Copywriting Hacks: How to Name Your Services


We've already covered how to name your business and products, so now we're turning to your services (also known as your intangible products). While the same principles and exercises previously discussed still apply, when it comes to services, you should focus even more on the specific problem you'll be solving for your clients and the relationship you wish to forge with them. Here's why: 

The Problem With Intangibles

When we purchase a product or service, we need to feel comfortable and confident in that decision. A million questions might run through our minds in mere seconds: 

Is this company reputable? 
Are they professional?
Are they more expensive than other options? 

Why are they worth more money? 
Can they solve my problem? 
Will they understand me?
Will they be easy to work with?
Can I TRUST them? 

Now, when it comes time to purchase a physical product, the customer can often answer these questions with their senses. They can see a photograph of the design and determine whether or not the look of the product aligns with their identity. They can read or watch video reviews of the product to determine if it will meet their standards for quality. And, if in a brick-and-mortar location, they can even smell, touch, taste or try the product for themselves. 

But when you move from tangible products to intangible services, customer behavior changes.

Unlike a physical product, an intangible service becomes tangible only upon delivery, equating the manufacturing process with the final product itself. Of course, there is no guarantee that a customer will remain "sold" during this process, especially if they feel that their expectations are not being met. And if your delivery is poor, the service itself will be equated with a faulty product. 

A large part of this has to do with the relationship forged between you and the client, and the client is expecting you to not only set the terms for that agreement but also uphold your end of the bargain. These expectations form their basis for hiring you, which is more of an emotional decision rather than a logical one. Why? Because the client can only judge the product based on their judgement of you - the individual - rather than their sensory experience of your offer. 

In a sense, this "match" between client and service is very similar to finding a life partner. Here are six things running through our minds, subconsciously, when we try to make these deeply emotional connections:

Security: Is this someone you can trust? Someone who won’t cost you in personal or financial damages? Someone you can rely on? Will they avoid you in times of stress? Will they ghost you? Or can you lean on them when unexpected problems arise?

Protection: Will this someone wreck your life, make you crazy with anxiety, or cause your work to suffer? Will they be insensitive to your needs? Will they damage your reputation? Will they burn down what you’ve already built?

Convenience: Will you be forced to overexert yourself just to get what you need? Will you feel comfortable and able to assert yourself as an individual, without being made to feel guilty or wrong?

Peace: Are they invested? Do they care? Are you going to become a ball of anxiety trying to figure this person out? Will you be forced to battle with them over every inch? Will there be a ton of miscommunications? 

Recognition: Will they embarrass you? Hurt your standing in certain circles? Will you be laughed at for trusting them in the first place?

Self-Improvement: Will they drag you into the depths of chaos and uncertainty, or help you to become the best version of yourself? 

All of these things run through your prospect's mind once they land on your services page. So how can you start to build trust and hit these emotional buttons with only a name? Begin as you would with a relationship: with clarity and honesty.

Here are 10 things to consider when naming your services:  


Naming: Clarity > Cleverness

  1. Steer clear from names you’ll have to explain.
  2. Be specific enough to describe the service, but also broad enough that you’ll be able to adjust specific details over time.
  3. Make sure your name fits within the larger ecosystem of your business and product names, while still being able to stand on its own.
  4. Make it obvious what you’re selling.
  5. What are you selling? Consider the 'milkshake example' and contemplate a benefit that might not be obvious at first.   
  6. Try to select a word that evokes a transformation, not just the completion of a deliverable. Base your name around that change.
  7. Clients must take your word for it, so don't overpromise with hyperbolic words or phrases. Set realistic expectations! Remember: it's better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. 
  8. What is the promise here? Prospects can’t experience the product in advance, so they're really buying a promise. What's your guarantee? 

  9. Service implies action. What actions will you and the customer be completing together? Set the stage for a memorable experience. 

  10. This is a relationship. Outside of dating, what other relationships might serve as a metaphor for the one you seek to forge with your clientele? 


Final Thoughts

A good name for a service should tell the prospect everything they need to know about you and your offer. In their minds, they should comprehend the story of what the problem is, as well as the transformation you're promising. In addition, it should be buzz-worthy. Imagine strangers talking about your service. What would you have them say? How can they communicate your value in conversation? Will it stick in their minds at all? 

And if you're naming multiple services, try to make their names cohesive in terms of your ecosystem. Clients should be able to tell them apart while still being able to see that your offers belong within a certain group or family. 

Finally, how you say things says a great deal about who you are and what it's like to work with you. So be authentic, real, and undeniably you. You'll get more with your true personality than with a mask painted on. 

If you need help carving that identity out, grab your free copy of The Brand Swatch, and read our other pieces on naming your business and products. It's all connected.

Happy naming!