How To Use Your ‘About Us’ Page To Acquire Customers

about-page-th

No matter what you call them – About, About Us, Meet the Team – website About pages are important. Really important.

If you’re surprised by this, don’t be. Your About page is a primary connection point for customers. It’s a place where they can not only find out more about what makes you, your business, or product tick but more importantly, what you can do for them.

Which is why this often overlooked page needs to be a copywriting tour de force.

Your About page should be a conversion-friendly hub where your visitors are directed to shop, jump on your email bandwagon or begin a free trial – all after being informed and inspired. If you’re not using your about page to convert customers, you’re losing out.

Fear not those of you with less than stellar About pages. Here are a few things you can work on to make your About page anything but a waste of space.

It’s Not About Me, It’s About You

“I invented, ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’” -George Costanza

Making it all about yourself doesn’t work so well when you’re trying to break up with someone. Same goes for trying to get with them. On your About page, that is.

The reality is that most people – your mother aside – don’t care how great your business is. That isn’t to say that visitors to your site aren’t interested in knowing you’ve got the skills to back up your services or that your products are universally loved. They simply want to know these things in the context of how it will best serve them.

So, how do you do that? In a word, framing.

The way you frame a statement or argument, even a question, has an impact on how people perceive it. Psychologists Kahneman and Tversky (1981 study) found that by altering the way they phrased questions about the risks of various treatments of a deadly disease, they could influences the choices people made.

Basically, people were given a choice between two possible outcomes, both of which were the same. Only one was framed positively and the other negatively:

  1. “A 33% chance of saving all 600 people, 66% possibility of saving no one.”
  2. “A 33% chance that no people will die, 66% probability that all 600 will die.”

72% of people chose option #1 while only 22% chose option #2. While this example speaks to risk aversion, the concept of framing has been shown to affect decision making and attitudes in various other contexts.

The big takeaway?

Use your About Page copy to tell visitors how your product or service will be able to benefit them. Keep bragging rights to a dull roar and think about framing everything you’ve accomplished in a way that will positively impact your customers.

Take a look at Copyblogger’s About page. They do a terrific job of framing their story within the context of providing value added to their readers and customers.

copyblogger

They tell you how the company came to be and why they’re experts – without losing sight of what’s in it for you, the visitor. It makes taking that next step towards joining their email list or buying one of their products much smoother.

Value Propositions Aren’t Just For Home Pages

Value propositions, or as I like to call them, “reason for being” statements (raison d’etre en Francais), are your chance to tell your visitors clearly and concisely what’s on offer and why they should care when they land on any given page.

They are your primary headlines – your opportunity to grab people’s attention, tell them how you’re going to solve their problems and make it worth their while to read on.

Don’t make your headline “About,” “About Us,” or any variation on the theme.

Provide a better reason for your visitors to move down the page and do it in a way that gets to the point while still being compelling.

Remember, people have very limited attention spans, not to mention time. If you force them to think too much about what they’re looking at, chances are they will move on.

Here’s Help Scout’s headline and sub-headline for their About page.

helpscout

The crux of their value proposition is the importance of customer service to business success. Not terribly unique.

But they combine that with the fact that they have created a product along with free content that can help other businesses with customer service. Suddenly it’s a lot more intriguing to keep reading down the page.

I also love the conversational aspect of this About page copy – how the sub-headline responds to the headline, preventing the value proposition from sounding trite.

A Little Personality Can Go A Long Way

People often make decisions based on their emotions and then justify them with reason after the fact. To demonstrate this, researcher and neuroeconomist Paul Zak presented study participants with a short, sad story about a father and son.

Zak found that the story produced the neurochemicals Cortisol and Oxytocin in the subjects and that the release of these chemicals, which are associated with distress and empathy, increased the degree to which individuals were willing to make a charitable donation.

The people being studied were not aware that these chemical changes were occurring or that they influenced their decision-making. But they did.

