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Turn Your "About Page" Into A Lead Generation Engine

 

If you want to unnerve the bravest bloggers on the planet, just say the two words, "About Page." Most likely they'll tell you they'd rather write 100 posts about their business than write about themselves.

And they're (understandably) confused. If you're active on the Internet, you've probably gotten a lot of conflicting advice.

Many bloggers write mini-memoirs on their About Pages. After all, they were told to tell a "how I got here" story. Or they were told to show how they triumphed over adversity. (Maxed out credit cards? A year sleeping on a mattress in a church basement? Extra points!) You'll gain credibility, they say, because you traveled the same path as your clients.

Then there are the bloggers who would rather be boiled in oil than write about themselves. Yes, even if they're professional writers. So they just list their credentials or - in a surprising number of cases - give up and leave the page blank.

The truth is, your About Page represents a key opportunity to generate leads. Your About Page will usually get the second-most number of reader views, right behind your Home Page.

In fact, your About Page plays an even bigger role than it did five years ago. Many professional service websites now skip the whole Home Page set-up and meet their readers right at the first blog post.

Where do visitors go when they're interested in your business? Right to your About Page with no detours along the way.

Therefore, you can think of your About Page as a ringer who's sent into the fight: you don't expect much, but when you look more closely, it's a star. It's not a wimpy classified ad. It's a lead generation engine.

And that's good news for bloggers. You get to toss all that well-meaning advice, which never made sense anyway.

Instead, here are 5 strategies to get your About Page to become your champion lead generator, helping your website deliver potential clients and customers in your target market.

Strategy #1 - Expect prospective clients to seek out your website - even if you've met in person at a networking event or held a get-acquainted call - because they've still got questions.

The truth is, before they sign, they're secretly dying to know if you're the real deal. "Will you take off for Fiji and leave me stranded, like my last web person?" or, "Are you a conceited jerk who will make me break out in hives before every client meeting?"

Prospects will view your style as an indicator of how you'll communicate once they've signed on. For instance, one psychologist (who will remain anonymous) promises to "establish an agenda that will accomplish a client's goals." He might be a kind, warm helping professional, but he's suggesting that each client session resembles a corporate board meeting.

In contrast, designer Jared Christensen cleverly answers the two questions his clients want to ask: "Do IMAGE1_DESIGNERyou do good work and are you easy to get along with?"

Jared's About Page includes links to his portfolio and resume, showing he's more than qualified. But he also writes, "Jared works hard and tries not to take himself too seriously. He is also tall and is a terrible basketball player ...What Jared lacks in dribbling and free throw skills, he more than makes up in Internet skills ...spent the last 10 years slam-dunking design work for clients big and small."

You can tell he's pretty confident about his skills. And I suspect his clients actually look forward to meeting with him.

IMAGE2_ANDREWDesigners like Jared tend to cut to the chase. Andrew Reifman's page gets even more minimalist: a listing of fun facts about Andrew, with a link to his official c.v. He's gotten away from the classified ad model, so the facts get presented without parading his ego around.

A little too minimalist for most professionals? Try setting up your page in Q&A interview style. Come right out and ask what readers are dying to know. You also get a way to promote yourself without sounding boastful. After all you're just answering questions, right?

HappyTailsOfPhilly.comIMAGE3_JAIME showcases a dog-walking company that's grown from one person to a network of 20 sub-contractors. Owner Jaime Bennett knows new clients will be nervous. Her About Page deals with their fears directly, addressing questions like, "What do we need to know if we've never worked with a dog walker?" 

Strategy #2 - Share just enough background to reinforce the know, like and trust factor.

Many professionals get advised to share their biographies, so we see pages beginning, "Ever since I was four years old, I knew I wanted to write."

You'll also see About Pages sharing high school rebellions, Girl Scout campfires, hair-raising trips to the Emergency Room and first times doing whatever was sneaky during their teenage years.

At the other extreme, some professionals share name, rank and serial number - period.

To test your own TMI factor, ask yourself, "Will sharing this tidbit attract more clients and show my credibility? Or will my audience get a chuckle at my expense and move on?"

In some markets, the rags-to-riches story has become so jaded it's almost a joke. On his About Page Darren Rowse gently mocks these stories: "I know that statements like [It changed my life] belong on those cheesy ‘buy my $1000 training program’ sites..."

Instead, share a few sentences that do double duty: show you're a human with a history and shows your style and passion.

Business coach Ian Brodie does this perfectly, stating that he's married and adding a particularly clever reference to his role as a fan of Newcastle United football. Readers who oppose Newcastle United will realize Ian will tolerate some good-natured teasing when his team loses.

Marketing pro Danny Iny writes that he made several wrong turns – “plot twists” – before really understanding the paradigm he uses now. "And when he did," his About Page says, "it was like lighting a match to a fuse." Cuts to the chase - just like Danny himself.

IMAGE5_DANNY

Strategy #3 - Use your "why" when your passions clearly help you serve your clients.

