With thanks to Doug Jenner who inspired part of this article, here are some typical examples of what NOT to write on your ‘About’ page, and my explanation of why it’s not helping your marketing effort if you do.

“We are passionate about what we do”

Who cares? Even when writing about yourself or your business, you have to answer ‘what’s in it for me’ from the client’s perspective. They don’t care about your passion or lack of it. I regularly pass a baker’s in my local High Street that claims to be ‘passionate about bread’. I don’t believe them! Nobody, but nobody, is passionate about bread. And, whatever they say, it doesn’t tempt me in to buy a loaf. In my view, ‘passion’ should be saved for the bedroom (or the kitchen table…). It is an overused and irrelevant word in business.

“We are highly respected”

Then prove it with testimonials and case studies. What other people say about you is more convincing than anything you can say yourself.

“We are proud that…”

Who cares how proud you are? We only care what you can do for us.

“We provide traditional and old-fashioned service”

Don’t be general; be specific. Give examples. And only ever state things that are important to your customers.

“We provide flexible, personal, tailor-made service”

Yes, that’s what service should be. Again, don’t just tell us; show us what you mean.

“Our clients have distinctly discerning and bespoke needs”

Of course they do, we all do. Do you have any clients that are exactly like me? What did you do for them? Were they happy with the results? Will you be able to do the same for me? That’s all customers care about.

“Our clients are small , medium and large”

You will never sell to ‘everybody’. It’s better to target a specific niche. Anyway, it’s better to give examples, list their names, show their logos.

“We work in partnership with you / as an integral part of the team”

Cliché alert. These over-used statements sound too greedy to include in upfront marketing communications. They don’t say anything except that you want to inveigle your way into my business so I can’t get you out. I want control of deciding how closely I work with my suppliers, or not.

“Only ever as good as our last job”

Cliché again. If that’s really what you want to say, then tell the story of your last job. Explain what happened before you got involved, what you did and what the results were. People buy results.

“No matter how big or small”

Another cliché. Say how big or how small. Use visuals. As big as an elephant or as small as a mouse. From John O’Groats to Land’s End. From a sole trader to a corporate. Paint stunning word pictures for us.

“We go that extra mile / We bend over backwards”

Meaningless puffery. Don’t just say it; prove it with examples.

“We would be happy to talk to you”

Of course you would. You want my money.

I originally wrote this article for Fresh Business Thinking

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