How to write services pages that sing

Sharon Tanton

Your services pages should make you look both indispensable and buyable. Here are some valuable tips on how to write yours right and persuade ideal customers to take action.

Feeding the content generation monster

When it comes to writing website copy, it’s the services pages that often cause the biggest headache.

The Home and About Us and Blog pages get all the careful copywriting love, and the services pages end up as the poor relation. Websites that have carefully avoided jargon and over complicated language in their top line pages kind of give up and just let it all hang out in the services area.

Not paying such close attention to the words here is a wasted opportunity. Your services pages will benefit from telling the same customer focused story as the rest of the site. Make them engaging. They’re crucial, they’re where you sell.

Why are services pages hard?

Because this is the crux of your business. It’s what you do for money. What are we actually selling? What services are we delivering? How will people engage us? What do we charge? What’s our process? For many businesses, these questions are not as easy to answer as you might think.  But you need clarity on them if you want to write service pages that are clear to read, and prompt the right customers to take action.

Whether it’s products or services or programmes, get clear on what people are buying from you and how you’re going to deliver. Put time into this before you try and start writing.

Be bold about what you’re selling, and the value you’re delivering. If you’re feeling woolly or under-confident, chat through your business model with a coach.

How to make writing services pages easier

Services pages are hard too because they need to get granular. People are looking for more detail here. On your home page you’re looking to capture key messages in a few words, while on your services pages you’ve got more room to expand. The pace is different, but that doesn’t mean the tone of voice should change altogether.

1. Focus on your ideal customer

The easiest way to avoid a jarring jolt between the top pages on your website and the deeper ones is to maintain a steely-eyed focus on your potential customer and what they’re looking for. Remember they’re interested in what you can do specifically for them, not what you do generally for the whole world. It can be easy to slip into ‘we we we’ on service pages, but the best and most customer focused ones make sure they keep talking more about ‘you.’ Try this brilliant Customer Focus Calculator to see how ‘we we‘ your service page is: www.customerfocuscalculator.com]

“The easiest way to avoid a jarring jolt between the top pages on your website and the deeper ones is to maintain a steely-eyed focus on your potential customer.”

2. A conversational tone of voice

Even though you’re necessarily going to giving more detail here, you can still make use of good conversational tone of voice tactics. Don’t lose all the words that give your top level pages their personality. Even though you’re definitely talking business here, there’s still room for conversational words that radiate warmth and intimacy. Active verbs, and unexpected adjectives that tickle the senses keep people reading. A good metaphor that makes people smile and feel understood has as much of a place on a service page as it does when its trying to make that first connection on a home page. And framing what you do in terms of client questions, rather than third person statements makes these pages feel customer focused. 

It’s the difference between leading with ‘Optimisation services to increase online revenue. Choose your package here.’ and ‘How can I get customers to add more to basket? Here’s how our revenue-boosting optimisation services work.’

Leading with specific, client-focused language grounds what you do in the real everyday world so it’s easier to feel the value you deliver.

A couple of customer-focused structures for your services pages

a) Short and sweet (covers most bases)

  1. Who this is for
  2. Why they need it
  3. What it is
  4. How it works
  5. Next steps

Information security experts Ascentor follows this format: Check out their Information Risk. 

b) Client question led (for more complex services)

  1. Service title. 
  2. One line summary of service in client focused language. Get the most important information up front. Make it short yet compelling, like Evernote.

Service page opening message Evernote

  1. Call to action for the people who are already convinced.
  2. Your questions. A list of up to 8 client challenges that your service solve
  3. Who is this for? Summary of who exactly this service is aimed at. Job title, role, challenge, personality traits.
  4. Benefits of this service. What people will get from buying this service.
  5. Overcome objections. Tackle the objections you know will be on your ideal clients mind.
  6. How it works. Your process in brief.
  7. Credibility check. Link to relevant case study. Glowing client testimonials.
  8. Expertise check. Link to relevant blog or other valuable content
  9. Call to action. If they’ve read this far they’re interested in learning more, so give them a named person to ring (with photo that doesn’t make them look like a serial killer) rather than a soulless email contact form.

Try writing an About You page

A really good way to bridge the gap between About Us and Our Services is to write an About You page as an additional top level menu item. 

We’re big fans of About You pages as a way of filtering the right people towards your services. This is a page where you focus completely on your customer and their challenges, and guide them towards the relevant services.

Digital marketing consultancy Newfangled does this really well – check their About You page out: https://www.newfangled.com/about-you/.

About you page Newfangled

Here’s how we do it at VC and here’s some guidance on how to get that ideal customer crystal clear in your mind.

