I remember often accompanying my father when he went to transact business at a store for some service or product. My dad commonly asked lots of questions and listened closely to the answers given. He always said you could tell a great deal about a person just by listening to how they answered questions, and not just by what they said. Through the years, I remember many of those face-to-face business encounters; and in the years since, I’ve had many of my own. I use the same principles I learned from my dad, especially when checking out a business on their About Us website page.
All too often, today’s business is transacted over the internet without any human interactions. Therefore, your About Us page is the friendly neighborhood consultant who must introduce your business to prospective customers and answer their basic questions. The page must give information in an engaging way without being too pushy (no one likes a pushy salesperson) and inspire trust in your company. Does your current About Us page do that?
Visualize your prospective customers. Who are those most likely to be interested in the service / product you provide? What are they like? How would you speak to them in person? Targeting different demographic segments of the human population requires different approaches best suited to the audience. The Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) recently discovered that user satisfaction with business About Us pages has dropped from 5.2 to 4.6 when measured on a 1-7 scale. In our impersonal, internet-savvy culture, people want more.
When thinking of your About Us page as a personal representative of your company, construct your page to answer the following questions.
How Do You Look? (Image)
The nature of impersonal internet business means that building trust is important. How you portray yourself and your business should focus on building trust. In face-to-face meetings, depending on the nature of the company with whom you are seeking to do business, you expect a company representative to look the part. Do they dress professionally? Neat? Clean? Friendly? Overly bombastic or genuinely inviting? As the first human impression from your business, smart businesspeople ensure this ‘face of the company’ represents them well.
Your About Us page should do the same. Consumers will scan through your page trying to determine, “Is this a business I can trust?” An excellent way to build a welcoming, human image is with human images! Include photos of team members at their best along with happy customers. Research has demonstrated that images of people instead of scenery increase the trust a customer places in a business when viewing their About Us page. Consumers want to see you, your people, your team, happy and at work. Some photos of your business, interior and exterior, are probably a good thing, but don’t come across as a cold, impersonal entity. Show some friendly faces!
What Do You Do? (Product)
The product or service your business provides should be prominently featured on your About Us page. If consumers cannot easily discover what you have to offer, they will quickly go to another company’s page that clearly offers that for which they seek. Say what you do simply and clearly, in an easy-to-find location on the page and in easy-to-read jargon.
Merely repeating your company mission statement isn’t enough. Remember our potential customer and company representative analogy? What type of person is your potential customer? How would they ask questions? What kind of answers would they expect? Describe your goods and services in simple terms highlighting the value they each provide to your customers.
Are You Real? (Authentic)
Never speak in third-person, starchy, corporate language. Would a human representative of your company talk in such a manner? (If so, fire them!) Real human beings with feelings and emotions are reading your About Us page. Speak to them with creativity and human emotion. People do not trust machines, but they grow to trust and rely upon other people. If you come across as authentic and appealing, it will place your About Us page head and shoulders above many others.
Tell the story of how your company began, who inspired you, or another part of your corporate history that speaks volumes regarding your business culture and what you are all about. People easily identify with a sense of mission and will catch your passion if you share it on your About Us page. Give consumers an opportunity to identify with you as a person/group of people who live real lives and are embarked upon a mission of service. They will likely choose to join you.
How Do I Contact You? (Navigation/Contacts)
Every About Us page needs a call to action. What should a user do next? Ambiguous contact information leads consumers to wonder what you are trying to hide. Tell users how to contact you for consultations, free samples, free downloads, newsletter subscriptions, and the like, and provide multiple ways for them to do so. Phone, email, Twitter, Facebook, and contact forms are all ways users can follow your brand and get in touch.
If you sell products, be sure to include a prominent link to your online store, or links that take users directly to your products on another site. Any links between and consumers can get lost and wander off to another site. Make it simple to click a button and start buying immediately.
Tips for Writing an Engaging About Us Page
When crafting your About Us business page, use these tips to create interest and engagement.
- Share an Interesting Fact— Is there a statistic or concept related to your company or business niche that readers would be surprised to learn? Share it, possibly with a cool graphic.
- Go to the Ending First— When describing a movie, this would be place to say “spoiler alert!” Describe your incredibly successful business now, then in succeeding paragraphs explain how you went from solopreneur to your current empire.
- Share an Anecdote— Everyone loves a good story! Did your company get started because of some unlikely situation or strange coincidence? If you’ve got a good tale, tell it!
- Ask a Question— What is the one main thing about your business that everyone asks? Ask it and give the answer.
- Build a Cliffhanger— This technique is used in movies, TV and books with great success. Craft an introduction that teases your readers but leaves them in suspense. If they are truly anxious to know what happens next, they must contact you, sign up, or respond in some way.
- Share a Plot Twist— In building a business, things don’t always go according to plan. What became a major turning point for your company? How are things different now?
- Push Their Hot Buttons— Research will show you what is most important to your customers. Boldly state what they need and what you have to offer that meets that need. Then use the rest of your About Us page to support your claims.
Always remember the face-to-face customer and company representative interaction of yesterday. Use your company About Us page to build a solid, trusting relationship with prospective customers. They want to get to know you. They want to pull back the internet curtain and meet real people behind the scenes who are making the products or providing the services they need. Seek to effectively convey that your business exists because of real human beings who have your customers’ best interests at heart in all they do.