Sometimes your background story will strengthen your position and help you stand out from the competition. One of my website development clients, a debt collection attorney, had experienced financial hardship as a child when the family's tenants failed to pay rent on time. We used this story to show her passion and to emphasize that she wasn't just a mean bill collector: she was helping families stay afloat financially.

MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION FOR YOU  Are You A Blogger Or Online Business Owner?

Other examples:

A life coach specializing in addictive behavior: how you dealt with your own journey to sobriety, dealing with the frustrations of rehab and the medical system.

A productivity coach: how you stopped working 60-hour weeks when your child was diagnosed with an illness and actually doubled your revenue.

An immigration lawyer: how your own parents were immigrants, so you understand how much your clients value citizenship and how immigrants contribute so much to their new country.

No big "why" to share? Just focus on your accomplishments of today. Readers will easily tell the difference between a genuine passion and a story you put together because "everybody needs one."

Strategy #4 - Acknowledge today's busy readers by including content formerly found on Home, Services and Approach Pages.

Not too long ago, your home page served as the welcome portal, cornerstone and core of your website. You'd have a whole series of pages to explain how you worked, who you worked with and perhaps your desired outcomes. I wrote many websites this way myself.

Today's readers want one-click stands. Your About Page does it all.

Copywriter Jon RyderIMAGE6_JON created a super-simple, easy-to-read website that went viral, with copywriters around the world muttering, "I wish I'd done that." His home page demonstrates how he tightens copy. His About Page (which he calls "Profile") summarizes just enough to show he's got the chops and shares his "how I work" philosophy:

But joking aside, I really believe that whatever the sector, and whatever the format, the copy isn’t simply the stuff that replaces lorem ipsum half an hour before the client meeting. I love being involved in the whole process, from initial pitch to final presentation, because I think really great work comes when copy and visuals are developed together.

Jon's site clearly targets a hip audience that's internet-savvy and self-consciously unconventional. For one thing, he uses white type on an orange background - hard on the eyes and guaranteed to send many copywriters into spasms. He doesn't use a traditional menu: you can tell he's targeting Internet-savvy readers who'd know to click the group of lines in the upper right corner.

Like the designers we discussed earlier, Jon benefits from a minimalist site because clients rarely care about copywriters as three-dimensional people. They just want to know if we can write persuasively, write fast, and finish the job.

In contrast, Nancy Marmolejo's About Page addresses prospects for her high-end coaching programs where clients will borrow her brain, interact with her directly and even view her as a role model. Her personality and style will be part of what she sells.
IMAGE7_NANCY

Nancy's page includes content that would once have gone on a page called "What You Can Expect From Working With Me." For instance:

"She ignites the light inside you, and from there you’re unstoppable. Your competition dissolves, you’re crystal clear on the importance of your work, and all of your marketing falls into place."

Nancy doesn't include rags to riches or origin story. She shares just a few facts - her first job as a school teacher grew up in the family business, married, lives with "very large orange cat." However, her images show her personal side (including a photo of herself with that cat, who is indeed large and orange).

Given that Nancy's business involves a promise to "dig deeply into who you are as a person," her clients can be expected to wonder what she's like as a person. A minimalist list of qualities would be a turn-off for readers who want to feel they know her.

Strategy #5 - Show how you're unique in a way that resonates with your visitors (and don't be afraid of losing people who will never be part of your tribe anyway).

One way to showcase your uniqueness is to set up a manifesto - especially if your clients like to view themselves as renegades.

First, let's clarify that a manifesto is not a mission statement. As this article says, a mission statement can be your website's worst enemy. Mission statements tend to be dull, boilerplate documents directed internally, to motivate your employees. In a one-person company, they might be used to motivate you, the business owner, or add credibility to a business plan targeted to investors.

Manifestos, however, present your passions. In recent years they have become common - so you need to make yours stand out and communicate your fiery energy. A manifesto with same-old, same old content falls flat; for instance, a sportswear retailer's manifesto includes the standard advice to "work out and drink water" -- old news to the fitness crowd they're targeting.

Jonathan Adler, a lifestyle furniture retailer, uses his manifesto brilliantly to clarify his target audience as well as his own values. He seems to target customers who like to think they belong to a small group of sophisticates with rare good taste.
IMAGE8_ADLER

His manifesto reinforces his customers' sense of specialness. He puts copies on his website and the walls of his stores, where customers stop to smile. You know you're part of his scene when you read statements like:

"We believe dogs should be allowed in stores and restaurants."

"We believe celebrities should pay full price."

"We believe in blowing your nest egg on our pots."

You may not agree with every statement - or even any statement - and Jonathan Adler is fine with that. They're generating leads for their store, not someone else's.

Notice that a manifesto will be completely customer-focused, as compared to a list like, "Ten Facts You Didn't Know About Me." That's why it's a good format to use in your draft, even though you might end up using a different technique entirely.

CONCLUSION

So there you have it: five strategies to get leads from your website. With attention spans getting smaller, every page on your site needs to be a lead generator - especially the page everyone wants to read!

