What’s the secret to creating a successful online adoption profile? What are the differences between an online adoption profile and a printed adoption profile?
Do online adoption profiles have certain unique characteristics that set them apart from other types of adoption profiles? And if so, how can you optimize yours so that a prospective birthmom notices it when she’s online?
These are just a few of the questions that hopeful parents ask when they’re creating an adoption outreach campaign for the web.
Before I get to the answers, we should look at how an online profile differs from a printed one.
One of the biggest differences is the process of discovery — the way that a prospective mother, or someone else, comes across an adoption profile.
For the printed format, a prospective birthmom will often discover it through a referral by her agency or recommendation by a friend, family member, religious leader or someone else she knows.
As a result, even before she looks at it, she will have certain preconceptions about it and may be more inclined to consider it because the referral came from someone she knows and trusts .
Secondly, unlike an online profile, a printed profile is portable, allowing a prospective birthmother to read it wherever she wants.
(Online profiles can also be printed and become portable, of course, but not every one has access to a printer or takes the extra step of creating a hard copy. More on that in a moment).
In most instances, however, the first place she’ll read it is in her adoption worker’s office since her worker will be the one who initially presents it to her.
Her worker may also include her own commentary about it which could influence the way she evaluates the families under consideration.
For instance, a prospective birthmom may go into the selection process with a certain kind of family in mind.
However, after speaking to her worker, she may decide that the family she initially envisioned is longer a good fit for her and that another one may be more suitable, even though it don’t meet her initial criteria.
Or she may take the profile home and flip through it at her leisure. Again, she has the option to do this on her own, or in the presence of others (a family member, friend, the father of her baby etc.) who may also have a say in the family she eventually chooses.
Usually, unless the prospective birthparent is under some kind of deadline because the baby has arrived or is about to arrive, there’s no rush for her to make a decision. And there may not be many profiles vying for her attention.
Online, it’s another story. When a prospective birthmother turns to the internet to find an adoptive family, there’s no telling how she will discover it.
She may find it through a search on Google by typing in a certain combination of words such as “Give Up Baby For Adoption” “Find Adoptive Parents” “Couples Looking to Adopt” or “Profiles of Adoptive Families.”
Each of these keywords phrases will turn up a different set of results, which may or may not include a link to your profile.
Or she may find your profile through a comment on a blog. Or a recommendation on Twitter. Or a site about open adoption. Or an ad on Facebook. Or an online registry.
The possibilities are endless. Not only are there more ways for her to discover your profile on the web.
There are also a lot more profiles fighting for her attention. And more distractions, too.
As a result, if you do post your parent profile online, you need to make sure that it stands out and makes a strong positive impression from the get-go. If you don’t, you may not get another chance to make your mark.
So how do you do it? Here are five tips to help you set your online profile apart and get noticed by a prospective birthmother.
Make your profile mobile friendly
Today, more people than ever are searching for information online, and they’re doing it through their phone.
Prospective birthmoms aren’t any different. One of the first places they go when they’re looking for parents for their baby is online, and increasingly the device they use to find that information is their phone.
Because of that, your profile needs to be mobile friendly. Users need to be able to find and view your information easily and quickly.
In addition to being easy to navigate, your content needs to be well organized and reader-friendly.
Paragraphs need to be short — no more than a sentence or two. Sections need to be broken up by sub-heads. And there needs to be lots of white space.
Plus, your letter needs to be clearly written and compact. People read online differently than they read offline. They don’t go over every word. Instead, they skim, scan and skip.
So when it comes to deciding how long your letter should be, less is more. The less clicking and scrolling your reader has to do the better.
What’s more, your content needs to load quickly. When a prospective birthmom clicks on your profile, she doesn’t have time to stand around and wait for it to appear.
She wants the information right away. And if she doesn’t get it, she’ll move on to another profile where she can find what she’s looking for.
Include a eye-catching main photo
There’s a reason why people say a picture is worth a thousand words. One little photo of you can tell a prospective birthmother so much about who you are and whether you would be a good fit for her.
Are you a happy couple? Are you down-to-earth? Are you approachable? Warm? Responsible? Truthworthy? Honest? Open? Fun? Family-oriented?
There are all things that you need to convey in your profile, and your photos can help you do it.
For maximum impact, make your photo as large as possible. And relevant, too.
Choose photos that showcase your love and dedication to each other but that also tie in to the central message of your profile: that you’re ready to adopt and will make great adoptive parents.
Get to the point right away
You will put your heart and soul into writing your profile and think of little else while you’re doing it.
All good. Just remember that while this may be the only adoption profile you write, it won’t be the only one that a prospective birthmom reads.
In addition to yours, she will consider several, maybe dozens, of others. So, to create a connection with her, you not only need to say something different from everyone else, you need to get to it as soon as possible.
The goal of your profile isn’t to sound like everyone else. It’s to set yourself apart and differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack.
And to do that quickly, before your reader loses interest or gets thrown off by something else that may be happening as she’s reading your profile.
Don’t waste valuable real estate by telling a prospective birthmom that she’s going through a hard time and how your profile will hopefully give her a glimpse of your life.
She knows that already. That’s why she’s reading it.
Instead, get to the point right off the top by telling her about you and your partner, what makes you unique, why you think you would be good adoptive parents, what kind of relationship you want to have with her, and what’s in it for her.
Include a clear call to action
What do you want a prospective birthparent to do when she gets to the end of your profile? To contact you, right? Nobody creates a profile for the fun of it.
Your profile has a purpose and that purpose is to persuade a prospective birthmother to contact you. For that reason, you need to include a call to action to your profile, and make it easy to find.
The message doesn’t have to be long or complicated. It could be something as simple as ”Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our hopes and dreams for your child. We’d love to hear yours. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Place the information in a prominent place — at the top of your profile and, ideally, also at the end or in its own section. Don’t expect a prospective birthmom to look for it on her own or to contact you directly after reading your profile.
To increase your chances of hearing back from her, post the information where she can find it and spell out exactly what you want her to do.
Add social sharing buttons
One of the great things about an online profile, as opposed to a printed one, is that it’s interactive. With one click, a prospective birthmother can reach out to you directly through email and initiate the placement process.
But let’s say she doesn’t find your profile. Let’s say someone else finds it. Well, that person can also pass it on to her, if you give her the tools to do so.
That’s where your social sharing buttons come in. Since you never know who will come across your profile or what they’ll do with it, you need to cover all of your bases.
And one way to do that is to include links to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Not only will they increase your exposure, they could help you find a match.
There are many elements that go into making an effective online profile. In many ways, I’ve just skimmed the surface.
There are other factors that are important. Your keywords, design, layout, even the colours you choose — all of these elements could, and have, made a difference, and will be the subject of future posts.
In the meantime, incorporating these five suggestions can give you a leg up in your online outreach strategy and help differentiate you and youradoption profile from others on the web.
What are you doing to make your online profile stand out and get noticed by a prospective birthmom? I’d love to hear your tips. Share them in the comments section or on our Facebook page.