ll find that parts of some statements will be duplicates, and that’s fine), you’re done with the strictly creative part of the exercise, and you can get more rational about it.
In other words, you put on your editor’s cap.
You’ll quickly see that most of them aren’t all that great or useful, so you just cross those out.
Whittle down until you have some ten or twenty good contenders, and copy those over to a new sheet of paper.
Btw, I think the best way to do this is by writing it in longhand, on paper.
Writing by hand activates different areas in the brain, compared to typing, and that’s useful for the kind of process we’re talking about.
So now you have 10 or 20 an a new sheet, and again, you take an axe to the ones that aren’t ideal or perfect.
Narrow down to the five best ones, and copy those to yet another sheet.
Then you take the best bits of those five, and mix & match the words that have the most emotional appeal, are most relevant and to the point, and you scramble the words, concepts and meanings together until you’re left with one simple, 5 to 10 word sentence that basically says:
Who you are, what you do, why you do it, why it matters.
You stick it in your site header beneath your brand name or your own name, and you’re done.
From that moment on, each time a new visitor lands on your site, they’ll not just see your name, but instantly they’ll also read your micro-artist’s statement.
And if they’re the right kind of person for what you do, something in them will perk up and recognise it.
A useful exercise, not just for your site to be more effective, but very likely for your own mind as well.
Also recommended: the LEAP Newsletter. Details here –> http://artonomy.co/leap-to-more-sales/
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