"About Us" Pages in Small Business Websites
The Internet has been heralded as "the great equalizer": on a browser window, any
company, no matter how small, can look as good as a large company with a long history of
quality and service. This situation presents an important challenge for small businesses:
how can I convince my potential customers that I am not an unethical, fly-by-night
operation? The best way to do it is through a properly structured "About Us" page.
Your "About Us" page must not only introduce your company to your potential customers,
but must do so in a way that it explains, beyond a shadow of a doubt, why they should
trust you and your company. Often, this means answering six basic questions:
Who is behind this website?
People are getting tired of large, bureaucratic companies and their
"your-call-is-important-to-us" service mentality. As a small business owner, you can give
your customers the personal attention they won't get from the big guys. Get that message
across in your "About Us" page. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself and your passion
for the business, and by all means include your picture. The central message you want to
convey is that behind your business there is a real human being who has his or her
customers' best interests at heart.
Is this a real business?
Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to list your full physical address.
There is something reassuring about a "bricks-and-mortar" location, even if your customers
will never visit you. A physical address shows your prospective customers that you don't
have anything to hide. Include your full contact information, including your physical
address, in a conspicuous location within your "About Us" page.
How do they make money?
You know the cliché: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". If you don't
make your business model evident to your visitors (in other words, if you don't show them
how do you make money) the first question they will ask themselves is: "what's the
catch?". If you offer too many things for free, or price your products too low vs. your
competitors, prospective customers will hold back. Use your "About Us" page to explain
what your main revenue streams are, and why do you charge what you charge. Remember to
always talk "value", not "price".
How long have they been in business?
People tend to regard longevity and stability as important qualifiers to determine
trust. Since most small business (especially of the on-line variety) tend to be very
young, it may be hard to use the longevity card to solicit trust. If that is your case,
you can talk about your past experience instead. For most small business owners, their
past experience is highly relevant to their current businesses. Use your "About Us" page
to talk about it, and how does it relate to and benefit your current business.