Zen and the Art of Writing a Services Page. Like a CopyMaster.

Not every website has something to sell, but gee, that’s increasingly rare. Especially for you reading this website. You care about marketing copy; you likely have products or services.

services page pen to zenEven if YOU are the product or your OPINION is the service, chances are, your site would benefit from a page where readers see a summary of what you offer and have a chance to grab it. That’s what we’re calling your “Services” page for our purposes here.

Your approach to your services page will vary because the intention for your relationship with your audience will vary. We covered this in the prequel post on providing a service.

But there are some pretty reliable specifics we can resort to right off the bat. So I need to flip the order of my subheads here:

The Art Part

I’m not big on formulas, but I do like essential ingredients. In this case, the content should be:

  • Descriptive (to what degree depends on what you’re selling, how, your audience, and your brand voice)
  • Informative (to what degree depends on what you’re selling, how, your market space and your audience)
  • Compelling/Appealing (to your audience, recognizing various stages in the sales cycle)
  • Actionable

The degrees I’m speaking about matter. Let’s use my Services page vs. a few other really good ones in other market spaces, to illustrate how these elements play out.

How Descriptive?

On my pen to Zen Services page, I describe:

  • What I do with my copy & marketing services
  • What the key benefits are with my services
  • How those benefits make my services unique
  • How my process works and how it is beneficial and unique
  • The four ways a client can book me
  • Why a client might book me in each of those four ways
  • How long it takes to get the work done
  • How much it costs
  • Links to book me on Gumroad, with larger descriptions of processes

By comparison, described on the ServiceMaster page (cleaning division):

  • Residential Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning (w/Learn More or Request Estimate buttons)
  • Commercial Janitorial & Specialty Cleaning (w/Learn More or Request Estimate buttons)
  • Disaster Restoration; Fire & Water Damage Cleaning (w/same two buttons)
  • “Restoring Peace of Mind” copy with link to more on Disaster Recovery

The difference in how descriptive our pages are has a lot to do with our audiences–ServiceMaster’s is MUCH broader, and more familiar with the services they offer. Also, there’s how we sell our services. ServiceMaster is a franchise with widespread locations–their page has to direct people from broad information about easily understood services to specific providers. Mine needs to do the opposite, by showing specific uses of my particular services in the very broad category of copywriting.

Interestingly, our voices are not all that different! You’ll find comfort, relief, voice of experience, and speed of service articulated in both sets of copy.

PS: Bonus points if you picked up on another similarity: ServiceMaster and CopyMaster. I like this company. They were one of my first clients, ever, in the 80s when they were still in Illinois. They always seemed to keep their promises.

How Informative?

The information provided on a website can directly overlap descriptiveness, but it can also be more about facts. Or about extending credibility.

On the ServiceMaster page, the “Restoring Peace of Mind” copy is a perfect example. It’s descriptive of the services that are provided after a disaster like a flood, but it also is informative, because many people are unaware that this sort of restoration is possible.

Information can also coincide with actionable copy or compelling copy. Such as the Find a Location Form that completes the ServiceMaster Services page. We need to know how to get to the provider of the service we want. It’s that easy.

For product pages, or complex services in highly competitive market spaces (such as elderly dementia home health care… or personal training), more information can be a boost to sales. We see how this works on the Proactiv.com, the site for the popular acne treatment.

This page is brilliantly titled “Order Now,” not even Products or Treatment Systems. Due to its audience, and its method of selling a part-cosmetic/part-clinical/part-pop culture item on an automatic shipment plan, the descriptions are full but there is a lot of information as well:

  • Kit choices, components, prices
  • Who is it for, what does it do?
  • How do I use it, does it really work?
  • When will it come, what else do I get?
  • How much is shipping, anything else I get?
  • Is that all I get??? How do I pay?

The Zen Part

Compelling people, making appeals to be more desireable by hitting “pain points,” (in quotes because it’s an actual sore spot with me, pun tolerated)… we have to put our Zen hats on here. Errr, robes. Whatever.

Even when we discuss the importance of crafting actionable copy? Yes. That’s the goal, isn’t it–getting people to act?

Well, no. I want to make sure that’s not what you think “we’re” saying: let’s get people to do what we want by showing them we understand what’s bothering them so much. See, I’m not quite down with that.

Instead, how about recognizing that visitors to your Services page might be ready to buy, but then again, might simply be curious, wondering what it will take to buy your stuff one day when they are ready? This is important and it is reality. Give people many chances to buy your stuff, on any page of your website; now there’s a good idea I support.

But please, let them get away with their dignity and with generally good feelings, even when they leave without buying anything. Think about how they might return, confident that you have the way to help them, not with the wound still festering that you put there when you poked in their pain point!

How Compelling or Appealing?

How often do you buy products and services on websites you visit, the very first, second or third time? It’s not unheard of, but for most of us, it’s not the norm. That’s why I recommend using your copy to establish a sales cycle that anyone can funnel into. Your services page seems like a hotbed of activity for those ready to pull the trigger? Okay, be appealing.

Compelling even. But compel with your charm, brains, convenience or whatever it is that people like you for. And plenty of proof that you’re a good match for them and can do the job like you have for others. [Did you read my 30-Minute CopyMaster book yet? If so, you know this stuff. If not, get it, read it: you could skip this part!]

Use your authentic brand voice. Then add social proof, testimonials, links to samples… these should have compelled them to land on the page in the first place. A few reminders here will help seal the deal.

Look at Ace Hardware–one of the most beloved franchise operations in the United States (as voted by both customers and franchisees) for years. At the corporate level, they don’t own all the stores that provide the products and services referred to on this page. But it’s a fabulous example of being both compelling and appealing without hitting you over the head. What do we learn from this page?

  • They have a lot
  • They do a lot
  • They are easy to find
  • They reward you for going there
  • You can get exclusive offers
  • They care about you and their stores: “Support” was the longest list in the footer

How Actionable?

Highly. As long as it’s not obnoxious. Call out for them to get the services, buy the products, get on the list, read the book, join the club, make a reservation. Whatever it is.

Make it easy for them, too.

But, if your page is littered with BUY TODAYs and ONLY $1000 and HURRY ACT NOWs, you’re moving from Highly Actionable to Easily Dislikable.

service page actionable pen to ZenRemember, there’s a difference between pulling over to pick up a hitchhiker, then they see you and say, “oh, uh, no thanks, man” then you say “GET IN THE DAMNED CAR NOW!” … and trying to offer someone a ride, they say no, and you smile and drive away thinking, “Huh. Maybe I ought to shower and shave or something.”

Just sayin’. Opinions are my own of course. Would love to hear yours!

photos by: avrene & scazon

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One Response to Zen and the Art of Writing a Services Page. Like a CopyMaster.

  1. Darren June 19, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    This might be one of my favorite articles by you yet. Perhaps because you helped me with copy when I originally launched my site and one of the areas where you really excelled was on my services page.

    I didn’t have a clear vision of how to “market” or explaini my services, however you were able to guide me to getting clear as well as showing me I had more to offer than what I realized.

    I’ve since modified my services page but it’s still in flux.

    I’m going to review what I have against this article and your own services page. I just might be in touch for a quick tuneup!

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