This checklist is for B2B brands that sell a high-end service. If you meet these two criteria, this is for you:
The B2B marketing website is critical in driving demand through clarity and trust, through content and design. We invite you to review the service pages on your website against this checklist.
We hope this guide will help you improve those pages or planning for a redesign. We’ll start with a visual of a B2B website service page that includes them all.
Note: This checklist does not include so-called global elements, such as website navigation and footers, which appear on every page on your website.
Those few words at the top of the page should pass the “backyard BBQ test.”
Imagine you meet someone for the first time at a party. They ask what you do. You respond with the words at the top of your service page.
Here are examples of headers that don’t pass the test:
None of those actually describe a service.
If the header at the top of the page isn’t descriptive, visitors will have to scroll, scan and keep reading to learn what your company offers.
Every visit to your page starts with this question: Am I in the right place? It’s the header’s job to answer.
Service pages are often easy to optimize for search. People look for services all the time. These searches are “commercial intent” keyphrases, which are the best kind. They drive demand from people who don’t yet know your brand.
This is where keyphrase research comes in. And this is the second reason to make that header descriptive.
The key is to pick battles that are worth winning (high search volume) and that can be won (low competition). Next, align pages with phrases. The content on these pages will indicate its relevance by using both the target phrase in the most important places
Beyond the basics, the page should incorporate the semantically related phrases. These are the phrases, questions and subtopics that are closely related to your primary phrase. Building them into the content is called semantic SEO. But how do you find these phrases? It’s easy. They are everywhere. Just search for the primary phrase and related words, phrases, subtopics and questions will appear everywhere in the search results page.
In this example, I searched for the commercial-intent service phrase, “microscope repair” and see many semantically related phrases I should include in my page.
You can also do this with tools, such as MarketMuse Optimize or the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant.
A well-planned B2B service website has an entire sitemap that is search optimized. There are lots of pages aligned with lots of different keyphrases. Each is an opportunity to attract a high-intent visitor. Our guide on how to make a sitemap explains in detail with examples.
Often, the next step for a great B2B service page is to differentiate the brand from competitors. This can be done quickly and visually with logos high up, near the top of the page.
These so-called “trust seals” build trust instantly. They also provide a bit of differentiation. Not every competitor can put these on their pages.
Subheads keep the visitor flowing through the content. They tell the visitor what’s in each section, so they can decide if they want to slow down and read deeper.
Suppose you’re a company that services jetpacks for space exploration companies.
Specificity is good for visitors. It’s also good for search engines.
Imagine the phone rings. It’s a prospect called to talk about this service. They have questions. You answer them. They have objections. You address them. It’s a conversation.
The best service pages emulate that sales conversation. It answers questions, addresses objections and gives examples. The more educated the visitor, the more likely they are to become a lead.
Here are questions you can ask your current clients to find out what to put on the service page.
This qualitative research is key to conversion copywriting. Before you know the answers to these questions, it’s very difficult to build a high performing page.
Subheads help, but visitors will still struggle if you use dense, blocky paragraphs. Long paragraphs get scanned. Short paragraphs get read.
As a general rule, make sure paragraphs are no longer than three lines.
Your page has a back button, just like every other page on the web. Competition for attention is fierce. If the visitor finds your content hard to consume, they know they can find help somewhere else.
So break up those paragraphs. Add some whitespace. And while your add it, mix in some other formatting to make your sales copy easy to scan:
In these examples, the text is the same. Only the formatting is different. Which works better for scan readers? Which will have better engagement?
It’s up to the writer, but the designer helps. The container for this content shouldn’t have very small text, very long lines and weak color contrast. Light gray on white? Who can read that?
A lawyer wouldn’t go to trial without a witness. Web designers shouldn’t go live without testimonials.
Every one of your messages has a messenger. And the best messenger is the client themselves. When they say it, the message transforms from regular marketing into social proof.
Social proof shows that others have chosen your brand, making the choice feel safer. And the wording in testimonials is often more forthright than anything you could have written yourself.
Notice how testimonials, either video or text, can answer questions and address objections.
Notice how the best testimonials have their own little headlines. In videos, they’re in the thumbnail. In text, they’re above the testimonial, the same way Amazon has little headlines above the reviews.
Text-based testimonials are also opportunities to include a keyphrase (we’ll talk about keyphrases and SEO in a minute). Read more on how to write testimonials.
Does your current page include evidence that you’re legitimate? If not, it is a pile of unsupported marketing claims.
Charts and graphs are more visually compelling than text. They are more likely to be seen and remembered. So whenever possible, upgrade those statistics from text to visuals.
Diagrams are also powerful. Does your service involve a multi-step process? Don’t just describe it with text; show it with visuals.
Visuals get visitors to lean in and engage with the content. The best visuals are custom designed and unique to your business. They align with the brand and match the design.
The weakest visuals? Stock photography. Use stock only as a last resort.
Faces are magnetic. We are all hard-wired to look at faces. So pictures of people instantly make a service page more compelling.
And when those pictures are real people at the business, they lend legitimacy. They create a human connection. They answer some important questions.
Who is behind this brand? Who might I work with if I use this company? Is this a real business?
If you don’t show your team, you miss another chance to differentiate. You people are your difference. You’re the only company with your team.
You may also lose your visitor. If they want to see who works there, they have no choice but to leave and go to LinkedIn.
Little companies always try to look bigger. And big companies always try to look smaller. Really, every company should just try to be more human.
If Testimonials are a challenge, there are other ways to add evidence. Data about your business or the value of your services can help nudge the visitor toward conversion.
