Small businesses often rely on a more personal relationship with customers to make sales. They attract those who like the human touch and dislike giving their custom to big corporations and chains. However, their small size can often make potential customers nervous about their reliability and customer service.
Both of these groups are likely to visit your ‘About’ page on your website to find out more and get a feel for your company – and the story behind it. So what should (and shouldn’t) you include?
Aim To Include…
The Inciting Incident
Yes, I’ve stolen this concept from writing lingo. Every good story should have an inciting incident: a child goes missing, a diary is discovered or a main character relocates, for instance, and all other events spring from there.
What was your inciting incident? Redundancy, an inheritance, frustration with what was already available or a great idea sparked by…what?
Whatever your aim, mention it here. Did you set out to supply hard-to-find books, gadgets or plumbing supplies? To give personal advice and run workshops for craft lovers? What did you want your business to achieve?
Your USP (Unique Selling Point)
Closely connected to Your Mission, your USP is the thing that makes your business stand out from its competitors. The widest stock of DMC threads in East Anglia? The swiftest delivery of taps in London? Special qualifications or expertise, such as pre-natal and post-natal physiotherapy? Think about what makes your business different, special and/or better than others.
Keep the focus on them. How does your USP or Mission benefit the customer? Do they get big town choice in a rural area? Large items delivered to their doorstep for free? Think about key emotional words like safe, secure, choice, simple, easy, swift, support, guarantee, rely, service.
Reassure customers that you listen to them and are constantly looking for way to improve your service in response to their feedback. If you can, give short, snappy, customer-focused examples. “In 2008, in response to customer requests for more delivery options, we teamed up with Drop of a Hat Deliveries, a local courier company who can deliver your order the same day – guaranteed.”
Awards, significant testimonials, customers numbers – a quick mention of them here is highly relevant, even though you have a testimonials page (you do, don’t you?)
Your Caring Side
Do you only use recycled materials? Was your building constructed to be eco-friendly? Do you support any charities or sponsor any groups or events? Tell the customer what you do for others and why, e.g. you support a certain leukaemia charity because they helped a friend.
Do Not Include…
Pictures of Your Family and Pets
Unless they’re staff or co-owners, that is (the family, not the pets). If you run a boarding kennel or a dog grooming company, a picture of a happy, shiny-coated Rufus the terrier may be appropriate here, but otherwise, it’s really not.
Long, Boring, Overly-Detailed Company History
Just the highlights will do. Harry Potter novels would get pretty boring if they described every lesson he went to and every time he brushed his teeth. Customers only need the relevant stuff – the plot points that move the story on. And although they like the personal touch, it shouldn’t read like your diary.
The fact that you moved your business to X Street because you wanted to expand and diversify is relevant; the fact that you looked at 34 other properties beforehand, or that the shop in X Street was painted green, but you painted it Vanilla Ice Cream with the help of your brother Tom in return for a six-pack and a pizza, is not.
Remember that ultimately, your goal here is not just to inform, but to persuade. You are telling customers the story of your company while convincing them that the company can be trusted and provide what they need – and that there are humans behind the business facade.