Look indispensable and buyable

This is the place you sell, but keep the tone helpful and engaging. Showing an empathetic understanding of a client’s challenge, and how, exactly your services meet that challenge is the point of a services page. Your aim is to make your services look both indispensable and buyable.

Learn from the pros

The best service and product landing pages answer all the big questions for the ideal client – who, why, how, what, where, what next – and also add some personality/humanity. They overcome all the stumbling blocks in the reader’s head, gently persuading them that this service is exactly what they’re looking for.

Look at the way our very favourite web writer Henneke Duistermaat does it. She’s a genius in the art of persuasive, personality filled sales copy.

Good luck!

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Sharon,

    I saw this post on Twitter today and thought, “How timely!” 🙂

    I’m about to finally give my service pages the attention they deserve. I’ve been dragging it for a while because it felt like a really complicated task. But now when I look at your checklist and see a clear “page roadmap” I’m less afraid to dive into it 🙂

    I have one observation to share though, about “About You” navigation label.

    We can’t know for sure without testing (or breaking into Google Analytics of Newfangled), but theoretically speaking, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have “About You” instead of “Services”.

    Here’s why:

    When your visitors look at your navigation, it’s not because they are planning to read every word. They are scanning it for a particular label. They are looking for “Blog” if they want to read more blog posts. “About” if they got curious about who you are. “Services” if they want to know what you do.

    And as “About You” is not a typical label, while scanning your navigation, they will:

    1) Either overlook it (especially if they aren’t looking for an About page and if it’s placed in the middle of your navigation)

    2) Or would have to pause and think about what it means (“Why does a website that doesn’t know me suddenly wants to tell me… about me?”). And research shows that, contrary to what one may expect, if a CTA / link copy is unclear, fewer people click on it. It seems not to ignite their
    curiosity but rather create uncertainty and friction.

    So I would suggest treating “About You” navigation label – an unusual navigation label that makes people pause and think – as an interesting experiment, but not as an equivalent to a “Services” navigation label – a common navigation label that sets clear expectations and doesn’t require your visitors to think about it.

    Sure, as website owners, we’d like to stand out, be different, and make our visitors remember us. But “different” always creates friction. Sometimes it’s worth it, but I think if you’re being different with your navigation labels you’re just being difficult.

    What do you think?

    Greetings from Germany,

    Gill

    Reply
  2. Sharon Tanton

    Hi Gill, thanks for commenting, so glad the post was timely.

    You’re absolutely right about the About You page. I meant it as additional to the Services Section, and not as a replacement. (I’ve tweaked the copy now so I hope my point is clearer!) Newfangled has both About You and What We Do sections, with an interesting connection between the two.

    I agree it’s best to stick to the words your reader will be looking for – I’d use Services, or How We Help or What We Do.

    Many thanks again, good luck updating your pages.

    Sharon

    Reply
  3. Sharon,

    Great post. I like that you use the phrase, “what we do for money” — that’s something I intentionally say to every client with whom I work because it always catches them off guard. I want to bluntly remind them that this whole content marketing endeavor means nothing if it doesn’t help generate new opportunity for them that they can turn into revenue.

    And so, pages that specifically describe the form our expertise can take — I tend to call them “positioning pages” — are just as essential to the function of an effective marketing website as those thousands and thousands of content marketing pages that contain your insights. The way I describe the purpose of a marketing website is to attract researcher interest (principally, through content marketing) and then graduate it to evaluator and buyer activity. That cannot be done without connecting our generalized expertise — our blogs, white papers, webinars, podcasts, etc. — to clear explanations of how we customize that expertise for paying clients. That’s where our services come in.

    I actually believe that every organization, regardless of whether they sell discrete services, can have service landing pages. As you mention, they should be aggregated on a capabilities-focused landing page (e.g. “What We Do”), which describes generally the mission of an organization and how it fits into its market. Most firms with whom I’ve worked don’t have a la carte services, but they do have a regular process or approach (e.g. a standard engagement) that comprises several unique disciplines. I think that if a portion of your ideal engagement involves a unique person, process, goal or outcome, it should be given its own page to explain those things. That’s a service landing page for a firm without traditionally individualized services.

    As you point out, copy for these pages is sensitive. I’ve also outlined the key elements that these pages should contain (in one part of a five-part series on the key pages that help with graduating researcher interest to buyer activity): https://www.newfangled.com/best-practices-for-agency-service-landing-pages/

    Thanks for getting a good discussion going!

    – CB

    Reply
  4. Sharon Tanton

    Thanks Chris, that’s super helpful, as always.

    Love your laser focus on positioning, and your clear description of what a service page needs. Many thanks again,

    Sharon

    Reply

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