“Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.”
Is there a more cringe-worthy question? I feel mildly ill just thinking about it.
And yet ‘about’ pages are the second most-visited on your site. They’re the first real connection customers have with you and your story. They matter more for conversion than ever before.
How you show up matters. How you talk about yourself matters even more. (And the secret is in not talking about yourself much at all… but more on that later.)
In a sea of Instagram coaches and self-professed experts, standing out feels, arguably, harder to come by.
Thanks to Simon Sinek, we all know to start with why. Everyone wants to help others ‘live their best life’. Everyone wants us to join their tribe.
But beyond your ‘why’ and, further still, your story, I think we can do better. Here are a few tried-and-tested ways I’ve been creating better, higher-converting ‘about’ stories (without the reader realising they’re being sold to at all).
First impressions count. So much so that data shows you have eight seconds to make an impression (our attention spans are that small these days, and only getting smaller). Why not test this theory by going and browsing other people’s about pages? Notice how you skim the top and look for the fun facts before bouncing onto the next and leaving completely? Yep. Even as a marketer, I do it too.
Establish what you’d tell someone if you only had eight seconds with them and format it to be unmissable. Don’t make your audience work for it. Do the work for them.
I love this example from Moz. It’s punchy. It’s intriguing. It’s quick. “We know SEO. In fact, we wrote the blog on it.”
Seriously. Would you? This is my ultimate test with any email, marketing copy, communication… anything. And especially about pages. Would? I? Care? And if you wouldn’t care, why should your audience care?
What it comes down to is this: People care about themselves. People don’t care about your name, they care about theirs.
How is your product/service/skill/offer going to help them make *their* name? Every story should be theirs. The challenge is to talk about yourself within the context of the customer.
MailChimp balances this perfectly: “Mailchimp is an all-in-one Marketing Platform for small business. We empower millions of customers around the world to start and grow their businesses with our smart marketing technology, award-winning support, and inspiring content. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Atlanta with additional offices in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Vancouver, Mailchimp is 100% founder-owned and highly profitable.”
Go ahead and read your about page out loud. Does it sound like something you’d actually tell your audience in an informal conversation? Probably not. But it needs to.
The beauty is in the simplicity. In a sea of saturation, showing up in a digestible way pays. Ditch the meaningless jargon. You’re better than that.
Two examples I love: Greatest for their conversational tone.
And Sunski, because the opening line ‘Ok, so here’s the full story…’ makes me want to change my own About page, stat.
A friend once sent me a message from her grovelling ex-boyfriend and I sent it back underlining all of the times he said ‘I’, and how few times he said ‘you’.
The same exercise should be applied to your about page and whatever other copy you’ve got describe you and what you do. Underline every instance of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘mine’, ‘my’, and ‘us’ and start turning your language around.
Twitter illustrates this beautifully here, with ‘Twitter is your window to the world’. Simple, direct, instantly beneficial. (Excuse the Kanye image.)
Don’t know what to write? Don’t figure it out alone. All of the really good, really powerful marketing takes a village.
Ask those who don’t know you to review your current website and tell you what they think you do. Ask those who know you best to share what they’d say if someone asked them about you. Combine the two.
‘Honest storytelling’ and vulnerability is the marketing trend du jour. And while emotions really do matter, it’s all about backing them up with the goods.
See how Rent the Runway master this here? They share how “we were told we were crazy. We’re glad we didn’t listen…”. It’s raw. It’s open. And they back it up with the credentials that they’re building “the world’s first and only closet in the cloud”.
Further still, on their ‘us’ page, they take it to the next level with actually interesting, conversational testimonials from their team.
Use third party comments and testimonials to establish credibility. Use a lot of them. Make sure they’re both human and true.
If you’re worried that you’re not interesting/funny/special/successful enough, you’re not alone.
Believe me, I get it. Sometimes showing up on the internet and talking about yourself can feel so self-centred. I mean, the audacity?!
But every one of us has an interesting story to tell and every one of us knows something that the other doesn’t. Focus on the latter. Remember that every person you’ve ever been inspired by has felt the fear and shown up anyway.
Don’t you owe it to yourself to show up and start inspiring yourself more?