A capabilities landing page is a simple page that explains the purpose of a firm. It’s about your business function, not about you, the people that do the work. By paying the right attention to your capabilities landing page layout, you can help prospects better understand how they can make use of your expertise and what it will be like for them to do so. Often, these kinds of pages are called something like, “What We Do.”
In this article, I’ll explain how to design this page by recommending an ideal capabilities landing page layout. This recommendation is strategic in nature and structural in implication. In other words, it’s not about the aesthetic elements of a layout, but about the kind of information this page should contain and how it should be arranged. My recommendations are based upon a strong point of view I have for prospect experience design generally, and the relationship between positioning and actions prospects can take.
Let me first explain the relationship between positioning and prospect action a bit more before we get into the layout. That will help you understand why a capabilities landing page is necessary, as well as how it should work.
Tell Them What You Do
The most important information your website contains is what you do. All the articles, webinars, white papers, case studies, podcasts and videos in the world — no matter how good they are at communicating your expertise — won’t help your business unless it is clear to a prospect how your expertise is formed into a service or product that can help them. It must be clear to a prospect how they can buy your expertise.
The role of the positioning pages of your website is to intentionally guide a prospect to a clear understanding of what your business does and how it does it. That starts with a simple articulation of what you do. That’s your positioning. Then you must make clear to them what they should do next. The pressure you apply is central to this concept — that’s where the intentionality comes in. Intentionally guiding a prospect through a series of primary actions on individual pages means guiding a prospect every step along the way.
Don’t Rely On Menus
We don’t want to rely upon menu-based wayfinding here. Navigation menus are critical to good usability, accessibility, and even providing a “table of contents” for the site generally. But, on the spectrum of the various forms of information architecture (IA) we might encounter on a website, menus lack in a point of view. Let me take a moment to explain that.
Lists and indexes of content are intentionally structured by objective criteria. Often, they’re arranged alphabetically or according to publication date. Search tools and filters, too, deliver results to users based upon relatively objective, but chosen, criteria. All of those forms of information architecture function best when they remain neutral toward the action a user might take.
You could argue that navigation menus have a point of view toward what is most important on a website. They are certainly most useful when they offer fewer options and incrementally expose choices to users. So, on that hypothetical IA spectrum, navigation menus might sit somewhere in the middle. But on the right are things like calls-to-action and buttons. These elements are designed specifically to elicit action. They visually represent a very strong point of view toward what action is most important to take.
Use Calls to Action to Move Prospects Forward
On your home page, the idea of giving prospects a point of view toward what the should do next is simple. Your positioning statement should be followed by a single, prominent button prompting a visitor to “Learn More.” Without it, no visitor should be expected to do anything but keep scrolling. As obvious as that seems, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reviewed websites that design beautiful home pages with well-written, purpose-driven copy and yet, no clear indication of what a visitor should do next. It’s too many to count. No buttons, no links, nothing. When I ask designers what they expect a visitor to do on the homepage, they usually say one of three things:
- scroll down all the way and choose what they think is most interesting
- explore the navigation menu and choose something from it
- click an image, usually representing a portfolio piece or case study
Tell Them What to Do
But then I ask, what do you want them to do? I get all kinds of answers to that question, too, but they — just like the typical expectations I hear — aren’t quite right, either.
The most important thing you should want every visitor to your home page to do is begin to understand what your agency does and quickly make a decision to go deeper into the site to learn more. Every other choice a user could make, whether it is to read a blog post, a case study, or something else, only delays their ability to understand whether your firm can actually help them.
What You Do is What You Sell
I’m not saying that all content experiences outside of your website’s positioning content are less valuable. Many visitors will become buyers because something you wrote convinced them. But no visitor will become a buyer without understanding what you are selling. The predictable orientation pattern — in which a visitor who lands on a lower-level content page either bounces or eventually returns home to understand who produced that content and why — proves that. I’ve written more about this in my article on how to design a marketing website home page.
Your website’s job is to graduate researchers into buyers. So your home page’s first job is to make clear what is being sold. If you don’t tell them they won’t know. Most of us understand that well by now, as the many websites I’ve seen with great positioning statements show. But, if you don’t tell them what to do next, well, then you probably shouldn’t expect them to do much of anything.
The Best Capabilities Landing Page Layout
Your home page’s positioning statement and call-to-action should direct visitors to a landing page dedicated to explaining what you do in more detail. Regardless of what you choose to name this page, I call it your capabilities landing page.
An ideal capabilities landing page has 5 key attributes:
- simple name
- ~100-250 words of indexable content
- client testimonial (social proof)
- easily scannable list of individual services
- buyer-friendly call to action
Most of these attributes are self-explanatory, but let me briefly elaborate on each one.
1. A Simple Name
This is a recommendation I make over and over again, mostly in reaction to a common habit in the world of professional services of giving proper names to common work. For instance, if you’re a branding firm, you may have a unique name for your “proprietary” branding process (however dubious its uniqueness may be). But don’t give this page that same name. No one will know what it means. A page like this is better named something that clearly sets up any visitor’s expectation for what information the page contains. So, stick with something simple, like, “What We Do,” or “Our Services,” or “Capabilities.”
2. ~100-250 Words of Indexable Content
Be brief. This page needs to elaborate on your positioning statement, but it need not be a long-read. The goal of this page is to continue to guide a prospect on a journey of better understanding what your firm does, so the most important next step they can take is to go deeper and learn about the specific services you offer. The words on this page that precede your list of services should explain your firm’s mission and how, generally, you work to achieve it, not be an encyclopedic entry of everything you know, or a Cheesecake Factory menu of everything a client might get by working with you.
3. A Client Testimonial
As I’ve written elsewhere, a happy client will always be a better salesperson than you. Try to feature a testimonial here that speaks to the full scope of what your firm offers and the transformation you’ve made possible for them. This is the social proof that prospects need to encourage them to dig a bit deeper.
4. An Easily Scannable List of Individual Services
This list represents the primary action you want a prospect to take next. You want them to choose a service to learn more about. What’s complicated here is what we mean by “services.”
“Service” can mean something different for every firm. Few that I work with actually sell discrete services (e.g. you can buy Thing A or Thing B), so I generally describe it in this way: A “service” is an element of your business that solves a unique problem, in a unique way, that requires unique actions of your client, that may employ unique people within your organization, that measures success in unique ways. Another word that’s useful here is “discipline.” This could be a list of disciplines your firm employs, or perhaps even steps or stages in an engagement. However you describe it, this is a list of what you sell. But, it should not be a list of everything you produce. Again, visualize the Cheesecake Factory menu and avoid that at all costs! You sell branding, not brochures.
5. A Buyer-Friendly Call-to-Action
A buyer-friendly call-to-action is one that invites a prospect to get in touch with you directly to discuss working together. Though the primary action you want to design in to this page is the one that takes a prospect deeper into a page dedicated to one of your individual services, if a visitor is ready to go, don’t block their way. Make it clear that filling out this form is a viable/welcome secondary action: that they can “get started” or “request a meeting” at any point along the way in flowing through your positioning pages.
The purpose of the capabilities landing page is to best use the attention it receives by simply explaining the purpose of your firm and directing visitors to learn more about the individual services you offer.
This article is the fifth in a series that will guide you through applying the principles of Prospect Experience Design for yourself.
Next in the series is a guide to designing an effective service landing page page.