What does your About Page say about you - and, more important, what message are you sending to your clients with your About Page? What's your reaction to the White Pages you see online? Answer in the comments section below.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is a copywriter who helps solopreneurs develop websites fast, so you establish a professional, authentic presence that attracts clients – your kind of clients! — without going crazy from overwhelm or draining your bank account with surprise fees. Download her free 10 Point Cheat Sheet For Your Lead-Generating About Page.

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37 comments on “Turn Your "About Page" Into A Lead Generation Engine”

  1. [ Smiles ] A well-detailed "About" Page is something that every business-type blog needs; since it is a method of actually exposing readers to you and your brand.

    Lovely post!

  2. Great post, Cathy. Strategy #4 is the one I used on my author page. Since I help small businesses and solopreneurs with their social media and blogging, I started off by saying something that they relate to.... I wanted to solve a problem for them.

    I also used a bit of Strategy #2 by saying I used to be a Disney Princess...

    Great tips! I definitely learned a thing or two 🙂

  3. What an awesome article. I never thought of an about us page in this way before. Ive gotten quite a few ideas for our company about us page here.

  4. Hi, Cathy (and Sue).

    Thanks for highlighting this important topic, and demonstrating various examples of about pages.

    I've always cringed when I see that somebody has read my about page. But not anymore.

    I like the interview-style example that Jaime Bennett used. Only today I did something similar to mine, and now I look forward to people reading it. I think it's a great way to be informative, yet informal.

    I'll be tweeting this soon.

    Nathan.

  5. This is really clever Cathy and Sue,

    I too understands the importance of an About Page. With all the scams out there today, people will always want to know everything they can about you before deciding whether to do business with you or not and that's why you have to make your About Page more detailed with the right points. Just ask yourself, what are the questions i usually ask upon visiting an influencers/coach blog especially if i want to hire him? Then answer those in your About Page because your prospective clients might be asking similar questions about you as well.

    In Africa, when two people want to get married, both of them usually ask questions about each other. The man will go to people he assumed knows the girl very well and ask them everything about his wife to be ranging from family background, religious background, the girls character, etc. And the Girl will also do same and this is just to ensure they're not marrying the wrong person.

    That's exactly how it is on the internet. People are usually sceptical in choosing whom to give their money especially when its huge and if they come to your site and you failed to convince them via your About Page which they must read then, you loose them.

    So, its very imperative to include all the necessary things that should be on your About Page like you clearly stated here. I love Pat Flynn's about page, including that of Michael Hyath, Ramit Sethi, Derek Helperm and many others. So simple but comprehensive.

    I really enjoyed this post Cathy and i agreed with all your points.

    Thanks for sharing and you both do have a lovely weekend.

  6. Hi, Sue and Cathy,

    Loved the article. Great points. I especially liked Andrew’s minimalist About page example.

    I think how an About page is developed is dependent on the purpose for it and the goals in mind. Your strategies are interesting, and I really like #5 about being unique. Absolutely! ? I could resonate with this one. Had never really considered a manifesto before today - fabulous!

    Thanks for sharing such food for thought, I really appreciate it. I believe list building and lead generation should be the core foundation of online business, so I think your article is good with some valuable lessons to learn.

    Spreading the word…

    Have a blessed weekend.

    Carol Amato

    1. I always enjoy a manifesto, Carol. Something to think about.

      I totally agree with list building and lead generation being the top reason for a blog.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Sue

  7. Hello Cathy,

    Nice to see your post on sue's blog. About us page is the page that introduces yourself . tells your visitor what you do and builds a rapport that will hopefully turn them into a customer.

    About us page says what goods or services your business provides. Thank you for your awesome effort on turn about me page into lead generation.

    Kind Regards

    Yasin Rishad

  8. Using the about page well is something that is not given enough attention far too often. These examples are great.

    In my experience most of the time I read a blog post and leave. But in those cases where I want a bit more info I am either going to go to the blog main page or the about page and see if it is worth learning more and worth adding this to my RSS feed reader.

    Another good idea is to highlight 5 or 10 of your best/most-representative posts to let people quickly see some of your best ideas.

  9. Great post Cathy! And thanks for featuring Cathy's post, Sue Anne. I've seen a few of these posts before on how to improve the About page but this one was right up there with the best.

    I've taken notes and will borrow a couple of the tips and will implement them on my latest site. I particularly liked #5 and the tip about using a Q&A format.

    Thanks again

    Kim

  10. Wow! thank you so much for including my About Me page in your post. I try to create it so there's a WIIFM factor, not just a boring list of my life. I know I'm fascinating, but I realize people want to check me out to see how I can help them! I call it a marketing bio, and honestly people will find out way more than they need to know once they reach out and contact me. Haha 😉

  11. Theodore, this is fascinating! It sounds like prospective partners get testimonials for each other.

    You bring up a good point about scammers! After you've been around awhile you learn to spot them. 😉

    And an About Page is a good litmus test.

    Cathy

  12. Thanks for the comment, Carol! I think we'll be seeing more manifestos as people realize the benefit of sharing opinions. A manifesto is more entertaining than an op-ed, especially for a website!

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