-Why Almost Everyone Misses the Point
Really, I know you thought it was, but it’s not.
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.
Or we go the other way and become obnoxiously boastful, like most reality TV contestants.
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?”
Alternatively you might be really impressed with it and yourself, in which case you’re just too egotistical for your own good.
Get Over Yourself
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 and potential customers.
Writing your About page about your customers may seem a little mind bending, but there’s a valid reason to do so.
Marketing 101 tells us to always put ourselves in the customers’ shoes and address what’s important to them.
Unfortunately most of us, marketers 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 I share 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, to shift the focus from yourself to your audience and what they want.
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 your About page 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 How to Brag About yourself and Stay Humble.
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 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?
Then 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.
When you rewrite your bio in this way, it may still contain the same information as before, only now you're presenting it 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, here are the 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.
If you haven't done this already, guess what you need to do now?
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 highly effective 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.
Update: As you’re probably aware many people have figured out how to game the social media system so social proof and reviews don’t carry as much credibility as they once did.Case Studies
For serious leads, they will want to read about what you've done for other companies, so provide excerpts and links to case studies.Previous Results
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.Client List
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 represent what other people are saying about you, which is always more credible than you saying it.
Next, Tell Them What You Do
This may seem obvious, and 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 clients 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. Don't leave it to chance. 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.Contact Form or Information
The first is to have a contact form or contact information on the page. It sounds simple but so many About pages don’t have one.Newsletter
The next is to invite them to sign up for your newsletter.Free Report
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.
There are some cases where you might not want to put up a phone number, but for most businesses a clear phone number helps.Social Media
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.
Bonus Power Tip
Have the guts to cut
As any good copywriter will tell you, your writing becomes more powerful the more you take away from it.
Resist the urge to keep adding stuff to your profile. Especially as you progress in your career, you will have done more and achieved more, you don’t need to put it all in your profile.
So take away all the stuff that doesn’t enhance or reinforce the message you want to get across.
However, it’s a fine line, don’t cut so much that you lessen your impact.
As I said earlier, if a prospect 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 significance.