Does this mean you should be telling sad stories to sell your products? Probably not.

But, by infusing your About page copy with an element of emotional storytelling you can create a connection with your visitors. Stories engage the brain in a way that mere facts don’t, inspiring people to take action.

Think about MailChimp, the email marketing plaform. Their product can be considered quite boring but they’ve built their brand messaging on a fun, conversational style.

mailchimp2

Looking at MailChimp’s About page, you can see it not only discusses the benefits of the services they provide and who they serve but also the story of how the company has created value in its hometown of Atlanta. The About page grounds their work in the lives of real people.

How do you know what kind of personality works for your brand?

It’s all about the tone in your writing and making sure your copy matches the values of your business and the expectations of your target market.

This is where spending some time doing a bit of qualitative research will serve you well. Conduct surveys and interviews with your current and past customers. Ask them questions about how they would describe your product or business.

Check out services like Qualaroo, Survey Monkey and Typeform for generating questionnaires.

Then, think about how you want your brand reflected online and see where the two intersect.

Tone of Voice 101: How To Write Copy People Can Connect With from Copyhackers provides a more detailed view on this topic.

Tell People What You Want Them To Do

With every set of eyeballs that lands on one of your pages, you have an opportunity to move them further through your sales funnel. Your About page is a perfect place to shuttle people along towards the next step you want them to take.

After giving visitors a multitude of reasons to believe in your company’s abilities to provide them value, take them by the hand and make it painfully obvious what to do next.

Less Films, a video production company, has a crystal clear call to action at the end of their About page. They use a high contrast color for the CTA along with copy that makes it apparent that the next thing you should do is contact them.

lessfilms

Decide what action your want people to take when they get to the bottom of your About page. Consider running an A/B test on your call to action copy to determine how you can make it more effective. Should you change what you’re asking them to do, or simply how you’re asking them to do it?

Sometimes More Is Just More

As human beings, we can only handle processing so many things at once. Subjected to various fonts, flashing images and complex page formats, our brains suffer from cognitive overload. Basically, we are limited by what we can take in at any one time.

Take a look at Vertical Response’s About page quickly and see if you can recall anything other than the fact that they have won a few awards.verticalresponse

Back in 1956, the psychologist George Miller hypothesized that a person’s short-term memory could only hold between 5-9 chunks of information (groups of letters, faces, etc.). More recent studies have shown our limits to be even lower: 2-6 chunks.

When we’re presented with a myriad of distracting elements on a page our brains have a very difficult time remembering what we’ve just seen.

What’s the lesson here?

Stuffing your About page (or any page) with dense patches of text or graphics will make it difficult for your visitors to figure out what they need to do or get from your page.

Reduce cognitive load whenever possible by doing things such as overlaying explanatory text onto a graphic so that the viewer doesn’t have to move back and forth between the two.

See John Sweller’s research into Cognitive Load Theory and how it affects learning and instructional design.

And try to break up your About page copy into small, easily digestible chunks with appropriate sub-heads. Your visitors will thank you by not hitting the back button immediately.

Tiny Blue Orange, a web design and development company, does a nice job of using headings and short punchy paragraphs to keep the eye moving down the page. The inclusion of high quality images along with just the right dose of personality gives this About page a compelling twist (get it?).

tinyblueorange

Putting It All Together

Let’s pick apart an About Us page to see where it’s lacking and how we can make it more effective. Crowdrise, an online platform that enables individuals to raise money for their favorite charities has an About page that could use a little help of its own.

crowdrise

Just looking at the top half of the CrowdRise About page (the bottom not shown), we see loads of densely packed text in a too-small font competing for attention.

We can’t miss that we’re on their About page with that giant title but with no easy to read, compelling headline we’re left asking ourselves a big, “So what?”

What can make this About page copy better?

