Does an About Us page really matter? You might think it matters more for B2C than B2B or vice versa. Carly insists that it does matter. We met Carly almost seven years ago when she was a Marketing Manager at a company we were consulting. We want to tell you the story she told us, after reaching out to thank us, about how a valuable relationship might never have started but for the content of a single page. Her company’s revised About Us page was launched despite concerns of the very private and exceedingly practical founder of her company.
Carly’s About Us story retold as a Buyer Legend
Carly is a wicked-smart, tenacious VP of Lead Generation for a mid-sized B2B SaaS provider. Carly’s no-nonsense approach to lead-gen has increased leads by ~30% since she took over in October 2013. Apart from the About Us page, Carly has redesigned the lead form, rewritten the product description, and worked with her ad agency on optimizing traffic. Carly also pushed through significant changes to the Home page, with copy targeted to entrepreneurs like Will.
Will is a diligent and savvy entrepreneur, shopping for the exact solution that Carly’s company sells. There were several strong competitors and Will collected all the data he needs. He narrowed down his choices to Carly’s company and the larger, more-established market leader.
Will likes both options. The market leader’s pricing is comparable, but has a slightly more robust feature set. Yet, he knows from user reviews and his co-founder’s experience, that the workflow is hard to master. Carly’s company solution has what everyone agrees is a more intuitive user interface and a magically simple workflow. It is also easier to deploy. However, it has fewer features, some of which might be useful in the future. Will is more-or-less comfortable that those are features he doesn’t need. From a cost-benefit perspective, Will thinks it’s a wash.
Will’s technical co-founder agrees that for their needs both solutions will do the job. However, he is more comfortable with the more established competitor’s technology. He implemented that solution at his last two companies and even though it seems to be a lot more work, it’s the devil he knows.
Carly’s company has a radically different approach to everything. If what they claim is true, not only will there be less work setting it up, but his team will use it. Will knows that hard-to-use tool sets require more training and are hardly used.
Will visits the market leader’s About Us page. It looks like most About Us pages. There is a generic-sounding mission statement, some stiff head shots of the executive team, Board members, and investors, along with all their credentials. It has a timeline and a list of awards. It was, as About Us pages usually are, perfunctory.
When Carly instructed her copywriter to tell the company’s story, it was to tell it through the eyes of the founder. The founder bootstrapped the company, putting every penny he had at risk. He had no investors because he wanted to build a special kind of company that led with its values without interference. The founder is disturbingly passionate, almost possessed by details. In fact, Carly chose to join this company over a higher-paying offer because, after interviewing with him, she recognized how rabidly committed he was to customers and how that commitment permeated the company culture.
How Will made his decision
When Will visited Carly’s About Us page he found information about the entire customer-facing staff. There weren’t just lists of professional credentials, but fun bios reflecting their personalities and style. There were pictures and videos that captured the mood and feel of the company. It made this company, selling a highly-technical B2B solution, sound fun and likeable.
That page tipped the balance for Will. The market leader’s page was stiff and corporate, exactly what made him leave his previous job. Carly’s company was inviting and human, and seemed a lot like his own company. Will felt sure that the company’s values would insure that they delivered. All other things being equal, Will finally had enough confidence to make the decision. The only company he called was Carly’s.
Carly won another lead, and then a sale, and Will has become an outspoken advocate for them. Will was so impressed with the About Us page that he contacted the CEO and shared his experience and asked if Carly would offer him advice about how to build a better About US page. She asked us to update our most popular ClickZ column about how to best create one, and you’re reading the update.
Not everyone will care. But for those who do …
Of course, not every prospective customer will visit your About Us page, but if it was the only thing standing between you and a lead or a sale, would it keep them in your funnel? Could it even win you the sale?
The About Us page is the most undervalued page on most websites. While it rarely closes a sale, it can provide a valuable assist. It is the one place where you are allowed to talk about yourself. Every click on the About Us page is someone asking you to tell them about you. Make the most of it.
