“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Your online bio or “About Us” page is one of the most important pages on your website and is probably the most visited page of your site as well. Remember years ago, before the Internet, when someone wanted to know something about a particular vendor, they simply asked someone whose opinion they trusted? Oftentimes today, that friend is your “About Us” page.
Imagine being a customer searching for the type of service or product your business offers. You run into your resourceful neighbor, Mike, in the checkout line at the supermarket. You ask, “Hey Mike, do you know of any really good [fill in your area of expertise]?” Mike, being a chatty, down-to-earth guy, happens to know, from personal experience, of such a company and begins to tell you about it.
Now, imagine being Mike. Before you become Mike, however, take a recorder or sit at your computer and rattle off anything a chatty Mike might tell a person about this vendor. He’s going to tell them what they need to know and what he wants them to know. He’ll also mention some background stuff, because what’s sharing without letting them in on some interesting tidbits he’s aware of about the vendor and the vendor’s character that might help encourage the person to do business with them.
“You know, when the owner was a kid, he used to hang out at the mechanic shop with his dad . . . grew up around cars. ‘ saw him take his tricycle apart one day ‘ bout 25 years ago just to see what was causing the clicking in the wheel, now he’s running the shop like a well-oiled machine. Ask Chuck; he uses the same mechanic. Hey Chuck . . .”
As you record or type your stream of notes and as you clean up your notes to finalize your “About Us” page, keep the following in mind:
Humanize Your Online Bio Page
Your soul should be felt through your page – the authentic you, the core, the inner person that drives you to be a talented [fill in your profession]. If you tend to be stiff and starchy, loosen up. Of course, you’ll want to maintain some level of professionalism, dignity and decorum, but jeez, don’t be boring! This is not your resume. It’s not a job interview. Don’t worry, you’ll be taken seriously if you liven things up a bit and let the real (slightly uninhibited) you come across. After all, your credentials, experience, education, awards, testimonials, client lists, etc. are there to prove you’ve got the chops.
And speak in the first person. It’s not an obituary. Everybody knows you either wrote it or endorsed the final draft of your “About Us” page. It’s not a secret. So, stop that.
Start with Your Customers’ Needs
Address this by answering questions your customers typically ask (or are likely to ask) during sales calls. Provide information that would seal a deal or win over a customer who is on the fence. Customers are thinking about what they are going to receive. In other words, they want to know what solutions and benefits are in it for them. So, even when you are talking about yourself, your business or your brand, their needs should be at the center of every bit of information on your “About Us” page or any of your pages for that matter. If what you’re saying is not of value to any of your potential customers in relation to the service or product you are offering, leave it out.
Share Your Beginnings
What brought you to this place? Share a punchy summary of your professional story, things that will leave an impression – those things that had a hand in you being where you are. Remember – Why should they trust you? Share that story that causes your ideal prospect to affirmatively nod his or her head as they read it: “Yeeah, this is who I need to do my . . . ” If it’s true, for example, talk about your humble beginnings. If you started in a garage or a dorm room, tell that. Folks eat that up! They want to feel your commitment to what you do. They want to hear about the chick who, just 4 years ago, was shining shoes on the Staten Island ferry, but is now making her own shoes for . . . or who invented a shoe polish that . . .
Keep the Reader Excited
Even the most boring story can be spiced up if you take the time to create an outline, make lists and take inventory of your life. Heck, my own story straight out of the box is mind-numbing. I liked English grammar. I was good at writing grievance letters. I despised browbeaters who intimidated or dominated the defenseless. That’s my whole professional story. Boring! However, a careful review of how I got from there to here effloresced into an “About Us” page that folks enjoy reading and that helps me convert leads into customers.
Let Your Values Come Through on Your Online Bio Page
Show what you stand for. This is your brand and the birthplace of your brand promise. In addition, if there’s a charitable component to your brand, now’s a good time to mention it.
Be Honest and Scrap the Hype
Keep it real! People connect with real people, with real stories. People can’t genuinely connect with bullshit. Someone who plans to invest their time and money with you will see through the fluff, because you’re going to sound like every other financial advisor or lawyer or golf instructor. Take the time to think about yourself and your business – the small stuff and the big stuff. Don’t risk alienating visitors because your “story” sounds fake, inflated or adapted from someone else’s “About Us” page. Dig deep, uncover the nuggets, and fashion who you really are into an advantage.
Show the Unique Benefit of Working with Your Company
What do you have that sets you apart from the thousands of other professionals who do what you do? If you don’t know, then ask your prior customers why they fitness train with you or let you do their hair or paint their house or design their website or cater their parties, etc. You especially want to ask your repeat customers.
Lead with Your Strongest Material
Do whatever you can to establish credibility as early as possible on this page. Take the information that your potential customer will find most important and place that material at the very beginning of your online bio page. It could be a testimonial, prestigious credentials, depth of experience or awards. Whatever it is, lead with that.
Lastly, the best “About Us” pages are works in progress. Continue to tweak yours and add to it as things change. This page should always say the same thing you’re saying when you’re talking to folks about your company today.
Now over to you . . .
Have you ever struggled to get your online bio (“About Us”) page right?
Are you having issues trying to improve your “About Us” page?
We want to hear about it, so we can pipe in and help.
About the Author: I am a copywriter, blogger, author and mother of an amazing actor. Follow me on Twitter.