There’s a nasty rumor going around that says people don’t read About pages on websites anymore. I’d counter that About pages are more important than ever, at least for small businesses.
It’s true that people who choose a business, product or service based on price probably won’t read your About page. But those bargain hunters will also be your most disloyal customers, always looking to jump ship when another company lowers its prices.
Your ideal clients – the people who are interested in building long-term relationships – will read your About page because they want to get to know you better. They want to get beyond what you do to find out who you are as a business. They want to see if your values and priorities match theirs.
The best way to address all these “wants” is to tell your story.
The Business Value of a Good Story
When all other things are equal, especially if you’re in a highly competitive field, an authentic, relatable story could be the differentiator that connects with someone and causes them to choose you over the competition.
Other companies are probably offering the same products and services at a similar price. Some are probably following the same business model and delivering the same level of customer service.
But your story is completely your own.
Also, a good story helps people process information, learn and remember. That’s just how the human brain is wired, which is why storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool.
Good marketing is about connecting with the client, and your story can help you make that connection in a personal, meaningful way.
Obstacles to Storytelling
Maybe you find it difficult to talk about yourself. It’s inherently awkward, especially if you’re an introvert. Talking about yourself on your website sounds even worse.
Maybe you think people just don’t care about your story. After all, good marketing focuses on the client, not the business.
In some cases, people get too hung up on what they think should be on an About page – a list of degrees, accomplishments, awards, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, the story gets lost.
I’ve heard people say, “We’re trying so hard to be authentic and make it interesting, but it’s just not working”.
The problem is, if you’re trying hard to be authentic, you’re kind of missing the point. Authenticity should come naturally, so it’s time to change your approach.
How to Start the Storytelling Process
Forget about marketing. Forget about your About page. Stop trying to come up with the perfect words. That’ll come later.
Just say what you feel.
Share the experiences, lessons and beliefs that shaped your business and who you are as a professional. Record these conversations so you can capture every little detail and retell your story in your own words and voice.
Some of what you say might not come out right. Some parts might sound incoherent. That’s okay. It’s natural. You can clean it up later.
When I have these conversations with my clients, they always come up with an unexpected, off-the-cuff comment or anecdote that makes the story real and memorable. That’s how you connect with people.
- That’s how you find out the founder of a health and wellness practice got his start in healthcare, at least according to his mother, when he delivered oranges to a sick friend as a 5-year-old boy.
- That’s how you find out an HVAC company’s first office was a broken-down truck in the owner’s father’s driveway.
- That’s how you find out that an IT professional started a company that creates control plans for safe technology use in the home after seeing his own sons being exposed to inappropriate content.
- That’s how you find out how a chiropractor discovered the power of healing as an 11-year-old girl when a chiropractic adjustment permanently eliminated excruciating migraines.
- That’s how you find out how a background in journalism and a career in radio made yours truly a better content writer.
These are all little nuggets from stories I’ve written for clients (except the last one). I didn’t say to them, “Tell me what you want to say on your About page.” I just asked a few questions that encouraged those clients to say what they feel and tell real stories.
Of course, it helps if you work with someone who can ask the right questions, steer the conversation in a way that focuses on what’s most relevant to your ideal clients, and communicate your story in an authentic, relatable way.
That’s what I help businesses do.
Just remember, a great story comes from the heart. The key to getting started is to stop overthinking it. Say what you feel and let your story unfold naturally.