I want to talk to you about an odd part of any business website, blog, or even social profiles. The About Us page or section of a website gives a lot of people trouble. Where does it fit in your digital marketing strategy? What should be included on it? Is it required? You know it is an important section of a website, but really, what is it for?!
I have the answer for you, but first, here is what an About page is not supposed to be:
- Corporate jargon
- A staff directory
- A description of the town where the city is located
- Overly brief
- Overly wordy
- An afterthought
Too often I see About pages that don’t really offer anything of value to a visitor. And this is why you should pay attention, because this advice could increase website traffic, increase conversions, and make your brand a lot more engaging.
The REAL Purpose of an About Us Page
I’m going to get right to it. The whole point of the About Us page is to make people feel good about your brand. Get visitors comfortable with choosing you as somebody who has their best interests and wants to solve their problems. This is what a potential customer needs to know. If they are on your website, chances are they have already figured out what you do. Otherwise, you’ve got an even bigger problem. This is the place to explain why you do what you do.
This is really about branding yourself. To make yourself likable, for the reasons you want to be liked.
The way to do this is to answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your business.
Who Are The People Behind Your Business?
This is a good place to start, but do not take this as a suggestion to list names of people and their positions. Put the people on display. Place an image (not stock) of the people who work at the organization. What is key here is to put human faces to the business, and then make those people likable.
If the business is really just you, include a photo of yourself. Based on the tone of your brand, it can be a professional head shot or just a nice candid. That is up to you. Compliment this image with a heading and text that describe you. It can be a story, your personal beliefs, or something that connects you to your business.
If the business is a few people, meaning less than 10, I recommend a group image and an explanation of your team dynamic. Again, word this explanation in a way that will make your audiences feel good about your team. And then either link them to a “Team” page that divulges information about them individually, or if the team is really small, create links to individual team member profile pages (these could double as author pages!).
If you have a medium, large, or enterprise-sized business, obviously, this presents a bit more of a challenge. If your team is large, it will not only be difficult to highlight each individual in full detail, but it would probably not provide a good user experience for your audience and would result in losing them. My advice here is to paint a picture of not the specific individuals on the team, but demonstrate the dynamics or culture of them. Explain how the whole organization is made up of people that complete a machine driven by the business’s mission statement.
Speaking of mission statements…
What Drives the Organization?
Explain the purpose of the organization. This is not what you do, but what you aim to accomplish. If you take a look at my own About Us page, I do this by listing my mission statement. If you need help understanding the difference between all of these, there is a great article from The Balance Small Business that explains the best practices for mission statements. This is what many small businesses do, but this is not necessarily what you “need” to do.
How you explain the drivers of your organization, once again, depends on the tone of your brand. However you format it, make sure it explains, not specifically what you do for customers but generally, what you are striving to do by offering these services.
When Did the Business Begin? Tell the Origin Story
People get hooked by origin stories. Some of the most successful brands out there use their origin stories to engage their audience. Microsoft, for example, started in a garage in 1980, and has maintained its position as an industry leader for decades. Sometimes major brands began by offering something that is seemingly irrelevant to their current product lines. In this regard, did you know Nintendo existed for 90 years before its first video game console was created? Origin stories are drivers of emotional impact. That is why the Marvel franchise is so successful.
The origin story of your organization may, or may not have to do with the specific products and services you offer today, but you should include it anyway. An origin story strengthens your mission statement by demonstrating that regardless of what has changed, the purpose of the organization has not.
Where Does Your Organization Offer Its Services?
This is another way to connect personally to your customers. This could be by showing the importance of providing convenience to a customer geographically, or if your target customers are all regional, create a mutual connection to that area. This may not require its own separate section as it could be intertwined into the story of the business, especially if geographic growth is part of its history.
Many businesses will cover this by including a map, and an address. This may be a good place to include this information if it is truly relevant, but you shouldn’t expect visitors to come here to find a location near them. You really should offer any specific location information on a separate part of the website. It serves a different purpose.
Why Is Your Organization Important?
If you did your job right, the rest of the content on the page should already have made this clear. But answering this question explains why achieving your mission is important. To be more specific, why it is important to the audience.
To explain this further, let’s consider the coconut!
