Creating Marketing

Writing About Services: Selling the Consumer Experience

Writing About Services: Selling the Consumer Experience
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Your task: Entice the world to use your new client’s services. The challenge? You work in marketing, so the copy can’t sound like a salesman’s well-rehearsed elevator pitch filled with specs and benefits. So, what do you write about? Oh, so much my dear friend. Remember: Marketing educates and inspires your readers to realize the value in the service they’re exploring, then take action. Your superpower is inspiring consumers to see beyond price tags.

“With services, you’re selling an experience.” – Microsoft 365

When do writers write about services?

When do writers write about services?

Your client will share their content plan with you, which outlines the content types they want to create to support the marketing of their services. Each of these assets will focus on selling the skills and expertise of the brand’s staff that fuel a service, not a tangible product. For example, think of a real estate agent. When you hire one, your fee is buying his knowledge of the home-buying process, housing industry and local community.

The following assets are commonly requested by our service-offering clients here at ClearVoice:

  • Article
  • Blog post
  • Customer story
  • Email drip campaign
  • FAQ
  • Landing page
  • Presentation
  • Press release
  • User’s guide
  • Website copy

2 brands that excelled at service-focused marketing

Let’s take a closer look at two examples of marketing that makes specific services irresistibly necessary. These two brands do an excellent job of aligning with their target audiences, digging deep to understand their pain points and offering service-based solutions.

Customer story with Home Depot

1. Rev: Customer story with Home Depot

When you hear about transcription services, you probably think of writers needing phone interviews morphed into text documents. But in the customer stories published by Rev (a provider of transcriptions, captions and subtitles), middle-of-funnel corporate consumers quickly realize nearly any brand could utilize these services.

In a story about Home Depot, Rev explains how the home improvement retailer wanted to make their training resources accessible to all employees. Rev provided English captions, Spanish subtitles and document translations to give each Home Depot team member equal access to the educational materials. The story addresses the customer’s challenges in detail, what solutions were provided and how they impacted the company both from a human resources perspective and cost-benefit analysis. This insider vignette is winning as it highlights not only the value for the staff of Home Depot, but also for their budget-eyeing executives who enjoyed a reduction in subtitling costs by 90 percent.

LifeLock: Landing page about identity theft

2. LifeLock: Landing page about identity theft

We live much of our lives online, and are acutely aware of the damage hackers do. But, how much do we really understand about their entry points and our minimizing risk? Online identity theft protection service provider LifeLock created a landing page to educate and entice readers to learn more about protecting themselves.

On this top-of-funnel page, I learned which types of information are vulnerable by life stages and how this information might get used illegally. For example, did you realize hackers look for children’s social security numbers (because they have a clean credit record), then open up new accounts in those names? Yikes!

So, if you’ve had a new baby and are submitting insurance forms online to get the little one coverage, that social security number could be exposed. The LifeLock landing page does finish with some sales copy, which is fine by me. I’m sold on learning more about how to protect myself online and appreciate the detailed bullet point lists, convenient 1-800 number and links to additional information. The page overall feels genuinely informative and helpful.

How can writing about services enhance your content?

How can writing about services enhance your content?

When your consumer can’t immediately engage their senses by touching, seeing, hearing, tasting or smelling something you’re promoting, you have to get inside their head to make them imagine themselves engaging with the service. You’re selling an experience. Once they’re hooked, it’s like any other sales funnel. Move them through and get them to buy, with the power of your creative words.

This piece by Microsoft challenges us to think beyond the usual product, price, promotion and place factors of product marketing, and get in tune with people, process and physical evidence (like testimonials and reviews) when engaging in service marketing.

Writing about services in this way enhances your content via perspective. Your consumer can see how the service could benefit them and playout to improve a situation.

Writing this type of content will ultimately:

  • Move buyers through your sales funnel
  • Boost conversion rates on your website
  • Educate consumers on a relatable level
  • Make your brand more empathetic
  • Differentiate your service from others
  • Do this when writing about services

4 do's for writing about services

4 do’s for writing about services

So, just how do we sell an experience that someone could have? We put on our persuasive, creative hats and speak at a granular level to our target audience, share glowing recommendations from current users of the service, weave in effective SEO strategies and tie it all up in a nice little package with ample research and data to back up the perceived experience you’re selling. Here’s how.

1. Do speak to your target audience.

It’s most common for marketers to create three audience segments, according to HubSpot. Has your client specified which one you’re writing for? They might offer up vignettes of potential consumers via buyer persona profiles for you to study. These target audience guides go far beyond basic demographics. Expect to learn minute details, like the names of other brands this consumer uses, how they spend their weekends and what books they’re reading. All of these tips give insight into the lives of the people you’re trying to hook with your words.

2. Do include current service user testimonials.

Once you have the attention of a razor-focused audience, introduce them to people like themselves. Share testimonials of satisfied consumers who use the service and share first-person insight. OptinMonster, an online lead generation software, says testimonials provide social proof, a psychology-based phenomenon where people follow the actions of others in their pursuit of managing good choices. It’s the old, if it worked for them, it will work for me mentality.

