Does your site have an “About Us” page? Do you have one simply because everyone else does? What’s the real value of such a page? Do you know how to maximize its value?
The “About Us” Opportunity
Many companies love to talk about themselves. That’s why we developed an online analysis tool several years ago that counts certain words on your site that are key indicators of whether your focus is on the customer or on you.
To buy, customers must hear about themselves and what you can do for them.
When a customer clicks on your “About Us” page, she’s giving you permission to talk to her about your company. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on what she needs. Just because she’s asking about you, doesn’t mean you get to bore her with what you’re excited about or leave her with more questions, or even make her doubt if she should buy from you.
An “About Us” page is a tremendous opportunity to cement a relationship with many prospective customers. It can put a human face on an otherwise technical, dry, and impersonal page. Properly written, it can provide some serious buying resolve to certain customer segments.
Humans want to connect with other humans. That’s easy to forget in a transaction-focused business world. Yet consider MySpace.com’s explosive success. What’s MySpace if not a massive collection of “About Me” pages?
The same power of human attraction can be properly used in a persuasion scenario in which the “About Us” page acts as a waypoint.
Common “About Us” Page Mistakes
- You tell what you do, instead of who you are. LendingTree.com is an incredible online service. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to know a little bit about the company? Who started Lending Tree? Why? What are the company’s values? This page just feels like another sales pitch. It’s the same with Buy.com. Of course, it’s important to tell us what you do, but put that content on another page. When visitors click on “About Us,” they want to know about you.
- The content is thoughtless. Many “About Us” pages seem like a copy-and-paste job. Any old creative will do. E-Trade just seemed to paste its mission statement here, preceded by a thoughtless paragraph.
- Where are the people? Humans are attracted to humans, so why do so few sites include photos of company employees? “PC World” includes pictures of its editors in the magazine, but not here. I can’t even find a link to the editors. At least Dell has a photo of Michael Dell, and Google links to fun pictures of its staff.
- The “About Us” page needs an enema. – The vast majority of “About Us” pages are simply boring, stiff, and tightly clenched pages. There’s example after example after example of this. Your “About Us” page should:
- Let customers see a more human side of your company. E-Trade’s advertising makes it seem like a fun company, but the “About Us” page displays none of that human personality.
- Tell your company’s story. McDonalds’s does a nice job with this, as does Dave and Busters. A company history timeline is a great way to highlight achievements without braggadocio.
- Reflect your company’s passion. Check out Nike.com’s “About Us” page.
- Reflect your company’s personality. If you’re a fun company, your “About Us” page should be fun.
- Let the customer inside your company. Bungie, makers of Halo, go so far as to have Webcams online.
- Reiterate your company’s competence to serve the customers by using all the above tools.
If you’re struggling to find customer-centric content to put on this page, here are some examples of visitor questions you can answer on it:
- Why do you do what you do?
- Who are the people behind the company?
- What kind of people will I be working with/buying from?
- What does your company stand for?
- What does your company stand against?
If you need to know more about what customers are asking about your company, ask the people in your company who interact with customers the most.
So many “About Us” pages are a waste of HTML. Though not every customer wants to know more about you, don’t disappoint those who do. Rethinking and rewriting your “About Us” page could result in higher conversion from those who encounter it.
Send me examples of “About Us” pages: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Meet Bryan at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose, August 7-10, 2006, at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.
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