Writing content for your website? If you’re like most business owners, you’ll find yourself challenged by your About Page more than any other page on your website.
Service business owners in particular become frustrated because they say, “I hate writing about myself. But I have no choice. People want to know who they’ll be dealing with. That’ would be me.”
The worst-kept secret is, your About Page really isn’t about you. It all comes back to the infamous “WIIFM” question.
Prospective clients want to know what you will do for them. How will you make them more successful, more productive or more joyful? Which pains and problems will you take away? Which obstacles will you help them overcome?
So begin your About Page by telling a story.
But … not the usual “How I Struggled From Rags To Riches” story. Not a story that follows the misguided advice to “Be vulnerable.”
For one thing, you may not have struggled to get where you are. You might have been lucky. You might have a story about being born with a silver spoon and making the most of it.
Instead, tell a story that responds to your audience. How have you transformed clients from ordinary people into super-heroes?
Your About Page answers the question, “Why should I hire this person?”
Hiring a service professional can be a scary decision. Your audience comes to you with three fears:
They’ve got fears around the problem itself — the reason they’re hiring you.
They’re afraid of hiring the wrong person: imagine hiring an interior decorator who paints the walls purple.
And they’re afraid they’ll look dumb: “Shouldn’t I be able to do this myself?”
I cover these fears in more detail in my ebook on Build Your Standout Personal Brand One Story At A Time.
So your About Page needs to
… soothe the fears of the visitors who are so close to hiring you, until they start to ask themselves questions
… show them you’re worthy of their trust (without boasting or bragging)
… keep the focus on them and their needs
Here are 3 ways to get your About Page to tell the story that promotes your business, without coming across as boastful, arrogant or over-the-top.
Tip #1: Recognize that “likable” means “competent and easy to work with.”
Your About Page needs to showcase your business personality. When you’ve nailed the personality component, you’ll draw strong responses. You won’t be universally loved. Some people will like you a lot. Other people will be turned off.
So how do you present your likable personality on your About Page?
The meaning of likeability varies by field. In some fields, prospects are concerned that you’ll be judgmental, arrogant, domineering, dismissive, patronizing or even rude. People who deal with lawyers, doctors and accountants often have memories so bad they’re afraid to hire someone new.
You can show personality by tone, by the stories you choose, and by the photos you include on the page. If you’re especially photogenic you can show yourself in different scenes.
But quite honestly, do you want to show yourself in unusual dance-y positions (such as kicking up your heels or turning cartwheels)? These photos are good for Facebook ads that aren’t seen over and over again.
Or do you try so hard to avoid being grinchy you go to the other extreme? You become chirpy and cheery…the ultimate pollyanna. Some people will love you. Some will wonder what’s misfiring under the hood.
So how do you draw the line: Show you’re likeable and friendly without suggesting you’re about to break out the pom poms and start cheering?
The best way to make this happen is to tell a true story about how you handled a particular situation, especially related to your business.
For instance, an immigration lawyer shares stories of how he spent days tracking down a client who’d been arrested, gained access to his client after hours and had his witnesses ready for a last-minute hearing. This story not only had all the elements of suspense: it showed the kind of advocacy he offers.
The worst way to make this happen is to share a cringe-worthy story about how you made a fool of yourself at the last office party you attended … or a story about your latest illness, complete with lab reports and photos of you in your hospital bed, covered in tubes.
Tip #2: “Don’t share your life story. Show you understand their back story.”
Your About Page needs to answer the question, “Why should I hire you and not your competitor?” Or, “Why should I hire you and not just take care of this myself?”
And every client comes with baggage, a/k/a backstory. These backstories turn into the client’s hidden objections.
A lawyer’s client might remember the vicious attacks from her ex’s divorce lawyer … or a compassionate bankruptcy lawyer who suggested resources to get back on his feet. A life coach’s client comes with stories of her best friend’s crazy life coach who said, “Just quit your job and travel. You’ll be fine!” and now the friend is turning fifty, with no career, no direction and a lot of debt.
Your goal is to write to your audience’s backstory.
When you do share something about yourself, tie it directly to your clients.
Here’s an About Page example from Melissa Galt:
My business has taken me around the globe to destinations including Australia, New Zealand, China, Bali, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, and Nepal. Like my mom, I have an insatiable curiosity about other countries, cultures, and customs and it shows up in my eagerness to learn about your business and find creative ways to generate that irresistible combination of bliss and bucks. [Italics and emphasis added.]
Increasingly we’re even seeing a trend to eliminate biography from this page altogether.
Tip #3: Focus on inspiring your clients rather than sharing your mission.
All too often your readers’ eyes will glaze over as soon as they see words like “mission,” “manifesto” and “purpose.”
Frankly, most of us have become jaded. We’re accustomed to idealistic mission statements accompanied by sloppy services and a “who cares if we’re making money” mindset.
If you do include a mission statement, be clear on how your mission statement helps customers make a decision about you. For instance, Jonathan Adler is a lifestyle furniture store in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Their mission statement, posted in every store and on their website includes:
“We believe in rustic modernism…”
“We believe celebrities should pay full price.”
“We believe dogs should be allowed in stores.”
Since my dog was with me when I first saw this manifesto, I resonated immediately. The complete manifesto shows the owner’s personality as much as the store’s philosophy.
Kim Garst’s About Page includes these paragraphs, which aren’t labeled as “mission statement” or “approach,” but which will resonate with many of her audience members, worn out with buying from too many online marketing companies.
“Most social media marketing firms cater to deep-pocketed companies and dish out crumbs before they make you pay to learn the stuff you really need to know. Plus, they are not really experts. They do not actually do the very things they are telling you to do.
We believe in transparency and free flowing information and we have followed our own advice to build one of the largest, comprehensive and most successful digital platforms anywhere.”
Finally, give your “About Page” the “fun to read” test. Will readers stop after the first paragraph or will they keep going? You can entertain while still coming across as professional and knowledgeable.
Want to learn more? Download the FREE About Page Cheat Sheet
Check out this free training program:
3 Ways You Can Use Stories To Create A Rockstar About Page
For maximum impact, why not let me help you find your story? If you’ve been plugging away for weeks or months, building your website or writing your sales letter, I can help! One client said, “This session saved me at least 12 hours of working alone.” Learn more and choose your option here.