How do you write a persuasive service page in a crowded, done-to-death niche?
That’s the challenge I was tasked with when Ross Hudgens of Siege Media approached me to write a brand new page advertising their link building services.
They needed a service page that sold the hell out of their capabilities, stayed SEO-friendly, and (most importantly) wouldn’t lump them in with every other provider on the planet. So that’s what I wrote ’em.
Here’s the TL;DR on how if you’re in a hurry:
How to write a service page:
- Research the audience
- Survey the competitive landscape
- Outline the page for a natural conversation
- Say what competitors don’t in ways they haven’t
- Call the lead to (meaningful) action
If you’ve spent even ten minutes reading digital marketing agency websites (or… any services page), you know how painfully similar (read: boring and awful) so many of them are.
- The same claims: “We get results,” “We only take on clients we can help,” “We get to know your business…”
- The same jargon: “Results-driven,” “Whitehat,” “Proven tactics…”
- The same boring pitch: “Get trusted links from authority sites…”
When you’re trying to stand out in a crowded industry, parroting the same old crap isn’t going to cut it.
You need to find new ways to make familiar promises or stake a bold claim that makes you completely unmissable in the fog of bland, boring sameness.
I’m going to share my process below so that you can (hopefully) learn from it and apply it to your own situation!
1. Research the audience.
Before I could write a word, I needed to really understand Siege’s audience for link building services, namely:
1) Awareness level: How much they already knew about link building, and hiring link builders. Writing to a jaded audience who’s been burned by past providers is TOTALLY different from writing to an audience who doesn’t know what link building is.
2) Pain Points: Why can’t leads do this themselves? What are they struggling with? In our case, link building is not only HARD, it’s time-consuming. Doing it wrong has serious consequences. We needed to leverage these fears to sell the benefits of working with Siege.
3) Desired outcomes: What do leads really want? Hint: it’s not “links!” They want what links can do: make them visible in credible publications, boost rankings, and drive real business outcomes (leads + sales.)
4) Anxieties: What are leads afraid of? In this case, there were many things: untrustworthy vendors, wasting their money for no results, and being penalized.
But HOW do you get all that?
I’ve given full talks on how to conduct customer research, and you can watch one here.
2. Survey the competitive landscape.
Once you understand your audience inside and out, you’ll have a good compass for how to write your service page.
But before you do, it’s important to take a look at what others in your niche are saying so that you can avoid duplicating the status quo. Remember: we want to find new things to say — or new ways to make familiar promises.
I looked at 10+ “Link building services” pages and used a spreadsheet to document:
- The hero section headline: What benefit or pain did it express? How?
- Their UVP (unique value proposition): How did they position themselves to solve a lead’s problem?
- Page flow: Which sections were presented, in which order?
- The claims they made: How did they phrase things like the outcomes they promised?
- Their CTA (call to action): What did they ask a lead to do?
I also watched for what they did NOT say. What gaps did they have? What did they miss? Where did they drown in jargon instead of spitting out what leads needed to hear?
Important: The goal isn’t to be unique for the sake of being unique. We’re not trying to be needlessly clever. We’re simply looking for holes in the competition’s armor that we can exploit; things we can do better.
3. Outline the page for a natural conversation.
Have you ever read a page where the information seemed to jump around randomly or illogically?
Then you already know why it’s important to structure your page in a way that it has a natural conversation with a lead. You need to answer the questions they came with one by one, in a way that makes sense.
- If your lead is MOST aware (already knows you, your service, what makes you better) — all they need to know is the deal, and you should lead with something like pricing or a CTA.
- If leads are problem aware (know they have a problem, but they don’t understand your solution yet), then you need to start off by agitating their pain, tying it to desirable outcomes, and bridge the gap.
I gave an extensive talk on understanding and writing to awareness levels that you can watch for free:
Check out the show notes here!
For Siege Media, I knew their leads were primarily solution aware. They knew about their problem, even knew about multiple solutions, but needed reasons to believe in one company over others.
Because of this, we structured the page this way (#3 is most important!):
1) A hero section that made a bold statement in plain english about the outcomes Siege Media could drive (immediately differentiating them)
2) A lead-in paragraph agitating the pain of hiring a link builder (it feels like gambling) — again, using language no other provider I read used.
