Product descriptions for services

posted in: product descriptions | 0

I’ve recently written a blog about why gorgeous pictures aren’t enough to sell your products on a website, but as an extension to that, how about a business which produces something which you can’t take pictures of, or which sells a service?

If you think it’s hard writing descriptions for bespoke items, try writing them for intangibles or services! For something like life coaching, or some flavour of business consultancy, how do you go about describing that to people?

You need to tell them about how much better your service will make their situation (whether personal life or business). You could give a selection of scenarios that you could help them with, but you’ll need some kind of data or evidence to bolster your claims. But even that is hard in some cases!

Customer reviews could be the only way to give proof that you’re a good therapist, perhaps – you can’t exactly share before and after pictures!

😢 😃

How do I write scenarios?

One option might be to use case studies: Client A came to me with xyz problem, and we did this, and now they are making more money/much happier in their marriage/etc.

You would obviously need to ask permission from a client before plastering them all over your website. If you work with people in potentially sensitive situations, (personally or commercially) they may not want to be showcased in a case study, so you will need to be sensitive.

Could you combine several marriage counselling clients into an anonymous Mr & Mrs Smith, who were experiencing problems that were similar to your actual clients, but different enough to not be identifiable?

Could you write about Business A and change enough details about their name, product, location and CEO to make it hard to pick them out of a crowd?

group of outline people

What do I need to cover?

The key thing to remember, when writing case studies (or whatever you choose to call them) is that you’re the star here, not them. You need to emphasise the role you played and the actions you took to arrive at the place where the customer is delighted with things.

The flip side of that is that there is no bad guy here. You must be careful to write in such a way that neither your customer, or their previous accountant/architect/CEO who got them into this mess is slighted. And while you might get away with vilifying the government (planning regulations, Brexit changes, etc, etc) it might be best to treat that as an inevitable hurdle to overcome, rather than the arch nemesis of the situation.

  What you need to say… …and why
1 Enough background that readers coming new to the situation will understand that something needed to be done.   Assume people aren’t familiar with the finer details of your subject, rather than blinding them with acronyms.
2 Enough supporting information so that readers can see that what you have added here is what has made the difference.   If people don’t understand the scenario, they won’t appreciate your input.
3 The journey that you went on with your client, the points you addressed, the changes you introduced, and the hurdles you overcame en route.   This helps build engagement with the process, and will help potential customers see your methodology.
4 How you worked with your client to help them, with emphasis on you helping them, not you taking over their world.   Potential clients will appreciate knowing you’re not going to fix them and then leave them high and dry, in a yo-yo dieting scenario.
5 Where you left the client. With quotes from them, saying how great it is now, and how lovely it has been to work with you.   Happy clients’ own words carry more weight than your sales pitch – naturally you think your own service is awesome!
6 Highlights. 3 bullet points with the main points of the story you’re telling here.   It’ll help you focus on the nuggets you wish to draw out, and gives the reader something to hold on to as well.  

If you can create a standard template, with headings into which each case study can be slotted, that makes it easier for you to write them, as well as for others to read them.

Try to cover a variety of different situations – 6 subtly different small cafés in West Cornwall will showcase your talent for working with cafés, but if you also worked with a larger restaurant, a mobile taco van, a catering team at a care home, and a bed-and-breakfast, in the last year, write about them too. Your reader might have a mobile burrito bar, and be much more interested in your work with the taco van people than a static café.

I hope that helps – if you’re still stuck, or think better verbally than on paper, feel free to ramble at me, and leave me to translate that to a sensible set of written case studies for your business.

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