How Start-Ups Can Build Effective "About Us" Pages

  |  October 26, 2007   |  Comments

What can you say on your site's "About Us" page when you've only just begun? Here are strategies -- and real-life examples.

Since writing on "about us" pages a few months back, I've received several inquiries like this one:

Thank you for a very valuable information on the "About Us" page, good examples.

How about new companies or companies that are being created? Customers are skeptical to engage with new companies. What would be your advice in terms of what is the best content to put in it, what to highlight, if you do not have history and you are staring from the "garage" location?

What do you do as a start-up? What do you do if you don't have a laundry list of credentials and an extensive track record?

Goal: Be a Credible Option

First, define your "about us" page's goal. In some cases it's the last page prospects will visit before they convert, so often the page's goal is to simply build your company up as a credible option.

Being small or new doesn't automatically slap you with a disadvantage or keep you from being credible. You have several things working in your favor:

  • Many people like new.

  • Many people prefer to work with smaller, garage-type companies.

  • New companies can be poised and extremely flexible.

  • Smaller companies can be more intimate.

  • Smaller companies can be more innovative.

  • Most smaller or newer companies are designed to fill in gaps or weaknesses of bigger competitors, giving their customers an advantage.
  • Other columns have touched on the needs and motivations of the four different consumer temperaments (personas). Let's use those as a basis for some of the issues you must address on the "about us" page.

    Methodical Persona

    This temperament makes slow, logical decisions when buying. Likely, folks in a methodical buying mode are your most difficult converts. Their conservative, "show me your track record" style should prompt you to provide facts about your company and qualifications and substantiate each claim. Jaduka is good example of how to speak to a methodical. Do the following:

  • Show your track record, providing details.

  • Provide links to whitepapers or case studies, if applicable.

  • Describe your experience, providing details.

  • Describe how your company came to be.

  • Describe your company values and details on how you work to live up to those values.
  • If you truly don't have an impressive list of credentials or experience, you're unlikely to win over a serious methodical buyer. That's OK. You still have three remaining buying modes to sell to.

    Spontaneous Persona

    These folks are fast and emotional. They make impulsive decisions. Novelty, flash, poise, personality, and new features appeal to the spontaneous. Most just have to like you to be persuaded to convert. Values of n does a nice job speaking to this type. To talk approach the spontaneous consumer:

  • Explain what's new or different about your company. Be brief.

  • Don't be afraid to let your company's personality show through on this page.

  • If your status as a small company permits you to be flexible, explain how.

  • If you're innovative and on the edge, explain why. Then show what makes you so innovative. Be brief.
  • Competitive Persona

    These are fast, logical buyers. They don't waste time, and they need to be logically convinced your company can serve their needs. Competitives also value competence, so that must be proven. They love to have the advantage, to be first, and to have things others don't have. The Omni Group does a great job of speaking to the competitive type. Items to remember:

  • If your company can give prospects an edge, explain quickly what your company stands for and what it's committed to do for them.

  • Show how competent your company is at what you do. Be brief. Provide short bullets to substantiate.
  • Humanistic Persona

    These buyers are relationship- and people-centered. They make slow, emotional buying decisions. They value and seek relationships with companies they buy from. CrashPlan does a decent job of communicating in a humanistic style. To speak to humanistic buyers:

  • Tell your company's story, introduce the players in that story, and link to their bios.

  • If your status as a new or small company will allow for greater customer intimacy, show what that relationship looks like. Tell stories of what you do for your customers. Better, provide (and link to) testimonials.

  • Show your company's personality, and introduce the people behind the company.

  • Link to your blog so these buyers can stay in touch with your company.
  • Your Story

    Your company exists as it is for several reasons other than to make money. You could sell one of a million different products or services, but you chose (or created) your products for a reason. That reason is the story your company has to tell and the value it has to offer. Your "about us" page is the perfect place to tell that story. If you tell that story with integrity and passion and speak to personas' needs, you'll have a powerful piece that will increase conversion.

    Have you seen any great about us pages recently? Share them with us.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Bryan Eisenberg

    Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

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