Website content is tricky. The more you appear to sell, the less you will sell. Online "selling" is sharing. The more you share, the greater your chances of converting a visitor into a buyer.
Here are six tips for selling services online.
Walk the Line - the beam between sharing and selling is razor thin, learn to walk the line.
Be Confident - pitch inclusively because doing so creates trust and confidence.
Use Exceptions - use exceptions to prove your rules.
Context - always sell your services in some greater context.
Be Specific - claims need examples and detail or your marketing is talking to itself about itself.
Select Your Facts - facts beat supposition, and you get to select what will make your best case.
We LOVE exceptions to rules because they create chances to discuss something exciting while highlighting a rule, usually a "rule" we've created. Stress what is unique and challenging to replicate about your exceptions. Hard to compete with Amazon on price, so focus on service and community. Here's how we would position the "value is more than price" rule, a rule we created to favor a smaller online retailer.
The Amazon pricing algorithm adjusts pricing by region, time, and possibly even by person. Amazon's ever-changing prices make it hard to compete, and we're betting that's the idea. We know our loyal customers care about value, so if your Amazon price beats ours, let us know. For our customers “value” includes award-winning service and online community. Amazon proves the "value" is about more than the price rule.
Services need context, or they become generic. Here are a few ways to add context.
Testimonials – never create a "testimonials" page since visitors avoid those, but ask for and use customer feedback to provide context.
Q&A – questions, and answers create great context, especially when questions come from customers and solutions come from you and other members of your online community.
Case Studies – case studies are more extended Q&As.
Images – use images that speak to the benefits of a service, not the thing itself.
Quotes – quote leaders, stakeholders, and other influential people to create context.
Stories – stories are different than testimonials because you, the website creators, share them, so be factual, funny, and timely to create a great context for services.
Failure – stories about loss and lessons learned provide great context because failure stories always sound trustworthy, human, and, when done well, intelligent.
Whenever you make a claim such as “award-winning service,” it is crucial to be specific. Who made the award? When did you win recognition for your company's outstanding service? Claims without detail are examples of marketing talking to itself about itself. Claims need easy-to-recognize evidence to sound authentic, factual, and convincing.
"Spin the facts" was our first title for this online marketing tip, but "spinning" sounds inauthentic and like we're telling you to lie. Nothing could be further from how you should sell your services online. An authentic online voice builds trust over time by sharing factual stories. For example, the story about Amazon's pricing algorithm shared above provides facts some Amazon customers may not know. Those "selected facts" help make an authentic case for a smaller retailer with loyal customers.