3. Do combine keywords with specific service names for SEO.

As you craft the copy, be extra mindful of the SEO integration your client is requesting. I’ve had brands ask me to be sure to use both the designated keywords and the branded service name near one another not only in the body of the text, but also in subheadings and the title. Making this flow seamlessly without feeling keyword-stuffed is where your talent comes into play. Edit, edit, edit until that copy is seamless and enjoyable to browse. The Alexa blog shares an excellent primer on the types of keywords your client may supply to you, including market segment keywords, customer-defining keywords, branded keywords and geo-targeted keywords.

4. Do offer research and references.

Finally, remember to appeal to the analytical thinkers who are crunching the numbers before pressing the Buy button. Can you explain the ROI of the service with in-depth analysis and charts? Can you share case studies of others who have used the service, then enjoyed financial savings because of it? Readers love to see proof the service works. Period. The task automation experts from Zapier recommend businesses establish references, or current clients who are willing to speak with a potential buyer of the service. As a writer, mentioning that references are available for potential buyers to visit with could be the sentence that moves a lead into the bottom-of-funnel.

Writing about a client's service and feeling... stumped? @AngelaTague shares two examples of service-focused marketing and lots of writing tips in this post! #contentmarketing #writingtips Click To Tweet

4 Don’ts for writing about services

4 don’ts for writing about services

When writing about something your buyer can’t see or touch, your ideas might begin to drift in directions that just aren’t cool in the business world. Taking a we’re better than the other guy approach is petty. Overpromising sets the brand’s sales team up for failure. Be clear on what your client wants you to articulate in your marketing copy and avoid these common missteps.

1. Don’t compare the service to a competitor’s offering.

When you anchor your marketing copy on comparisons, you’re simply giving curious readers a list of other businesses to investigate. They’ll likely open a few more tabs and see what the other guys have to offer. Yikes! Then they’re no longer on your client’s website. And if that isn’t enough reason to keep your copy focused on the brand you’re contracted to write about, taking a comparison approach could invite legal issues. This Moz blog post digs deep into this angle that’s worth reviewing if your client insists on sharing details about competitor services.

2. Don’t sell and leave leads dangling.

The marketing automation software folks at Marketo remind us “lead nurturing is a key driver moving leads through the funnel.” As a writer, what can you do to nurture, not abandon those leads? Let’s say you’ve written a killer landing page or ebook that leaves readers intrigued with the service you’re discussing. They get to the last word, and think on it. Why not end the text with a call to action that entices them to take the next step? Will your client let you mention a free trial period of the service? Or, can you explain that you’d love to write copy for their retargeting efforts, such as a Facebook ad or email drip campaign?

3. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

A reader is consuming the words you write for one reason: to learn more. What is the service? What can it offer them? What are the benefits? How does it fit into their needs? As you write, explain exactly which issues the service solves — and have enough transparency to explain what it doesn’t do. AdAge explains, “Sometimes reality is hard to face, but the more you know your company’s weaknesses, the easier it is to build a successful value proposition. Mostly this process involves identifying why a customer would have a valid reason to abstain from your company’s offering.” Never mislead potential consumers with false claims or promises. Ever. Your credibility as a writer and the client’s reputation hinges on honesty.

4. Don’t get too focused on the now.

Here’s the reality of services marketing copy: It gets sliced, diced and repurposed. As you draft the client’s content, they will likely want you to keep the tone evergreen, or timeless. This means not leaning into the current news, holidays, pop culture, seasons or even industry trends as the backbone of your text. Why? It will appear outdated once that topic is no longer in the headlines. Search marketing company WordStream reminds us evergreen content is sustainable, lasting and relevant to readers long after the initial publishing.

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Takeaway tips for writing about services

Takeaway tips for writing about services

When you’re hired to write this type of copy, think longevity. Will the words make sense for buyers seeking this service today, and next year? Since the brand is investing in professional copywriting, they want it to be relevant for as long as they are selling the service.

As you write, remember these points:

  • Sell the experience of using the service and how it will make the user feel or solve a problem.
  • Do share testimonials and references from people who have used the service to build consumer confidence via social proof.
  • Work with the provided keywords and SEO provided by the client in lieu of grabbing interest with current events.
  • Be honest about what the client is actually selling and focus your text on the exact audience they are targeting.

Curious to understand this type of writing in more depth? Learn about the duties of writers creating landing pages and press releases, two categories service-based brands often hire ClearVoice writers to craft. Ready to write? Claim your ClearVoice Portfolio today!

More in our “Writing About…” series:

About the author

Angela Tague

Angela Tague writes SEO marketing content for major lifestyle, business and pet brands including Tom's of Maine, Kaytee and Sleep Number. She earned a degree in Journalism & Mass Communications from the University of Iowa and has been creating photographs and written content for newspapers and freelance clients since 1998.