When Your “About Us” Page Isn’t About…Us


When Your “About Us” Page Isn’t About…Us

Just like outer space, cyberspace can be a cold, uninviting environment. Yet when you want to establish trust and focus on differentiating a company, so many business owners waste their About Us page with sound-alike Mission Statements, Vision Statements and generic platitudes. For instance…(Fill in the blank with your business name) is dedicated to providing consumers with quality, value and customer satisfaction.

Okay, name a company in your town, this country or the continent, for that matter that is not dedicated to the same thing?

Here’s another lifted from a prominent SGI Member’s website that we’re in the process of rewriting: The _________name has been synonymous with quality workmanship in residential heating and cooling – and that is a tradition we intend to continue for decades to come. Our HVAC contractors make it a point to try to go above and beyond when it comes to the services we offer and the customer care we provide.

If you can lift your name from the text, insert any of your competitors’ names and it still rings true, your About Us page sucks like a Hoover. The same goes for stock photos of those families, beaming, lying on the front lawn (Why are they outside if their home is comfortable?) in front of a house that isn’t even the style of home you would find in your part of the country. In fact, we discovered that one of our clients had the exact same stock family photo on their About Us page as a direct competitor. Ouch!

This is what happens when geeks think they’re in the branding business and they’re trying to fill in the “Lorem ipsum” text filler with something … anything….just as long as the font is okay and the page arrangement looks good, right? But telling the story of your brand involves more than adding up the number of years everyone has worked there and calling it “combined experience.” Connecting with a community takes more effort than simply saying how many years you’ve been in business. Service isn’t just a radius map, it’s the journey you’ve taken, the homes you’ve serviced, and the families you’ve met. And isn’t that a much more interesting story?

“Quality workmanship” means different things to different people. It’s subjective. It’s a fuzzy mental image that a customer can’t latch onto. No one is going to head for the web and say, “Honey, which one was the company with the quality workmanship, again?”

No, to turn visitors into customers you need relatable stories that connect emotionally, strong mental images sparked by better verbiage, and literal images that help communicate who you are and where you are.

The web guys can be very good at what they do best. But just like business owners who believe they can write decent radio ads because they’ve listened to the radio since birth, some geeks believe that after inserting countless About Us pages that they know the psychology of an effective one.

We beg to differ. And differentiation is the whole point, right?

However, perhaps the geeks aren’t totally at fault. There are probably a few business owners who have put the brakes on content and don’t want to get personal on the About Us page for a few reasons:

  1. I’ve always been taught that it’s rude to talk about myself.” Trust us. It is possible to talk about yourself, and your company, and still remain humble.
  1. “I want the customer to know we’re professionals and we know our way around technically.” Lead with the heart and the head will follow. In other words, convince the visitor emotionally why you’re the best choice, and they’ll find logical reasons to back their decision to choose you.
  2. If I post a photo of my staff, what happens if someone leaves the company, or even worse, goes to work for a competitor?” Don’t future-trip that staff photo and sabotage a good opportunity to demonstrate the overall depth of your bench. The site visitor just wants to make sure you’re a local company with real techs and trucks and a building.

The key is, don’t think of the About Us page as being about YOU. It’s actually about the person who clicks the link to view it and how they will feel. Go beyond “This is our business” into “This is why we went into business. Here is what needed to be changed.” “Here is why we love what we do.” “This is why we wouldn’t be anywhere else.” More than “Staff” or “Team” introduce them as “These are our people – and your neighbors.” Finally, take your readers on a journey: “This is how we can help. This is what you can expect, and this is why we do it this way. “ Acknowledge the passion of your people and your pride in them as ambassadors of your company. (Our Canadian clients are very good at this.)

That’s not pompous. It’s what we call a “humble-brag.” And we have a saying here in Texas: “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.”

Does appearing more three-dimensional and human increase the rate of success? We’ve addressed the emotional reasons, time for some stats to back them. According to Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion pairs of participants conducted a negotiation by email. Nearly a third of the negotiations failed because the parties couldn’t reach an agreement. When the negotiators first exchanged a few personal details by email prior to the negotiation, though, the success rate increased by 84%.

Be true. Be real. Be human. That’s an About Us we can’t wait to read! Oh, and if you’re having trouble finding or telling that story, you know who to call.

Onward and upward!

Ray Seggern

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