Authentic About Pages: Let Your Brand’s Personality Shine

by Marcia Yudkin

Last updated on January 8th, 2018

“When you write your About page, your job is to dazzle your audience,” says one marketing guru. “This is no time to play the introverted wallflower.”

I disagree.

If you’re an introvert, your About page is precisely the time and place to come across as you are, as someone who’s quiet, thoughtful and meticulously helpful, if those are your best and truest qualities.

The same point holds if your company targets a population that is more likely than not to be introverted, such as accountants, virtual assistants or collectors of esoteric memorabilia. In that case, your company profile should be reserved rather than bubbly and factual rather than flowery or boastful in tone.

On the other hand, if you target party lovers, couples who always vacation with a large group of friends, or individuals who measure themselves against what’s “in” in certain circles, then you had better reach out with a warm, relationship-centered, convivial tone.

After all, the point of marketing and conversion optimization is not to appeal to everyone and anyone, but to appeal precisely to ideal customers — people who are best suited to appreciate what you have on offer and how you provide it. Ideal customers are not only a pleasure for you to work with; they incite fewer customer relations dramas and tend to stick around with your company long term.

I recently looked at well over 100 About pages, and I was able to separate many of them into clearly extroverted profiles and clearly introverted ones. Before I show you what I mean, let’s build a foundation for my analysis with a bit of background.

Introverts and Extroverts

The terms “introvert” and “extrovert” (or “extravert”) go back to pioneering psychologist Carl Jung, an associate of Sigmund Freud. According to Jung, the distinction has to do mainly with someone’s source of energy for getting through everyday life.

Introverts feel drained by social interaction and charge themselves up when they are alone, while extroverts feel energized around other people and get drained by solitude.

Carl Jung (1875-1961), who first delineated the distinction between introverts and extroverts.

Carl Jung (1875-1961), who first delineated the distinction between introverts and extroverts.

Talking comes easily to extroverts, while introverts are more inclined to listen and observe before speaking. Extroverts care a lot about being generally liked, while introverts would rather find a few people they really feel in tune with.

In addition, according to one of the surveys I have conducted, when it comes to marketing, introverts recoil sharply from some practices that researchers tell us work well with the general public, including

  • being told they should sign up for a newsletter because it’s popular
  • that they should respect someone who has spoken alongside influential people
  • that how much someone has earned proves their expertise

If you’re curious about your own orientation, look for one of the free (or paid) Myers-Briggs tests online, which sort you on the introvert-extrovert dimension and several others.

HumanMetrics

HumanMetrics.com tells you, free, whether you are an introvert or extrovert (and more) after you answer 72 yes/no questions.

Experts like Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage, estimate that 25-30 percent of the U.S. population are introverts. Note, however, that in American culture, extroverts are held up as the norm.

With a few exceptions for vocations like rocket scientist, you’re likely to be advised by teachers, parents and career counselors that you need to act like an extrovert (whether or not you are one) to get ahead professionally.

Hence it’s not surprising to encounter across-the-board advice that in an About page profile, you should come across as outgoing, effervescent and approachable.

But this one-sided approach may not help your conversion rate. Presenting your brand personality as-is is a smarter approach because it can engage the prospects most interested in working with a business like yours.

Let’s review a few About pages to see examples from both ends of the spectrum.

The Extroverted Side

We’ll begin by looking at an About page that clearly reflects extroversion, this one from MarieForleo.com.

  1. In pictures and words, this page highlights famous people other than Marie Forleo, whose page it is, an unusual number of times: Oprah Winfrey, Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Russell Simmons and Donna Karan. You won’t see such chumminess and name-dropping on an introverted About page, because introverts present themselves on their own terms.
  1. In the very top photo, Marie Forleo is cuddling a dog, presumably her pet, rather than shown alone. Clearly relationships are central to her identity.

marie forleo

Marie Forleo’s main photo on her About page presents her as a relational being who wants to be your friend.