3) A hardcore “prove it!” section where I highlighted Siege’s clients, achievements and the work Siege Media did.
This was MOST important to the equation and SO critical for service pages.
Because your proof is the most unique, compelling content you can possibly have.
In saturated industries, being able to show proof (like powerful case studies) gives you an edge that your competitors simply cannot copy.
4) A section on Siege Media’s process: the “how” behind the way they deliver. After showing solution-aware clients that we understood their pain and could deliver the results they wanted, this was the next logical discussion to have.
5) Another section on proof — this time tied to the efficacy of the process. The natural question after sharing the process is, “Does this actually work? What makes it better?”
By showing that Siege Media has 5000+ relationships with publishers, I could give a lead a tangible metric to soothe their rational brain.
6) The next section spoke to Siege Media’s philosophy; the beliefs that underpin their process. Too many agencies START with what they believe before proving that what they believe actually has an impact on the results they drive.
Not Siege Media.
7) To wrap up the sales pitch before the final CTA, I wrote a section showing REAL examples of link building campaigns run by Siege Media. If there was any doubt left in a lead’s mind, it’s absolutely obliterated now!
Finally, we wrapped the page up with a final CTA. Some will argue there should’ve been a CTA earlier, and that forcing a lead to scroll to the bottom is a bad idea.
Maybe they’re right — but for this first variant, we WANT people to invest time reading the page and getting the full understanding of Siege’s process and proof before contacting them because we’re actively weeding bad leads out with the copy.
4. Say what competitors don’t in ways they haven’t
If you haven’t yet, now is a good time to go and actually read the page I wrote for Siege.
Throughout, you’ll find examples of us either making old promises in new ways. For example…
We could’ve said: “We built high-quality, trustworthy links.”
Instead, we said: “We build hard-to-get links from sites you’ve actually heard of.” This statement not only acknowledges a pain that a lead understands (link building being hard), it plays off of the lead’s desire for visibility and recognition while confidently asserting Siege can deliver what others cannot.
We could’ve said: “We only use proven tactics and white hat methods.”
Instead, we said: “Link building shouldn’t feel like gambling.” Not only does this mirror what our ideal lead believes; it also immediately takes the risk out of the equation by showing leads that we understand their desire for predictable ROI.
We could’ve said: “We have a proven process.”
Instead, we said: “No expensive moonshots. No cringe-worthy spam.” We took the fears the lead had, in the words they used, and spat it right back at them in a way that’ll get them nodding along.
And those are just a FEW examples!
The copy also works very hard to establish credibility with metrics (5,000+ publishers), manage expectations (measurable results within three months), and reinforce the idea that Siege Media cares as much about building brands as they do links.
One of the best tips I can give you here for arriving at that specific copy? MONOLOGUE — like a super villain!
I flicked on a voice recorder, paced my office, and started talking through the claims:
“What does a proven process really mean? That it can deliver consistently. Over, and over, and over.”
Aha! A plainspeak way to explain “proven process.”
“Everybody wants visibility from their links. But that’s not how they talk about it. What does visibility mean? Being found on sites that are hard to get on to. That people know by name.”
A hint! A human way to explain “visibility.”
“A qualified lead cares about predictable ROI. But how do I avoid that jargon? Hmmm… well what’s unpredictable? Chance… randomness… gambling!”
BOOM. Link building shouldn’t feel like gambling. A relatable way to talk about an old concept!
And for the entire page, I just kept monologuing. Then, I listened back to the recording, and pulled out the human, interesting, juicy bits that came out of the conversation with myself!
If you’re struggling to find better ways to say something, get up out of your chair, pace, and SAY IT!
5. Call the lead to (meaningful) action.
To wrap up the page, we invite the lead to “Create something amazing together,” something a qualified lead undoubtedly wants to do.
Make sure your CTA is aligned with what a lead actually wants, and the step they are CURRENTLY ready to take. Again — we probably could’ve put more CTAs in the page to allow leads to convert earlier, and in future tests, maybe we’ll do just that!
It’s important to understand that no page is perfect. I’m proud of the work I got to do with Siege Media, but I’m also sure there will be ways to tweak and improve it as we learn more about how it performs.
And that’s that!
What do you think? Can you adapt this process to write better service pages for your own niche? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!