Is It Time To Hire A New About Us Page?Kenneth Nel
Take a minute to think about all the people in your company. ALL of them. Even Scary Viv from Accounting, and Weird Brian from, actually, where is Weird Brian from, and what exactly does he do all day?
The point is though, that your people are your company. Yes, even the scary and weird ones. They (well, most anyway) are the power behind your products and the secret behind your service. Each one (again, most!) in his or her own way, makes your company what it is. They are the intangible and largely unquantifiable part of your business that makes it tick.
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Unquantifiable, that is, until performance appraisal time. Cue dramatic music.
As a manager, you know that performance appraisals are like the HR equivalent of Voldemort. They are the Things That Must Not Be Named. The dreaded little “chats” behind closed doors, accompanied by intimidating note taking and much talk about “Key Performance Indicators” and “Behavioural Observation Scales.”
But we subject our poor employees to this torture every year because we know it ultimately helps them, and, by helping them, helps the company. It’s a necessary evil that enables us to identify areas of weakness, and make them stronger. We can ear mark those people who aren’t performing as they should, and either fix them or fire them. It’s not a pleasant process, but it works.
And here’s an awesome idea:
Let’s get up in our website’s grill and subject it to a performance appraisal of its own – starting with the About Us page!
What Are the KPIs for Your About Us Page?
We’ve just been talking about the people in your company, and the About Us page on your website is where these very people are introduced to your customers, both existing and potential. Sadly though, so many About Us pages are nothing more than an ill-disguised trumpet blowing exercise. A boring ego-fest of me me me, look at how wonderful I am.
We don’t like this in people and we certainly don’t like it in About Us pages.
Your About Us page is one of the most visited pages on your website, and it’s the place most prospective customers turn to get a sense of what your company is all about. It’s where the monumental decision is made of whether or not to trust you with their business, or not. So it really is kind of a big deal.
Why do so many companies get it wrong?
Your Website’s Account Executive
Your About Us page is like your business’ Account Executive. It is the vital link between your customers and your company – an opportunity to introduce yourself to your guests.
A successful Account Executive is all about humanising a business. He is the warm and soothing voice on the end of the phone, keeping customers informed of how their order is doing, and managing any areas of concern. He is the writer of the reassuring emails letting you know that your continued support of the company is his most important priority. And he is probably the person at your company who works the hardest to maintain and build the feelings of reliability and trust he has cultivated in your clients.
A good Account Executive makes it his primary objective to reinforce his company’s reputation and authority in your mind. He subtly reassures you of the wisdom of doing business with his company rather than anyone else. In addition, he highlights the differences between his company and the next, showing you what he can offer you that you won’t get anywhere else. Likely, he is the epitome of helpfulness, and is an ace at effectively answering customer questions.
He is basically a human About Us page.
So, What ARE the KPIs Of A Good About Us Page?
Ah yes, our original question! If you want to get all performance appraisal all over your About Us page’s, er, nether regions, here are some of the essential KPIs you should be looking for:
· Be awesome, but be humble!
This is totally the page on which you can tell visitors to your site how great you are, but you should avoid bragging, and you should definitely steer clear of hype. Don’t speak in superlatives, and dial back on the adjectives. Instead, just offer a straightforward presentation of the facts. What can you do that offers value for your clients? Why should people do business with you?
· Use Social Proof.
Your About Us page is, as it says on the tin, about you, but it’s also about what you can do for your customers. Back up any claims of past successes and achievements with photographs of previous projects, testimonials from happy clients, or links to any media coverage you might have had. People need to know they can trust what you say.
· Be personal, and be human!
Writing in the third person is ill-advised throughout your website in general, but it is an absolute and categorical fail on your About Us Page. Talk about “we” and “I” and “us.” Speak about “you” and not “the customer.” And don’t be a robot. Ditch the corporate speak and be conversational. Even if you’re a financial services or insurance company, you can still be professional and inspire confidence without sounding cold and mechanical.
· Make a connection and tell a story.
This builds from the previous point. As far as visitor reading your About Us page is concerned, it was written just for him, and he wants it to feel that way. You don’t have to be stuffy and boring. If there’s an awesome story behind why your started your company, tell it. If you really made your first edge trimmer out of parts from your Mom’s brand new (and very expensive) toaster, people want to know! Think about how phenomenally successful social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook are. What are these sites if not one giant collection of About Us pages?
What Does A Bad About Us Page Look Like?
If only we had the space to show you!! There are so many woeful About Us pages out there that just don’t meet their KPIs. They should have been fired long ago, but for some reason, they’ve managed to hold on to their jobs and carry on under performing, while the suits in the corner offices wonder why their website’s not converting enough visitors into customers.
In deference to our lack of space and your lack of time, we’ve summarised a few of the most tragic ways in which About Us pages fail to impress:
- They try to be too clever. We call them About Us pages for a reason, and the clue is in the name. As usability expert Steve Krug says in his book of the same name – Don’t Make Me Think. You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. Don’t expect your visitors to know that a tab called “The Inside Scoop” is where they need to look for information about your company and its people.
- They try to be anonymous. Again, it’s your company’s About Us page. So it needs to be about you! Maybe visitors want to follow you on LinkedIn or tweet about your blog. They need to be able to find you to do this. Unless you’re a famous celebrity, the chance of this inviting any kind of scary, stalker behaviour is small. Put your name on your page. A photo would be cool too.
- They are seriously boring. I know you think the latest adventures of your ancient tabby or teething toddler are fascinating, but they’re taking the whole humanising and story-telling thing a tad too far. Be human, yes, but keep it interesting. Be authentic and real – and even be endearingly awkward if that’s who you are – but don’t be boring.
Is It Time To Hire A New About Us Page?
It’s no good being precious about things like this. Yes, you may have spent hours writing your About Us page, and have lovingly re-read it a hundred times since it first appeared on your website.
It probably feels like a part of you, but the harsh reality is this:
It’s tough out there. Competition is fierce and there are only so many consumers to go around who want what you’re selling. If your About Us page is not being the most incredible Account Executive for your business that you could ever wish it to be, it’s time to fire it. Send it packing. Show it the door. Make it ex. You get the idea.
Then start from the beginning, making sure your new About Page meets all its KPIs. You will be amazed at the positive effect this will have on the way people view your company, and you’ll see this in your lead generations and conversions.
If you’d like some friendly, expert advice on how to make your About Us page completely awesome, chat to The Digital Coach. We even have an About Us page on our site that’s actually about us! True story.