By Dan Lambert, co-founder and CEO of BoardVitals.
Consider this: Google and Facebook accounted for 20 percent of the world's advertising budget in 2016, which is up 9 percent since 2011, according to a Zenith survey detailed on CNBC.com. If it isn't already, your focus as an online marketer should primarily be on creating ads and building an online brand on these two platforms. But how much branding can you convey in a typical ad that's fewer than 100 characters?
At a minimum, you're conveying your brand values and driving clicks to your home page, a landing page or a product page where you're further building your brand and reinforcing it through email marketing and retargeting. Logically, all of these tactics are perfect opportunities to reiterate your core values, but there's one more opportunity where you can add additional value and give your audience another reason to care about you: on your "About Us" page.
It surprises me how often I see companies squander the opportunity to utilize this page when it comes to doing just that. It's a crucial element of every company website because it's the best opportunity to tell your story and humanize your company. It can even set the tone for a visitor's online experience through your website.
When I was part of the marketing team at my company, we built a brand that revolved around two core values: quality content and a 100 percent guarantee. We reinforced these values with our marketing and throughout the site, including our "About Us" page. In the fall of 2016, I was looking for ways for us to improve our conversion rate, and I saw that our About Us page had about an $8 page value in Google Analytics, which was 33 percent lower than the site's average page value (a good page to send paid traffic to).
Looking at just the traffic that visited our "About Us" page, which about one out of every eight of our new visitors did, I thought about how to increase the page value, and came up with the idea of including a video. We already had a recent video that was ready to go: It was professionally shot and featured our two founders telling the story of how BoardVitals came to be.
In this format, the brand's core values aren't written down; they're spoken to the visitor from a human being. I hypothesized that adding this would drive up the page value while also increasing the online brand presence. In the month that followed, the "About Us" page rose to $9.67, about an 8 percent lift from the previous time period. Since then, it has steadily stayed around $9, and our video went from 37 views close to 1,000.
In other words, invest in alternative content that will keep the user on the page longer and spend more time understanding your brand. For us, it makes sense that a simple element like a video on our "About Us" page led to more purchases. When you think about the experience of buying something online versus buying something in the real world, the most obvious difference is the lack of human interaction with e-commerce, but that doesn't change the fact that you need to trust who you're buying from.
If you humanize your brand-building efforts by adding a real person's face, you're making the experience better because it's more akin to the real world. Social media posts, retargeting ads, promotional emails: All of these campaigns are key to building an online brand, there's no doubt about that. When it comes to your website, however, make sure to pay attention to your "About Us" page. Reinforce your core values, but more importantly, tell a story to humanize your brand. You may see an increase in your page value as well.
Dan Lambert is the co-founder and CEO of BoardVitals, a healthcare education company, and is helping to start NursingCE.com, a new nursing continuing education provider.