Yes, the coconut. Whether intentional or not, Disney’s Moana provided a great example of connecting a purpose to an even bigger picture. A picture that affects everybody. In Moana, the titular character’s parents and the ensemble sing a song about her future role as the chief of the village. For a significant portion of the song, they go into detail about the many ways the coconut helps the community. Between the lyrics, you can see a connecting line between the coconut (a resource for the community), the chief’s role in making sure the village has plenty of coconuts available (why the chief does what he or she does), and finally, it touches on the bigger picture: the future of the village on this island is important, and this future largely depends on somebody to lead the growth and maintenance of resources.
If it is not clear why your organization’s purpose is important in the grander scheme of things, the audience may not care. If you are struggling with this yourself, connect your mission to meeting a fundamental need. Does your business support people’s safety? Does it provide entertainment? What does it do?
How Do You Accomplish Your Mission?
This is the part of the About Us page where you can discuss your products and services, however that is not all. Your offerings to the customer may not be the only way you pursue your mission. Is your business connected to any other organizations serving a similar purpose? Do you support any charities relevant to your purpose? Maybe you provide education and other helpful resources to customers. Remember, your product and service is just what your business sells. That is not the only thing it does. For this purpose, it may be a valuable exercise for your business to think about and list what your organization does, that is not necessarily revenue driven, but supports your mission.
Consider how many businesses highlight their customer service. For many of those businesses it is precisely why their customers prefer them. Social impact initiatives are common as well. Many businesses also talk about how they treat their employees. They can all be aligned to the mission of the organization, without directly impacting revenue. In fact, they are actually all very large investments an organization makes, all in the name of branding.
The point is, these initiatives should be discussed here. They create a positive image of your brand, and make potential customers feel good about working with you.
Do Not Ignore the Layout and Design
It is also important to consider matters like the layout, design, and length of the About Us page. Although this is best practice for any page on a website, it holds true that the page should be broken up into scanable sections.
It is also important to balance the amount of text with visuals and a pleasant layout. The visuals should be purposeful, and contribute to the content.
You do not need to make an About Us page long. If you are finding yourself being long winded about it, you may be providing a poor user experience, and a visitor may not read it. You can prevent this by creating child pages for portions of it, and just including an introduction with an internal link. Doing so not only provides a better user experience, but also offers more engagement and promotion opportunities.
Make Sure People See It, Make A Promotion Plan
It is a good idea to create a promotion strategy for your About Us page as you are writing it. Not enough people do this, but whether the opportunities are numerous or few, you should be doing this for every page of content you have. The About Us page, however, presents unique opportunities.
Because the About Us page is important to helping build trust from your audience, you should consider this as a landing page for brand-related social posts. To reach your audience in the most effective way, I recommend you read through these social media distribution tactics outlined by Foundation Inc., and apply them to your About Us page.
Your promotion and distribution tactics will vary depending on your target audience, but consider your answers to the questions above. Who does this all matter to? Find online communities of those audiences on Facebook, Twitter, (and LinkedIn if your customers are B2B). This is only part of it.
You may also want to align your About Us page with a focus keyword. That is, a word people are using to find relevant information in search engines. Make sure there is some focus in the content of the page around that word. (I said some, do not overdo this please).
You may also want to consider reaching out to bloggers. It is best to consider two things when searching for these opportunities:
- Is their audience likely to care about your brand in the way you want them to care?
- Does the blogger share similar values as your organization?
Make it worth their time to promote your business online and link to the About Us page, by engaging these shared values in your outreach. These are the same people you may want to develop a relationship with, to further promote your content.
You Just Greatly Increased Your Organization’s Value!
You have an About Us page that you can feel good about, and you are promoting it. And here is another major benefit: you just created content that can be rewritten for many formats. This content is good for business presentations, can be worked into your elevator speech, introductory videos for your business, and more.
Just to review:
- Explain who the people are behind the business
- Demonstrate what drives the organization
- Tell a story about when the organization began
- Help a customer see where your organization makes an impact
- Connect the bigger picture to why your organization is important
- It is not just about what you do but how you do it
- Do not ignore the value of good layout, design, and page structure
- Create a distribution plan for engagement and promotion to your audience
Now your website is a little bit better. For more tips and ways to improve your website, consider these 9 good habits for all website owners.