The About Page. Our clients struggle with them. Everyone leaves them to the last moment, as an afterthought. Over the years of designing, we’ve seen hundreds of about pages – the good, the bad, the ugly. And there’s a lot of ugly.
About pages elicit panic for website owners for any number of reasons. It may be that people don’t want to talk about themselves…..they don’t want to be exposed on the web…. or, people grow very concerned about the state their corporate mission statement is in and whether they need a full business quorum to really figure it out for the year and how to adapt it for the about page.
The avoidance of the about page can be so strong that sometimes our clients want to launch their new website without having an about page at all.
But, in a time where for $100 or less, anyone can throw up a website on the internet, About pages are ever more important. We want to do business with businesses we know, like and trust: and your about page is the place where people will go to learn about you and decide if they know, like and trust you. It needs to be there.
But here’s the thing: most people have their about page all wrong.
They make it all about them, like a dating profile or a Facebook bio.
But a good about page is not actually about you, really.
Its a bit of psychology: most people want to know less about your love for your adorable daughter and more about what you can do for them. (Your adorable daughter belongs on the page only if she’s somehow been a catalyst for the business (besides the need for cash, lol) – for example, if you sell hip toddler clothes that solve a problem or fill a need that you were noticing as her parent.) The point is:
Your about page is actually a sales page, and you’re selling the product – you – to your potential client / customer.
The About page is about what you / the company can do for your clients, and the mission and/or philosophy behind doing those things.
Everything on your about page should be framed around what you do that delivers value to the client.
When you frame the about page this way, you tell people why *they* should care, and what’s in it for them. And people care about people (and companies) who care about them.
So we’ve developed a formula for our clients to use to help them get out of their Facebook oversharing and into framing their sales page around their client’s burning needs.
The 5 step About Page Formula (to sell your customers on you)
STEP 1: The headline. In this age of way too much information, we’ve become chronic web skimmers – we don’t read everything we encounter, unless something commands our attention. They say that 80% of people are skimmers who’ll read the headline and scroll over the text, so – you want a headline on this page that speaks to the pain that your business solves for people and catches their attention. People want to feel like you get them & their problems. So, say you’re an online tax service, you’d frame it something like: “What if you could just hand those piles of tax paperwork over to a friendly pro who understood your unique challenges and could sort it all out to your advantage?”.
Good headlines start with the customer: “You are…” “You want…” “What if you could..” “We’re here to [solve your problem]”. When you frame it this way, you’re telling people why they should care about you – because you can help them. In the following paragraphs, you then describe further describe the problems you solve for the customer.
Action step: make a list of all the problems your clients/customers have come to you to for help with. Then hone in on the biggest one and write your headline based on that using one of the You are…” “You want…” “What if you could..” “We’re here to [solve your problem]” starters.
STEP 2: Establish credibility & your unique selling proposition – where you talk about why you’re the best company to help them. “Hey, we know what we’re doing, we’ve helped thousands of others” – credentials, client results, features. (You’ll tie in reviews later in the page again to drive this home.) You want to frame accomplishments in a way that shows how that accomplishment has a positive impact your customers.You should also use this section to talk about what sets you apart from others & clarify your selling proposition . For our tax service above, you’d talk about fixed pricing, your virtual service, etc. and how those offerings are different / better/ provide a solution to a problem.
Action step: If you’re a service provider, gather up your best client results. If you’re not clear already, get clear on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
STEP 3: The personal: here’s where you present the business mission / philosophy AND the compelling story. This is where you share your business mission / philosophy – but ONLY as it relates to the value you deliver to your clients. “We believe in getting you the biggest tax return you’re eligible for because….” rather than “as tax experts, optimizing your taxes gives us great satisfaction.” (See the difference? Your client/customer doesn’t care about your satisfaction – they care about theirs.)
If you’ve got a compelling story behind the history of the company, you’ll also want to share it here. (And every company has a compelling story: the problem they set out to solve, the aha! moment that turned into a product, the unique circumstances that led them to start their business. A foundational myth. Think Apple, and the garage. What’s yours?) For example, the bakery owner of “Nana’s Pies” tells a sentimental story about Nana’s cooking and a fabled childhood scampering around her kitchen. When Nana passed, she willed her cookbook to her grandchild and Nana’s Pies was born.
Got a social mission as well? Does your restaurant donate leftover food to the local food bank? Do you do something for the local schools? Give a percentage of your time / expertise away for free to non-profits? Hire disadvantaged youth? This is the last section of your about page where you make your potential clients / customers feel like by doing business with you, they’re also contributing to a greater good. It also gives the impression that you’re a person / business that cares about others. And (again) people care about people who care about others.
STEP 4. Then follow up with a big, bold, buttoned call to action. You’ve pitched them on why you’re awesome. Now prod the visitor to take an action, be it schedule a call, send an email, sign up for a free trial, or visit the shop.
STEP 5. Finally, round out the page with some client testimonials under the call to action. Social proof helps you tell the story of your product/service through another’s words and validates your sales pitch.
Websites are vehicles for information. And the information you give people (or don’t give people) on that website greatly influences their decision to work with you or not. Give your website the ol’ spit shine with an improved About page and watch your engagement improve.
Thoughts? Comments? Tell us below.