I’m looking at buying myself a new laptop in the not too distant future, but first things first, where to shop? I could buy through one of several well-known national electronics suppliers, who offer tantalizing “About Us” sections on their websites that read something like this:
“Underpinning the Renewal & Transformation is an absolute focus on improving the shopping trip for customers…” and so on…
Or I could buy from a bloke who has a shop in a town nearby, who says things like:
“if owt goes wrong wid it just drop it in an I’ll sort it”.
I might be mad, but I’ll be buying from the latter. Admittedly, I do know the guy and I know if owt does go wrong wid it, he will fix it and he probably won’t charge. But should I really be buying from a man who doesn’t know the English for “anything” or “with”, as opposed to a company who’ve been going around formulating their customer plan into seven finely tuned core principles? You bet. So what deep rooted psychological processes are going on here, and what, if anything has this to do with SEO, marketing or copywriting?
Customer Facing Gobbledegook
The nonsensical gobbledegook that you get on corporate pages of websites is everywhere. Anyone can write this turgid, meaningless stuff. Even people who aren’t particularly good at writing can produce it. In fact, if you need to produce it you’d probably get away with cutting and pasting it. You might get done for plagiarism, but the word “original” doesn’t spring to mind when you read this kind of stuff.
My small town computer selling friend does have a web site, although it’s disturbingly basic and doesn’t feature much in the “about us” way. However, it is a very small town and everybody knows him. He’s basically all alone in Yellow Pages, if you’re looking for a local computer sales business. However, it’s his style of doing businesses that makes the difference. Even over the phone he’s friendly, chatty, helpful, interested, sometimes witters on about stuff completely unrelated to the matter in hand. He has, dare a say it, a personality; very much of his own. But how can you recreate that on your website?
Making Friends Influences People
This is where two crucial tools come in. A business blog and the “About Us” section. If your sales are largely, or wholly, online then you don’t have the advantage that my computer selling friend has. You can’t offer your customers a cuppa when they walk into your shop and start a wide ranging conversation about all kinds of stuff. With a blog you can get halfway through. Blogs are great from an SEO perspective in that they create fresh unique content which keeps Google interested. They are even better from the point of view of your customers. It’s where you get to chat. Twitter and Facebook are also very useful tools in this sense – used wisely you’ll get peoples’ attention, and once you have them on your website the blog should be used to keep that attention and encouraging them to call again soon.
The Last Word
“About Us” sections are possibly the most tragically overlooked sections on any website. Most of them look, at best, a bit standard and, at worst, like a glowing but unread obituary. People like people; they like personality and uniqueness. Be honest, creative or even a bit daft in your
“About Us” section, but don’t leave it loitering and untended. Whatever you do, make your site personal, interesting and friendly. Professional is good too, just don’t formulate a load of core principles that nobody wants to hear about!
Copywriters can help to create a unique tone, voice and personality to your website. Personality is one of the strongest tools for selling on or offline. Don’t be afraid to use it.