Well, let’s piece together everything we learned in this post:

  1. Create a solid value proposition and implement it in the form of a headline and sub-headline at the top of the page. An alternative might be:
    Join the crowd
    And have a whole lot more fun raising money for charity than you thought possible
  2. Break up the copy into smaller, more manageable chunks – use bullet points and sub-headlines to help with this
  3. Integrate “the story” into the other copy in a way that tells potential users how Crowdrise can benefit them
  4. Decide where to direct visitors – choose between “How it Works” a “Contact Us,” highlight the copy and make it a more compelling CTA to click

Keep in mind that these are all just suggestions. Remember that every landing page, website and business is different. What works for one marketer may not work for another. Do your research then test, test and test again.

Are you ready to turn your About page into a conversion hub?

– Jennifer Havice

 

(top image via Amazon)


About The Author

Photo of Jen Havice

Jen Havice is a Twin Cities based website copywriter who specializes in creating content with personality that's made for conversions. She’s runs Make Mention where she helps small businesses and entrepreneurs bring clarity to their online messaging. Say hello to her on Twitter @jenhavice.
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Comments

  1. Kristina B says:

    Thanks for this amazing post, Jen! Now I want to go redo my About page. I found the info on tone and personality especially helpful as it’s something I’ve been struggling with.

    • Jen says:

      Hey Kristina! I’m so glad you found this helpful. You can add personality to your copy, be professional, and still get things done on your site. It just takes some thought.

  2. Azizul Yusof says:

    Just realized that i’ve been taking those ‘About’ pages for granted. Just thinking it as one of those info pages. Never sees it much as part of the funnel.

    This is definitely a BIG tip!

    Thanks Jen.


    Azizul
    http://www.azizulyusof.com/en

    • Jen says:

      Hi Azizul – Yeah, it’s so easy to forget about some of these other pages on our site. Often, people do read them and are looking for something out of them. You might as well make the most out of all the online real estate you’ve got.

  3. Peter Gold says:

    Hi Jen

    Great post. So what are your thoughts on the Unbounce about page?

    Peter

    • Jen says:

      Hmm… I was afraid someone would ask that. I love how clean it is and I really like the personal touch with info about each of the people who work there. I just didn’t realize until now that by clicking on each photo more info comes up. I missed that until I dug a little deeper.

  4. Kate Houston says:

    I love this post and will be bookmarking it. I’m an ad writer turned online profile writer. I write personal and professional profiles. While it’s easy for me to convince singles that their dating profiles need personality, professionals often don’t get. Often, when I’m hired to write a company’s management team “about us” section, I have to educate them first on the value of adding the personal touch. Thanks so much. Your argument will make mine so much easier!

    • Jen says:

      Hi Kate! I think it’s an argument a lot of us have with clients. Although, sometimes I need to rein the personality in when it gets to a bit much. Many people forget that there are individuals behind those websites and that’s what visitors want to interact with – not a faceless brand. The challenge is striking that balance between personality and professionalism to achieve the goals.

      • Kate Houston says:

        Absolutely. Social media has changed the way we do business and perceive business. Corporations need to get “social” and it’s a way of thinking needs to be applied (discerningly) to every aspect of their business, not just tweets and Facebook posts. Anyway, again, thanks. This is bookmarked. Now I can say “See? Told you so.” – very words ever!

  5. Great post Jen! I think it’s a perfect example of a page that’s often thrown up rather quickly, and overlooked when it comes to conversions. I think there are lots of other examples of these on a site (like the free trial sign up page) which collectively can really move the needle on conversions. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Arun. You are so right about other pages that get overlooked on a website. I’m in the midst of revamping my own website to bring it up a notch and make sure it is as user friendly an intuitive as possible. Doing an audit of your site on occasion and looking at the analytics to see where people are getting stuck can be eye opening. Then, it’s about testing to fill those gaps and keep people moving along the right path.

  6. Jen, this is a really great breakdown of what an about page should be and you gave some really great examples. I would also add that when I have freelance writing assignments that require me to do research on a business, I want to see more than a couple of sentences. So, keeping in mind that press, not just potential clients and customers, might look at your page is something to keep in mind so you don’t have too little content (and if you do go the lots of content route, using the formatting and style techniques you mentioned are key!).

