Are you treating your author bio as an afterthought?
If you’re like most online marketers, the answer is probably yes.
Don’t believe me?
Just Google “author bio optimization” and see what your search turns up. Not much. Just one or two dated guides. Clearly, digital marketing experts do not see the business potential of an optimized author bio.
Well, I’ve got news for you.
By ignoring your bio, you’re missing out on a lot of business. Your author bio has a lot of marketing potential. It’s an untapped gold mine that can do a lot for your business.
Would you like to sell more of your products/services, speedily grow your list, boost your authority, attract tons of warm leads, and rank front-page for your selected key phrases…all with one deft touch?
You can achieve all that through a highly optimized author bio. Ready to dig up the business-boosting golden nuggets from your bio?
First, let’s uncover 5 conversion-killing bio bloopers.
5 Surprisingly Common Bio Mistakes That Decimate Conversions
Blooper 1: The Swellhead Bio
Although a bio is called “about the author,” it’s really not about you.
It’s not the place for shameless chest-thumping. It’s all about why your readers should care about you (because of what you can do for them). So drop the laundry list of your personal interests and accomplishments.
Focus on the problems you solve for your audience.
Blooper 2: The Wordy Bio
Long bios kill reader interest fast.
Aim for 40-60 words. That’s long enough for you to put your message across but not too long to bore readers.
If you make it longer, people won’t read it. It’s that simple.
Blooper 3: The Faceless Bio
Repeat this marketing mantra after me:
People buy from people they know, like, and _____.
Of course, the word that completes the statement is “trust.” So if you don’t include a photo, how on earth are people going to connect with you as a human and trust you? Study after study has shown that people like looking at other people, especially their faces.
By not including a picture, you’re missing a bonding and branding moment. LinkedIn data shows that having a profile photo can get you:
- 21x more profile views
- 9x more connection requests
- 36x more messages
Blooper 4: The Rigid Bio
Using a one-size-fits-all bio tanks conversions.
Yes, having a basic one helps.
But if you want to bump up conversions, you’ve got to do a bit more. Slant each bio toward the specific audience you’re writing for. You’ll engage better with your readers.
Blooper 5: The Bland Bio
This one’s a biggie.
Writing a bio like a dissertation sucks out the zing needed to make an authentic human connection. It leaves it dry and flavorless.
To connect with readers, write with personality. Massage your brand’s dynamic voice into the copy. Personality is the magnet that draws readers to you.
Now that the foul-ups are out of the way, let’s optimize your bio.
1. For Conversion’s Sake, Please Include a CTA
Sounds obvious, right?
You’d think including a call to action in your bio would be a no-brainer. Turns out it isn’t. I’ve lost count of author bios with no CTA. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Are you kidding me?
Let me put you in the reader’s shoes for a moment. She’s blown away by your content. Unlike restive scanners with ever-shrinking attention spans, she’s read all the way down to the bottom. She’s so thrilled she can’t wait to find out more about this amazing person and his brand.
You tell her you’re Andy Awesome who works for Amazing Brands. Oh, and you adore cat videos. That’s it. What an anti-climax. A waste of a great conversion opportunity. A heart-breaking tale of a hot prospect brushed aside by a cold clueless brand.
Not even a “Follow me on Twitter” request. C’mon.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Sorry, Meredith, aka the marketing nerd. Had to be you. No links. No CTA. No pic.
Like any other piece of content, your author bio must have a conversion goal.
To get conversions, slip in one or two CTAs. That’s the very first step you must take to optimize your bio for conversions. Decide exactly what you want people to do after reading your content.
2. Link to a Landing Page, Not Your Homepage
Your homepage is like a train station.
People can go to many different places from there: about, services, products, contact, resources, meet the team, etc. The options are endless. No wonder visitors freeze in the face of myriad choices.
This graphic from Unbounce captures the essence of the problem:
Consider the above diagrams, which show a homepage (left) and a landing page (right). The orange areas on each diagram represent links on the page. As you can see, the homepage has 43 links, and the landing page has only 1.
Question: which page would convert better?
I’m sure you chose the landing page.
Too many choices on the homepage cause analysis paralysis — people end up not choosing anything at all, thus reducing conversions.
Having fewer links on your landing page has been proven to increase conversion rates because there are fewer distractions. To boost conversions, take your warm bio traffic to a dedicated landing page. Focus on a single campaign.
This alone, even if it’s the only thing you do, will hike your conversions.
3. Link to Your Primary Service Page So You Land Hot Leads
Moving someone from prospect to paying customer is hard work.
Many marketers agree that the buying process has up to 7 stages. But great content plus strategic use of your bio can shrink the process dramatically. Link to your services page in your bio as Jacob McMillen does.
Source: Crazy Egg
…takes you to his copywriting services page.
Source: Jacob McMillen
People who arrive on this page through Jacob’s bio are solid leads. They’re presold. They’ve already been highly impressed by the value he provides for free.
They can’t wait to work with him.
4. Target Key Phrases You Want to Rank for in Search
Securing backlinks for your service pages is challenging.
Usually, when you write for online publications, you aren’t allowed to sell anything in your post.
But all hope is not lost. There’s an out-of-the-box approach you can use to rank for your target phrases — your bio.
Here’s Jacob McMillen discussing this tactic and how he was able to achieve phenomenal success through it.
Service pages are very hard to secure backlinks for. While you can easily link back to your blog posts in guest posts, no self-respecting publication is going to allow in-article backlinks to service or sales pages.
