You had me at About Us
Wooing readers online doesn’t happen as spontaneously as two characters falling head over heels in a rom com. Yet when you’re creating a website, it can be easy to fall into the trap of putting all your effort into attracting readers through a seductive home page.
Few site visitors will fall in love with your offerings instantly, as soon as they scroll through your Home page. No matter how gorgeous your page design and how stunning your copy, not many of the web surfers who turn into customers will say, “You had me at ‘hello.’”
They may be intrigued at “hello,” maybe even excited and hopeful. But it will take more than your welcome page to sweep them off their feet.
This is where the humble About Us (or just plan About) page comes into play. The About page confirms that there’s substance behind the sizzle of your Home page. Besides stating who you are, it gives visitors a sense of your company’s character, showing them why they should trust the promises you make. It also gives you scope to answer some of the most important questions web visitors want answered before agreeing to engage with you further.
Here are five of those questions and some tips for answering them in ways that encourage your web visitors to get to know your company better:
1. Who are the humans behind the website?
Besides pent-up demand for travel, the pandemic has created a craving for human contact. Your About Us offers a perfect opportunity to respond to that need. Rather than presenting a faceless corporate facade, show the people behind your products or services. Enable your ideal customers to relate to your brand not as an abstract identity but as a real live team.
You can do this whether you’re a solopreneur, a brand new startup, or a cast of hundreds. For instance:
- As a solopreneur, give people a sense of your energy, your passions, and the unique journey that’s led you down the entrepreneurial path.
- As a new startup with ambitious growth plans, start talking in terms of “we” from the beginning. Describe your team’s unique strengths and give a sense of the culture you’re beginning to create.
- As a startup or scaleup with a small team, introduce each team member with a brief, personable bio (just a few lines).
- As a large organization, introduce your leaders with short, personal summaries of their experience and responsibilities. These should sound more like the kind of introduction you’d use in a networking event than like cold, impersonal resume excerpts.
2. How long have you been doing what you do?
Experience builds trust, so share your career and/or company story. But beware of trying too hard to give yourself a lengthy pedigree. When a startup team of three bills themselves as “drawing more than 15 years of combined experience,” that fake math doesn’t fool anyone.
So what do you do when you’re new to the industry, or maybe even to the world of business? Rather than trying to stretch your experience, choose another tack. You might, for instance, play up your academic credentials or your life-long study of your area of expertise.
For example, a colleague at an engineering design firm told me recently about a student who wowed a hiring committee with a cover letter that described how he’d been tinkering with household objects since he was a child. That budding engineer had zero years of professional experience, but 10 or more years of practical, hands-on experience, which he effectively showcased.
3. Why do you do what you do?
Your company’s vision and mission are important because they help your target audience feel a sense of kinship with you. That feeling of belonging fosters trust because we instinctively put faith in people who remind us of ourselves.
Just make sure that you present your “why” in terms that emphasize its value to your audience. Avoid cutting-and-pasting your mission statement from your strategic plan into your About Us page. Instead, describe it in down-to-earth language and use examples of how you envision yourself fulfilling your destiny. Make your audience feel they’re accompanying you on a thrilling journey, not watching from the sidelines.
4. What are you like to deal with?
As you draft your About Us copy, think about the kind of relationship you want to have with your ideal customer. For instance, if you offer services, consider how you can demonstrate, through written language, the way you interact with customers. If you want your customers to understand how collaborative you are, for example, that should come across in your tone and in your use of pronouns. Show how attentive you are to your customers by addressing them as “you” and using “we” to describe how you’ll work together.
Testimonials also allow potential customers to get a pre-experience of adopting your product or service. You may want to incorporate some of these into your About page, even if you feature customer success stories elsewhere in your website.
5. How can I know you will deliver what you say you’ll deliver?
This is the ultimate question potential customers have on their mind as they check out your presence online. If you’ve already answered the previous four questions, then you should be well on your way to answering this one.
Here’s the key principle to keep in mind: as people and as organizations, our identity doesn’t lie just in what we do but in who we are.
Your About Us page must, therefore, accurately convey who your company is at the core. It should display the values and behaviors that make up your corporate DNA. And it should sound like no other company’s About page.
Here are a few quick checks you can do to verify that you’ve created an About page true to who you really are as an organization:
- When you read the page aloud, the language feels natural, and you feel proud to say it.
- You can identify specific content in the About copy that validates the promises the Home page makes.
- Your About Us page answers the key background questions prospects bring up when you meet with them in person.
- When you compare your About Us page with that of a competitor, there’s no mistaking which is which.
Writing a website is a big commitment that can take weeks to complete. In that long process, too often the About page gets overlooked and undervalued, treated as nothing more than a glorified identity card.
This mission-critical content deserves more. Give it the proper attention it deserves, and it will turn your website into a human, welcoming presence. It will make you stand out online as a company with character, credibility, and charisma.
These are the qualities that will make web visitors fall in love with what you have to offer and take the plunge into whatever next step you have in mind for them. That might mean signing up for your newsletter, downloading an opt-in tool, or calling your sales line. Whatever your call to action, chances are that the web visitors who respond to it will admit, “you had me at your About page.”
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