Even if you sell something boring, maybe especially if you sell something boring, it doesn’t mean your About Us page should be boring. More than anything, your About Us page is the place to show customers who you are and what your company values.
Seven tips to create an About Us page that makes a difference
You might not use all of the seven tips but don’t skip the seventh tip. We encourage you to start with a Buyer Legend.
- Let customers see a more human side of your company. Become more likable by including individual information and personal interest. Include fun blurbs and pictures of life around the office. Dropbox created a montage of its employees. While hovering over the pics, you are presented with fun personal facts about the employees.
- Choose the voice of your About Us page. Here are some ideas that can help:
- What is the overall emotional stance that your company has towards its industry/market?
- If your company were an actual person, who would it be?
- Is there a favorite quote you or the people in your company have?
- Is there one particular moment in the life of your company that would capture its essence in a nutshell?
- Do certain words or phrases keep popping up in your daily conversations, your salespeople’s sales calls, your blog posts, etc.
- Use the verbiage your customers use. Mine your live chat logs, emails, customer service calls, in-site search, and especially customer product reviews, if you have them.
- As an exercise, do a “25 Random Things About Our Company”. Then, pull out the nuggets and insert them into your About Us page. Or leave the whole list as a link or tab from your About Us page.
- Make sure your voice on the About Us page is consistent with the rest of the site. Yes, you can afford to be a little more conversational and personal/passionate, but the overall writing style should be consistent.
- Choose the voice of your About Us page. Here are some ideas that can help:
- Tell your company’s story. The story of why it exists and about the people behind it. Include links to the social profiles of team members.
- Connect people to your leadership.
- Humans are attracted to humans, so why do so few sites include photos of company employees? Mail Chimp does an exceptional job at this.
- Reflect your company’s passion. Cranberry shares their passion for News and PR Marketing.
- Take it easy on the sales pitch and instead give your, and your company’s, story. Miles & Co, a SMB marketing agency, uses their About Us page to highlight their values and demonstrate how those values will benefit their clients.
- Reflect your company’s personality. If you’re a fun company, your “About Us” page should be fun. Please don’t try to be fun if you’re not. Just be yourselves. Reiterate your company’s competence and desire to serve customers. Notice how New Relic embraces their inner geek.
- Many About Us pages seem like a copy-and-paste job from AboutUs.com. Thinking any old creative will do, will not do. The vast majority of About Us pages are simply boring, stiff, and tightly-clenched pages. Put some thought into how yours is uniquely yours. Marketo’s About Us page is professional but not full of corporate drivel. Instead, Marketo makes a powerful statement about who they are and what they do.
- Let the customer inside your company.
- I highly recommend the use of video to show off your human side. 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.
- Reiterate your company’s competence to serve the customers by using all the above tools. Zappos does a masterful job of explaining their company values and their dedication to customers. Google’s About Us page is just plain inspirational.
- How to start: Writing a great About Us page is an exercise in empathy, and a Buyer Legend is a great place to start. You’ll need to put yourself in your customers’ place, take their perspective, and reflect back to them what matters most to them about you. Here is a recipe for creating a Buyer Legend.
When you write a Buyer Legend, remember that it is not the story you tell your customers; that’s just promotion. Buyer Legends are stories told from the point of view of your customers; because your brand isn’t what you say it is, but what your customers say it is. A Buyer Legend is designed to create and improve the interactions your customers have with every touch point of your brand, from the boardroom to the stockroom.
Buyer Legends are stories about your customers and their buying journey, and your About Us page gives you a chance to tell your story to the customer more powerfully from their perspective.
Would you like your customers to tell better stories about you than you do about yourself? Start planning your About us page with this Buyer Legends recipe. Buyer Legends a simple business process that helps you create a customer-centered, data-driven customer experience design that is supported by narrative.
We encourage you to try this for yourself, but if you need help, please let us know. .