How to Write Effective About Pages
-Why Everyone Misses the Point
Almost everybody makes the same basic mistake when writing About pages, bios or social media profiles: - It’s Not About You.
Most of us get a little weird and awkward when we have to write about ourselves. We try all sorts of things, like being coy, cute, funny, clever or self deprecating to avoid really revealing who we are.
The more professional among us delegate the job to the PR department, but even they still make the same mistake.
They usually write something really nice sounding that makes you sound like a genius and has you wondering: ‘Who are they talking about? Is that really me?”
Get Over Yourself
Alternatively you might be really impressed with it and yourself, in which case you’re just too egotistical for your own good.
Regardless, none of that makes any difference. To get over all of the awkwardness or egoism, you just need to know one secret: “It’s not about you, it’s about them.”
That is, it’s about your customers.
Writing an About page about your customers may seem a contradiction in terms, but there’s a method to my madness.
Marketing 101 tells us to always put ourselves in the customers’ shoes and address what’s important to them.
Unfortunately most of us, marketers and copywriters included, have a brain fade and forget this when it comes to writing our About pages.
And by About pages, I’m including social media profiles, online bios, resumes, seminar introductions, company descriptions even online dating profiles. The tips below will work anywhere you have to talk about yourself.
If you start feeling a little weird when writing your profile, remember you just need to reset, shift the focus on to your audience.
When you do, writing your About page becomes a lot easier because you’re now focussed on your customers and what matters to them; you’re not obsessing about yourself.
Was He/ She Just Checking Me Out?
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense to write for your customers.
If a prospect is reading your About page then they are in some way interested in doing business with you, otherwise why are they reading the page.
After all they've consciously clicked on the link to check you out. They want to know what you can do for them.
This is a point almost everybody misses on the About page. Your prospective client is actively looking for something; they are investigating if you are worthwhile “dateable” material. Whether you are worth spending their time with.
This is not the time to go all pompous and self aggrandising, or get too cute and smart-alecky. See my previous posts on "We, we".
You have to demonstrate value for them.
Why Your About Page is the Best Sales Page You Have
An About page is the perfect opportunity to gain a lead or make a sale, you just need to make sure you tick most of the boxes on off your prospect’s must have list.
Thinking of it in this way completely changes your perspective of what to write and how to present your About page.
Instead of focussing on how great you are and all the wonderful things you've done, address what’s important to the client.
Think about what questions are they really asking, what do they really need to know in order to do business with you?
And then you can rework your bio to show how your experience and training helps a prospective client get the results they want.
In fact this is something executive recruitment consultants have been saying for years: Don’t tell a prospect what you’ve done, tell them what value you create and what you can offer them.
Most likely what you now write will contain the same information as before, only now you've presented in a way and a context that has much more relevance for your prospective customer.
How to Rewrite and Restructure Your About Page
If you read any of the tips online on how to write a good About page you’ll come across things like: ‘Be human, be real, lose the business babble, tell a story, be original, break the mould, show personality etc.”
While that’s all useful advice, it all still misses the fundamental concept of focussing on your customer, not yourself.
Now that you understand the About page is for your customers, there are more important things to include that are essential to make the page work.
Know Your Customer
Firstly, if you've done your marketing plan you will have already identified who your ideal clients are. If you've gone further and created personas even better. Always have them front of mind when writing and designing the page. This is who the page is for.
What Do They Want to Know?
Secondly, ask yourself what questions are they likely to be asking? What information do they need to know? Then rewrite your profile to highlight your experience that answers those questions.
Prospective clients are likely asking themselves: Are you credible, are you the type of company they want to do business with? What’s your track record? Have you worked with similar businesses to theirs or on similar problems?
There are several ways to answer these questions.
Social Proof/ Testimonials
Nothing is more credible than testimonials, so use them wisely on your About page. Testimonials are an old but still essential copywriting and marketing tactic.
You can also include relevant social media info such as reviews, rankings, number of connections, recommendations and endorsements. Just make sure it’s relevant to what the client is interested in.
For serious leads, they will want to read about what you've done for other companies, so provide excerpts and links to case studies.
If you've achieved specific, quantifiable results for other clients, say so and highlight it. EG: “We increased sales by 50% and revenue by $500,000 p.a.”
Notice how powerful that is. It’s direct, succinct and unambiguous. That’s what you did and everybody understands it.
If you have a reasonable client list of local, national and even international clients, then display it. Alternatively just display a selection of the most well known ones.
Awards and Certifications
Display any recognised awards, certifications, badges, memberships etc. Don’t go overboard, if you have a lot, just display the best at relevant places on the page. You can always display the rest on another page.
The beauty of the five tips above is that they are other people talking about you, which is always more credible than you saying it.
Tell Them What You Do
You may have already done this on your Services or What We Do pages, but it doesn't hurt to repeat and reinforce it on your About page. Some browsers may not have read those other pages yet, so make sure you tell them in a short, sharp sentence exactly what it is that you can do for them.
Have an Obvious Call to Action
Tell them what to do next. If they've checked you out and read most of your About page, then the next stage is for you to ask for their name and phone number. They are not going to give it to you if you don’t ask.
You can do this in several ways, all of which require strong and obvious calls to action.
The first is to have a contact form on the page. It sounds simple but so many About pages don’t have one.
The next is to invite them to sign up for your newsletter.
A variation on this is to offer a free report of valuable information in exchange for their email address.
Big Phone Number
The next is to simply have your phone number prominently displayed with an invitation to call. Again, sounds obvious, but is still missing from many About pages.
Other options are to invite them to connect with you on Linkedin, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter etc. These are probably not the strongest options, but if the prospect is only lukewarm, then at least you make a connection that can be nurtured until the time when they are ready to do business with you.
You can probably think of other ways to do this, but the important thing to remember is to make that connection and get their details.
As I said earlier, if a browser is reading your About page, they are in some way considering the possibility of doing business with you. Don’t blow the opportunity. If a major part of having a web presence is to generate leads, then your About page is critical in doing so.
If you think of it in this way, then constructing your About page will take on a whole new light.
Note: Before you say it, yes my own About page needs work. That’s because like everyone else I always found it awkward to write my own bio, and I’m a copywriter.
Fortunately I had one of those blinding flashes of the obvious while rearranging the site recently. So I wrote this post first as a guide for both you and myself. Now I need to go and think about you and what you want from me.
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