3 Ways to Personalize Your “About Us” Page

This post was written by John White on Thu, 23 Feb 2012 09:34:48 +0000
Posted Under: marketing manager,process of writing,Web content

Of all the pages on your organization’s site, About Us is probably the windiest. If you really want visitors to know something about you, be smarter than that.

Carrying GrassDo you ever look at the About Us pages of other organizations? Have you ever seen a good one? What if you put some real thought into yours?

Stop and think about the chance you have for intimacy and a personal connection to your visitors on an About Us page. Amid the blizzard of pages grouped around Products, Solutions, Services, Pricing, Support and Contact, it can be a window into your company’s soul.

It can be a lone page crying in the wilderness, “Never mind all of the commerce and hyperventilation. Here’s a look at who we are, how we got this way and what we want to do with the company.”

First, personalize your email campaigns

With one client, I was working on a email campaign to both prospects and existing customers. In the closing, I included the text

As usual, please get in touch with me at hermione@zengen.com or simply reply to this message if you want to discuss this with me some more.

Then I appended a signature block with Hermione’s name and title.

“What’s that for?” Hermione asked when we reviewed the draft over the phone.

“This is email. When you receive email, you expect to see the sender’s name at the bottom, don’t you?”

“Yes, but this is different. I see no reason to personalize an email campaign.”

“Why not? Are you afraid that they don’t really want to hear from you?”

“It just seems a bit odd to use personalization in an email campaign.”

And, of course, personalizing your About Us page is even more odd.

Then, personalize your About Us page

This is a taller order, but consider these three steps:

  1. Remove all of the existing nonsense about who you are and how great your products are. Nobody cares anyway; they care about their business problems and whether they can rely on you to solve them. This means you have to get rid of lots of meaningless words that just fill up space – words like “flexible,” “robust,” “world-class,” “scalable,” “cutting-edge,” “mission-critical,” “market-leading,” “industry-standard,” “groundbreaking” and “innovative” – and the sentences that contain those words.
  2. Have your marketing communications writer come up with a SHORT description of what your organization does, or what you want your website/blog to communicate to visitors. Believe it or not, there are millions of people who don’t know what you do, and your About Us text has to make it clear to them.
  3. Use the words “you” and “I”. Sure, every organization is a team effort, but your visitors and customers deal with only one person at a time. Instead of hiding behind a corporate veil, put somebody – the CEO, the bizdev manager, the customer advocate, the receptionist – out in front of the castle gates by putting his/her name at the bottom of the About Us page.

To some degree, of course, your company should agree on the description of its soul embodied in your About Us page. The shorter it is, the less there will be to quibble about and disagree over in review loops. And you can always change it in two months; it’s only HTML. Have a look at what no less than The Blog Tyrant considers the 12 best About Us pages in the known galaxy.

I drafted another client’s About Us page touting four goals of most of the site’s likely visitors and describing (in you-oriented language) how the client’s software tools  helped achieve those goals. I added a personalized signature block. It wasn’t bad, but it was a reach.

The feedback?

I really like what you’ve done here. While I think the personalized idea is a good one, I am just not sure how it will work in practicality since there are so many stakeholders to this site. There are quite a few groups that touch developers, and nothing internally holds these groups together. So I fear our internal dysfunction makes your good idea hard to implement.

So it goes. The result, after client edits, was about 65% of what I’d hoped to achieve, and the rest landed on the cutting room floor.

Marketing managers: Have you managed to nudge your company toward personalization? How is it going?

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer.”

photo credit: Wootang01

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