Beyond the industry- or company-specific stats you can add, here are some common examples.
When given a bit of design love, these numbers can jump off the page and set you apart from competitors. Statistics appeal to the desire of all visitors to make rational decisions based on data.
Remember, evidence is differentiation. Without evidence, the content is common. Anyone can make a claim without evidence.
The webpage uses a visual hierarchy that guides the visitors’ eyes down the page through a series of prioritized messages, answering questions and adding evidence.
The page knows what it wants visitors to look at. It gives them those things one at a time.
That means there aren’t several things competing for their attention. No matter how far down your visitor scrolls, it’s clear what you’re giving them.
Visual hierarchies are carefully crafted in the design process. The designer controls the eyes of the visitor using size, placement, color and whitespace.
When the visual hierarchy aligns with the messaging priority, the page guides the visitors attention through a series of thoughts, increasing clarity and trust as the visitor flows down the page.
This is how content and containers drive conversions.
A great sales call can take a while. The prospect has quite a few questions and the salesperson’s answers are detailed and thorough.
A great sales page is no different. It takes its time covering each topic, often using 800 to 1000 words. A short sales page is like a sales associate who hangs up the phone before the conversation with the prospect is finished.
The goal of the writer is to make it complete, answering every question and thereby addressing every objection.
“But I thought that website visitors have short attention spans? Doesn’t that mean I should have short pages?”
No. It just means the content should be scannable and broken up into sections. Which means…
Sales pages often stop right before the finish line. Rather than offering a call to action (CTA) suggesting the visitor gets in touch, the page just dead ends.
Instead of asking for the lead a sales page without a CTA implicitly suggests these options:
So the first step is to make sure that the page has at least one call to action, near the bottom, toward the end of the sales conversation.
Next, look closely at the verbs. Does it just say “contact” or is it something more compelling. Verbs such as “read” “learn” and “click” aren’t much better. Your buttons and links can work harder for you.
A great call to action triggers demand. It is relevant to the page. It’s personal, warm and inviting. It’s a gentle nudge. And it makes all the difference.
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We see these on service pages everywhere. If you have either of these, you can likely improve results just by removing these elements today.
It attracts visitors and it compels those visitors to take action. It is both cheese and mousetrap. It does this in the same way that any top sales rep does: by answering questions, offering examples and finally, by asking for the business.
Above all, it makes it easy.
If you don’t have one of these on your site, it might be hard to imagine the business impact. Right now, as you read this sentence, people are looking for your services. Who do they find? They’re visiting your competitor’s webpages. What are they learning?
It’s kind of incredible. If you’ve never seen the Analytics behind a high-performing sales page, it’s dramatic. It’s a game changer. Improve your sales pages to check these boxes and let us know how it goes.
Thank you so much for the helpful advice! I like both of the website flow charts you gave.
Thank you, Andy great tips. Curious though, you recommend removing carousels and slideshows (and I don’t disagree outside of ecommerce) but what are your thoughts on video hero’s that may or may not contain links to internal pages? Or, even change in hero with page refresh?
I really like these points, Andy. It is often the simplest things that work best. What you say about testimonials is really strong. So many B2B services sites miss out on the opportunity to optimize these.
Here’s some interesting statistics that tie into what you’re saying:
– 92% of customers read online reviews before buying
– 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business
– 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers
But also, the number of testimonials matters:
– 73% of consumers read six or fewer reviews before making a decision
– 50 or more reviews on multiple products pages can increase conversions by 4.6%
– 40 or more reviews are needed before consumers will consider a star-rating accurate
And, once you’ve done all this, your revenue should increase:
– Using customer testimonials regularly can generate approximately 62% more revenue
– On average, testimonials on sales pages increase conversions by 34%
– Customers who interact with reviews are 58% more likely to buy
So, your advice on using testimonials to answer objections and questions is spot on. And make sure you’re flagging the benefit in the headline, because most readers skim web pages.
If the B2B team takes your advice and makes a few changes, they see an improvement in leads. Better to make a little progress than wait until perfection. Thanks, Andy. I share your tips with clients often.
Hey, Andy, just improving a few of these items could boost a company’s leads. Don’t underestimate the power of a small changes. Thanks for putting this together.
This post is intended to serve as a professional testimonial to Andy, his team at Orbit and the effectiveness of their work! They back up their offers, for over 5 years now, since we launched our home page with them. The assistance continues to this day, and we refer them often. Much deserved.
Joe Cushing, Cushing & Co.
Thank you for the helpful advice! I like both of the website flow charts you gave, although I understand what you’re saying.
As always, this is some great content! Keep it up, Andy!
Great tips – every brand should check this before starting! 🙂
Thanks for the great tips! Both website flow charts you showed look kind of chaotic to me, but I understand what you’re saying.
I know what you mean. The idea is that in the example on the right, there are elements laid out side-by-side, but they are on the same topic and give then same treatment.
When we ask our visitors to move down a page, but also jump left and right between elements with contrasting visual treatment or topics, it’s much harder for them to flow through the content.
Unbounce has good research on this. Some of their studies show a 30% conversion rate lift when the layouts are streamlined. It makes a difference!
I’d love to see an example page that you feel does the best job of following this formula. Thanks for the great content – as always.
We’ll be re-lauching out site soon. The new version checks every box. Stay tuned, Kathie!
Hey Kathy – we actually have a similar post on our website (Sorry Andy, self-promo incoming) that overlaps a lot with Andy’s points here and covers some real-world examples: https://insights.huemor.rocks/blog/service-page-design-examples
Hope that helps!
What are your thoughts?