The About Us Page: Building a Relationship of Trust and Authority
Part of a copywriter's job is to present the client as trustworthy, credible, and reachable. Prospects visiting your client's website need to see the business or business owner as a likeable expert. A great place on their site to promote this is in the About Us pages or sections.
In the first part of this article, we're going to look at creating these pages for your clients. Much of this will be based on Dianna Huff's program, B2B Websites: Developing Content that Builds Authority and Gets Leads Too.
The second part will look at your own professional About Me page or Bio page. Some ideas presented come from the same program, while others from personal experience.
Let's start with the client's pages.
B2B About Us Pages
According to Dianna's program, there are three things that the About section accomplishes:
- It gives the reader an overview of the company's history, a corporate bio of sorts.
- It allows the prospect to get to know the people she will be dealing with.
- Above all, it builds a bond of trust and authority with the reader.
Many About sections present the biographies of the principals in the business, such as the founders or owners. These biographies are often contained on a separate page for each and will display the human aspect of the company. Items to include are the business owner’s professional history, their reasons for starting the company, and sometimes a bit of their personal life.
Brief bios of the team members are sometimes included on a separate page, grouped together. Often no more than a paragraph or two, they give the prospect an idea of what to expect when working with the various departments.
Many prospects are curious about the company's history. A brief history can include the steps followed from inception to the present-day operation. Significant events should be highlighted in this account. The content should portray the business as growing and evolving to meet their clients' needs. Photos or videos of the business are often included to showcase its growth.
Company Distinctions and Philosophy
What makes this company different from the competition? That's a question that many prospects ask … and that you should answer. After all, it's likely that other businesses manufacture the same products or offer the same services. Dig around, find out what sets your client apart from the pack, and promote it.
You can include a "company philosophy" section as well. Discover what outside activities they are interested in or support. Are they passionate about protecting the environment? Do they support humanitarian initiatives? What worthwhile charities do they back with funding? All other things equal, it’s often the company's "human" side that sways prospects. Be sure to include it when possible.
Client Lists and Testimonials
These two sections are important for establishing authority and trust. But there are some essential rules to follow. Dianna's program explains some of them. For example, you would think that including the customer list would be a no-brainer. But you need to consult with your client first.
Many still believe that their competition will try to steal the names on the list. But, the competition already knows these clients; and they're probably already after them. A good list of satisfied customers — particularly A-list clients — is a credibility builder.
Testimonials also build trust and authority. Sometimes called "Success Stories," these often act as mini case studies for your client. Here are some tips for getting and using good testimonials.
- If you are going to interview the customers, have your client contact them first. Your client may even set up a meeting time. This prevents the customer from being surprised and they have time to prepare good information.
- Keep it real. Although it's tempting, don't edit the customer's testimonial if they send it to you in writing. Other than grammar and typos, leave the testimony intact.
- Use the full name of the customer whenever possible. Unless the customer actually goes by the initials (e.g., J.D. Smith), the initials make the testimony appear phony. If they don't want their name used, supply their title or position.
Final Thoughts on B2B "About" Sections
The About Us information should be on separate pages in the section. The prospects know what they're looking for, so make it easy for them to find it. Having all the information on one page makes the text too long and the reader must scroll down to find what's pertinent to her research.
A simple menu on each page allows the prospect to jump quickly to the desired section. And finally, be sure to include contact information on each page. You can also include a link to the general contact page. Make it easy for them when they're ready to take the next step.
The Writer's About Page — Not About Me … About You
In talking to fellow writers, I find that many feel this is the hardest page or section to write. Sometimes it's because they feel uncomfortable talking about themselves.
Look at the visitor statistics for your website. On mine, the About Me or Bio page is one of the three most visited pages. Your Bio page gives them insight into who you are and what it would be like to work with you. Here is my Bio page and here is Dianna Huff's About section. We use different approaches. There are no hard and fast rules, so create yours to suit your business and personality.
Here are some of my opinions and practices that have worked well for me:
- Write in the first-person. Many writers use the third-person, perhaps because they are uneasy with self-promotion. Think about this — you're a writer. Using the third-person "appears" as though someone else wrote your copy.
- Including personal information isn't always necessary. My clients don't care about my family life, my dog, or my 720 square-foot garden. So my Bio page includes only the stuff they need and want to hear.
- However, if your hobbies and interests add to your credentials, use them. For instance, if you water ski, snow ski, hike, or camp, that information would be beneficial if your niche is in the sports equipment-manufacturing field.
- A nice photo of you should be included. Keep in mind that people don't do business with companies as much as they do other people. Make it personable.
- Use client lists and testimonials if you've got them. If not, don't despair. Your entire site is one big portfolio. But do add these items when they become available.
Finally, don't gloss over the biography section as if it wasn't important. Many prospects are won over by reading these pages. Make sure you come across as someone they can know, like, and trust — a reliable expert in the field of copywriting. Let them know that your business is to help make their business profitable through top-notch writing.
Understand that the Bio or About Me page(s) are not static. My own has undergone several and varied reincarnations as I searched for just the "write" feel. And it will change again as my business and I grow, develop, and transform together.
So will yours.
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