Websites for businesses typically fall into two different categories – service based and product based. The rules around building the two styles of websites are different. For a number of reasons. These are the main two: 

  With a product based website people are only interested in the product. Yes they may like to know where the product comes from or what the values surrounding it are, for example a strong ethical ethos, but that’s pretty much it. The type of websites designed around selling products tend to be heavily image based, light on text and with a repetitive message encouraging people to buy. 

  Websites for service based industries have to work harder than product based sites to get clients on board. It’s not just the service you’re offering that needs to appeal to the visitor, but the whole website. People need to feel they connect with you to go ahead and buy your service. 

Here are ways to increase your website appeal for service based businesses

Speak to your audience directly 

Speaking to people directly takes a certain thought process. We are so used to reading and writing in the third person that it can feel automatic when creating copy for a website. For example: 

“Sarah is a coach who supports people in……”

Not exactly scintillating reading and your visitors have probably read a similar version of that on half a dozen websites before landing on yours. Therefore you need something which connects with your audience straight away. The best way to do this is to focus on them and what you can do for them. For example:

“Hi, I’m Sarah and I love supporting people just like you to overcome your fears and get working on your dream.”

You can change the language and styling of your welcome message but ultimately what you want people to know is: 

  They’re in the right place.

  You’re here to help them.

  You’re speaking their language. 

Which leads us on to: 

Know your ideal customer inside out

Having a detailed description of your ideal customer before you even begin to build your website will set you apart from people who build their website because they know they need one but they aren’t committed to converting website visitors into paying customers. 

It’s tempting, when you’re in the service industry, to try to be all things to all people so no paying customer ever slips through the net. However, this doesn’t work. 

  It waters down your message and doesn’t install confidence in your visitors. 

  Your services can feel a bit ‘every day’ rather than specialist. 

The stronger an identity you assign to your ideal customer, the more they are likely to feel connected to you and engage your services. 

One of my favourite people I’m connected to on LinkedIn is Vic Giménez who is a bilingual copywriter – you can see how he speaks to his audience in his About section of his profile and how he’s translated this to his website copy.

Vic’s style isn’t for everyone and it takes a lot of confidence to pull it off but follow him on LinkedIn for a week and you’ll see how he makes it work….. for his ideal customer. 

So before you do anything else, put pen to paper and start thinking about who your ideal customer is, what type of language they use and if you were introducing yourself to them in person, what would you say?

Use a different font for Calls to Attention

Website copy is a combination of passive copy selling yourself/services to your user and speaking directly to them to get their attention. This is known as a Call to Attention. We often do this by using Titles/Headings and bolding text so the message stands out. 

When using a title to speak directly to your customer a handwriting/brush font can help get the message across. It gives the visitor the impression you are speaking, not to the masses, but to them. For example: 

‘Choosing who to work with can be a tricky process’

‘Choosing who to work with can be a tricky process’

See the difference? The top one is a statement, the bottom one is a shared understanding. 

Fonts play a huge part in captivating your audience on your website. This post details ways to work with them.

Identify your customer’s pain points 

‘Pain point’ is a marketing term which is essentially the reason someone has visited your website. They have a problem and you are there to solve it. This is what the service industry is all about and this is where you can really shine. For example if someone has had a break from work and doesn’t know whether they want to return to their previous role or find a new job they are the ideal customer for a career coach. A call to attention such as: 

Are you nervous about returning to work after a career break? 

or 

You’ve decided to return to work after a career break and you’re feeling a sense of dread.

Identifies a customer’s pain point. The next lines of copy will then expand into how the career coach can solve their problem. 

Which leads us onto: 

Offer a solution 

Once you’ve identified your customers’ pain point it’s essential you offer a solution. For example you’re probably reading this post because you have a service based website and you want to make sure you’re engaging your audience as best you can. This post provides some solutions. 

There’s a well known marketing strategy of pain – agitate – solve. 

This is how it works: 

Pain

You Identify your client’s pain point.

Agitate

You go on to agitate their feelings on it. 

Solve

You offer them a solution to the problem.

If you do step one, and possibly two, but don’t offer the solution, you’ll leave visitors feeling agitated and bad all round. They’ve already got a problem and they’ve been reminded how difficult it is but they don’t have a solution. Trust me – always offer a solution. 

Use aspirational imagery 

When building websites we look for images which represent the service we’re offering. However if the service we offer is a sensitive one – for example working with troubled children or divorcing couples, it can be tempting to use moody images to represent how the client is currently feeling. 

Don’t do this. 

Going back to the point of your service is there to offer a solution the images used should be aspirational ones showing the results of your service. In this case – happy children or couples amicably shaking hands. 

Make it easy for people to choose you

People should know immediately what they want you to do when they’re on your website. Do you want them to read more? Get in touch? Ultimately you want them to engage your services. Have your Call to Action, which tells them exactly what to do, positioned prominently on your website. You can have your Call to Action (usually a button) on every section of the site, flying in on a pop up, in the menu bar. Wherever you like. Just make sure people can reach you. 

When factoring in your Call to Action think about using wording which is a conversation opener. Rather that ‘Get in touch’, try using ‘Book a call to discover how I can help you’.

Hire a proofreader

First impressions are made in the first few seconds of a visitor landing on your website. Therefore it’s important to get it right. You can have the best written text out there and if it’s grammatically incorrect or has typos it’s going to weaken your authority. A proofreader is a surprisingly affordable service which will help you tighten up the mechanics of your text and help you confidently put your message out to the world. 

Conclusion

Service based websites are more difficult than building a website for a product but they are much more rewarding. It’s not just using pretty images and sales tactics. You get to write about you, why you love your service so much you chose a career in it and you can tweak and update it as much as you like. Using the points above will strengthen your authority on your website and help you feel more confident when putting the offering of your service based business into the online world.

TL;DR

Here’s an infographic I created as a Too Long;Didn’t Read version. Feel free to right click and save it to refer to later.

This post was proofread by Melanie Cotton prior to posting.

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