  1. She mentions her earnings: “I’ve created a multimillion dollar empire.” To extroverts, money is tangible, indisputable evidence of success. Introverts generally highlight achievements other than money and regard their income as private information to be shared only with their accountant, their spouse and the government.
  2. In “a weekly online show… that’ll make you laugh so hard…” she presumes to know you. Introverts rarely make such assumptions because they know how different they are from the norm.

Marie Forleo may not actually be an extrovert. Someone else may have written this page for her. I’m saying this page conveys an extroverted personality and approach to life. Accordingly, it’s most likely to appeal to those who share those tendencies.

The Introverted Side

Now let’s take a look at an About page that presents an expert in a quiet light. This one comes from ShaktiYogany.com.

  1. This yoga teacher, Julie Dohrman, comes across in her photo as at peace with herself and ready to share her knowledge with you. This is an introvert strength.
  2. The About page offers just one photo so you can focus on Julie’s ideas, attitudes, talents and commitments, not to glom onto her as a personality. For her, yoga is about transformation, not performing.

julie dohrman

Julie Dohrman’s About page photo forgoes showmanship.

  1. Her text includes words like “intelligent,” “dedicated,” “clear,” “teachings,” “guiding,” and “inspired.” Its tone is calm, thoughtful and specific.

I don’t know Julie, but from this page I know she would teach with strength and clarity rather than be-my-buddy enthusiasm. Throughout, she radiates an introvert’s type of authority. Although she does not “dazzle her audience,” she still acts as a leader.

Group Personalities

Companies often lean extrovert or introvert in how they characterize themselves on their About pages. Consider Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, whose extroverted About page uses family-scrapbook imagery, offbeat photos, a postcard and torn-out journal pages to invite you to join their world.

Jimmys Iced Coffee

The About page of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee is decidedly extroverted in its graphics, tone and philosophy.

Regardless of what they sell, a company’s extroverted approach emphasizes that they’re in the people business and seek to make an emotional connection with prospective customers.

The Linton Company, which sells specialized office supplies, makes self-mocking jokes on its retro-style site that drive home its human focus, in contrast to competitors’ automated processes.

It says, “Where Nice People Answer the Phone! (with possibly 1 exception),” for instance:

linton1

And it portrays dogs and a child in the role of customer service representatives or observers.

Linton2

and

Linton3

From this approach, Linton clearly sets customer expectations. Casual, low-tech customer support won’t surprise.

In contrast, Iron Capital Advisors of Atlanta takes a cerebral, principled approach in their About section, emphasizing what they believe in and how they walk their talk.

This financial services firm does provide head shots and biographical profiles of its personnel, but those come last, after quite a lot of discussion of philosophy, morality, professional integrity and the weaknesses of Wall Street today.

In an introverted vein, they appeal to thinking, conscientious clients.

Iron-Capital-Advisors

Instead of cute snapshots and chitchat, Iron Capital Advisors offers earnest, ethical differentiation.

Conclusion

The world needs both extroverts and introverts. Don’t be bamboozled into believing that you can’t succeed unless you come across as someone you are not.

Be who you are at your website, whether that’s a CPA who loves being a close family friend to your clients, or a carpenter who prefers to get all the custom cabinetry exactly right without any small talk. If you hire someone to write your company About page, tell them whether you want the tone to be chummy or distant, chatty or authoritative.

Day-to-day business is happier, smoother and financially more sound when customers expect what they actually get, and when you get customers who understand and appreciate your talents and strengths, or the unique attitudes of your company.

Draft and design your About page accordingly! Such authenticity can only help your conversion rates.

Have you felt pressure to present your business in a particular style? What do you do to set customer expectations and remain authentic on your website?

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Marcia Yudkin

Marketing expert and introvert advocate Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity, Persuading People to Buy, Marketing for Introverts and many other books and ebooks. She directs the No-Hype Marketing Academy, which includes an online course on fact checking. Follow her on Twitter (@marciasmantras) or on Youtube.

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