Is Your About Us Page First or Last?

by Jennifer Beever

In my last blog entry, Trust: Get It, Measure It, Grow It Online or Offline, I wrote about what I learned in reading the books Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith and The Trusted Advisor by David Maister et al.  The exercise made me think of an issue I’ve seen on a lot of web sites: the position of the About Us page.

I take note when an About Us page is the first one on a web site menu. To me, putting an About Us page first tells me at a glance that the site creators either don’t get basic marketing principles or just have an “it’s all about us” attitude. They are not putting the needs of visitors who come to their site first.
As an example, let’s say a visitor comes to a site about a manufactured product. What is first and foremost on their mind? Do they want to read about the history of the company or the bios of the people who work there first? No. They are asking in the short time they have to decide if they are in the right place, “Is this product what I need?” and “Does it have new features that offer me benefits I haven’t even thought about?” They might also ask, “How is this product different than that of the competitors?”

When you design your web site (or your presentation or your brochure or any other marketing materials), put yourselves in the shoes of your target audience(s). What pain do they have that you solve? How can you make a difference? Providing answers first for the needs of your potential customers increases trust, gives them the feeling that you care, and grabs the attention of your prospect. It increases your trust quotient by decreasing the selfishness factor in the trust equation mentioned in the book Trust Agents and originated in the book The Trusted Advisor:

Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy) / Selfishness

It’s only after you capture the attention of a potential customer because you have what they need, that they will wonder about you and your company. “Do I want to do business with this company?” “Can I relate to the people who work here?” Answers to these questions can increase your credibility, but you may never get the chance if you appear selfish to begin with.


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