Your web pages aren’t meant to give your readers a spectacular view of your business. They are meant to act as a device that takes your reader from one place to the next. As Seth Godin says in “Knock Knock,” there are three questions all your web pages must answer:
- Who’s here?
- What do you want them to do?
- How can you instantly tell a persuasive story to get them to do #2?
To accomplish these three things for your services web pages, begin by making a list of your services. Then follow these five tips as you write copy for each one.
1. Don’t talk about yourself
Your reader doesn’t want to read all about you. No one wants to listen to your grandstanding. Regardless of what a fabulous product and service you provide, you’re not that interesting.
People want to hear about you in terms of how well you can help them solve a problem or fulfill a need. People are basically only interested in themselves. Surprise, surprise. This is something you should’ve learned in kindergarten.
Write about your unique skills, special applications, and new improvements, but only with the angle that speaks to your audience’s needs. If it’s not ultimately about them, then it’s not going to capture their attention.
2. Keep your mission clear
Your home page is the obvious place for your mission. This could also be phrased as what you promise to do, what are your goals, or what purpose your business serves. This message should also be present on your service page.
A brief statement that describes what drives you as a company at the beginning of your service page reminds your readers of your mission and helps them to connect. They will be more likely to think of you as human beings who care about what you’re doing. Restating your purpose gives your readers a sense of reassurance that there’s more to your brand than a sales transaction.
A good way to include your mission in your service page is to rephrase it so it serves as the perfect introduction to your services. This helps your customer-focused approach as well.
3. Focus on the benefits
It’s tempting to write about your services by describing the features. Usually this leads to technical descriptions which can be boring, difficult to understand, and not enticing. If you want to encourage readers to stick around, you’ve got to make it about how it benefits them.
Find out what the benefits are by focusing on the results. What do the boring features provide for your customers? A benefit answers the question, “What’s in it for the reader?”
This is the same question all writers must ask. Whether you’re writing a novel, an essay, or online copy, you need to address this question. Many years ago my aunt gave me this same advice. It’s what entices people to keep reading, to care, or to buy.
Your new Apple TV might have all sorts of new improvements, but they’re only important to you based on how they impact your experience. Apple tells its readers the benefits with a straightforward chart listing the new TV features alongside a benefit summary.
For example, “family sharing” means you get to play your family’s purchases. The new “ask to buy” makes sure children get permission before buying items from iTunes. And the “peer-to-peer” software means guests can use Airplay from their Mac or iOS device directly to the Apple TV without wireless.
Now we care about these features because it’s clear how they benefit us.
4. Use hypnotic “power words”
The right words you use to entice your readers have hypnotic power. These words possess an innate ability to produce a subconscious psychological reaction. Don’t believe it? Try Googling it and see what you find out.
The top three hypnotic power words are imagine, you, and because. Each one has its own effect on readers,
- The word “imagine” is the stimulus that creates a visual reaction, allowing your readers to experience how it feels to use your product or service.
- The word “you” capitalizes on the self-obsessed nature everyone has, making things personal and stimulating our self-interest.
- The word “because” gives us what we crave to know: the why of something. As in the example of The Copy Machine study, our subconscious minds don’t even need a good reason. We just crave any reason at all.
5. Keep it short
Your readers want it to be all about them, and they want it to be quick and easy. From meal plans to hairstyles, to exercises, to DIY projects, quick and easy is the selling point.
I know. So demanding.
Everyone is busy, we’re all in a hurry, and what we consume on the internet fits in with this fast-moving lifestyle. According to the research on how people read on the web, the results show that people don’t.
They don’t read. They scan. People pick out words and phrases. In fact, only 16 percent read text word for word. What does this mean? Why bother writing copy at all? Is anyone even reading this sentence? You have to wonder.
It means write using text that is easily scannable with:
- Bullets and numbers
- Headings and sub-headings
- Keywords that are highlighted as links, bolded, italicized, or in color
- White space to break up the copy and guide readers down the page
- Inviting images, graphics, and videos to hold your reader’s attention
Keep your copy short, with each paragraph composed of a single idea. Check out popular sites and blogs and get a feel for the short paragraph style. Your service description has to tell the story in as few words as possible, without leaving anything critical out.
When you want to write effective service descriptions for your website like a boss, follow these five tips and You might want to include a cute cat image somewhere, because cats rule the internet. Imagine that.