It seems like a simple task, but that also means it's easy to overlook. A small business' ‘About Us’ page is often your first chance to make an impression: here are six tips on how to get yours right.
Don't bore us – get to the chorus! (Berry Gordy)
About us pages have been around since the dawn of the Web, which can mean they get taken for granted. When was the last time you really thought about the aims of your About Us page, and how good it is at achieving them?. Here are our six tips for small businesses on how to write a great About Us page that gets your message across – and knows when to stop.
Perhaps the most important element of an About Us page is your "elevator pitch" – the short, snappy version of your company story that explains what you do, what makes you different and why customers should care. The same one you've been busy perfecting for all those small business networking events. Indeed you might decide that this is the only thing your About Us page needs.
Remember that this all has to be relevant to your customers. They might quickly get bored if you simply tell the chronological story of your company. If you want to include this background information, for example in a company timeline, make sure it’s relevant to the customer: your history is only important inasmuch as it contributes to a compelling story that makes the customer feel good about your company.
A great example of this is SureFlap. Their About Us page starts with a compelling “origin story” which explains the product, how it works and its benefits to the customer – all in a single paragraph.
A fundamental of good marketing copy is that it should be benefit-led – that is, you should always remember to speak about what matters to the customer, and not to you. You've invented a more efficient widget-making process? That's great for you, but remember that the benefit to your customers is lower prices, not lower costs, and that's what your copy should talk about.
Personal stories are more engaging than dry corporate histories. Who founded the company? What jobs were they doing before, and what spurred them on to strike out on their own? Making the company story personal is something that large corporations will struggle to do, so as a small business you have an advantage.
A small business that still reflects the personality of its founders can be a more attractive prospect to a customer – they know their business is important to you, and they won't be treated as just one income stream among many.
Customer testimonials are powerful persuaders. The effectiveness of this "social proof" has been repeatedly demonstrated and it's a great fit for a small company where word of mouth recommendations are already an important source of new business.
Just one or two quotes from customers can have a great effect. The more information you can give about the customer the better – name, job title and company are ideal, but even if some customers won't let you quote them by name, they might be happy with a more general attribution such as "Sales Manager" and the company name.
About us information has a specific purpose – to reassure the reader about your company enough that they're happy to take the next step towards becoming a customer. It needs to have enough information on it to do that, but not so much that reading it will feel like a chore.
It's possible to get this wrong at both ends. On the "too short" side, Hoa Loranger of Nielsen Norman Group has some great About us examples that lack summary information and simply present the reader with a dispiriting page full of links to explore.
The opposite mistake of going into too much detail should also be avoided. Remember that although you're interested in the detail of what you do, your reader isn't – at least not yet. Once you've delivered the elevator pitch and shown the reader what they can do if they're convinced (see "Move people through the sales funnel"), it's time to stop writing.
The About us page usually shouldn't be a direct conversion tool (though you might want to check out these lead-geneartion methods that won't break the bank) but it should move readers one step closer to buying your product. Think of it as a chance to remove obstacles in the customer's mind by answering nagging questions that they might not even be aware they have.
You could take this literally and use an About us page template composed of questions and answers. A few ideas to get you started:
When customers are comfortable with your pitch and ready to continue, don't miss the opportunity. Keeping them moving through the sales funnel can be as simple as showing two or three calls to action – you've put in the hard work of convincing them, and now it's time to show them the way forward.
For more ideas and tips for attracting new prospects and customers to your company, check out this e-book: Top 25 Tips for Growing Your Business.