    • Jen says:

      Hi Shawndra! Thanks so much for stopping by. I totally agree with you about not wanting too little info. A nice way to handle this is to have an “official bio” for the key people or person at the end. Then, you can highlight the personal credentials apart from the benefits you’re laying out in the rest of the About page.

  7. Very useful and understandably written – Thanks for sharing this info!

  8. Josh Escusa says:

    Those are great tips. Actually a lot of that should probably be done to many of the other pages on the site as well. I think I do a good job on my other pages, but I neglect my about us page.

  9. Karen says:

    I always go back to your words of wisdom when creating or updating my About page! Good stuff Jen.

  10. Storewars News says:

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  11. Zaheer Ahmad says:

    Great write up Jen. Maybe I need to rethink about the “About” pages as I took them just as a formality for the site. Plus kept them noindex and nofollow. Maybe it is not a good seo practice anymore. Your findings made me to rethink about these pages. Thanks for sharing!

    cheers

  12. Stephanie says:

    Loved this piece! I think the biggest mistake I tend to see on About Pages is a life story. I care…after you tell me why I should! The points you make here are the perfect formula for an About Page and I think it’s about time for me to beef mine up now :) Fabulous value-packed article.

    • Jen says:

      Hey Stephanie! Glad you stopped by and read this. What I’ve learned from all of my reading, working with people who have been doing this in the trenches for far longer than me, and my own experience is that you’ve got to take into consideration best practices but always test to make sure that what you’re doing is providing value. Then, go from there.

  13. Great post Jen. Super insightful and definitely a few take aways here for me in terms of making it more visual.

  14. Angie says:

    Very insightful post, Jen! I love the idea of adding a meaningful headline in place of the page title. Thanks for sharing!

  15. MarvelSlots says:

    Strong brands (I mean brands that really connect with their followers) will surely have loads of visitors checking out their about page.
    I think nobody cares for “corporate” style boring about pages any more. The more you feature your staff, achievements or the story behind the company the more people you will engage.

  16. the way you said I think people will start to think about this page and add more infos as people mostly ignores it and I’m also in that list.But from now I will surely change it.

  17. Vlad says:

    Wow Jen,

    This is an amazing blog post, learned sooo much! never knew you can optimize your “about us” page for better results. Cant wait to apply it on my websites.

    Thank you

  18. Darren Rhys says:

    Great post thank you very much for sharing, will try this and let you know how it goes. Hopefully will get me more visitors.

    Thanks

  19. Mike Allton says:

    Thanks for the terrific post, Jen! You did a great job of not only telling us what to look for, but also presenting excellent examples of how other brands are “doing it right.”

    I personally spend time 2 – 3 times a year reviewing and revising and improving my About page, and you’ve given me some key points to consider for next time.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks for the kind words Mike! I so appreciate it. Being able to see examples really helps. I constantly take screenshots of different webpages so I can refer back to ones that strike a chord with me one way or another.
      Good luck on the revisions and let us know how they go.

  20. Stephen Olson says:

    I would go one step further. Get rid of the About Page and compel your visitors on the home page. Use all the above tactics on the home page. The page where most of your visitors will land.

  21. BJ Adkins says:

    Thanks for a great “roadmap” for the About Us page and with perfect timing I might add. I am in the process of designing my website and have been researching what should be on each page. I decided I didn’t want to take it for granted or just simply copy some other similar companies page and let it go at that. I’m extremely grateful for your post as well as my perfect timing in finding it (which was by accident I might add).

    I look forward to many such articles from you.

    BJ
    Green Pea Media

    • Jen says:

      I’m so glad it was helpful. It is useful to see what other people in your industry are doing – not to copy but to understand what kind of verbiage they think is resonating with your target audience. Then, do your own research and go from there. Good luck!