People Pictures on the Website?

I’ve had a lot of discussion about the About page on an agency website and specifically the people who are featured or not. I’ve looked at a lot of about pages, and they run the gamut, telling me that most agencies don’t consider what the About page is really all about. We’ve all seen the trends come and go — crazy creative people pictures, people who resemble their dog pictures, what kind of animal are you pictures, no pictures, pictures of everyone, and any combination in between. In so many cases, the agency isn’t sure of the best approach because they don’t think about the role of people pictures and who it serves.

They will steal my people

The most frequent argument for not showing people is the fear of recruiters, competitors, even clients, using the page to identify talent and steal them away. I have heard this from recruiters and clients but it won’t make a difference either way. If someone is after your talent, there are too many ways they can find them, i.e., LinkedIn. Not showing them on the site won’t stop the poaching. Paying them well and treating them right is a much better deterrent.

I don’t want to offend anyone

And then there is the excuse of not being sure who to show, or offending anyone who is left off. What most agency owners confuse is that the people page is not for the agency. It is for the benefit of the prospect who wants to see it. The people you show and their accompanying bio should be written to that prospect and demonstrate why they should consider your agency. The people they are most interested in are those who will be responsible for their success.

Does size matter

Often smaller agencies think showing their people will only reinforce their smallness. That may be true but can you really hid the facts? Eventually, the truth will come out. Wouldn’t you rather know up front before you invest precious time and resources in a prospect who thinks you are too small? Other agencies take the opposite approach and show everyone in hopes of looking big, many without title or responsibility leaving it up to the prospect to hunt and pick through photos. Having searched through hundreds of agency websites, it is a very time-consuming and frustrating exercise. Not the kind of experience you want to put a potential new client through.

It’s not for us

Let’s step back and think about this from the visitor’s perspective. That is the people who are coming to your site to see if you are a viable agency to work with. The reason they go to your people page is to answer a few key questions before they decide to engage in any further exploration.

· Who is in charge here, who are the leaders? Do they look trustworthy, confident and fun to work with?

· Who specifically is responsible for the services and results the agency is promoting?

· Does the head of digital have the requisite experience I expect they should and is the media leader someone I can trust with my millions?

· Who are the people who will solve my problems?

· Do they have the background and accomplishments that give me confidence they can help me?

· What are their backgrounds and what makes them successful?

· Do these people look like the kind of team I can and want to work with?

· And, more relevant today, Is there diversity in the leadership?

If someone visiting your site wants to know more or refer you to someone else, they will be more inclined to do so if they have a picture in their mind of you and your team. If they have a face to put with your name, you become much easier to remember. And they will feel more comfortable engaging with you on the phone or in person if they know what you look like. Not a dog body-person, an artist’s interpretation or an Andy Warhol series, but a real, current and professional photo.

It is better to show the right ones

The best approach is only to show the people who are personally responsible for the primary services of the agency and the firm’s leader(s) who are ultimately responsible for the success of the client. Sorry but prospects aren’t going to care who the AE or accountant is. If you are small, use it as a strength, “I am the owner and personally responsible for your strategy and media planning because the best results come from ideas that flow seamlessly from strategy to execution. Why repeat yourself to five people when you can say it once to me?” If you have a head of strategy, media, digital, analytics, show them off. Tell the visitor why this person is the right person for the job and what that means for their success. At the core, agencies are the people. Why wouldn’t you make them the heroes?

Check your analytics. The About page is one of the most-visited pages on your site, and the people section is the first stop. It’s one of the top five things a new prospects wants to know about you. The people on the About page are a crucial part of your story and prospects confirm this. It’s not enough to have extraordinary creative or smart strategy. Your next client has to see that in your people, look into their eyes and move forward trusting that your team is the one. The easier you make it for them to decide, the faster you’ll know if they are a fit or not. The better you make your About story; the better the fit will be.

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