Copywriting

How to ‘Actually’ Use your Website’s About Page to Market and Grow your Brand?

When was the last time you checked your website’s about page? Have you been avoiding it because you don’t have all the answers yet? Or you think it just doesn’t matter. If yes, this essay is for you. Take out some time and use the recommendations in this article to redo your brand’s about page. You will be amazed how this small exercise will help you gain a never like before clarity about your business. Consequently, you will attract more customers and grow your business rapidly.

Recently I was talking to an owner of a handbag brand based in Dubai. ‘We’re doing very well in showrooms but for some reason, our products are not moving the same way on our online store’, said the company CEO in our Skype call. ‘We have invested heavily in this Magento website and expected a lot more traction but the sales are not coming. What should we do?’

They contacted us to optimize and manage their marketing campaigns. They especially needed help in improving their website’s conversion rate. They had decent looking products moving quickly off the shelves in pop stores and mall showroom environment.
As we were talking, I clicked on the about page to get a better sense of their brand and to ask further questions. Not to my surprise – the about page had a small paragraph about the brand with a nice picture of their showroom. That’s it.

They called themselves “the leading brand name for quality fashion handbags and accessories”. Leading brand? Did they have any data to support that claim? It would have been rude to ask them but I knew the answer.

We had to politely turn-down the opportunity to work with them because their brand wasn’t positioned for online selling, and it turned out that they were not very open for a dialogue about their brand’s communication. They were fixated on website’s usability, when we clearly saw the problem was with brands messaging (perhaps – complete lack of it).

Having worked with many labels and read so many about pages & brand narratives, we are often able to dissect a brand and expose their strengths, weaknesses and marketing loopholes by just looking at their about page. The cocky attitude of the business owner confused marketing team; about page often reveals the hidden, deep-rooted marketing dilemma of a company.

For example – with few exceptions, words such as – leading, pioneers, top, affordable, high quality, premium.. they mean nothing. In fact, such words on an about page often expose the messaging and positioning confusions of the business owner and the marketing team.

In reality, writing an about page can be one of the most painful or gratifying experience for a business owner. If you have gone through the process, you’d know that it’s not about writing with rainbows and rose petals. It takes brutal honesty, a deep love for the business and above all – a mission bigger than the business.

With this article, we want to encourage you to go through this process (if you haven’t already) and create your company’s about page. You’d be amazed how much there is yet to be explored.

Before we get into the exercise, let’s look at our options and the types of about pages you can create:

  • Corporate page (not recommended)
    Many brands go for this type of about page because either they want to give everyone an impression of a corporation, or they actually are a corporate (a company run by investors and board of directors). This kind of page doesn’t talk much about the journey of the business owner but the company’s corporate mission. We have seen many smaller brands tactically mimic bigger organizations by corporate language and visuals.
  • Mini about page (not recommended)
    This kind of page has a couple of paragraphs of text about company information, and you can make out easily that it’s written by a copywriter with little inputs from the business owner.
  • Open letter (recommended)
    Brands use this type of about page as an open letter to their customers. A good example of it is Huckberry’s about page. This kind of about page is typically very detailed, talks about the entire business journey and closes with the business owner(s) name and signature.
  • Comprehensive visual (recommended)
    This has to be our favorite format as it’s used by most of the modern brands such as Everlane, Glossier, Cuyana etc. Such pages are visual and have a powerful, condensed text copy. They talk about the human serving human as it covers all essential data points explained in this essay below.

For sake of simplicity, we would like to focus on the fourth kind of about page – ‘the comprehensive visual’, as it offers you most engagement opportunities.

This is why you need a good about page (no it’s not what you’re thinking)
‘I have checked Google Analytics, hardly anyone visits our about page’, said the owner of a newly launched streetwear label when we asked them to improve their about page to get more brand traction. It wasn’t the first time when somebody said something like that to us. The fundamental problem here is that these retailers don’t understand the real value and purpose of having an about page.

So before we talk about how to create an awesome about page, it’s important that we understand why it’s such as an important page.