Author bios, on the other hand, are pretty much yours to do with as you please, so they are the perfect place to link to a service page you are wanting to rank. I’ve been able to rank my own primary service page for 40+ terms simply by including backlinks with my target search terms as anchor text in my author bios.
This strategy works well if you write extensively.
5. Offer a Free Download and Grow Your List
A simple but powerful way to move your business forward through your bio is to link to your lead magnet.
See how Peter Sandeen does it below:
His guest post link leads to his lead magnet opt-in page.
Source: Peter Sandeen
This bio opt-in page combination netted him a whopping 440+ new subscribers. Not a bad day’s work, hey 🙂
It gets better.
For higher conversions, make sure your lead magnet dovetails into the subject of your post. A bio from Stephen Roe is a brilliant example in this regard.
In his bio for his guest post “How to Beat Decision Fatigue: The Ultimate Guide,” he offers readers a perfect accompaniment to the piece.
Source: Asian Efficiency
His offer? Beating Decision Fatigue Checklist.
Source: Thoughtful Growth
The lead magnet perfectly suits the topic. It’s a natural next step readers would want to take. Not only that. He rolls out the red carpet for his readers by welcoming them specifically: “Welcome, Asian Efficiency reader.”
6. Go for the Jugular… Ask for the Sale Right Away
A typical traditional sales funnel has several stages that gradually move the prospect from awareness to purchase point.
However, great content coupled with an irresistible offer in your bio can move the prospect from awareness to making the purchase decision much faster.
Kathryn Aragon, former editor of this very site, sells her book in a subtle non-salesy way. She just mentions that she’s the author of a business blog handbook.
Source: Crazy Egg
The link leads to her Amazon page.
I reached out to Kathryn and asked her to share her bio writing secrets. Luckily for you and me, she obliged. Here’s what she said:
Optimizing your author bio is a no-brainer. It’s free real estate, so you definitely want to leverage it to promote your wares. To get the best results, think carefully about how you include the link. First, be conversational, not salesy. Second, keep the bio focused. You should only promote one thing, so make sure it’s your top promotional priority. Finally, think about the destination. Would a landing page be more suitable, or will you link directly to the product page? It may help to test both options to see which works best.
Well put, Kathryn.
This strategy works well for low-cost items like ebooks.
Tripwire products also lend themselves well to this approach since they’re cheap. So you can attract lots of people into your funnel by offering a low-cost product or service in your bio.
You’ll get a chance to upsell them later.
Plus, paying leads convert better than freebie seekers.
7. Boost Your Brand Authority by Noting Your Achievements
Yes, it’s true.
Being an authority can boost your online sales. Use your bio to position yourself as an authority in your niche.
But how do you do it?
Here are 6 ways to boost your authority:
- Leverage press mentions. If you’ve been mentioned in a popular publication, bring attention to it. As long as the story is linked to your industry.
- Mention high-profile blogs you’ve been featured on. If you have written for widely popular blogs in your niche, say so. It’ll give your authority rating a huge boost.
- State any books you may have authored. Include any books you have written. Once again, do this only if it relates to your industry. That means your dog training ebook won’t make it into your financial services bio 🙂
- Raise the banner of your awards high. Earned any industry awards? Include them in your bio. It’ll position you favorably as a leader in your space.
- Showcase your extensive experience. Include the vast experience you have in your space. People will regard you highly and be more likely to try your products or services.
- Reveal giant companies you’ve served. If you’ve been fortunate enough to do business with a heavyweight company, let readers know. It’ll boost your reputation…fast.
Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, uses the last tactic powerfully. He lists the behemoth companies he has helped.
Amazon may not be your customer, but you can still use this strategy to great effect.
8. Create a Consistent Profile Across All Channels
Humans crave consistency.
That’s why when you go to a 3-day conference, you’ll probably sit in the same seat (or row) throughout its duration. The same goes for your branding. To achieve brand consistency, your bio should be similar regardless of which channel you’re on.
Take MarketingProfs Ann Handley for example. Her bio is the same irrespective of channel.
This is Ann on Twitter…
Three strands are constant in all her profiles:
- She’s a content marketer.
- She’s a WSJ best-selling author.
- She’s has a beaming smile.
Because of consistent messaging, her brand is instantly recognizable everywhere. Brand familiarity makes it easier for prospects to trust your brand and to be more likely to respond to your offers. A study by Nielsen showed that 60% of online consumers around the world prefer to buy new products from a familiar brand than switch to a new brand.
And, oh, use the same headshot across all channels.
Mine all the marketing gold embedded in your bio.
Here’s the thing.
Your author bio is a tiny but potent part of your marketing and branding. It’s a conversion gem. You can’t afford to dismiss it a second longer. Take time to craft, test, and tweak it until you get what works for you and your audience.
An author bio optimized for conversions gives your business more:
- Prospects that check you out
- Subscribers added to your list
- Warm leads that convert better
- Sales of your products/services
- Camaraderie with your audience
- Authority and influence in your niche
Are you ready for more of these?
Then go work on that bio. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Where is your bio lacking? Which tip are you going to try first? Or, if you’re crushing it with your bio, please share your secrets. Either way, we want to hear from you in the comments below.
About the Author: Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is an irresistibly handsome (wife’s baseless claims!) website copywriter and long-form content strategist. He helps small and medium brands rapidly grow their income and impact through actionable long-form content that ranks high, builds authority, and drives sales. Contact him now to order conversion-focused, in-depth posts like the one you’ve just read.