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by Graeme Benge on 15th May 2013
Today I’m going to talk to you about the importance of an About Us page and the impact that it can have on your overall success of your site.
What tends to happen when a site is first created is a number of default pages get created almost as a matter of course, typically your homepage, a Contact Us page, and an About Us page, and maybe a product page. And then from there a site starts to build its content over time.
In that initial stage, what tends to happen is that all the effort, all the thought goes into what eventually becomes the homepage, and the Contact Us page tends to be just a simple address, phone number affair, and the About Us page, well the creative wells have run dry by that point, and typically a bland bit of blurb will go up that just talks about the history of said firm.
From my point of view, the About Us page could actually be the first page that a site should work on at the very start of building up a new page for a number of reasons, and those reasons I’m going to go through today.
For any site or any brand, offline as well as online, it’s important to have a voice, a voice that is synonymous with your brand. Ideally a unique voice would be absolutely great. However, what you need to do is ensure that the voice that you pick resonates with your target audience. And it might well be that for your particular brand, particular product or industry, you need to come across as authoritative. But do remember that there are real people at the end of all this viewing your site, so you need to be able to build up some sort of rapport with those people.
With a lot of About Us pages what we tend to find is that it’s almost written by the company historian. Very little character is put into the detail, the features on the page, and as a result it’s very forgettable. In fact, how much of it actually gets read or even processed by the visitor? So at this stage the text is probably already created and you understand the information that you want to get across. But really think about your end user and how they want to be spoken to.
If you have a product or a service that has a fun element at it, please exploit that. Have some brash introduction, something that really captures the imagination, scream at your users, “cake or death“), anything that is particularly eye catching, just to capitalise on that nugget of attention that they’ve given you by coming to this particular page, and carry that through. Make sure your messages are coming across by being conveyed in the voice that best suits your audience type.
That feeling is going to be established quite quickly. It’s probably similar to the decisions that are made when you first meet someone, when you assess their body language, how they speak, how they interact with you. I would imagine that people are going to start to make decisions quite quickly on the information that you lay out on your page, so striking that chord straight away, early on is very, very important.
There are a number of other things that really should be triggers, triggers for your user to understand how they are going to benefit from spending more time on your site and ultimately, spending money with you.
The current climate there is a wonderful opportunity to use social proof to demonstrate your importance and your influence on real people. The inclusion of social media and also the elements of proof that you can add to your site that show common friends and their interactions with your site is absolutely vital. So if there’s a way that you can demonstrate how you’re interacting with other people, be it a Facebook plug-in that shows the amount of likes or maybe a snippet of the profile photos that are linked to the people that like your particular page to even testimonials. Testimonials are a fantastic on-page element to incorporate, that really conveys the benefit that a fellow customer has got from you. Think carefully about what you’re putting across there and make sure that it can be backed up. But it’s an excellent way of adding that layer of proof and building that layer of trust that is ultimately required to take that person from a viewer to hopefully a customer as well.
No page is going to be any good if there isn’t some sort of benefit explained. So this is where you’re putting across how useful your particular service or particular product is going to be for that user. So think carefully. Think about your elevator pitch, that nugget that really sums up what it is you do and the benefit that your users or potential customers are going to get from you.
To further strengthen the authority that you’re expressing to your searchers make sure you include any industry authority that you’ve gained, whether it’s qualifications, certification of any kind, any recognition that you’ve had from the industry. The reality is that there’s so much content available and resource available for people to search for online that you are likely to be one site of many that are used in the process of that person making that decision to buy a product. So you need to pull out all the stops to show that you are the right people for that person to part their money with. So think about certification, qualification, industry awards and make sure that they are visible. This should also perhaps go into your overall marketing plan, looking at what awards you can look to apply for to get that vote of confidence from the industry that your customer is looking to invest in ultimately.
Then you need to make it very easy for your user to interact with you. You need to consider the access, so as basic as a phone number or address to something a little bit more involved, like an email address, or directing them to your Facebook page where you can show how you’re interacting with other people. Access is very important.
So, an About Us page, rather than being a throw-away page, put together in the right way can establish a lot of the triggers that are going to be required prior to someone parting with their money. This type of approach, once you’ve set up your About Us page and got happy with that format, can inform the structure and content of further pages on your site. You’re not likely to replicate absolutely everything, but you’ll probably understand that it might well be worth incorporating industry recognition on a particular page. For another type of page you might think actually some social proof would be advantageous here. But all the way through, I’ll come back to the first point, ‘voice’, establishing that voice so that you resonate with your audience as soon as is possible.
For any further information, our social profiles are displayed at the end of this video. Thanks very much for watching.