Firstly, your website’s about page isn’t only for your customers alone. If you’re creating your about page only to attract good customers, you’re underutilizing the power of your about page. Of course, the idea is to sell more, but thinking only about your customers when creating your about page is like riding a jet plane on the highway when you can fly.

In reality, you can use your about page to attract other important people such as – good employees, investors and media professionals, who combined can get you far more customers.

  • You need an about page which is interesting not just your target customers, but also for:
  • Potential employees who find your website on a job portal
  • Investors looking for great investment opportunity (even when you are not currently looking for an investment)
  • Media companies, newspaper editors, Bloggers, Youtubers, Instagrammers, or any other publisher whom you might want you to talk about you.

1) Ask these 6 Questions
Now that we have a better perspective on who will read the about page, let’s talk about the key data points you need to mention on your about page:

  1. What’s the brand mission?
    There can’t be a business without a mission and the companies who live by a meaningful mission win. Let your customers know what’s the difference that you want to make in the life of your customers?
    The greatest thing about your mission is that you can’t fake a mission to your investors, your customers, to a media company. The brands and companies that lack authenticity and clear direction are often the ones who lack a clear mission.To have a mission, you need to have passion. Without it you can’t bring investors on-board, you can’t bring customers on-board, you can’t produce good content, you can’t attract good employees. Everything just flows from your mission.
  2. How it started?
    Let them know how it started. What problem did you want to solve with your brand when you started. Did you too start from your apartment? Share anything and everything that makes your story interesting and humanly, so that people can relate to it.
  3. Who started it?
    Let them know who runs the business. What’s your personality? Reinforce what made you start the business journey.
  4. What values drive the business?
    Honesty, transparency, community….What are the core values that drive the owner’s life and business? This helps you acquire customers, investors, partners and employees with shared value system.
  5. What makes it remarkably different?
    It’s important to be different and let your customers know about it. However, it’s not just about only being different. You have to be different in a way that people choose to talk about you. That’s how the real brands position themselves on their about page.
  6. What’s your business culture?
    You probably know about it – talking about your company’s culture (and actually having one), will help you attract talented employees.

2) Make the page visual
No one has time to read an about page. Your potential customers, employees, media partners, investors, etc will just take one look at your about page and decide whether they want to do business with you. They will judge you based on what they see. Your company, your team, your products will be only as good as they look in those pictures. Make sure you invest enough resources to ensure that only the highest quality visuals make it to the about page.

3) Don’t make it monotonous
When designing a shopify store for an underwear brand, we asked them to provide us pictures that we could use. Within few minutes of placing a request, the client shared with us pictures of underwears and dozens of male models wearing underwears. What the hell?

We jumped on a call to make the client see what we were seeing – there were just too many underwears and too much skin (naked male models) on the website. First, the client got puzzled and defensive – ‘after all we are an underwear company’, said the company CEO. ‘What else do you want us to add?’

Thankfully within minutes of discussion, we were on the same page. We identified visual elements that helped us break the monotony. We used pictures of colorful donuts, NYC buildings, and other visual elements to break the visual monotony caused by using same visual elements repeatedly.

Other things you need to be careful while creating your about page:

  • Be consistent with your tone of voice.
  • Don’t make them read. Keep the page visual as far as possible and try to convey the message in the least number of words.
  • Don’t make generic claims about your quality, service, and value. Be specific, be authentic.\

Time for exercise
One of our clients took out a print of her website’s about page and framed it on her office walls. She says it keeps her as the business owner centered while making business decisions. It reminds her why she started this business, her dream, her mission and her values.

Open your editor and answer these 7 questions:

  • What’s the brand mission?
  • How did it start?
  • Who started it?
  • What values drive the business?
  • What makes it remarkably different?
  • What’s your business culture?

Don’t hire a copywriter, do it yourself. At least the first draft. Not sure about your brand mission yet? Don’t fret. Just keep typing your thoughts and soon your subconscious mind will answer. If any of the questions causes you pain and makes you so uncomfortable that you want to avoid it? It’s exactly what you need to know most. Now start writing.

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